Wisconsin Legislator Proposes “Blue Lives Matter” Legislation
Rep. David Steffen (R – Green Bay) and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R- Sturgeon Bay) announced they will introduced a “Blue Lives Matter” bill as soon as session begins in January 2017. Sparked by the recent police shooting in Dallas, the bill would designate any crime against a law enforcement official as a hate crime. Wisconsin becomes one of several states across the nation, including Kentucky and Florida, considering this type of legislation.
Rep. Steffen explained his proposal saying he believes the law enforcement community deserves the additional protection of hate crime laws. He calls the bill a small, single step that Wisconsin can take to reinforce its commitment to supporting and protecting law enforcement officers. Rep. Kitchens also stated the need to “stand behind and support” law enforcement, citing his personal connection to the bill as a son of an FBI agent.
In May, Louisiana passed similar legislation expanding the state’s hate crime laws to include police, EMS, and firefighters. The law increases the possible penalties for those convicted of a felony hate crime, including five more years in prison with hard labor and a $5,000 fine.