Madison, Wisconsin – State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) released the following statement regarding her vote today on Assembly Joint Resolution 47/Senate Joint Resolution 53, also known as ‘Marsy’s Law’:
“I’ve have worked hard to give justice to victims of crimes, especially for survivors of varying types of sexual harassment and assault, including bills on ‘upskirting,’ ‘stealthing,’ and an entire package devoted to sexual assault prevention earlier this session. I’m committed to continuing this work by introducing and supporting bills to bring justice to crime victims in Wisconsin, but this bill will unfortunately not be one of them.
This legislation appears to be more about politicians like Brad Schimel running for reelection than it is about crime victims in Wisconsin. For proof, one need look no further than the provision that precludes a person from having a claim for damages against the state for violating their rights as victims. What’s the virtue of having constitutional rights if a person is has no financial recourse when those rights are violated?
No family should have to experience what Marsy’s family went through, and I’m empathetic and supportive of the national dialogue and underlying goals of this legislation, especially in states that, unlike Wisconsin, have no existing victim’s rights policies. But crime victims in Wisconsin—especially survivors of sexual assault—deserve real, meaningful actions, not false notions of legal rights and empty promises.
We could accomplish those same goals by allowing claims for violations under chapter 950, or fully funding and staffing district attorneys and public defenders, or preventing sexual assault on UW campuses, or demanding the Department of Justice make a dent in the 6,000 untested sexual assault kits here in Wisconsin. There are better, more tangible solutions than the bill before us today and I look forward to continuing my work on those efforts for victims and survivors in Wisconsin.”
Melissa Sargent is a State Representative in the Wisconsin Assembly, representing the 48th Assembly District, which covers the east and north sides of the city of Madison and the village of Maple Bluff.