Decision Maker

Wisconsin State House


Does Wisconsin State House have the power to decide or influence something you want to change? Start a petition to this decision maker.Start a petition
Petitioning Wisconsin State House, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin Governor

Please Pass Brendan Dassey Juvenile Interrogation Protection Law In Wisconsin

Brendan Dassey was wrongfully convicted of murder in the state of Wisconsin in 2007, on the basis of a coerced false confession to the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach. Please ask the state of Wisconsin to enact new legislation in order to prevent other minors from suffering the same fate as Brendan. Brendan’s case highlights the need for the enactment of legislation which would require that an attorney be present during a custodial interrogation of a minor. There is no evidence whatsoever to support Brendan’s conviction, and physical evidence flatly contradicts the statements he gave to his interrogators. At the time he confessed, Brendan was only 16 years old. Brendan spent his childhood struggling with a learning disability. At the time of his interrogation, he had an IQ of about 70. He had no criminal record, and he was not a trouble maker. Police initially turned their attention to him because he was a defense witness for his uncle, Steven Avery, who at the time had been accused of murdering Halbach. The Netflix series “Making a Murderer" brought renewed attention to Brendan’s case. The ongoing series details the murder of Teresa Halbach and the controversy surrounding her death. Video clips of Brendan’s interrogation, which are presented in the Netflix series, have left many viewers wondering how Brendan’s confession was ever deemed admissible at trial. The video clips presented in the series, focus on Brendan’s final interrogation before his arrest. That interrogation session was the fourth time Brendan had been interrogated without a parent or an attorney present, all within the span of 48 hours. Audio and video recordings show how interrogators quickly brought Brendan under their control. Video footage shows that Brendan was willing to go along with any storyline they suggested. Working to build a narrative that Brendan was with his uncle Steven Avery at the time of the murder, investigators told Brendan that Steven had done something to the victim’s head, and asked him what it was. Brendan responded that Steven had cut her hair. No matter how many times the interrogators asked what else Steven had done to the victim’s head, they drew a blank from Brendan. Finally, they became frustrated and told Brendan that Halbach had been shot in the head, at which point he agreed. When the case went to trial, the jury was led to believe that Brendan told police during questioning that Halbach had been shot in the head. Just like that, unreliable information obtained from an improper interrogation of a juvenile, was presented as factual damning evidence in court. The head wound evidence is just one example to show how police were able to manipulate a juvenile into providing unreliable information. In fact, the entire narrative which resulted from Brendan’s interrogation, makes no sense at all. Brendan recanted his confession the moment he was out of reach of his interrogators. In the Netflix series, Brendan is asked by his mother why he told the police that he was involved. Brendan responded: “They got to my head.” Brendan's honest response showed clearly that he was wrongfully pressured by police to provide false information. Brendan was not capable at the time of dealing with the overwhelming stress which was put on him by his interrogators. Please view Brendan’s interrogation videos. The videos clearly show that two seasoned interrogators manipulated Brendan into providing false information. The story that Brendan provided to the police just doesn’t add up. According to Brendan’s confession, he and Steven raped and repeatedly stabbed Halbach in Steven’s bedroom, while she was chained to a bed. Forensic tests, however, revealed no trace of the victim’s blood, fingerprints or DNA in Steven’s room, or, for that matter, anywhere at all in his residence. Nor was any physical trace of Brendan’s presence found in the room or in Steven’s residence. Police photos show that the premises were undisturbed except for ordinary clutter. Not one scrap of physical evidence suggested that a bloody assault had taken place there. Brendan was gullible and easily bullied into giving false information. He agreed to an impossible murder scenario that simply could not have happened. If Brendan had an attorney with him during his interrogations; this completely unreliable narrative would have never developed in the first place. According to the Bluhm Legal Clinic: “researchers have concluded that most youth – even those who might be considered "street-smart" – simply do not understand their Miranda rights to counsel and to remain silent. Accordingly, these children do not exercise those essential rights and are thus left alone during police interrogation, without the assistance of counsel, a friendly adult, or their parents. Too often, the child's resulting statement is involuntary or unreliable.” The United States Supreme Court describes a custodial interrogation as an interrogation where: "a reasonable person would have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave." Even if a minor has the legal right to get up and walk out, the vast majority of minors would have no idea that they had that option. My son certainly did not. Therefore, it is reasonable to view any interrogation of a minor as a custodial interrogation. For these reasons, new legislation should impose the following safeguards: Require that an attorney be present during any custodial interrogation of a minor. This should be viewed as a nonwaivable right. Require law enforcement to inform a minor before an interrogation begins that he or she could be charged as an adult based on information obtained during an interrogation. Wisconsin law currently falls short, as it only requires law enforcement to immediately attempt to notify the child’s parent or guardian. The state does not specify whether juveniles have the right to the presence of an attorney or a parent during questioning. Thankfully, in 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court exercised its supervisory power to require that all custodial interrogations of juveniles be recorded. The recording of Brendan's interrogation provides a clear cut example of why minors need further protection. The Bluhm Legal Clinic has modeled legislation which can be used as a guideline for legislators looking to improve the system. Their recommendations can be viewed here: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictionsyouth/resources/legislation/ The state of Wisconsin made a promising move in the right direction by recognizing the need for recorded interrogations. They now need to further their efforts by enacting legislation to protect minors during interrogations. This petition is managed by Injustice Anywhere FreeBrendan.org Free Brendan Facebook Page

