Assembly passes human trafficking, college savings bills - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Assembly passes human trafficking, college savings bills

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MADISON, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- The state Assembly has passed a proposal that would allow maximum contributions to a state college savings plan to increase based on inflation.

The bill also would allow more people to contribute to the program.

The EdVest program currently allows parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles to make tax-deductible contributions to accounts to cover a child's college costs. The bill would allow anyone, not just family members, to contribute to an account.

The measure would also tie the current tax deduction for making a qualifying investment to the rate of inflation. Under current law, qualifying contributions are eligible for a tax deduction up to $3,000 a year.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday. The Senate passed it last month. It now goes to Gov. Scott Walker.

The Assembly also has approved a bill that would tighten Wisconsin's human trafficking laws and give victims a way to void any crimes they may have committed.

Current Wisconsin law defines trafficking as recruiting, enticing, harboring or transporting someone against their consent. The bipartisan bill passed Thursday removes the consent element and adds using schemes to control an individual to the definition.

The proposal would allow trafficking victims to ask a judge to vacate or expunge prostitution convictions. The judge could grant the request if he or she gives the prosecutor a chance to respond and determines society won't be harmed.

The measure also would allow evidence of similar acts into trafficking prosecutions.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday. It now goes to the state Senate.

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