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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement regarding the passage of Senate Bill 341 by the Wisconsin State Senate:
I would like to commend the Wisconsin State Senate on passing an important bill to protect children. Under current law, recklessly causing great bodily harm to a child carries less of a penalty than recklessly causing great bodily harm to an adult. This is backwards. Children depend on adults for their protection and are more vulnerable to injury when an adult acts recklessly. Those who recklessly cause great bodily injury to children should face a greater penalty. This is what this bill does, and I am pleased the Legislature is fixing this problem.
I would especially like to thank Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden and Washburn County District Attorney J. Michael Bitney, who brought this matter up at a Washburn County law enforcement roundtable I held with Senator Bob Jauch and Representative Mary Hubler a year and a half ago. After that roundtable, our offices worked together on this legislation, and I thank Senator Jauch for his continued support of Emma's Law and shepherding it through the Senate.
Each house has now passed two different versions of Emma's Law. I urge the two houses to reconcile the measures and send a bill to the Governor for his signature.