Laws and Legislation
The WJI Laws and Legislation page aims to provide overviews of new laws and new legislation that relate to the justice system.
Assembly Resolution 3 (introduced) – Alleging improper voting practices, establishes "fixing them" as top priority.
Senate Bill 8 (introduced) – Blocks incarcerated people from getting the COVID vaccine until they would be otherwise eligible; prohibits the Department of Health Services from prioritizing incarcerated persons within a vaccine allocation phase.
Here is a look at justice-related legislation adopted by the State Legislature in the 2019-20 session. The links below will take you to blog posts summarizing new laws and providing information about sponsors, votes, and testimony.
It was not a good year for criminal justice reform in Wisconsin. The Legislature and Gov. Evers approved legislation calling for harsher penalties and the expansion of definitions to create more crimes. Legislation aimed at reigning in the incarceration industry was consistently defeated.
Evers did not veto any legislation that increased criminal penalties. He did, however, veto harmful bills that would have required the Department of Corrections to recommend revoking the probation, extended supervision and parole of anyone on such community supervision accused of new crimes. He also vetoes measures that would have increased the number of crimes for which juveniles could be incarcerated and another that would have restricted access to early release programs for people convicted of certain crimes.
Laws adopted during the 2019-20 Wisconsin legislative session:
2019 Act 8 – Delaying juvenile justice reform
2019 Act 16 – Adding a definition related to child pornography
2019 Act 31 – Mandatory minimum sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
2019 Act 33 – Harsher penalties for trespassing on or damaging utility property
2019 Act 41 – New criminal penalties for unlicensed massage therapists
2019 Act 97 – Harsher penalties for battery to a health worker
2019 Act 106 – $13.6 million to lock up repeat drunk drivers
2019 Act 111 – Inmate possession of unauthorized anything now a felony
2019 Act 112 – Toughening penalties for intimidating a witness who is a domestic violence victim
2029 Act 132 – "Swatting" is now a felony.
2019 Act 144 – Mail theft (and porch pirating) is now its own crime.
2019 Act 161 – Money laundering is a crime
2019 Act 162 – Sex with a non-human animal is now a felony
The latest news
Jan. 11, 2021 – Feds pour more billions into fighting drugs.
Jan. 5, 2021 – New Assembly resolution alleges improper voting practices, sets fixing them as top priority.
Jan. 16, 2021 – Legislators introduce bill to block incarcerated people from getting vaccinated unless they would be otherwise eligible.