State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Here is testimony I gave to the state Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Courts today about Assembly Bill 759 and its companion bill in the state Senate, Senate Bill 548:
Senator Mary Lazich
Assembly Bill 759
Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Courts
March 11, 2010
Greetings, Committee Chairman Parisi and committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony to the Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Courts about Assembly Bill 759.
Assembly Bill 759 (AB 759) and Senate Bill 548 (SB 548) impose the greatest risk to children and families in the state of
Why do I say that prohibiting a local sex offender ordinance in a community remote to your district would put you and your constituents in danger? We have outstanding law enforcement in the state of
One of the communities I am honored to represent,
During the trial, two expert witnesses, Dr. Jill Levenson and Dr. Chris Robison agreed with research concluding that in the 15 years following release of sex offenders, about 24 percent will re-offend, and that offenders with a prior sex offense conviction have even higher recidivism rates.
Although Dr. Levenson and another expert witness, Dr. Luis Rosell both testified against sex offender residency restrictions, they both find that reducing access to children can reduce the likelihood of a sex offense. Dr. Levenson testified that she once wrote, “It makes sense that risk might be managed by reducing some of the exposure to children and prohibiting them from living near places where children congregate.” Furthermore, Dr. Rosell had testified in a previous case, Doe v. Miller that “reducing a specific sex offender’s access to children was a good idea, and that if you remove the opportunity, then the likelihood of reoffense is decreased.”
Armed with this critical information,
Today, dozens of municipalities around
AB 759 and SB 548 are direct attacks on the communities that have enacted ordinances, and a direct attack on children and their parents. AB 759 and SB 548 violate the all-important concept of self-governance and home rule by striking down laws that benefit the health and well-being of citizens.
Can the state be trusted with the responsibility of ensuring families and their children are safe from sex offenders? A recent, highly publicized case suggests the answer is emphatically no.
During 1998, a Dane County Circuit Court Judge ruled Lindon Knutson to be a sexually violent person. Lindon Knutson had a very serious criminal record including convictions for rape and kidnapping, and was committed to a mental health facility. During March of 2009, a
It is reported that there was one assessment of Lindon Knutson relied upon for his release. One assessment, and that one assessment, was that he was safe to be released.
During November 2009, Knutson was arrested in Wilmar, Minnesota for allegedly asking for a church tour conducted by a 73-year-old woman, and then beat, raped, and robbed the woman.
Taking away the authority of municipalities and transferring decisions about offenders’ whereabouts to state bureaucrats is not just risky, it is dangerous. Committee members, please give serious consideration to the stakes. Communities in your districts are best equipped to apply safety.
AB 759 and SB 548 would repeal ordinances in communities that committee members represent including
Think about the ramifications of this legislation. AB 759 and SB 548 are gambling. It is gambling with lives of children and the lives of all
My bet and my gamble are with local law enforcement, local citizens, and local elected officials, not with the state.