Gov. reneges on sex offender monitoring law

Despite campaigning for and signing lifetime monitoring law, WI governor wants to scale program back.

In a move that is bucking the trend towards more Draconian measures against sex offenders, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is backing off of a bill he signed requiring lifetime GPS monitoring of child sex offenders, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The Democrat wants to monitor offenders with passive monitors that cost much less than the real-time devices and delay implementation of the law he promoted on the campaign trail to save money. Even under Doyle's new plan, the program would cost over $11 million.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, a Republican, one of the lead sponsors of the bill, said he was appalled over the proposed changes. "Doyle ran ads bragging about signing one of the toughest sex predator laws in the nation, talking about this GPS bill," he said. "In his budget, he attempts to gut the entire bill."

Even as he proclaimed he was still implementing extensive monitoring, Doyle questioned the constitutionality of the measure because it requires criminals to be monitored after they complete their sentences.

Although the passive monitors normally would not transmit data in real time, they would immediately alert the department when wearers went near schools or other areas where they are prohibited, said Susan Crawford, the department's executive assistant.