MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed seven bills into law, including several bipartisan policing changes. The governor called for these bills last week, emphasizing the need for the Legislature to take up more robust, comprehensive reforms. A signing statement for the policing changes bills is available here.
Senate Bill 121, now Wisconsin Act 48:
- Prohibits the use of choke holds by law enforcement officers in use of force policies.
Senate Bill 122, now Wisconsin Act 49:
- Requires that law enforcement agencies make their use of force policies publicly available on their websites, or if they do not have one, on the website of the municipality over which they have jurisdiction.
Senate Bill 123, now Wisconsin Act 50:
- Requires the Department of Justice to collect data and publish an annual report on law enforcement use of force incidents, including incidents where there was a shooting, where a firearm was discharged in the direction of a person (even if there was no injury), and where other serious bodily harm resulted from the incident; and
- Requires certain demographic information to be collected about each such incident and reported by the Department of Justice on its website.
Senate Bill 124, now Wisconsin Act 51:
- Establishes a $600,000 grant program, administered by the Department of Justice, for cities with a population of 60,000 or more to fund community-oriented policing-house programs.
In addition to signing the bipartisan policing changes legislation, the governor signed three additional bills into law.
Senate Bill 237, now Wisconsin Act 52:
- Creates a narrow exception to the ban on operating a drone over a correctional institution, if expressly authorized by the secretary of corrections or his or her designee.
Senate Bill 299, now Wisconsin Act 53:
- Requires any person who was placed on probation, extended supervision, or parole in another state on or after April 1, 2015, who moves to Wisconsin and who will be supervised by the Department of Corrections to provide a human biological specimen to the state crime laboratories for DNA analysis, irrespective of the crime for which he or she was placed on probation, extended supervision, or parole in other state.
Senate Bill 99, now Wisconsin Act 54:
- Requires a prosecutor to seek an order requiring a defendant to submit a test to detect the presence of communicable disease and disclose the results if there is probable cause to believe a defendant threw or expelled a bodily substance at a public safety worker or a prosecutor.
Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) had the following to say about the bills, “Accountability, community involvement, and transparency are the cornerstones of any civic organization, and the PACT bills signed by Governor Evers today reflect those principles. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues, including Senators Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield), to introduce these bipartisan bills to improve policing in Wisconsin.”
He continued, “It is curious, however, that rather than celebrate the Republicans and Democrats coming to agreement on these bills, Governor Evers signed these bills in private with no notice. Instead, he puts out a statement complaining that he didn’t get everything he wanted and advocating for ideas that make every man, woman, and child, regardless of race, less safe. For someone who claims he wants Republicans and Democrats to work together to improve Wisconsin, he once again shows otherwise.”