[Madison, WI] – This afternoon in the Wisconsin State Assembly Chamber, State Representative Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk) and his Assembly colleagues voted to amend the Wisconsin State Constitution. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2 would allow judges to consider all factors in a case when determining conditions for pretrial release for a defendant, including criminal history and threat level to the community.
“We have seen time and again instances where judges are restricted in their ability to consider the entirety of a situation when setting bail,” stated Rep. Callahan. “This amendment will help to protect our communities while also ensuring the right of defendants to reasonable bail. I hope to see the people of Wisconsin approve this important amendment.”
Homicide and other violent crime rates have spiked in Wisconsin in recent years, and many offenders were out on bail for another felony offense at the time. In Milwaukee County, 1 out of every 5 murder or attempted murder suspects was out on bail for another felony offense. SJR 2 will bring Wisconsin in line with the 48 other states that permit courts to consider “dangerousness” in some way when setting bail.
Both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature have now approved this constitutional amendment in two consecutive legislative sessions. The amendment will be on Wisconsinites’ ballots in April.
The Assembly also passed several other resolutions today including:
· SJR 3, relating to proclaiming February 20 to 26, 2023, as American Birkebeiner Week in Wisconsin.
· SJR 4, relating to providing for an advisory referendum on the question of requiring able-bodied, childless adults to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.
· Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 4), relating to reaffirming Wisconsin’s commitment to the strengthening and deepening of the sister ties between the State of Wisconsin and Taiwan; supporting Taiwan’s signing of a Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with the United States; and continuing support for increasing Taiwan’s international profile.