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Rep. Kooyenga wants to pay up

Robert Stinson smiles with his sister, Charlene Stinson, in New Lisbon after being released from prison on Jan. 30, 2009. Stinson served 23 years in prison for a homicide he didn’t commit. (AP File Photo/Andy Manis)

Robert Stinson smiles with his sister, Charlene Stinson, in New Lisbon after being released from prison on Jan. 30, 2009. Stinson served 23 years in prison for a homicide he didn’t commit. (AP File Photo/Andy Manis)

Rep. Dale Kooyenga said he is going to get the money owed to Robert Stinson one way or another, even if it means putting it in next year’s budget.

The Brookfield Republican probably won’t have to do that, though, since the bill is going to the full Assembly on Tuesday.

Stinson spent 23 years in prison for a Milwaukee homicide he didn’t commit. The state’s claims board awarded Stinson $25,000 the full amount possible under a law that states the wrongfully incarcerated can receive up to $5,000 for each year behind bars for a maximum of five years.

Kooyenga introduced a bill last year that will pay Stinson an additional $90,000. That bill, which has strong bipartisan support, will go to the full Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

But if, for some reason, the bill doesn’t pass, Kooyenga said he wouldn’t stop there. As a member of the Joint Finance Committee, he said he would work to allocate money in the next biennial budget for Stinson.

“Either way, I told Mr. Stinson … ‘I got your back. Don’t spend the money yet,’” Kooyenga said.

The Senate passed a version of the bill in November that would award Stinson $136,000. That bill will not be taken up Tuesday, and Kooyenga said he does not plan to amend the Assembly’s version to reflect the Senate’s amount.

“He deserves more money, but so does everybody else,” Kooyenga said.

That said, he said he would support it if someone else did.

About Eric Heisig

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