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WI Assembly Republican Proposes Bill Guaranteed to Increase Crime Rate

Last week Assembly Bill 286 was introduced by state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. Teh bill, in effect, allows employers to refuse to hire someone because they are a felon and, even more reprehensibly, fire them even if they are already working based solely on their status as a felon.

As the law exists now, employers cannot discriminate against people with a felony conviction unless there is a substantial connection between the circumstances surrounding the conviction and the job itself. In addition to changing this section of the law, the bill will also prevent municipalities from enacting their own laws that differ from this one.

As is reported on,  Adriana Peguero, a lawyer with the Madison City Attorney’s Office who represents and advises the city’s Civil Rights Department says, “It will eliminate the protections offered on the state level as well as those offered in our Madison general ordinances.”

It is widely accepted that employers already skirt the law by running background checks on potential employees and then just not calling in those who have convictions. However, the new law will allow employers to purposely terminate higher paid workers with seniority in favor of lower paid ones by checking for convictions which occurred many years in the past even if there are no complaints about the employee’s performance.

Certainly we at understand why an employer might be reluctant to hire someone with a felony on their record but at the same time the surest way to ensure additional crimes is to place the downtrodden even further behind the proverbial 8 ball and can potentially have a devastating effect on not only the felon, but also their family. It also completely ignores the concept of rehabilitation in the justice system and absolutely disregards the well established principle that gainful employment is a dominant factor in preventing future crimes.

Thumbs down to Rep.Kleefisch in this politically motivated attempt to pander to the ignorant and uninformed. There is NO justification for this mean spirited law and, if he was thinking of anything other than scoring a political coup, would realize that if the bill passes it will certainly result in an increase in crime as well additional expenses incurred in placing offenders back in prison.

Perhaps it’s time for the voters in his district to show him how it feels to be unemployed and disgraced.

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