Our Unique Wisconsin Solution

As we build support across the state for our bipartisan legislation to give crime victims equal rights, the most important thing we talk about is this simple fact: It’s a solution by Wisconsinites, for Wisconsinites.

Our legislation builds on Wisconsin’s proud tradition of reform, and is written to complement our unique laws that are already among the strongest in the country. In 1980, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to create a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. In 1993, Wisconsinites supported an amendment to the state Constitution recognizing victims’ rights.

And yet, crime victims in Wisconsin do not have rights equal to those of the accused. Read the story of Christina Traub – who was strangled by her boyfriend on a street in broad daylight, then found herself with less of a voice in the process than him – as proof of just how much work we have to do.

The fact is, we’ve learned a lot in the past 20 years, and Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin would update our Constitution in two ways. First, it would take certain rights that already exist in Wisconsin under state statute, and put them into the state Constitution so they are fully constitutional rights – just like those of the accused. Second, it would strengthen other rights that are already part of the Constitution, making them clearer – just like those of the accused.

Authored by State Sen. Van Wanggaard and State Rep. Todd Novak, our bipartisan legislation has the support of 42 Republicans and Democrats, as well as a broad statewide coalition including victims’ rights groups like Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, family organizations like Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, shelters, district attorneys, law enforcement groups like the Wisconsin Troopers’ Association, Attorney General Brad Schimel and of course, survivors like Christina.

This is a unique Wisconsin solution. I hope you’ll join the fight for equal rights in Wisconsin.