More support for juvenile justice reform bill after GOP leaders - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

More support for juvenile justice reform bill after GOP leaders concerns

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MADISON (WKOW) --- The Wisconsin State Senate is turning a new leaf on the juvenile justice reform bill to close Lincoln Hills by 2021. More support comes just days after GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said he has “big concerns” with it.

After Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) says she believes there will be 32 senators voting in support of this bill, a big change from just a few days ago.

Sen. Fitzgerald concerns about not having Wisconsin sheriff’s on board with the bill also changed quickly. Lawmakers confirmed they now have full support from Wisconsin’s Sheriff’s groups. During the committee, the Department of Corrections and the Counties Association barely had any feedback to the bill after they gave hours of testimony just a week ago.

The bill addresses the need to educate more juvenile offenders. County-run facilities will be included in the school funding formula to provide more money towards their education. This aims to reduce the recidivism rate.

However there are still some areas like the $80 million dollar price tag that some say needs more explanation.

“Your talking about a major investment and talking about dealing with major challenges and I think we can't look at it as lower cost, but we can look at the opportunity to not have increasing costs,” said Sen. Darling.

The bill will have another vote in committee before heading to the Senate on March 20th. Bill sponsor Rep. Michael Schraa (R- Oshkosh) says that will give Senators more time to review the measure and ask any questions before the final vote.

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