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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 Assembly:
I would like to commend the Wisconsin State Assembly on passing an important bill to protect children. Under today's law, recklessly causing great bodily harm to a child carries less of a penalty than the same conduct with an adult victim. 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 Representative Mary Hubler and Senator Bob Jauch in August 2008. After that roundtable, our offices worked together on this legislation, and I thank Representative Hubler and Senator Jauch for their continued support of Emma's Law and shepherding it through the legislative process.
I urge the Governor to affix his signature to this legislation to ensure Emma's Law becomes law.