This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Sen. Sullivan on sex offender ordinance repeal: "This bill is going nowhere"

The state Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing today in Madison on Senate Bill 548 (SB 548), a disastrous bill that would repeal over 100 local ordinances that restrict the whereabouts and residences of released sex offenders.

Following state Senator Mary Lazich’s testimony, committee member, state Senator Jim Sullivan  (D-Wauwatosa) whose district has communities that have such ordinances said several times, “This bill is going nowhere.”

Committee chair, state Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and author of the bill replied, “I don’t know if that’s true.”

You can see and hear Sullivan’s comments about 50 minutes into this video of the committee hearing.

Also testifying against were Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva, Franklin Alderman Steve Olson, the Cudahy mayor, the Cudahy police chief, a Cudahy alderman, CudahyNOW blogger Randy Hollenbeck, and others.

Alderman Olson was quite passionate and even sparred with Senator Taylor. I encourage you to watch them at 2:42:30 into the video.

Alderman Olson did not read from his prepared statement. It was submitted to the committee and follows:


Testimony of Alderman Steve Olson, City of Franklin

Senate Bill 548

Relating to management of sex offenders and prohibitions on residency restrictions
Before the Senate Committee Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing
April 1, 2010

Chairman Taylor, honorable members of the committee, members of the legislature present, thank you for the opportunity to be heard on SB548.

Madam Chairman, I offered testimony on the companion bill offered in the Assembly and
respectfully ask that that testimony also be entered into your record.

For the past month or so, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to several of the sponsors of this

proposed bill and hear their statements in the press. I must tell you that what I’ve heard and read from the press statements of the sponsors of this bill is not the bill being heard today. Many say that they don’t want offenders dumped into their communities. They all say that they’ll take their own offenders back and that that is the purpose of the bill. They say that this bill will prevent communities from becoming dumping grounds for sex offenders.

Members of the committee, this is not what this bill does. In fact, the opposite is true.
Section one of this bill prevents ALL communities in the state from regulating residency of sex offenders. If Representative Kessler and you, Madame Chairman, are truly concerned that Milwaukee will be the dumping ground for sex offenders your bill will not prevent that from happening. I also submit that should this bill pass, you take away the one tool that has been successful across the state in protecting children by restricting sex offenders residency and by establishing safety zones. I suggest that if a community like Milwaukee or Merrill or any other is concerned about the issue that they should evaluate the several ordinances previously passed and adopt one for themselves. Your bill will prevent that self governance.

If you are honest in the statement that each community should be responsible for their own sex

offenders then legislate that issue, don’t take the tool away from responsible communities like

Franklin, Glendale, Cudahy and the majority of the communities who already have provisions in

their ordinances that require they take their own offenders back.

Section two of the bill broadens the definition of a violation of a safety or exclusion zone. It
also allows the DOC to define “public safety” zones. That’s an interesting concept that was pre-empted in section one. It also takes the people who know the communities the best out of the effort to establish effective safety zones. But the worst part of section two is that it requires the DOC staff to arbitrarily assign safety zones for a very small number of sex offenders in a very small zone. Assigning a zone of between 100 and 250 feet is not only unworkable for the DOC, it is also unsafe for the children it’s designed to protect. I also believe that it is legally indefensible and is without reason. The safety zones established by the local communities is based in legally tested, studied distances that have been upheld by various courts across the country and in the State of Wisconsin. These zones reflect the geography and nature of the communities; the DOC’s zones will be purely arbitrary. To take the communities out of the decision making for safety zones is dangerous.

Let’s skip to section 10. Here the state seeks to replace the wisdom of the local community
with the definition of prohibited areas similar to what are being overridden in section one. I take

particular interest in the specific prohibition for published school bus stops. This will be an unworkable requirement in most communities whose school bus stops change regularly. Section 13 is the best section of the bill making violation of a safety zone by this very small group of sex offenders a felony. The issue remains that the safety zones are indefensible and far too small to provide any level of protection for children of the community.

So as I read the bill, it does nothing to accomplish the goals of the sponsors. It does not prevent dumping of sex offenders into another community. It in fact, does exactly the opposite.
The bill does not require a community be responsible for their own sex offenders.The bill does not provide effective safety zones for the children of any community.The bill does not provide any measure of safety for the children at risk for the high recidivism of child sex offenders.

The bill also does nothing to provide effective tools for the management of sex offenders by
any law enforcement agency. Above all, it takes away a powerful tool from local communities to protect their own most valuable citizen, the children of their community.

Madam Chairman, members of the committee and legislature, I believe that this bill is a Trojan

horse, designed to dump sex offenders into communities who have been proactive in managing

the threat of repeat sex offenses against children. This bill is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem.

Leave our ordinances alone. Defeat this bill.

Steve Olson

Alderman, District 1

City of Franklin

9229 W. Loomis Road

Franklin, Wisconsin 53132


Here is Randy Hollenbeck's testimony:

Madam Chairperson,

I cannot speak for all of Cudahy, but I come before you to speak for myself as a Cudahy resident.  Cudahy’s Municipal Home Rule is under siege.

I have no problem with the current Cudahy Sex Offender Ordinance, which has a part on residency attached, which boils down to we will take back our own and help them find a place in Cudahy to live.  If they committed the crime as a Cudahy resident, they should be allowed to come back to Cudahy.  It is our municipal home rule.  It is right.  It is fair. 

What isn’t our municipal home rule.  Isn’t right.  Isn’t fair is Senate Bill 548 that would nullify not only Cudahy’s sex offender ordinance, but those ordnances passed by other local communities restricting the residences and whereabouts of released sex offenders.

What isn’t our municipal home rule.  Isn’t right.  Isn’t fair is having the Department of Corrections just arbitrarily pick where theses people will live.  Safety over shadowed by people that don’t live in the community making decisions for the community regardless of the communities home rule.

The one-size fits all, will not work and will result in a watered down ordinance. 

I have heard from some people that putting the residency restrictions limits what the city of Milwaukee can do with all of their sex offenders.  They can adopt the same resolution and ordinance that many other communities have.  I know this will not satisfy them.  I don’t think Cudahy needs to be a dumping ground for Milwaukee.  The city of Milwaukee is so massive one could get lost in the city or never meet everyone that lives there.  

Unless related, the argument of the victim could run into the offender is weak.  

First, the crime would have to be committed in the same city as the offender’s residence.

Second, the placement of the offender is done by the city and that can be a helping factor in where in the city they can live.  A city as massive as Milwaukee even makes it less possible.

We need to stop looking at and for false answers and deal with the harsh reality of things!

The residency clause was put in to make the City of Cudahy safer and I strongly encourage other communities to pass such ordnances in their communities.

I implore you to do the right think and kill this bill and send a message back to the cities that don’t have any Sex Offender Ordinance’s or ones that don’t contain residency restrictions to get them in.  The welfare of the community is at stake.  

Let us not just close our eyes and allow someone to blindly lead us down a hasty path that is the wrong one.  Walk, not run, with eyes open wide, down the right path.  

I am trying to respect the process, now it is your turn to respect municipal home rule.

Do the right thing and kill this bill and up hold municipal Home Rule and look out for the safety of the residents.

Thank you,

Randy Hollenbeck

My thanks to everyone who made the drive to Madison to fight to defeat this bill.



This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools