For the City Times
MADISON – The quest to reform Wisconsin’s process for placing sexually violent persons (SVPs) cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday as Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 539 (AB 539) into law with a partial veto.
The bill, authored by Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), Representative Scott Krug (R-Rome), Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), and Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford), serves to localize the process of placing SVPs in order to avoid having urban centers relocate offenders to rural towns and villages.
“Since taking office, I’ve worked with legislators from around the state and across the aisle, to make sure that rural areas don’t become dumping grounds for sexual offenders,” said Senator Testin. “This bill is a major step forward from where the state was in January and February of 2017 when two SVPs were placed in the Town of Alban.”
The Governor’s partial veto of the bill maintains a 1,500 foot buffer between where sex offenders can be placed and schools, parks, or nursing homes. This barrier had been cited by some urban areas as a rationale for locating offenders in other counties.
“Reform is a process, and it’s important that members of both parties are working together toward a solution that protects children, and is fair to all of Wisconsin. This bill was a step in the right direction, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to create the safest and fairest system possible.”