Rotunda Report: Governor Walker Announces New Public Safety Initiatives:

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    Governor Walker Announces New Public Safety Initiatives

    Two of the more significant public safety initiatives involve the monitoring of first-time offenders receiving restraining orders and the expansion of collecting DNA samples at the time of arrest.
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    Feb. 18, 2013 – On the cusp of presenting his biennial budget proposal, Gov. Scott Walker has released details on new public safety initiatives aimed at assisting domestic abuse and sexual assault victims.

    In a recent news release, the governor indicated that a $14 million budget investment in public safety would reaffirm Wisconsin’s commitment to protecting children and assisting crime victims.

    Of the $14 million proposed, $4 million would go to funding the Sexual Assault Victims Services grant program. The statewide competitive grant program would help victims of sexual assault by assisting victims in court and other sexual assault prevention programs.

    Two of the more significant public safety initiatives involve the monitoring of first-time offenders receiving restraining orders and the expansion of collecting DNA samples at the time of arrest.

    Under the GPS monitoring system, judges may require the monitoring of individuals who they consider dangerous and might commit further violent acts. The courts can weigh certain factors to determine if the offender is dangerous including: whether the offender has caused an injury, has threatened someone with harm, or has a prior history of improperly using a firearm or other dangerous weapon to threaten another individual. If the offender receives GPS monitoring and violates conditions of the restraining order, they might be subject to criminal penalties of up to 9 months in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. The governor has set aside $3 million for this new grant program.

    Cale BattlesCale Battles is a government relations coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He can be reached at org cbattles wisbar wisbar cbattles org, or by phone at (608) 250-6077.

    Gov. Walker is also providing $6 million to fund an expansion of DNA collection for all felony arrestees and adults convicted of any misdemeanor. In order to fund this new proposal, a new $250 surcharge will be assessed for each felony case and $200 for all other criminal cases. The governor estimated that 68,000 DNA samples will be collected annually under this program.

    Other proposals announced by the governor include additional money to hire new employees for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the transfer of the Office of Justice Assistance (OJA) to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The governor’s biennial budget address is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m.

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    Rotunda Report is the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Government Relations e-newsletter that highlights legislative, judicial, and administrative developments that impact the legal profession and the justice system. It is published twice a month and is distributed free to attorneys, public officials and others who help shape public policy in Wisconsin. We invite your org pubaffairs wisbar suggestions to make the Rotunda Report more informative and useful and we encourage you to visit our website for the most current information about justice-related issues.