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Politics & Government
Mon June 24, 2013
Van Hollen Unhappy with Several GOP Budget Items
Wisconsin Att. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen is not pleased with several provisions fellow Republicans tucked inside the proposed 2013-15 state budget.
He mentions the items include requiring police to collect DNA from people suspected of committing felonies or sex-related misdemeanors and allowing bounty hunters to pursue bail jumpers.
Van Hollen and Gov. Walker designed the initial plan requiring police to obtain DNA during certain arrests. However, the AG is unhappy with the Legislature's decision to prohibit police from sending that data to the State Crime Lab, until a court determines there is probable cause to hold the suspect.
Until now, state law has required officers to gather DNA from people convicted of felonies and misdemeanor sex crimes. Van Hollen says the change will slow investigations.
When it comes to county hunters, the AG says Wisconsin's current bail system is working well. Legislators approved the use of bond agencies in five counties (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha and Dane), with the program expanding statewide in five years.
Under a bail bond program, agencies put up bail money for suspects who can't afford it, then work to make sure the person shows up for court appearances. If the suspects are no shows, the agency has arranged to take something of value from the person as collateral.
Asked about a separate bill that could come before the Legislature in fall - prohibiting state police from enforcing any new federal laws restricting firearms or ammunition, Van Hollen says he would not support a law that would hinder cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Republican AG says he does support gun rights.
Oshkosh GOP Assemblyman Michael Schraa says he's drafting a bill that would block state and local police from enforcing any federal regulations enacted after Jan. 1, 2013, that restrict the possession of semi-automatic or assault weapons, magazines or requires people to register those weapons.