By Gretchen Schuldt
Legislators are proposing to change the school strip search law to make much of girls' breasts available for inspection while restricting school officials' ability to touch or look at certain body parts covered by underwear. Also pending: One bill to toughen the penalties for felon in possession of a firearm and another allowing traffic enforcement via cameras in Milwaukee.
A table showing the sponsors of each of the bills is at the bottom of this post.
Senate Bill 111/Assembly Bill 108 – Girls' breasts up for grabs in school strip-search proposal
The underwear-clad "private areas" of students' bodies would be off limits to searches by school officials, under a Republican-backed bill, but most of girls' breasts would be fair game.
It is now a misdemeanor for school officials or their agents to conduct strip searches of students. A strip search is "a search in which a person's genitals, pubic area, buttock, or anus, or a female person's breast, is uncovered and either is exposed to view or is touched by a person conducting the search."
The bill would change the prohibited conduct to searches in which a student's "private area" is uncovered and either is exposed to view or is touched by the searcher. "Private area" is defined as the "naked or underwear-clad genitalia, anus, buttocks, or female areola or nipple." The areola is the pigmented skin around the nipple.
The bill, according to its language, would leave the rest of the breast available for a strip search.
Senate Bill 106/Assembly Bill 58 – Minimum mandatory sentence for felon in possession
Some people convicted of felon in possession of a gun would face harsher penalties, including a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a longer maximum prison sentence, under a bill pending in the state Legislature.
The Assembly's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee last week recommended approval of the bill by a 10-5 vote (see the table below).
The measure would impose the mandatory minimum of five years of incarceration and five years of supervised release on those previously convicted of a violent felony who are found guilty of felon in possession. It also would raise the maximum prison term for those people to 7½ years in prison and five years of supervised release.
The bill originally applied the five-year minimum to all people convicted of felon in possession, whether or not the previous felony was violent. The original bill also did not increase the maximum penalty.
Registering against the bill were the ACLU of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc. Registering in favor were the Badger State Sheriffs' Association, the Milwaukee Police Association, the National Rifle Association of America, and the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association.
Senate Bill 107/Assembly Bill 85 – Speeding and stop light camera enforcement in Milwaukee
Milwaukee could use cameras to ticket egregious speeders and stop signal violators, under a bill pending in the Legislature.
The bill also would allow the city to use cameras to identify those who "fail to stop properly" at red traffic signals.
Law enforcement is now not allowed to use radar plus photos to catch speeders. The bill would allow just Milwaukee to use those methods to ticket the owners of vehicles driven at least 20 mph over the speed limit.
It would not be a defense for owners ticketed through cameras to claim they were not driving the car at the time of the violation. Allowable defenses would include, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau summary of the bill,
The Milwaukee Police Department would receive any forfeitures collected through the use of the cameras.
Many of the same provisions, including allowable defenses, apply to the proposed use of red-light cameras. There is no provision for a 90-day period of issuing warnings rather than tickets, however.
The use of red-light cameras would be limited to high-crash areas and to no more than five intersections in any aldermanic district.
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