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Evers signs bills removing search warrant filing requirement, allowing any judge to officiate weddings

Filing search-warrant applications and officiating weddings will now be a little easier for judges, thanks to two new state laws.

Gov. Tony Evers signed 12 bills into law on Thursday, including two that made the following changes for judges and justices:

Original recordings of testimony for search warrant no longer need to be filed

Senate Bill 66, now Wisconsin Act 64, removes a filing requirement for recordings that form the basis of a search-warrant application. When someone calls a judge to request a search warrant, the judge has to place the caller under oath to take any testimony that may form the basis of the warrant. A court reporter or a voice-recording device has to record the testimony. Previously, the transcript and original voice recording had to be filed with the court.

The new law removes the requirement that the original recording be filed along with the certified transcript of the testimony that forms the basis of an application for a search warrant. The transcript must still be filed.

Any justice, judge may now officiate weddings

Senate Bill 14, now Wisconsin Act 63, authorizes any justice or judge to officiate a wedding. Previously, the law required the justice or judge to be of a “court of record.” The change is meant to more clearly identify that a justice or judge from any jurisdiction may serve as a marriage officiant, according to a Wisconsin Legislative Council amendment memo.

Instructional permits for 15-year-olds approved, human resources office creation vetoed

Other bills signed into law eliminate the need for a license to practice natural hair braiding, allow certain local officials to shoot beavers and muskrats within 50 feet of a public road, and allow 15-year-olds to obtain instructional driving permits.

Evers also vetoed four bills on Thursday. One was a bipartisan effort to save two shuttered paper mills through federal COVID-19 relief funds. Evers said state money should be used to pay for loans to purchase the mills, as using the federal money may not be allowable.

He also vetoed a bill that would have created a human resources office for the Legislature. Open-records advocates had criticized the measure, saying it would give the office the ability to withhold records. Evers agreed, citing that reason in his veto message.

About Michaela Paukner, [email protected]

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at [email protected]

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