Injustice Anywhere
53,349 supporters
Petitioning Wisconsin State Senate

Stand with Undocumented Students: Allow In-State Tuition for Dreamers in Wisconsin

My name is Selina Armenta and I am a fall class of 2017 UW-Madison graduate. At UW-Madison I majored in Legal Studies and minored in both Criminal Justice and Chican@ Latin@ Studies. I have been passionate about the law and helping my community for a long time and that is why I aspire to eventually go to law school and become an attorney. I immigrated to the United States from Mexico at the age three. Since then, I have been raised in Madison, Wisconsin, so naturally, attending UW-Madison was always a dream of mine. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition scholarship to UW-Madison and it is for that reason that I was able to obtain a college education at one of the top public universities in the world.   You see, I am undocumented and come from a low income background. Without that full-tuition scholarship, a four year university like UW-Madison was not an option. Wisconsin is what some call a “locked out state.” This means that in Wisconsin, undocumented students are forced to pay out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities, despite the fact that many of us have been Wisconsin residents for most of our lives. From 2009 to 2011, under Governor Doyle, qualified undocumented students were eligible for in-state tuition, Governor Walker revoked that eligibility in 2011. Since then, multiple bills have been introduced by Wisconsin legislature, that would extend in-state tuition to qualifying undocumented students, but have failed to pass. Due to the high cost of out-of-state tuition and the current anti-immigrant climate, my goal of attending law school has been put on hold. Thousands of undocumented students are losing hope of being able to obtain a college education. Like myself, these students only want the opportunity to obtain a college degree in order to give back to this state that we know as home. Currently, there are 7,600 undocumented young people registered under DACA who are denied in-state tuition in Wisconsin. 18 other states already allow undocumented students the chance at an affordable college education and it’s time Wisconsin joins them. Add your name to call on Wisconsin legislators to pass tuition equity legislation introduced by Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, in support of young undocumented Wisconsinites who want the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

Rise Up UW-Madison
38,138 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!

Jenifer Bass
33,376 supporters
Closed
Petitioning President of the United States

Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!

