Attorney General expresses concern over new bill, budget changes
AG opposes bounty hunter plan, plan to require police to collect DNA
MADISON, Wis. — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen speaks out about recent bills and budget changes his party has made.
Van Hollen says he doesn’t support a Republican bill that would prohibit state police from enforcing any new federal firearm or ammunition restrictions.
Rep. Michael Schraa, an Oshkosh Republican, is preparing a bill that would block state and local law enforcement officers from enforcing any federal act, law, rule, regulation or order enacted after Jan. 1, 2013 that bans or restricts semi-automatic weapons, assault weapons or magazines, requires people to register their guns or turn them over to the government.
Van Hollen, a Republican himself, told The Associated Press Monday he supports gun rights but doesn’t believe Schraa’s bill is wise. He says it could hurt cooperation between state and federal law enforcement officers.
Schraa didn’t immediately return a message left at his Capitol office.
Van Hollen also isn’t pleased with the changes his fellow Republicans made to a state budget plan requiring police to take DNA from suspects upon arrest.
Gov. Scott Walker’s executive budget called for police to take DNA from anyone arrested for a felony or sex-related misdemeanor. The state currently takes DNA upon conviction for a felony or sex-related misdemeanor.
Walker and Van Hollen designed the proposal. Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee tweaked the plan during a late-night session earlier this month to prohibit police from forwarding the DNA to the state crime labs until a court determines probable cause for arrest exists.
Van Hollen told The Associated Press on Monday the changes will slow down investigations and create other holes in the system.
Another plan Van Vollen doesn’t support is his fellow Republican’s addition onto the state budget that would allow bounty hunters to go after bail jumpers.
Republicans on the Legislature’s finance committee added language to Walker’s executive budget during a late-night session earlier this month that would allow judges in Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha to let defendants hire bail bond agencies. The agencies could send bounty hunters after them if they don’t show up in court.
The system would expand statewide in five years.
Van Hollen told The Associated Press on Monday he has been opposed to bail bondsmen for some time. He says no one has explained why the current court system needs to be changed.