Although the legislature has only been in session for a couple of months, a number of bills have been approved by both houses and sent on to the governor.
Earlier this month, Gov. Scott Walker signed laws that deal with updating statutes to reflect judicial decisions, harassment, newspaper recycling, raffle licenses, human trafficking, and liquor samples.
Four new laws make changes to different parts of state statutes to reflect judicial decisions. These changes make the laws clearer.
One of the new laws closes a potential loophole by clarifying the law concerning the appeals process in traffic forfeiture cases.
Another of the laws repeals a part of state law that was outdated regarding the incorporation of a specific town. In this case, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals determined that the outdated law violated a provision in the state constitution.
The final bill in this section clarifies the law regarding the intimidation of a witness by specifically defining in statute that “causing a complaint, indictment, or information to be sought, causing a complaint to be prosecuted or assisting in the prosecution” is intimidation of a witness.
Another new law expands the jurisdiction of courts to act on domestic abuse, child or at-risk adult abuse, or harassment cases and, in some cases, gives courts jurisdiction over a person residing in another state. Previously, Wisconsin courts were unable to issue restraining orders protecting Wisconsin residents from harassment or stalking if the harasser resided out-of-state. A victim would have to travel to the state where the harasser lives to obtain a protection order.
Reflecting changes in paper recycling practices, Wisconsin Act 7 eliminates the newspaper-recycling fee and the requirement for a minimum percentage of postconsumer waste content in newsprint. This new law will let newspapers use newsprint made out of things likes cereal boxes, rather than only recycled newspapers.
Another bill that was signed into law is an effort to eliminate red tape and make it easier for raffle license holders to comply with reporting requirements.
A bill passed by the legislature, and now signed into law by the governor, gives victims of human trafficking information about where to get help by requiring the Department of Justice to design a poster that provides information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline. The poster will be available on the DOJ website and may be displayed in high-traffic areas such as gas stations, hotels, hospitals and medical centers, court houses, rest areas and public and private transit stations.
The final new law allows retailers with a Class A liquor license to provide samples of distilled spirits in addition to wine and beer. This will help promote these businesses and levels the playing field between beer, wine and distilled spirits.