February 2019 Legislative Update

Greetings all,

The 2019-2020 Legislative session at the Capital started January 7, 2019. Our association has set our legislative agenda and we will continue to monitor items as they come up. We continue to have monthly conference calls with our committee and Badger State Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee, as we have many common interests as it relates to legislation.

First off, President Spencer has appointed the Legislative Committee for this session. This includes:
Captain Jeff Klatt, Chair, St. Croix County
Chief Deputy Jeff Spencer, Sauk County
Sergeant R.J. Lurquin, Dane County
Sheriff Chip Meister, Sauk County
Sheriff Roger Brandner, Columbia County
Chief Deputy Chad Roberts, Polk County
Deputy Luke Johnson, Racine County
Undersheriff Christy Knowles, Ozaukee County

Congratulations to all the new committee members and I look forward to working with them as the legislative session moves forward.

If you have any suggestions or questions on legislative issues, please contact one of the committee members or myself and we can do our best to answer questions.

Protective Status

The bill was introduced in the Senate as Senate Bill 5 by Representative Born and Senator Marklein on January 23, 2019. It was also introduced in the Assembly as Assembly Bill 5 on February 4, 2019. As you all may recall, this bill will permit counties to classify county jailers, detention officers, and correctional officers to be eligible as protective occupation participants under the Wisconsin Retirement System. Last session, the legislation was unanimously passed in the Assembly but failed to advance in the Senate.

The Wisconsin Counties Association, Badger State Sheriff’s Association, and Wisconsin Sheriff’s and Deputy Sheriff’s Association have all registered in support of this bill. There is some opposition this session from two counties – Washington County and Waukesha County. Although this bill is supported by the Wisconsin Counties Association, these two counties have issued statements to legislators regarding fiscal concerns.

WS&DSA has been working for years to get a bill in front of the legislature and passed. With bi-partisan support coming from authors and co-sponsors of this bill, it is hopeful that with the help of all our members, this bill will get passed and signed into law by the governor.

Body Cameras on Law Enforcement Officers

As some of you may recall from last session, the WS&DSA supported a body camera bill that was authored by Representative Kremer and Senator Testin. That bill passed the Assembly and passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety however, the bill was not scheduled for a full Senate vote.

After the session was over, the Joint Legislative Council authorized a study group to look at body worn cameras on law enforcement officers. The committee, The Study Committee on the Use of Police Body Cameras, met four times during the summer and fall of 2018. I had the privilege of being a member of this committee. After much discussion and debate, the committee developed and ultimately passed proposed legislation to be forwarded to the Joint Legislative Council.

Senator Testin appeared in front of the Joint Legislative Council on Wednesday February 13, 2019 and submitted his report and bill to the Council. After hearing the report and one amendment being introduced, the Joint Legislative Council voted to introduce the bill by a vote of 20-0 with 2 absent. Our legislative committee will continue to monitor this bill as it moves through both houses.

Other priorities that the legislative committee is keeping watch on or trying to advance in the legislature are the following:

Benefits to Survivors of Those Killed in the Line of Duty
Emergency Detentions
Law Enforcement Standards Board
PSAP Equipment Grant Program

The above issues are just a handful of the many items, our committee is looking at. If you have any questions on the above issues or something that was not mentioned here, please let me know and I can get an answer to you.

Our committee, along with the Hamilton Consulting Group, will continue to track legislation of interest as it relates to law enforcement. It looks to be an interesting legislative session coming up.

Stay safe and hopefully it will stop snowing and we can look forward to spring.

Jeff Klatt
Chair, WS&DSA Legislative Committee