The Wisconsin State Assembly meets Tuesday to take up issues ranging from poaching to school hours to compensation for a wrongfully convicted man.
Assembly approves new poaching penalties
The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would dramatically increase penalties for poaching trophy deer.
Current state law allows judges to impose a $43 surcharge on top of poaching fines if they choose. The Republican bill would require judges to impose surcharges ranging from $43 to $10,000 according to antler spread and forbid anyone convicted of poaching deer from holding a hunting, fishing or trapping license for three years.
The idea for the bill came from the Taylor County Sportsmen's Club. The club's members were angry that someone illegally shot a buck with a 175-inch spread at night two weeks before the 2012 gun deer season opener.
The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. It now goes to the state Senate.
Assembly approves school hours bill
The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that would end a requirement that schools teach for 180 days a year or lose state funding.
The Republican measure would allow schools to extend their days rather than force them to stay open later in the summer to make up time lost to weather-related closings and parent-teacher conferences. Schools that don't meet the hourly quota would still lose state aid.
Rural schools support the proposal as a way of saving money by keeping doors closed and avoiding higher transportation costs.
The Senate passed the bill last week on a voice vote. The Assembly approved it on a voice vote Tuesday. It now goes to Gov. Scott Walker.
Assembly approves shooting range exemptions
The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a Republican bill that would protect shooting range employees and users from any shooting-related liability.
The measure also would exempt ranges from any ordinances enacted the range is built.
The Senate passed the bill on a 19-13 last month. The Assembly approved the bill 65-30 Tuesday and sent it on to Gov. Scott Walker.
Rep. Fred Kessler, a Milwaukee Democrat, was the only lawmaker to speak about the bill. He argued the bill would leave people hurt by stray range bullets no legal recourse. He called the bill risky.
Assembly OKs conviction compensation
The Wisconsin Assembly has approved more money for a man who was wrongfully convicted of homicide.
Robert Lee Stinson was convicted in 1985 of killing a Milwaukee woman. A judge freed him in 2009 after the Wisconsin Innocence Project argued bite-mark analysis and DNA evidence didn't match evidence from the scene.
Stinson asked for $129,000 in compensation. The state Claims Board awarded him $25,000, the maximum allowed under state law, in 2010, but recommended the state give him another $90,000.
Republicans and Democrats introduced a bill in August that would give Stinson the extra money. The Senate passed the measure in November but amended it to give Stinson $136,000.
The Assembly passed the $90,000 version of the bill 96-3 Tuesday. The Senate now will have to decide whether to concur.