AG, Republicans bring back child neglect bill

State Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Allouez (Photo courtesy of Sen. Robert Cowles)

MADISON (AP) -- Attorney General Brad Schimel and Sen. Rob Cowles are re-introducing a bill that would make proving child neglect easier and make repeated acts of neglect a crime.

Right now, child neglect is a misdemeanor. Prosecutors must show a defendant intentionally neglected the child to prove a crime. Under the bill, prosecutors could charge a defendant with a felony if the act is severe enough. They would have to prove criminal negligence, a lower legal threshold than intent.

The measure also would create a new criminal charge for repeated acts of neglect against the same child with penalties ranging from six to 60 years in prison.

Schimel and Cowles introduced an almost identical bill last legislative session but it failed to pass.

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