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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2010: #1


Across Wisconsin, over 100 communities have ordinances in place that restrict where released sex offenders can live or congregate, modeled after Franklin’s ordinances that have been ruled constitutional
.

In 2010, those ordinances were in danger of being killed by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. Two identical bills were proposed to pre-empt local ordinances like the two in effect in Franklin. These ordinances have been adopted because communities wanted them and believe them to be effective in protecting their children.

 

On March 11, 2010, the state Assembly’s Committee on Corrections and the Courts got an earful and an eyeful at a public hearing. If committee members had any sense whatsoever, they had to realize they opened a Pandora’s Box. Our area was well-represented. Some testified. Others were there to join in the opposition to the bills that would repeal our laws that protect our kids. Their appearance was significant.


State Senator Mary Lazich

State Representative Jeff Stone

Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor

Franklin Alderman Steve Olson

Franklin Alderman Ken Skowronski

Franklin Alderman Kristen Wilhelm

Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva

Former Franklin Alderman Basil Ryan

Franklin Inspector Gaylord Hahn

Franklin Police Captain Clark Groen


Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke

Greenfield  Police Chief Francis Springob

Greenfield Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky

Cudahy Alderman Joe Mikolajczak

Wauwatosa Mayor Jill Didier

Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan and his Common Council President

Police officers from South Milwaukee and Denmark


Senator Lazich testified:

The ability for law enforcement to fully and effectively do their job is severely hampered because AB 759 and SB 548 transfer the responsibility for community safety to the state.  The state does not have the full and adequate understanding of the community.  Local law enforcement does have that keen knowledge and expertise suited for their community.

One of the communities I am honored to represent, Franklin is the leading pioneer about this issue.  Franklin officials carefully examined case law, reports, studies, and articles from around the country before adopting two sex offender ordinances.  Special attention was given to an important Florida trial court case October 11, 2007, the state of Florida v. Schmidt.

During the trial, two expert witnesses, Dr. Jill Levenson and Dr. Chris Robison agreed with research concluding that in the 15 years following release of sex offenders, about 24 percent will re-offend, and that offenders with a prior sex offense conviction have even higher recidivism rates.

Although Dr. Levenson and another expert witness, Dr. Luis Rosell both testified against sex offender residency restrictions, they both find that reducing access to children can reduce the likelihood of a sex offense.  Dr. Levenson testified that she once wrote, “It makes sense that risk might be managed by reducing some of the exposure to children and prohibiting them from living near places where children congregate.”  Furthermore, Dr. Rosell had testified in a previous case, Doe v. Miller that “reducing a specific sex offender’s access to children was a good idea, and that if you remove the opportunity, then the likelihood of reoffense is decreased.”

Armed with this critical information, Franklin approved its two sex offender ordinances.  During 2008, the Franklin ordinances prevailed over nine constitutional challenges, and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke ruled the ordinances constitutional.

Today, dozens of municipalities around Wisconsin have enacted similar ordinances.  They have made the critical decision to utilize a legal and law enforcement tool they believe best suited for their communities.  The state should not be stripping Wisconsin communities of their weapon to protect children.”


Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor challenged the committee, suggesting that if an Open Records request was done, he wondered how many, if any correspondences the sponsors of the legislation had received imploring them to pursue this legislation.

Great testimony from Franklin Police Chief Oliva who shot a gigantic hole in the argument made against sex offender ordinances that the offenders will just go underground. Chief Oliva with his many, many years of law enforcement experience reminded the predominantly-Democrat committee that refusing to comply with the sex offender registry is a major felony. Would we passively enforce laws because some people will choose not to abide by those laws? No, said the chief. The proper approach is to enforce current laws, and if an offender fails to comply with the sex offender registry requirements, the offender should be arrested.

Not a peep from the committee.

Overall, there was a tremendous showing in opposition to the repeal of ordinances that communities approved because they believe in them, and they are satisfied such laws work. That’s not to mention the avalanche of calls Senator Lazich and Representative Stone received.

A similar strong showing was made when a state Senate committee held a public hearing.


Both bills died when the legislative session ended without votes being taken.

With Scott Walker and Republicans controlling both the Senate and Assembly, local sex offender ordinances are safe. And they work. On October 5, 2010, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported:

“A little more than half of the 463 sex offenders with addresses in Brown County live in Green Bay. That's down 11 percent from 2007, when an ordinance intended to reduce the number of sex offenders in the city was approved.”

1) WISCONSIN SEX OFFENDER ORDINANCES SURVIVE MADISON DEMOCRATS
2) JIM HUGHES SETS STATE RECORD, WINS STATE TITLE
3) FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD: WHAT RECESSION?
4) FRANKLIN CITY HALL: WHAT RECESSION?
5) CHEAP WEATHER RADIOS-NO/ EXPENSIVE SIRENS- YES

6) THE DREXEL INTERCHANGE
7) FRANKLIN'S FLOWER TAX
8) IT'S DEJA VU FOR FRANKLIN FOOTBALL
9) DOES FRANKLIN NEED/WANT A FULL-TIME MAYOR?
10)NPR IN BIG TROUBLE....THE LOCAL ANGLE

 

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