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UPDATE: Gov. Walker to sign 3 domestic-violence bills

UPDATED Wednesday, April 16, 2014 --- 1:05 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is scheduled to sign into law three bills aimed at strengthening domestic-violence laws.

The measures would establish a process for seizing an abuser's guns, mandate tracking of non-arrests and require police to inform victims of their options.

Walker's office says the governor will sign the bills Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee.

One of the bills was put forth after a man shot and killed his estranged wife in 2012 at the Brookfield spa where she worked. Police came under fire for not arresting Radcliffe Haughton following reports of abuse in 2011 and again several weeks before the shootings.

Other bills would add stalking to actions that qualify as domestic abuse, and spell out exactly how people subject to a domestic-abuse injunction have to surrender their guns.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 3:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A bill designed to help victims of domestic abuse has passed the state Assembly.

The measure approved on a voice vote Thursday would require the state to maintain and provide a system that allows district attorneys to manage and share domestic abuse case-related information.

It would also require the state Department of Justice to make a list of domestic abuse services organizations available to law enforcement agencies.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this week and it now goes to Gov. Scott Walker.

As originally introduced, the bill would have required police officers who respond to a domestic abuse call but don't arrest anyone to explain why. That was introduced in response to a mass shooting at a Brookfield spa in 2012.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 6:36 a.m

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A bill designed to help victims of domestic abuse is scheduled for a vote in the state Assembly.

The measure up for a vote Thursday would require the state to maintain and provide a system that allows district attorneys to manage and share domestic abuse case-related information.

It would also require the state Department of Justice to make a list of domestic abuse services organizations available to law enforcement agencies.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this week and once it clears the Assembly it will go to Gov. Scott Walker.

As originally introduced, the bill would have required police officers who respond to a domestic abuse call but don't arrest anyone to explain why. That was introduced in response to a mass shooting at a Brookfield spa in 2012.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 18, 2014 --- 2:07 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a scaled back version of a bill that originally would have required police officers who respond to a domestic abuse call but don't arrest anyone to explain why.

The version approved Tuesday doesn't require that reporting. Instead, it would make the state Department of Administration maintain and provide a system that allows district attorneys to manage and share case-related information.

It would also require the state Department of Justice to make a list of domestic abuse services organizations available to law enforcement agencies.

The bill now heads back to the Assembly, which was scheduled to pass it Thursday.

The original bill was introduced in response to a mass shooting at a Brookfield spa in 2012.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 18, 2014 --- 5:43 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Senate plans to vote on a scaled back version of a bill that originally would have required police officers who respond to a domestic abuse call but don't arrest anyone to explain why.

The version up for a vote Tuesday doesn't require that reporting. Instead, it would make the state Department of Administration maintain and provide a system that allows district attorneys to manage and share case-related information.

It would also require the state Department of Justice to make a list of domestic abuse services organizations available to law enforcement agencies.

The Assembly passed the previous version of the bill last year before it got altered in the Senate.

The original bill was introduced in response to a mass shooting at a Brookfield spa in 2012.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 12, 2014 --- 12:56 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two Republican lawmakers are trying to convince a committee to approve a bill that would require police to give domestic abuse victims information about organizations that could help them.

The Assembly passed a broader version of the proposal in June that would require police to send reports to prosecutors whenever they chose not to arrest anyone in a domestic incident and impose new police training standards for handling domestic situations.

The bill's authors, Sen. Jerry Petrowski and Rep. Andre Jacque, have since scaled the bill back. Now it would require police to give victims a list of shelters, service organization and their rights. Provisions requiring non-arrest reports and training standards are gone.

Petrowski and Jacque told the Senate's public safety committee Thursday the bill would ensure victims know their options.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, June 13, 2013 --- 2:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a trio of bills that would strengthen the state's domestic violence laws.

The proposals are all sponsored by Republican Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, and come in the wake of a mass shooting by the estranged husband of a woman killed at a Brookfield spa last year. One would require officers to file reports with their district attorney's office explaining their actions whenever they don't make an arrest in response to a domestic violence call.

Another proposal would add stalking, or threatening to stalk, to actions that qualify as domestic abuse and as well as strengthen judge-issued temporary restraining orders. A third measure would expand the scope of evidence that can be used in prosecutions.

All measures passed Thursday on bipartisan votes.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, June 13, 2013 --- 7:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly is set to vote Thursday on a trio of bipartisan bills that would strengthen the state's domestic violence laws.

