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Busy Tuesday in Senate to include human trafficking, domestic abuse changes


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- The State Senate’s busy Tuesday schedule will include new bills designed to help protect people from abuse and sex crimes.

Senator Jerry Petrowski says Senate Bills 160, 161, 605, and 580 focus on the domestic abuse and human trafficking problems. He says there are a lot of details in these bills.

One provision deals with the procedures for people under a restraining order to turn in weapons and how to get them back when issues are resolved. Petrowski says there is also a new provision where all agencies share information before returning weapons.  “If the firearms are going to be returned, (it makes sure) there is nothing that is hidden, like an involuntary mental health commitment. It’s going to be a free flow of information between the Department of Justice and local law enforcement and the local court to make sure that all of those things are checked, and re-checked to make sure that legitimately, all of these guns can be returned.”

Petrowski says another problem being addressed is stalking.  “Right now, you can’t get a restraining order if somebody is just stalking, so one of the bills adds stalking behavior as an offense constituting domestic violence.”

Much like the state does in drug crimes, the new legislation will allow the state to confiscate property used in human trafficking and other sex crimes.  “Property during some human trafficking charges can be confiscated, whether it was cars that were used in the commission of the crime or other property.”

Petrowski says one of the bills also eliminates “non consent” as part of the definition of trafficking people.  “If it was non-consent, then it would have to be almost like kidnapping, but in many cases, these victims are coerced into going along with this. Some of them are threatened. Some are threatened with holding back medication. Some are threatened with blackmail, or they’re threatened that harm is going to come to their family, so getting rid of that non-consent is really important.”

The Legislature worked closely with the Department of Justice and various law enforcement agencies to write these bills. 

Other legislation coming up before the Senate includes the Implements of Husbandry bill setting rules for overweight farm machinery use on local roads, handicapped parking law changes, and improvements to the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.  Petrowski expects Governor Walker will sign all of them when the Senate is finished.

(Listen to our interview with Sen. Jerry Petrowski on our website, here.)