When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities

Dominick Evans
6,863 supporters
Closed
Petitioning Wisconsin State Senate, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin State House, John T. Chisholm

Justice For Destiney, Put a STOP to Child Molestation

When someone does something wrong, you expect people to be held accountable for their actions. In this case, her seventeen year old half brother wasn't. When someone does something inappropriate to you they always tell you, especially as a younger child, to tell someone so they can be punished for their actions. Unfortunately, Destiney this nine year old girl, as frightened as can be did exactly that and still didn't receive the justice she deserved. He, who's name cannot be mentioned, helped destroy and damage her thought of mind and her train of emotions. Yet, as soon as she finally let it out, she knew something had to be done. She's spent months going through court cases, hearings, meetings, and still she did not receive justice. This poor nine year old girl was turned down by the Milwaukee Wisconsin District Attorney and her case was let go. It wasn't fair because this was suppose to be her own blood brother and he molested her, more than once and still was given "the right" to walk around without a care in the world...  All he got was a night in jail and the unfair right to live as freely as can be. He knew what he had done and knew it was wrong but claimed all times were just an "accident". Destiney and all her stories she had told the police remained exactly the same. She started falling behind in school and even missed school to attend more hearings and even therapy. In which she found out that she lives and suffers from PTSD, but what was the point of telling anyone when nothing was done. Yet, till this very day she lives in fear that something like this will happen to her and that he will come back to harm her for telling someone and it's all because of him. So all that we ask is to please help Destiney and I her mother, get the justice she deserves so my daughter doesn't have to live in fear. We need her case to be reopened and for him to be punished for what he had done to her, so please take the time out your day to sign our petition. It's very appreciated she deserves to live at peace and we thank you so very much in advance. 

Donna Behringer
5,745 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Wisconsin State House, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin Governor

#SaveOurBucks - Approve the new Milwaukee arena funding proposal!

The Bucks are hoping to build a new arena in downtown Milwaukee. Their new ownership group will be paying $150 million towards this effort and former owner, Senator Herb Kohl, will also contribute $100 million for a total of $250 million. This represents half to cost towards a new arena. The local city/state government needs to approve a funding plan for the remaining $250 million. If a new arena is not built or at least under construction by 2017, the NBA can purchase the Bucks for $575 million (well below market value) and relocate the team. This new arena is not just about the Bucks, it's about revitalizing downtown Milwaukee and helping this city realize it's vast potential. Please sign this petition! Thank you! #SaveOurBucks

Max Margulis
3,863 supporters
Closed
Petitioning Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin State House, dana burmaster, Dave Ross, WI DOT

Baraboo Bluff Winery should be allowed on Hwy attraction sign ~ Goal 25K signers

Wisconsin Department of Transportation has final say on what companies can be listed on the blue Specific Information Signs (SIS).  We applied in 2015 and were denied because it was our first year and did not have annual visitor numbers.  In 2016 we were denied because we were not open enough hours during the week.  We pointed out two other wineries that were on these signs with the exact same hours as ours... no response.  For 2017 they denied us because we do not offer tours.  Anyone that has been to our winery know that the attraction is the view from the side of the Baraboo Bluff Range.

FRED QUANDT
3,007 supporters
Closed
Petitioning Alabama State House, Alaska State House, Arizona State House, Arkansas State House, California State House, Colorado State House, Hawaii State House, Idaho State House, Illinois State House, Indian...

