MADISON, Wis. (WSAU-Wheeler News) -- The new state budget passed by the Legislature Friday calls for the return of bail bondsmen selected areas in Wisconsin. The Attorney General is not in support of that idea. J.B. Van Hollen says the Legislature has been phenomenal for law enforcement and public safety in this budget, but there are areas he disagrees with lawmakers.
Van Hollen says the bail bondsmen program is unnecessary, and also causes other issues. "Bail bondsmen also create other difficulties, such as potentially (having) defendants getting out of jail by putting up less of their own money, so riskier people may get out more easily, and very importantly, the bond money that is put up in Wisconsin is ultimately, if those defendants are convicted of crimes, used to pay court costs, restitution, crime victim witness fees, things along those lines." The A-G says that is a lot of up-front money is very hard to collect if the person is convicted and sent to prison.
The speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly Robin Vos says the Attorney General should have expressed his state budget concerns before now. Vos said it’s disappointing that Van Hollen is only speaking out now, after lawmakers completed their action.
Van Hollen was also critical of a bill proposed for this fall. Freshman Assembly Republican Michael Schraa of Oshkosh wants to prevent local police from enforcing federal restrictions on semi-automatic and assault weapons, and requirements for federal registration. Van Hollen said he supports gun rights, but he believes that cooperation between the state and federal governments would suffer if Schraa’s bill passes.
Governor Scott Walker has said he would decide on his line-item vetoes before the new budget is scheduled to take effect next Monday.
Thom Gerretsen from Wheeler News contributed to this story.