Gov. Walker signs 62 bills into law

Gov. Scott Walker
Gov. Scott Walker

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Measures that ban revenge porn, restrict drone use and allow doctors to say “I’m sorry” without fear of legal liability were among the more than 60 bills Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on Tuesday.

Walker signed the 62 bills privately in his Capitol office. The Legislature completed its work for the year last week, leaving Walker with dozens of bills to either sign or veto.

Two of the measures he signed affect private schools that accept students who use taxpayer subsidies, or vouchers, to attend their district.

One bill will require those private schools to provide the state a host of data, including graduation rates and enrollment numbers, starting in the 2015 school year. That information, taken together with statewide test results, eventually will be publicly released on report cards similar to ones for public schools that began two years ago.

Conservative Republicans tried to impose sanctions on poorly performing public and private schools, but the measure couldn’t find enough support to pass. The idea was roundly criticized from both private and voucher school proponents, as well as public school advocates.

Republicans vow to work on the issue this summer and try again next year.

Another measure Walker signed would require private schools that want to participate in the voucher program to meet new, tougher requirements. The new law requires voucher schools to maintain accreditation from legitimate agencies. Previous state law only required the schools to get accreditation, but not to keep it.

That was backed by both the state Department of Public Instruction as well as voucher school supporters.

Other bills Walker signed will:

- Create a new crime for disseminating sexually explicit images without the consent of the person depicted, a practice known as revenge porn. The bill makes it a misdemeanor to disseminate a nude picture without the subject’s consent, regardless of whether the person granted permission to capture the image. The act would be punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and nine months in jail.

- Restrict the use of unmanned drones in Wisconsin. The bipartisan measure outlaws deploying a drone capable of making video or audio recordings in areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

- End a requirement that schools teach for 180 days a year or lose state funding. Instead, schools would only have to meet the hourly requirement, giving them the flexibility to meet over longer hours but fewer days each year.

- Prohibits bosses from asking workers or job applicants for access to their social media accounts.

- Scale back a law requiring DNA to be collected at arrest. The law, set to take effect next year, originally applied to anyone arrested for a felony and adults convicted of a misdemeanor. But the bill Walker signed limits it to those arrested for a violent felony, as well as those convicted of misdemeanors.

- Allow doctors and other health care providers to apologize to patients without worrying about whether the statements could be used against them in court. The new law, known as the “I’m Sorry” law, makes apologies, condolences or expressions of sympathy inadmissible in civil proceedings and in administrative hearings concerning the health care provider’s actions.

- Make it illegal for a felon’s family members to help him or her evade police. Current Wisconsin law prohibits a person from aiding or harboring a felon. But the law doesn’t apply to the felon’s spouse, parents, grandparents, children, grandchild and siblings.

- Restructure governance of the troubled Milwaukee mental health complex, taking it away from the county board and giving it to a panel of medical professionals, patients and family members.

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