Save Lives: Require Spinal Muscular Atrophy Newborn Screening

August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Awareness Month. Please join our efforts to require SMA newborn screening, and help end the deadly effects of SMA.  About SMA: •  SMA is the number one genetic killer of babies and children under the age of two.•  SMA is a motor neuron disease like ALS.•  SMA robs the ability to move, swallow, and eventually breathe. •  One in 40 unknowingly carries the gene responsible for SMA.•  When two carriers have a baby, there is a 25% chance the baby will have SMA, a 50% chance the baby will be a carrier, and a 25% chance the baby will be unaffected.•  One in 10,000 babies is born with SMA.  The FDA approved Spinraza as the first treatment for SMA on December 23, 2016. However, newborns continue to go untreated when they would receive the most benefit, as no states are performing SMA newborn screening. Newly diagnosed Type 1 SMA babies treated with Spinraza didn't lose their ability to move, swallow, and breathe, but instead gained strength. Some even crawled and took steps — steps away from the deadly effects of SMA. Newborn babies treated within the first two weeks never lost abilities to SMA, and developed as average babies do. They crawl, eat, stand, and walk. Only newborns with older SMA siblings have been treated this way, as their parents knew to screen for SMA. Every newborn needs to be screened for SMA, so babies born with SMA can develop just as babies without SMA do.  For this to happen, SMA needs to be added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), states need to require SMA newborn screening, and funding needs to be provided for SMA newborn screening. The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (Committee) is scheduled to vote to add SMA to the RUSP at its February, 2018 meeting. Once the Committee votes favorably to add SMA to the RUSP, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will add SMA to the RUSP. This is an important step, as many states look to the RUSP when adding new conditions to screen for. This petition will be delivered to both the Committee, and the Secretary of HHS. States also need to require newborn screening, as the RUSP is only a recommendation, it does not mandate states to test for conditions. We will continue to pursue SMA newborn screening in every state, and this petition will help our efforts. Missouri is the only state to enact newborn screening legislation, and will begin screening for SMA in January of 2019. Federal and state funds are also needed to begin and continue SMA newborn screening. This petition will help us as we advocate for funding with the appropriate federal and state congressional members. Act Now: With an FDA-approved treatment, it is urgent we secure SMA newborn screening. Newborn babies treated within the first two weeks will have the best chance at progressing as they would without SMA. Every baby born with SMA should be afforded this life-saving treatment. Please sign our petition urging Committee to vote to add SMA to the RUSP, urging states to require SMA newborn screening, and urging federal and state congressional members to provide funding for SMA newborn screening.   

Hunter Has Hope
2,105 supporters
Closed
Petitioning Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin State House, Lena Taylor, Scott Fitzgerald, Jennifer Shilling, Luther Olsen, Leah Vukmir, Frank Lasee, Mark Miller, Robin Vos, Alberta Dar...

Suicide Prevention on the Milwaukee Hoan Bridge

According to an article published in May 25, 2016: More than 30 people have jumped to their deaths in the last 15 years.(http://www.wisn.com/article/could-barriers-stop-suicides-on-milwaukee-s-hoan-bridge/6332793). There are no official statistics for 2017, the year isn't even over. There have been numerous media reports on persons attempting or contemplating jumping from this bridge. One wonders 'how many also have not been made known to the public'. In recent years, Milwaukee officials and departments have considered and abandoned interventions for suicide at the Hoan Bridge. Milwaukee should again examine what options are available. Interventions can be low cost, such as a sign with a crisis line number. If not for advocacy, we can also consider the time and cost our police are absorbing when a sign may prevent those calls. Saving lives is the job of our officials - and our own personal responsibility - especially when our population has one of the highest rates of mental health illness. 2017 dates of police encounters on the bridge according to media reports: April 25, 2017: off-duty fireman and FBI agent, police intervention June 2, 2017: completed suicide August 31, 2017: Samaritan intervention *September 18th, 2017, 7:30am: off-duty police intervention *September 18th, 2017, 2:30pm: (separate incident) police intervention November 29, 2017: police intervened  

Kathryn P
917 supporters
Petitioning Wisconsin Eau Claire County Court House, Scott Walker, Wisconsin State House, Wisconsin State Senate, Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson

Honor Loni’s Will. Bring Carter & Mason Home.

