Evers vetoes crime bills, signs multiple others including drunken driving sanctions, new state patrol contract

Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 4:25 PM CST
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Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed Republican lawmakers' tough-on-crime legislation.

The governor's office announced the vetoes Friday afternoon.

The bills would have required prison officials to recommend revoking a person's parole or probation if he or she is charged with a crime; block violent criminals from participating in early release programs; expanding offenses that could land children in a youth prison; and forbid prosecutors from amending charges of illegally possessing a gun against a person convicted of a violent felony or attempting a violent felony.

However, Evers has signed a Republican-authored bill that would impose tougher sentences on repeat drunken drivers.

The measure increases the mandatory minimum sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.

Judges could hand down shorter sentences if they find such a move would be in the public interest.

The state Department of Corrections has estimated the bill would create $13.6 million in additional operating costs annually.

The bill has drawn support from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association.

Gov. Tony Evers also signed a bill that creates a new contract for the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The deal provides a 9.9% retroactive raise for troopers payable in a lump sum, boosts starting salaries by $6,000 annually and adjusts the pay scale for all troopers based on seniority.

All troopers also will get a 2% raise.

In addition, Gov. Evers also signed a bill Friday that would grant the public access to most police body camera footage.

The bill doesn't require police to wear body cameras but does declare that any footage that's captured would be generally available to the public to inspect and copy under Wisconsin's open records law.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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