WI Legislative Update

On Thursday, February 13, the omnibus human trafficking AB620 was passed by the Assembly and immediately forwarded it to the Senate for action.  An amendment to AB620 was proposed but was tabled by the Assembly.  So the AB620 forwarded to the Senate matches Senate Bill 492 exactly so no modifications will be required by the Senate on their bill.

The committee that considered the bill recommended it for passage 5-0.  There is not date posted yet for Senate action on SB492.
While these two "companion" bills do much to enhance prosecution of human trafficking perpetrators and would establish a path by which a person convicted of prostitution while under the control of a trafficker could seek to have the prostitution convictions either vacated or expunged from his/her record - which is a good thing.  We had urged that convictions of other crimes forced to be committed by a trafficker also be eligible to be vacated or expunged but there are legal complications in achieving that so it was not proposed.
The bills also do nothing for provision of services to victims - no framework for services nor any funding - which is a large deficit for victims in WI.  In fairness, this bill was proposed by the Dept of Justice to Assembly members so it is a "law and order" bill.  We will work to pressure the Dept of Health and Human Services to get legislation and funding proposals from that agency to the legislature.  
You can read more about AB620 at:  https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/ab620
You can read more about SB492 at:  https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb492

A future bill that would provide for human trafficking victim services will come with a significant fiscal note which will make it more challenging to get introduced and passed.  But these two bills are steps forward.