THE STORYLoni Sisko of Mt. Horeb, WI passed away at the young age of 32 on January 12, 2014. For two years she fought against what started as a rare form of heart cancer that was ultimately removed by replacing the heart with a mechanical one which served her for approximately 3 months at a facility in Houston Texas until her liver failed. Until then, she had gone through an emergency open-heart surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible followed by numerous rounds of chemo treatments. The chemo started to become ineffective at reducing the size of the mass and options were limited. Her death left her two boys Carter and Mason (3 & 4 years old ATT) without either parent since her husband had passed away about a month before her cancer diagnosis. After her husband's death, Loni chose for her and her sons to move back home with her mother, Susan and step-father, Tim Frederick in Fall Creek, WI. Loni was luckily able to transfer her job close by to a place in Eau Claire, WI. Her stay with her parents was intended to be temporary until she could restart her life, but was soon faced with this unthinkable disease. She and her boys stayed and were cared for day in and day out by her mother and step-father up until her passing. In her Will, she clearly leaves her estate and the guardianship of her two boys with her mother, Susan Frederick who had already been the primary caretaker of Loni and her children while she was sick and recovering from surgeries for the last two years. Her Will was drafted, witnessed and signed by an attorney who was also her and her husband's close friend. THE ISSUEAfter one, short month following Loni's death (barely enough time to absorb the very recent loss of her daughter, much less, grieve), Susan was taken to court by both Loni's mother-in-law and Loni's father (Susan's ex-husband) with allegations that she had been consistently refusing them time with Carter and Mason. Up until Loni's death, all of her family had gotten along just fine and were always welcome to see the boys without any issues. Susan had never had any negative feelings towards anyone and wanted everyone to be as much of the boys lives as they wanted to. So, these allegations came very much as a surprise to her, especially since no personal grievances from the other grandparents were ever brought to her attention before taking her to court. The case began in Eau Claire, WI in the Eau Claire county court house. The first judge (Paul Lenz) initially recommended mediation and for everyone to try and settle the issue out of court. Susan was more than willing to do so, but both the other grandparents refused and ignored Susan's attempts at following through with mediation. The judge ended up ordering the desired visitation schedules for the other grandparents. But, that wasn't all they were after and that's not even close to where it all ended. The case was later moved to the Chippewa county court house in Chippewa Falls, WI after the first judge eventually removed himself on account of bias on behalf of the opposing grandmother’s attorney. But the damage had already been done as he had written a memorandum that completely defames Susan's character for any other judges to read in any future proceedings of the case. The next two years consisted of much bitterness, bickering, court hearings, allegations, finger-pointing, etc. It was, to say the least, a nightmare for everyone and everyone who knew about it. The other grandmother had already got what she requested and then decided to contest Loni's Will and the guardianship she placed with her mother. She claimed that Susan was unfit to take care of Carter and Mason due to theft of the boys' social security money, alcoholism and abuse. There was no evidence to back up these claims and can (and were) all easily be proven false... not only by the lack of evidence, but also by friends and family (of both Loni and Susan), daycare staff, teachers, counselors, the guardian Ad Litem (the attorney representing the children) and even an adoption agency cleared Susan and her husband Tim's home as a suitable place for them to live. Eventually, the other grandmother won the case and the last judge (now retired, Roderick Cameron) removed Carter and Mason from Susan's care just 2 weeks before Christmas of 2016. With only 10 days to prepare after having been with them nearly every day for the past 5 years, Carter and Mason were taken out of the only home they may have ever had their own memories of their mother. Susan could have appealed within a certain time frame, but she had no money left to do so on top of also being ordered to pay all the other grandparent's attorney fees. Was Susan perfect and did she do, say and react to everything without emotion and frustration? Of course not. And who would after being accused of so many awful things? But none of it would amount to or justify overriding Loni's Will and wishes for her children to be cared for by the person she chose and trusted to do so. Unless a child is in immediate and/or serious danger of abuse/neglect or there is an obvious lack of competency on the guardian's side, there's no reason they should be removed from their home. Susan broke no laws and did nothing wrong to the point of having her grandsons removed from her care and home. A home that had already been established that Carter and Mason were comfortable and stable in after already being uprooted from Mt. Horeb and losing both parents. Furthermore, NO parent should have to worry that the intentions for their children and assets won't be honored following their death. THE CAUSEI am Alexander Clay; Loni Sisko's brother. And this is my campaign or, at least, my attempt to draw public attention to this injustice. The court system is not always fair and this is one of those cases. Just because a judge makes a decision, does not mean that it is right; especially when it involves the lives of children and people they know nothing about and dismissing all evidence or lack of evidence. Too many times the court system fails people and innocent people lose. I can assure you, this is one of those times. I have sat for far too long not knowing what to do while wanting and knowing that something needs to be done. Overall, it is also in my interest to make known to other people what family court is ultimately capable of doing. It is not right. I also plan on drafting a bill to change how the court system handles family cases similar to this in order to prevent it from happening to other families in the future. I can't turn back time, but I also can't turn my back on this issue. What I can do is make this story heard and known and give my mom, step-dad, Loni, her friends, family and supporters and myself a voice in all of this; a voice that is continually silenced. We are not bad people and we have been horribly portrayed as such by others for far too long. The trauma that my nephews have had to go through should not have led to them being taken out of the home they were already settled in for 5 years. My sister and her children deserve real justice and her dying Will should be honored and not blatantly disrespected without strong evidence of wrong-doing. There were no crimes committed other than the one I feel has been committed against my sister's intentions by the court system. And I know many people who believe the same. It only proves that if you have the money and know the right people, you can get what you want from the system. If nothing comes of this, at least it will be some record and here for you, Carter and Mason... to know that no matter what happens in your lives, where you go, whatever other family may tell you, Grandma Sue worked her butt off and loves you, your mom and dad very, very much. She did everything she could to honor what your mother wanted for you two and still does. Very few people know what we all had to go through as a family down in Texas for 3 months and trying to make life as normal as possible. But none of it was normal. Ever. But we made the best out of a bad situation as we could. I have done what I could and have tried to communicate peacefully with others, but have been threatened with harassment charges multiple times for asking to visit my nephews outside of my mom and step-dad's scheduled visitation. I am expected to apologize for supporting what Loni wanted for her children and I'm not going to apologize for believing what I know is right. I don’t know what else to do, so please share this story. Share your story. Like. Comment. Question. Send a message. Show your support. I know there will be trolls who try to use this page against me and try to shame me, threaten me… but I have only spoken what I know as the truth... MY truth. I’m only doing what I know is right in supporting my sister’s wishes. I hope someone may be able to help in some way or give advice. If there's nothing that can be done, at least I can say I tried. I tried for my sister. I tried for my nephews who I care for, miss and love very much. Thank you.