All proposals are sponsored by Rep. Andre Jacque of De Pere. One would require officers to file reports with their district attorney's office explaining why they had ruled out abuse and did not make an arrest.

Another proposal would give judges more power to keep domestic violence suspects in check by adding stalking, or threatening to stalk, to actions that constitute domestic abuse. It would also specify that when a new judge takes over a case, any restraining order would stay in place until a new decision is made at another hearing.

A third measure would expand the scope of evidence that can be used in prosecutions.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 11, 2013 --- 4:53 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has delayed action on a bill that would expand the scope of evidence that can be used to prosecute domestic violence cases.

The proposal was up for a vote Wednesday but it was pushed back to Thursday.

The measure would allow prosecutors to use reports of suspects' relevant misconduct over the previous 10 years. They could include violations of restraining orders or injunctions, and convictions for domestic abuse, stalking or harassment.

Bill sponsor Rep. Andre Jacque says judges don't always allow such evidence, fearing it would prejudice a jury.

Democrats argue the bill could result in unproven allegations being heard in court since it doesn't rule out evidence from instances in which no charges were filed or the person wasn't convicted.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 11, 2013 --- 11:05 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote on a bill that would expand the scope of evidence that can be used to prosecute domestic violence cases.

The proposal up for a vote Wednesday would allow prosecutors to use reports of suspects' relevant misconduct over the previous 10 years. They could include violations of restraining orders or injunctions, and convictions for domestic abuse, stalking or harassment.

Bill sponsor Rep. Andre Jacque says judges don't always allow such evidence, fearing it would prejudice a jury.

Democrats argue the bill could result in unproven allegations being heard in court since it doesn't rule out evidence from instances in which no charges were filed or the person wasn't convicted.

But Jacque dismisses the concerns, saying judges would only consider relevant evidence.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 30, 2013 --- 1:28 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin legislative committee has approved a bill that would allow more evidence to be used in domestic abuse cases.

The proposal sponsored by Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, would allow prosecutors to use as evidence reports of suspects' relevant misconduct over the previous 10 years, including violations of restraining orders. Right now, judges don't always allow such evidence.

Rep. Fred Kessler, a Milwaukee Democrat and a former judge, says he is troubled because the bill would allow evidence from instances in which no charges were filed or the person wasn't convicted. He says it could result in unproven allegations being heard in court.

But Jacque has dismissed the concern, saying judges would only allow relevant evidence.

Despite Kessler's opposition, the measure passed on a 7-1 vote Thursday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 30, 2013 --- 12:55 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers say a Republican bill that would expand the scope of evidence that can be used in domestic abuse cases would unfairly prejudice juries against suspects.

The proposal sponsored by Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, would allow prosecutors to use as evidence reports of suspects' relevant misconduct over the previous 10 years, including violations of restraining orders.

Right now, judges don't always allow such evidence.

Rep. Evan Goyke, a former assistant state public defender, and Rep. Fred Kessler, a former judge, say they are troubled because the bill would allow evidence from instances in which no charges were filed or the person wasn't convicted. They say it could result in unproven allegations being heard in court.

Jacque dismissed their concerns, saying judges would only allow relevant evidence.

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UPDATED Thursday, May 30, 2013 --- 11:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A legislative committee has unanimously approved a bill aimed at clarifying Wisconsin police officers' responsibilities in responding to domestic abuse calls.

The proposal from Republican Rep. Andre Jacque requires police officers to document how they responded to domestic violence calls even in cases where no arrests are made. In those cases, officers would have to file reports with their district attorney's office explaining why they believe there was no abuse.

The vote came after the committee approved a measure Tuesday that would give Wisconsin judges more power to keep domestic abuse suspects in check.

A third bill from Jacque meant to strengthen the state's domestic violence laws is up for a vote Thursday before another committee. That bill would allow more evidence to be used in investigations.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 --- 12:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A legislative committee has unanimously approved a bill giving Wisconsin judges more power to keep domestic abuse suspects in check.

The proposal introduced by Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, would add stalking, or threatening to stalk, to actions that qualify as domestic abuse.

The bill also specifies that in cases where there is a change of judge, restraining orders issued by the previous judge will remain in effect until the new judge holds a hearing.

Now, temporary restraining orders are lifted when a person requests a hearing from a new judge.

The measure is part of a package of domestic violence legislation that also would clarify police officers' obligations in responding to domestic abuse calls and allow more evidence to be used in investigations.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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