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Thursday, February 18, 2016

 3:15 PM 

Strip search bill going to guv

A GOP bill that would expand the circumstances under which someone in police custody can be strip searched is headed to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk following the Assembly's voice vote concurrence on a Senate bill.

Now, other than those arrested for felonies and some misdemeanors, someone has to be facing detainment of at least 12 hours before police can conduct a strip search. The bill would drop the 12-hour requirement.

Dems pointed out the bill reverses a bipartisan move on the floor last session that established the 12-hour wait. Rep. Evan Goyke said he understands the need for strip searches but added the 12-hour wait protected people who haven't been charged.

"They're now going to have to squat naked in a jail even though they're not charged with a crime," the Milwaukee Dem said.

Rep. Mandela Barnes brought up a recent $5 million settlement between the city of Milwaukee and 74 African-American residents who said they were subjected to illegal strip searches and cavity searches. The Milwaukee Dem proposed an amendment that would have required the state Department of Justice track data -- age, ethnicity, zip code -- of people who are strip searched within the the 12-hour window. The amendment failed.

Assembly bill author Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, said he understands how "horrifying" strip searches can be. He said he prays he never has to go through it and "I pray more for the person who would have to strip search me."

But, he said, the state tried the 12-hour wait and heard it isn't good enough.

"We need to listen to our law enforcement," Kleefisch said.


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