Alexander Clay
849 supporters
Stop Kenneth Cairns from residing in Rock County

To Those Who Have Signed Kareena Westervelt’s Petition, Thank you for expressing concern about the placement of Sexually Violent Persons (SVPs) in the state of Wisconsin. I appreciate your interest in seeing what can be done to close these loopholes and make sure our community remains a safe place to live work, and raise a family. The recent placement of violent sex offenders who have victimized children in a house next to children in Beloit concerns me as it concerns you, and I have been working on multiple bipartisan pieces of legislation to address this issue. Currently, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has the ability to place sexually violent offenders in different parts of the state. DHS consults with local law enforcement, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Justice when finding a placement location. However, just because local law enforcement or certain agencies express concerns about a specific placement location, it does not mean that such a concern will prevent the sexually violent person from being placed in that area. Courts have the ability to outweigh the concerns expressed by others and make the placement official. As a state representative, it is my top priority to address community concerns. That is why I signed on to Assembly Bill 539. If this bill became law, it would protect communities like Beloit from having to house other communities’ most serious sex offenders. More specifically, AB 539 eliminates the ability of a court to place a Sexually Violent Person (SVP) outside of his or her home county for “good cause.” This means that any residence for an SVP on supervised release must be within the SVP’s county of residence. The bill also requires the SVP’s county of residence to form a temporary committee to identify an appropriate residential option for the SVP. This ensures that local residents have a voice in finding a placement that will be least harmful to the community. AB 539 passed the Assembly by a vote of 89 to 5 on January 16. A slightly different version passed the Senate by a vote of 32 to 0 on January 20. If/when one version of the bill is agreed upon by both houses, it will head to the Governor’s desk and be signed into law. The Senate will next meet on March 20 and I hope they will pass the Assembly version of the bill and send it to the Governor. In addition to signing on to AB 539, I proposed legislation to close a loophole in the Sexually Violent Persons commitment statutes (“Ch. 980”) on February 26th. This bill, co-authored by Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton), was drafted in consultation with local law enforcement to address concerns that children are being put at risk due to flaws in current law. The bill changes the definition of “serious child sex offenders” in Ch. 980 to cover all sexually violent crimes against children under age 16 (instead of under age 13 in current law), including those considered by a court as part of sentencing when an offender pleads guilty to a lesser crime. This new bill directly addresses issues that have occurred locally. As you know, a convicted violent sex offender from La Crosse, civilly committed under Ch. 980, was recently placed in a Beloit home. Although the offender’s victims had been children, he was placed next door to children. The offender’s placement was possible for two reasons: (1) He was charged with 2nd -degree sexual assault, rather than 2nd degree sexual assault of a child (even though the victim was a child) (2) He accepted a plea deal to dismiss the 2nd -degree sexual assault charge and instead plead guilty to a 3rd -degree sexual assault charge. This meant his classification under Ch. 980 did not prevent placement near a child as it otherwise would have. As you also know, the Department of Health Services recently moved to place a second sexually violent offender with child victims into the same home, using the same loophole. The safety of our community is my number one priority in the legislature. Current law is too limited in what child sex crimes lead to a sexually violent offender being restricted from living next to children. I believe this new bill, along with AB 539, will help protect our children from potential threats and ensure safety in our communities. Beloit has suffered two unfair sex offender placements in just the last few months, and I am fighting to make sure we fix loopholes in our laws to ensure this does not happen again. Importantly, my latest bill, if passed into law, would require DHS to find a new placement for these two violent offenders that is not next door to children. I hope you found this information helpful, and thank you again for expressing your concern about this important issue. Sincerely, Mark Spreitzer State Representative 45th Assembly District Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair

