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Friday, November 6, 2015

 2:06 PM 

Mandatory minimum bill clears Senate

The Senate has signed off on a bill that would set mandatory minimum prison sentences for some instances of firearm possession.

The Senate concurred on AB 220 with a 23-9 vote.

The bill establishes the mandatory minimum sentences for people who were convicted of certain violent felonies and then violated prohibitions on firearm possession. Those people face a minimum of three years in prison if they violate the prohibition and another five years if they are caught in possession while committing a violent crime.

Several Dem members spoke against the bill, arguing mandatory minimums don't serve a useful purpose, cost taxpayers more money and remove judicial discretion. Sen. Janet Bewley said the bill shows the Legislature is creeping into the judicial branch.

"It is making a prediction about what a judge should do in his or her courtroom," the Ashland Dem said.

Milwaukee Dem Sen. Lena Taylor it's well known that mandatory minimums don't work. A bill such as AB 220, she said, is just "shoot from the hip nonsense."

But Sen. Van Wanggaard said the bill applies to those who already are violent criminals. In Milwaukee, the Racine Republican said, crime is "out of control," and the bill offers another tool to help solve the problem.

"This is another message that we're sending to those individuals that they're not going to get the minimum," Wanggaard said.

See the roll call here.


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