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Walker signs budget that includes GPS, DNA changes

By: Dan Shaw, [email protected]//June 30, 2013

Walker signs budget that includes GPS, DNA changes

By: Dan Shaw, [email protected]//June 30, 2013

Gov. Scott Walker signs the state budget at Catalyst Exhibits on Sunday in Pleasant Prairie. (AP Photo/Kenosha News, Brian Passino)
Gov. Scott Walker signs the state budget at Catalyst Exhibits on Sunday in Pleasant Prairie. (AP Photo/Kenosha News, Brian Passino)

Counties would no longer have to come up with their own money if they want to test out using GPS devices to keep track of people who have been placed on restraining orders.

That was just one of 57 changes Gov. Scott Walker made through vetoes as he signed the state’s 2013-15 budget in Pleasant Prairie on Sunday. In one of its many provisions, the budget will put $250,000 toward testing out the use of GPS to track the whereabouts of people who are on restraining orders. Cities and villages throughout the state will be allowed to apply for the money.

The governor’s original budget had called for spending $3 million to put the GPS tracking in effect throughout the state. But lawmakers said many questions exist about the plan, such as whether it would encroach to greatly on privacy, and said they wanted to test it first.

A proposal first included in the budget would have prevented counties from taking part in a test of the program unless they could pay for 50 percent of its cost. Walker’s veto Sunday eliminated that requirement.

At the same time, the governor’s 57 vetoes left unchanged a number of budgetary provisions related to the legal profession. Among them were:

• Bail bondsmen: The governor eliminated a provision creating a bounty hunter program. Bounty hunters, or bail bondsmen, haven’t been allowed in Wisconsin since 1979, and Walker said previously the idea was something he “wasn’t thrilled with.”

It was the second time Walker vetoed bounty hunter legislation. It had been slipped into the budget this year on the last motion the Republican-controlled budget committee approved in the middle of the night.

• Pay progression for state attorneys. The budget establishes a pay-progression system that takes the salaries of assistant district attorneys, attorneys general and defense attorneys through 17 annual increases to a maximum of $119,471. Lawyers who fall into those categories and have worked for the state for at least a year received their first raise under the system on Sunday, taking their pay up by $4,120.

After that first automatic increase, supervisors will have the ability to decide if the lawyers they oversee should receive the pay-progression increases every year.

• DNA collections. The budget as first proposed by Gov. Scott Walker would have called for local law-enforcement agencies to collect DNA from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony or juveniles detained for acts that would be considered felonies if committed by adults.

In a last-minute change, lawmakers stipulated the samples could only be collected if an arrest was made pursuant to a warrant, if a judicial finding of probable cause had been issued or if the person arrested failed to appear at a preliminary hearing. They also stipulated that law-enforcement agencies would have to destroy samples that had not been forwarded to the Department of Justice within a year of being collected.

In a change made in May to the governor’s original proposal, lawmakers decided to not have DNA collected from people arrested on suspicion of committing certain misdemeanors, mostly sex crimes. They also decided to postpone the start of the collections by 21 months, saying that delay was needed to allow the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a decision in a case concerning whether collecting DNA at arrest violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The court ruled in June that the collections are constitutional.

The governor signed the budget in Pleasant Prairie.

Associated Press writers Scott Bauer and M.L. Johnson also contributed to this report.


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