DRESSER, WI -- State Representative Gae Magnafici is taking a stand for the safety and well-being of Wisconsin communities by voting to amend the State's Constitution for the second time, aimed at addressing the issue of bail reform. This legislation, if passed, would give courts the ability to take into account more relevant factors when setting bail, thus breaking the cycle of high crime being met with low bail and resulting in unnecessary and avoidable violence.
"It is imperative that we strike a balance between protecting the rights of the accused while also ensuring public safety," said Representative Magnafici. "This amendment will give our judges the necessary tools to deal with repeat violent offenders and keep our communities safe."
The city of Milwaukee has seen a disturbing trend of breaking its homicide record for three consecutive years, with a 2021 news investigation revealing that 1 out of every 5 homicide suspects was already out on bail or signature bond for another felony crime. Representative Magnafici stated that this issue has been on the radar of lawmakers since 2017 and, unfortunately, received renewed attention after the Waukesha parade murders, a high-profile low-bail incident in Wisconsin.
The joint resolution supported by Representative Magnafici, if passed, would remove restrictions on bail determination or denial by allowing judges to consider the safety of the community, the seriousness of the offense, and the previous criminal record of the accused. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 states permit courts to consider "dangerousness" in some fashion when crafting conditions of pretrial release.
This constitutional amendment has been approved by both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature for two consecutive legislative sessions and will now be proposed to the voters for consideration.
The 28th Assembly District, which Representative Magnafici represents, includes Polk County, including the communities of New Richmond, St. Croix Falls, Osceola, Amery, Somerset, Frederic, and Clayton.