Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to provide Wisconsin crime victims with additional rights has begun advertising in La Crosse in the first wave of a public relations campaign.
A billboard ad for Marsy’s Law for All is on display on Hwy. 16, and the group plans to have a second in downtown La Crosse. Billboards are also running in Eau Claire and will be added in Green Bay and Milwaukee.
“La Crosse and western Wisconsin are an important part of our effort to secure equal rights for crime victims, because we know people there understand the need in their communities,” said Brian Reisinger, a spokesman for the group. “We look forward to working with Coulee Region legislators along with local survivors and victim advocates to update our state Constitution and build on Wisconsin’s proud history on victim rights.”
The group is also running targeted digital ads in all major media markets.
Republican lawmakers and crime victim advocates introduced the constitutional amendment Tuesday. It would provide crime victims with rights, including the right to have their personal information sealed in police records and allow them to speak out at more court proceedings.
The Wisconsin Constitution and state law already provide victims with a list of rights, including the right to privacy, the right to be treated with dignity, the right to attend court proceedings, the right to protection from defendants and the opportunity to make a statement during sentencing, restitution and compensation proceedings.
The new amendment, authored by Rep. Todd Novak of Dodgeville and Sen. Van Wanggaard of Racine, largely duplicates existing language but takes it a step further in several areas. In addition to the right to privacy, victims would have the right to have information or records that could be used to locate them or disclose confidential information sealed.
The amendment also gives victims the right to be heard in plea, parole, revocation, expungement and pardon proceedings in court and allows victims to opt out of direct requests for interviews, depositions or discovery from defense attorneys. Discovery is the process in which one side in a case turns over all of its evidence to the other side.