Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Franklin Alderman Steve Olson helped write Franklin's ordinance. He gave the following testimony to the Assembly committee this week:
January 29, 2008
Chairman Scott Suder
Vice-Chairman Bill Kramer
Assembly Committee in Justice and Ethics
Dear Mr. Chairman, Honorable Members of the Committee:
Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony on the matter of Assembly Bill 702, a measure designed to eliminate local restrictions on the residency of convicted sex offenders.
Chairman Suder, last year you and several of your colleagues and many others worked very hard to try to come to a solution on the placement of sex offenders throughout the State. As you know, the issue is complex and attempts to solve the issue are fraught with politics and emotion. Several bills will be coming from your committee’s work but a comprehensive solution eludes the State of Wisconsin.
Many Wisconsin communities have taken a thoughtful, common sense look at the issue of where sex offenders live in their communities and have enacted ordinances designed to enhance the protection of their most valuable asset; their children.
Like these communities, my city took a careful and deliberate look at case law, properly designed studies and measured community sentiment and ultimately passed (unanimously) the second such ordinance in the state. Throughout the very deliberate procedure, we accepted all public input on at least four occasions. We have listened to our constituents. They believe that a common sense approach to protecting their children is the best approach. To them, and us, keeping sex offenders away from their prey makes perfect sense and is another tool in managing the incurable crime of child sex abuse.
If the Assembly takes a close look at the targets of AB 702, they would find, in general, well crafted and thought out answers to the public outcry of “why is that child molester living across the street from my child’s school?” In most ordinances, a very important clause is key to solving a problem that thus far, the State has been unable to even talk about. Each community must be responsible for the placement of the sex offenders who come from their community.
To strike down local control for the safety of our own children will have devastating effects on the very people we seek to protect. The proposed bill only benefits convicted sex offenders.
Consider the Town of Somers in Kenosha County. They have had a Chapter 980 sexually violent person placed in the center of their community without even the minimum of notice. They are upset and looking for answers. And in looking for answers, they now find that they are truly a dumping ground for a large number of sex offenders who have no relationship to their community. The State has failed the Town of Somers.
Consider the City of Franklin. We vigorously enforce our residency ordinance and work closely with the DOC. We have had 5 occasions to invoke the ordinance and in 4 cases, the offender complied and moved out and is still on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry. In one of the four, the offender was employed as a driver of an ice cream truck selling frosty treats to children. He no longer performs those duties. He as well remains on the registry. Only our imaginations can tell us how many children were protected by our enforcement of our ordinance.
Consider Green Bay. Since they enacted their residency ordinance, little has been heard of public outcry over the placement of a sex offender in their community, yet we know that they are finding residences within the city.
The bill before you is apparently written as punishment for the many communities across the state that have been proactive in providing a solution to the placement of sex offenders. The bill continues to advance the tired and ineffective practice of “one size fits all” law writing that, in the end, serves no one.
This bill, if passed, will also seriously undermine the long held tradition of home rule in our state. If passed, what local ordinance will be next? Should the State rule on our parking ordinances as well?
I urge you, the members of the Committee to think through this issue and recognize that a properly crafted residency ordinance is constitutional, protects the safety of the children of the community and manages the sex offender’s impact on the community.
Reject this bill.
Alderman, District 1
City of Franklin
9229 W. Loomis Road
Franklin, Wisconsin 53132