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Van Hollen Appears Before The Joint Finance Committee


 Reports Progress at Crime Lab, Talks About Positive Return on the Legislature's Investment, Answers Questions & Voices Concern for Public Safety and Law Enforcement Resource Cuts


Madison - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen testified before the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance today regarding the Wisconsin Department of Justice's biennial budget. The Attorney General also answered questions about the overall state budget's impact on law enforcement and public safety.


"Work on the Governor's budget has begun in earnest. I hope my appearance today was helpful to the Committee as it works to repair a flawed budget," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.


 "My concerns about this budget center around law enforcement, public safety and crime victims," said Van Hollen.


 "I was pleased to report to the Committee as well, that their confidence in me and the Department in the last budget has exceeded any expectations for efficiency and results."


 Highlights of these successes included:


  • The Department of Justice returned over $1 million in taxpayer money in this biennium. 
  • Set records for cleared DNA cases at the State Crime Lab
  • A growth in civil forfeitures from Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse from $437,000.00 in 2006 to $17 million in the first three months of this year
  • Growth and success in the Internet Crimes Against Children Program with increased cases and prosecutions and local law enforcement partnerships up from 23 in 2007 to 76 today.


Attorney General Van Hollen's prepared remarks for the Joint Committee on Finance


His testimony may be viewed on WisconsinEye.


In his testimony and in answer to questions, Attorney General Van Hollen voiced concerns for reductions in law enforcement and public safety resources in the current state budget.


"While government spending is to increase nearly 8% in the first year of the biennium, law enforcement across the board, including the Department of Justice, is slated for cuts," said Van Hollen. "The considered conclusion of the Administration as represented in the budget is to release felons from prison and reduce supervision to save money. Public safety is the first priority of any government. I hope the legislature agrees," concluded Van Hollen.