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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Applauds Governor Walker's Justice-Related Budget Proposals

 

“It has always been my goal to serve and protect the public while being mindful of my obligation to use taxpayers’ money wisely and efficiently.  Governor Walker’s budget recognizes that I’ve done this successfully in the past and can be counted on to use additional resources and opportunities responsibly,” Van Hollen said.

 

MADISON — Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen responded to Governor Scott Walker’s February 20, 2013, budget address by lauding the Governor for the justice and public safety initiatives included in his budget proposal: 

 

“Governor Walker has been a strong advocate for public safety and this budget shows that he remains committed to protecting the people of this state, especially those who are most vulnerable.  I look forward to working with the Governor, legislators and law enforcement leaders to implement these historic initiatives in the areas of DNA collection, domestic violence, assistance for crime victims and survivors of sexual assault, and other areas.” 

 

Specific portions of the budget noted by Van Hollen include the following:

 

  • Authorization to collect DNA at the time of arrest for all felony and certain misdemeanor offenses, along with DNA collection for all misdemeanor convictions. 
  • Increased resources to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children by adding positions to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
  • Direct state funding for the Sexual Assault Victim Services (SAVS) grant program to replace previous surcharge-based revenue for grants to agencies that support victims of sexual assault.
  • Improving the processes for imposing and collecting the crime victim and witness assistance surcharge by eliminating the composite parts and depositing all revenues to the victim and witness reimbursement program. 
  • Establishment of a GPS tracking system, to be administered through a DOJ grant program, to protect victims of domestic violence after a petition for a restraining order or injunction, by authorizing judges to place a respondent who meets certain criteria on GPS tracking.   
  • Increased funding and positions for the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) to replace decreased federal funding and increase the center's ability to detect, prevent, investigate and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.  The WSIC is Wisconsin’s primary intelligence fusion center, serving as a focal point for information sharing with federal, state and local law enforcement. 
  • A reasonable pay-progression plan for assistant district attorneys and assistant attorneys general to promote retention of experienced criminal prosecutors and attorneys who protect the state in litigation, collect money owed the state, and otherwise enforce the law. 
  • Continuation of DOJ’s ability to employ a full-time traffic safety resource prosecutor to provide vehicular crime-related training, education, assistance and other services for prosecutors throughout the state.
  • Eliminating the Office of Justice Assistance and moving grant administration responsibilities, Wisconsin Justice Information Sharing and crime reporting to the Departments of Justice and Military Affairs in order to create efficiencies and maximize the use of federal dollars for programmatic purposes.  Programs going to DOJ include:

 

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Funds
  • Byrne/ Justice Assistance Grants (JAG)
  • Treatment Alternative Diversion program
  • WISCOM/Interoperability
  • WI Justice Information Sharing

 

Van Hollen further remarked, “It has always been my goal to serve and protect the public while being mindful of my obligation to use taxpayers’ money wisely and efficiently.  Governor Walker’s budget recognizes that I’ve done this successfully in the past and can be counted on to use additional resources and opportunities responsibly.” 

 

Additional information on Governor Walker’s budget proposal and the components of the budget proposal relating to the Department of Justice is available at the following link:

http://www.doa.state.wi.us/