The Latest: Senator says Lincoln Hills bill has chance
Feb. 27, 2018
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on juvenile justice overhaul bill (all times local):
A key Republican state senator says the juvenile justice overhaul bill that unanimously passed the Assembly could also clear the Senate with no opposition.
But Sen. Alberta Darling said Tuesday senators must feel like they are involved in the process, are comfortable with the $80 million cost of the bill and that the plan will reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
Darling commented after a hearing in which former critics of the plan, the Wisconsin Counties Association, testified that their concerns had been addressed. Two groups representing Wisconsin's sheriffs also registered in support of the measure just before the hearing began.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he had serious concerns with the bill, but also said closing the troubled Lincoln Hills prison could garner unanimous support.
Wisconsin sheriffs have joined counties and others in support of a juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the Lincoln Hills youth prison by 2021.
The Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputies Association and the Badger State Sheriffs' Association both registered in support of the bill Tuesday. Republican Senate Majority Scott Fitzgerald has repeatedly cited concerns of sheriffs when saying it would be a "heavy lift" to pass the proposal.
The state Assembly unanimously passed the overhaul last week, sending it to the Senate. The bill must pass the Senate in identical form in order to go to Gov. Scott Walker.
In addition to closing Lincoln Hills, the bill would send the most serious juvenile offenders to state-run prisons while counties would have less-serious offenders.
A Senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on the bill.