Press Release: State Bar Honors Representatives Richards and Kooyenga with Scales of Justice Awards:

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    State Bar Honors Representatives Richards and Kooyenga with Scales of Justice Awards

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    Sept. 14, 2012

    Andrea Gage, J.D.
    State Bar of Wisconsin
    (608) 250-6025
    (608) 630-0432 (cell)
    (800) 444-9404, ext. 6025

    State Bar Honors Representatives Richards and Kooyenga with Scales of Justice Awards

    Madison, WI –The State Bar of Wisconsin is pleased to announce that Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) are 2011-2012 recipients of the Scales of Justice Award for their outstanding efforts toward increasing citizens’ access to justice and improving the administration of Wisconsin’s judicial system.

    The State Bar’s Legislative Oversight Committee and Government Relations team created the Scales of Justice Award to formally recognize legislators for partnering with the State Bar to foster and maintain high standards for the judicial system and legal profession.

    Rep. Richards is being honored for his leadership in the passage of 2011 Act 270, which protects children by helping law enforcement, district attorneys, and litigants get access to the information they need before interacting with juveniles. The law includes important protections for sensitive information contained in a juvenile’s court record. There is a broad preclusion to releasing health and mental health information through electronic records. 2011 Act 270 also requires that those who receive information via the statute keep the information confidential, and includes fines for a failure to do so.

    “Allowing limited access to juvenile records is a very complex issue that the Legislature has struggled for years to adequately address. Children, families, and law enforcement are very fortunate that Representative Richards took the time to understand the issues related to balancing a juvenile’s right to privacy with the need for attorneys and law enforcement to have access to crucial information,” said Attorney Michael Rosenberg, who serves as chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee.

    Rep. Kooyenga is being honored for his leadership in the creation of a juvenile power of attorney for parents with the passage of 2011 Act 87. Prior to the enactment of 2011 Act 87, parents in need of temporary, limited assistance with caring for their children had few legal options available to them. Children often reside with other adults for a limited period of time because of the parent’s active military duty, medical, emotional or addiction issues, or other parental responsibilities.  Additionally, a child may have a special educational need or desire for intensive sports training which demand a different living arrangement. 

    “The new law provides parents with a tool recognized by and enforceable through Wisconsin Statutes. Representative Kooyenga’s leadership on this important issue will help families throughout Wisconsin for many years to come,” said Attorney Rosenberg.

    The Scales of Justice awards will be presented to Rep. Richards and Rep. Kooyenga in a joint ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Milwaukee Bar Association, located at 424 East Wells Street. Members of the media who wish to attend the award ceremony should contact Andrea Gage at (608) 630-0432 or

    The State Bar of Wisconsin is the mandatory professional association, created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for attorneys who hold a Wisconsin law license. With more than 23,000 members, the State Bar aids the courts in improving the administration of justice, provides continuing legal education for its members to help them maintain their expertise, and assists Wisconsin lawyers in carrying out community service initiatives to educate the public about the legal system and the value of lawyers. For more information, visit