9 months ago
Wisconsin: Require a criminal background check for EVERY gun sale

February 6, 2014 Dear Concerned Constituents, Thank you for contacting me with your support of AB138/SB24 supporting universal background checks for gun sales in our state. I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue. Under these bills, it is prohibited that a person sells or transfers a firearm unless the sale or transfer occurs through a federally licensed firearms dealer and involves a background check of the prospective transferee. A person who is convicted of violating the prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not less than $500 nor more than $10,000, may be imprisoned for not more than nine months, and may not possess a firearm for a period of two years. I fail to see the logic in not requiring criminal background checks for all legal gun sales. Countless mass shootings that have occurred around the United States over the past 15 years have demonstrated the need for more screening of who is purchasing firearms. Background checks would not present too considerable of an obstacle to normal gun buyers, but would ensure that guns do not fall through the legal cracks and into the hands of dangerous people who should not be permitted to own them. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 83% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun purchases. I side with this majority, and you can count on my continued support of more effective gun regulation in our state. Thank you again for your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me in the future if you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns regarding this or any other issue before the legislature. Sincerely, Sondy Pope State Representative 80th Assembly District

5 years ago
Tell Your Representatives: Don't punish Wisconsin police and physicians for protecting public safety!

Thank you for contacting me with your concern regarding LRB 2063. I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue. LRB 2063, known as the Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act, would prohibit state and local law enforcement from enforcing any sort of federal measure that bans certain types of guns (assault weapons and extended clip sizes), relates to firearm registration, or relates to the confiscation of firearms. This bill would punish any law enforcement official who tries to enforce federal gun laws with a Class A misdemeanor. LRB 2063 would also prohibit physicians (excluding psychiatrists) from asking a patient whether they own firearms or from requiring the patient to disclose such information before providing them treatment. Any physician who violates this provision would be subject to a fine up to $25,000 or up to 9 months in prison. The bill would also require all Wisconsin gun manufacturers to include a “Made in Wisconsin” stamp on all new guns produced, in the hope that they will not be able to be federally regulated if they do not cross state lines. LRB 2063 proposes that we prevent sensible federal regulations to decrease gun violence from being enforced. Although I support the 2nd Amendment right of law-abiding Americans to purchase guns, I fail to see the logic behind keeping assault rifles legal. In my view, banning assault weapons and extended magazines would do little to burden “responsible gun owners” and would do a lot in preventing needless gun deaths in our country. After the two shootings that occurred in Wisconsin this past year, I am in favor of having stricter regulations on gun laws. Many of my constituents have been writing me for months with concerns mutual to mine when it comes to gun laws. As an elected representative I take into consideration the concerns voiced by my constituents and if I agree with those concerns, as I do in this case, I will do whatever I can, along with my colleagues, to see restriction on gun laws implemented in our state. Therefore, I will not support the Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act. LRB 2063 is still up for co-sponsorship, and only after that can it be referred to the appropriate committee for further amendments. I will keep your opposition to this bill in mind during this legislative session. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with me on this issue. If I can be of any further assistance to you on this, or any other state issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, Sondy Pope State Representative 80th Assembly District

5 years ago
Tell Your Representatives: Don't punish Wisconsin police and physicians for protecting public safety!

