The Wisconsin Legislature approved a bill Tuesday, Feb. 21, to increase the penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.
State Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and Rep. Al Ott, R-Forest Junction, introduced Senate Bill 350. It was approved by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate and on a vote of 94-1 in the Assembly and now awaits Governor Scott Walker’s signature to become law.
“Sadly, we’ve learned that domestic violence is often a repeat offence. This bill will help us protect victims of domestic violence,” Olsen said.
SB 350 defines a repeat domestic abuser as someone who has been convicted on two occasions of domestic abuse related charges within the prior 10 years or as someone who commits an act of domestic abuse within 72 hours of being arrested for a domestic abuse crime.
“Whether an offender waits five years or abuses their partner within days of arrest makes no difference. This bill recognizes that the pattern of abuse must be stopped,” said Olsen.
The bill allows a district attorney to seek two additional years of imprisonment in cases of repeat domestic violence and if the penalty is increased, the crime automatically becomes a felony.
During discussions on the bill, legislators heard the story of Tracy Judd and her almost 2-year-old daughter who were murdered by Tyrone Adair in 2009. Adair also killed another woman and her child before killing himself.
Court records show his propensity for violence against the women in his life. Judd’s sister and best friend came to Ott and advocated for additional penalties for repeat domestic abusers.