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Wisconsin Legislature votes to increase parole transparency



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s parole commission would be forced to post its decisions online about who has been granted and denied parole under a Republican-authored bill that the Legislature passed with bipartisan support Wednesday and now heads to Gov. Tony Evers.

The Assembly passed a previous version of the bill with bipartisan support in March. The Senate voted 29-4 to pass the bill with some changes that the Assembly also approved Wednesday, sending the measure to Evers.

Under the bill, the Department of Corrections would be required to post the names of individuals granted parole, denied parole or returned to prison following the revocation of parole. It would also have to post monthly and annual aggregate totals for each of those categories. Commission agendas currently don’t list parole applicants’ names.

Republicans criticized the commission after it decided to parole convicted murderer Douglas Balsewicz last year. He had served 25 years of an 80-year sentence for fatally stabbing his wife. Her family insisted that they weren’t notified of the decision until only a few days before he was set to be released.

The commission’s chairperson, John Tate, ultimately rescinded Balsewicz’s parole at Evers’ request and resigned a few weeks later, again at the governor’s request.

Evers has not said whether he would sign the bill into law.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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