MADISON – Today legislative Democrats introduced smart criminal justice legislation that will keep Wisconsin communities safer. While the GOP continue to rehash their failed “tougher on crime” measures, this evidence-based bill package will work to prevent crime, support victims, and provide much-needed resources to local governments to increase public safety. Speakers offered the following comments in support:
“These are not new ideas. Today’s proposals are rooted in research, designed to increase public safety and reduce crime, and were recommended by the top attorney in our state, Attorney General Josh Kaul,” Democratic Leader Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) said. “We have an opportunity to really move Wisconsin communities forward and fund essential services. For years, the GOP has cut back Wisconsin’s shared revenue program, forcing local governments to cut back on essential services and public safety. It’s time to take action and make sure that our communities have the resources needed to serve our residents and make Wisconsin a place where our neighbors want to live and stay.
“It is past time for Republicans to give up on these costly, ineffective bills, which were already vetoed by Governor Evers last session. Wisconsin communities desperately need these resources, and our constituents are asking us to act. We must work together and pass these common sense measures that dozens of other Republican-majority states have already implemented,” Leader Neubauer concluded.
Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) said, “Shared revenue is the foundation of the relationship between our state and our local governments. From public safety to health, libraries and parks, shared revenue makes our communities a safe, desirable place to live and thrive.”
The package includes a bill that will increase Wisconsin’s Shared Revenue program, returning hard earned taxpayer dollars back to local governments to put towards public safety, local health departments, libraries, and other essential services. Alongside shared revenue investments, the package works to protect victims of domestic violence, improve pre-trial monitoring and reporting systems, and increase funding for victim and witness services.
“We don’t talk enough about victims in this building. We talk about crimes, but we do not talk enough about the impact of these devastating crimes on the people they have hurt, and sometimes killed . . . And so today, I want to introduce a piece of legislation that centers the victims — the survivors — as they deserve to be seen, centered, and protected,” stated Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa).
“Investing in additional victim services through our local government and law enforcement agencies will make Wisconsin a safer place and help to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have the resources they need to move forward and succeed,” added Rep. Tip McGuire (D-Somers).
“I’m proud to join my colleagues this morning to introduce this package of public safety legislation. We are focused on thoughtful, common sense legislation that saves lives and focuses on safety and security in our communities. We must take these necessary, long overdue steps to protect victims,” Rep. Sara Rodriguez (D-Brookfield) said.
Full summaries of each of the package’s bills are available below:
LRB 5749: Increases the State Shared Revenue Program by 2% as Gov. Evers proposed in his budget. Shared Revenue is the money that the State pays to local governments (counties and municipalities). Based on LFB informational paper 19, local governments use Shared Revenue toward funding public safety services, their second largest expense. The attached LFB memo shows Shared Revenue payments from the state alongside the local government public safety expenditures to highlight how the state could allow for greater investments in services like law enforcement by increasing Shared Revenue.
LRB 5696: Uses the State’s current budget surplus to fund the DOJ “Safe at Home” program which provides substitute addresses and mail forwarding services for victims of various forms of abuse, including threats of violence as part of their personal safety plan.
LRB 5700: Creates a neighborhood-based crime reduction grant program within the DOJ for municipalities to target areas with higher crime rates.
LRB 5701: Creates a grant program to prevent crime before it happens by funding evidence-based violence prevention initiatives
LRB 5702: Creates a grant program within the DOJ to help local jurisdictions implement evidence-based programs for monitoring and supporting individuals released from custody before their trial.
LRB 5694: Requires the Clerk of Court to send the court order prohibiting an individual from possessing a firearm to the relevant law enforcement agency within one business day of the individual being released on bail or bond. It also codifies the requirement for law enforcement agencies to enter the order within 24 hours of receipt.
LRB 5855: Increases the state’s reimbursement to counties for victim/witness services; increases grants to counties for victim/witness services; and creates a program for counties to create a Victim Protection Unit within the District Attorney’s office.