FILE - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

The Wisconsin Assembly on Wednesday approved the Republicans' tough-on-crime package largely along party lines.

But the top Republican in the Assembly says Gov. Tony Evers will have to explain to voters why he doesn't want to send repeat criminals back to prison. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters at the Capitol that the governor is going to have to own any vetoes that he issues in the Republicans' tough-on-crime package. 

"Our job is to get clean legislation to his desk. He then gets to make the decision and explain to the people of Wisconsin," Vos said Tuesday. 

One piece of the Republican crime package is a provision that would require the state's prison managers to hold a hearing anytime someone on probation commits a new crime. It doesn't require that they be sent back to jail or prison, just that the Department of Corrections hold a hearing. 

Evers is expected to gut that provision once it reaches his desk. 

"I hope that he would sign this legislation," Vos said. "The governor will have to make that choice once it gets to his desk."

Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, wrote the legislation. He said right now about half of the people who are on parole or probation and commit a new crime are not brought before a judge. He said that doesn't make any sense. 

"I think we are trying to send a message that we are serious about community safety," Hutton told reporters. "There is a strong sentiment, regardless of what your position on crime or criminal justice reform, that [repeat offenders] should not be out in the community. I would hope the governor would understand that sentiment." 

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said that some of the particulars in some of the Republicans' tough on crime plans are "non-starters" with the governor. 

The Center Square Contributor

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.