Thank you for contacting me with your concern regarding LRB 2063. I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue. LRB 2063, known as the Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act, would prohibit state and local law enforcement from enforcing any sort of federal measure that bans certain types of guns (assault weapons and extended clip sizes), relates to firearm registration, or relates to the confiscation of firearms. This bill would punish any law enforcement official who tries to enforce federal gun laws with a Class A misdemeanor. LRB 2063 would also prohibit physicians (excluding psychiatrists) from asking a patient whether they own firearms or from requiring the patient to disclose such information before providing them treatment. Any physician who violates this provision would be subject to a fine up to $25,000 or up to 9 months in prison. The bill would also require all Wisconsin gun manufacturers to include a “Made in Wisconsin” stamp on all new guns produced, in the hope that they will not be able to be federally regulated if they do not cross state lines. LRB 2063 proposes that we prevent sensible federal regulations to decrease gun violence from being enforced. Although I support the 2nd Amendment right of law-abiding Americans to purchase guns, I fail to see the logic behind keeping assault rifles legal. In my view, banning assault weapons and extended magazines would do little to burden “responsible gun owners” and would do a lot in preventing needless gun deaths in our country. After the two shootings that occurred in Wisconsin this past year, I am in favor of having stricter regulations on gun laws. Many of my constituents have been writing me for months with concerns mutual to mine when it comes to gun laws. As an elected representative I take into consideration the concerns voiced by my constituents and if I agree with those concerns, as I do in this case, I will do whatever I can, along with my colleagues, to see restriction on gun laws implemented in our state. Therefore, I will not support the Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act. LRB 2063 is still up for co-sponsorship, and only after that can it be referred to the appropriate committee for further amendments. I will keep your opposition to this bill in mind during this legislative session. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with me on this issue. If I can be of any further assistance to you on this, or any other state issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, Sondy Pope State Representative 80th Assembly District Enter your response here…

5 years ago
Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Scott Walker: Protect Wisconsin’s mining moratorium law!

January 16, 2013 Dear Concerned Constituents, Thank you for contacting me with your concerns and opposition to modifying mining laws in Wisconsin. I appreciate that you have taken the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue. Your concerns about mining damaging our state’s natural resources are mutual with mine, as I am a strong believer in the importance of environmental protection. In the state Assembly, my colleagues and I are doing the best we can to advocate for strict regulations on mining in Wisconsin. Our state is ranked as one of the top 5 tourist destinations in the United States, a reputation that would be tarnished if visitors were to witness mining pollution. Assembly Bill 426, the mining bill proposed in the last legislative session, was a blatant attempt by Republicans in this state to water down strong regulations that have protected both the people and wildlife of Wisconsin for decades by separating the permitting process for the mining of iron from the mining of other metals. This bill would have also established a risky practice known as presumptive permitting. Under this policy, the DNR would have only 360 days to review plans for any proposed mine and either approve or deny a mining permit. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Senate Democrats and Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), the bill stalled and eventually died. The fight is only beginning, however. State-wide elections held this November have left the Republicans with a 59-40 majority in the Assembly and an 18-15 majority in the Senate, meaning that a similar mining bill proposed this session would likely have the votes to pass both houses and eventually become law. Assembly Speaker-elect Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has indicated that he will make passing a bill loosening mining regulations his first priority for the upcoming legislative session. As your representative, I assure you that I will do everything within my power to fight against any legislation that threatens Wisconsin’s environment. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with me on this issue. If I can be of any further assistance to you on this, or any other state issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, Sondy Pope State Representative 80th Assembly District

6 years ago