February 11, 2020 — Last week, the Assembly Health Committee passed AB 844, despite vigorous opposition by subject matter experts. Today, the Assembly is voting on whether or not to pass AB 844. AB 844 combines language from bills related to Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) processing (AB 214) and the creation of a kit tracking system (AB 358) while also adding harmful provisions related to immigration and school choice that were not part of any conversation related to SAKs to date.
As a reminder, AB 214 and AB 358 were introduced with broad bipartisan support last year and both passed the Senate in October. Time is running out on the current legislative session, and AB 844 contains harmful provisions for survivors. We already have bi-partisan legislation that has passed the Senate, however if those bills do not pass soon,Wisconsin will have to wait until 2021 for sexual assault kit reform. Now is not the time to insert political issues into legislation that is so critical for survivors.
Please take the following actions today:
1. Call your Assembly Representative today and urge them to vote no on AB 844. You can identify who represents you here. See below for suggested talking points.
- Today I ask Representative _____ to vote no on AB 844.
- This legislation was developed in a rushed manner, and did not reflect the input of subject matter experts.
- There is bi-partisan legislation (AB 214 and AB 358) that passed the Senate last year that contains the same or substantially similar provisions as AB 844.
- However, AB 844 also contains provisions related to immigration that have not been a part of any conversation about SAKs to date, and which are harmful to survivors.
- Requiring law enforcement officials to notify US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an undocumented person is arrested/convicted for sexual assault will create chilling effect for immigrant survivors to engage with the criminal justice system.
- Immigrant survivors already experience barriers to engaging with the criminal justice system – this legislation will only exacerbate those barriers.
- If immigrant survivors do not report to law enforcement, our communities are less safe as offenders will not be held accountable.
- If legislators are serious about preventing a future backlog of unsubmitted SAKs and allowing survivors to anonymously obtain information regarding the location and status of their Sexual Assault Kit (SAK), they should work to pass AB 214 and AB 358.
- I would like a call back to hear how the representative acts on this bill.