By Gretchen Schuldt
Here are summaries of new bills of interest introduced in the Legislature. A table showing the sponsors of each is at the bottom of this post.
Senate Bill 48 – Increasing scrutiny of Parole Commission
Legislative Republicans want to increase public scrutiny of the workings of the Wisconsin Parole Commission.
The bill would strip the commission of its ability to privately consider specific applications for release from prison and for placement on probation, parole, or extended supervision. Currently, the commission is exempt from the provisions of the state’s Open Meetings law that requires most public bodies to post adequate public notice of meetings and to hold them where they are accessible to the public.
The bill also would require the Department of Corrections to post more information about commission activities on its website. DOC would be required to post any guidance documents the commission uses when making decisions about release; information about individuals granted parole, denied parole, and returned to prison following the revocation of parole; monthly and annual data about parole grants, denials, and revocations. The annual totals would include the crime for which the person was convicted; the sex, race, and age of the person; and the county in which the person was convicted.
Senate Bill 55 – Reforming the prostitution law
People younger than 18 years old could not be charged with prostitution, under the bill.
Senate Bill 56 – Reporting for adult-oriented businesses
Adult-entertainment businesses and their investors and managers could face fines of up to $10,000 per day if they do not follow proposed reporting requirements, under the bill introduced in the state Senate. The bill also would subject operators of those businesses to the forfeitures if they ever owned an adult-oriented business that was declared a public nuisance or that previously was fined under the proposed statute.
The new requirements would apply to businesses or services that offer predominantly sexually oriented items, services, or presentations.
Under the bill, the businesses would be required to provide, by the next business day, a list of employees, operators and owners to local law enforcement upon request.
The bill would prohibit the adult establishments from being owned or operated by anyone convicted of certain crimes, including prostitution, a sex offense against a child, or human trafficking. Adult-entertainment businesses also would be prohibited from employing anyone under the age of 18. The businesses would be required to display human trafficking posters distributed by the state Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Senate Bill 61 – Live births: Criminalizing the already criminal
A new bill would require health care providers to treat an infant born alive after an attempted abortion with the same effort to save the infant’s life and health that the physicians would offer any other child and to ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported to a hospital.
Violations would be punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“The mother of the child born alive, however, may not be prosecuted,” the Legislative Reference Bureau wrote in a summary of the bill. The woman who underwent the attempted abortion could also sue any caregiver who failed to comply with the bill’s requirements.
Causing the death of a child born alive after an attempted abortion would be punishable by life imprisonment.
But, as the LRB noted, the infants described in the bill already have legal protections.
“Under current law, whoever is born alive as a result of an abortion is considered to have the same legal status and legal rights as a human being at any point after the human being undergoes a live birth as the result of natural or induced labor or a cesarean section,” it said.
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