On Wednesday, December 21, 2005, Governor Jim Doyle formally signed the WPPA’s inquest bill into law. Act 73 requires public employers to reimburse law enforcement officers and other public safety employees for reasonable attorneys fees when they are exonerated by inquests into their on-duty conduct. Introduced by State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) and State Representative Brett Davis (R-Oregon), this new law protects public safety employees from having to second-guess their actions out of fear that a potential inquest could lead to financial ruin. The WPPA has sought this bill for many years, and the fact that it is now the law is an outstanding achievement.
Make no mistake about it, the WPPA has been the only group pushing for this important legislation. The WPPA alone presented this issue to the legislature, worked with the drafters on the language, testified on behalf of the bill at each and every committee hearing, and lobbied legislators individually, as well as collectively.
The inquest bill was approved by the Assembly Urban and Local Affairs Committee on September 6, the Senate Judiciary, Corrections, and Privacy Committee on September 13, by the full Senate on November 1, and by the full Assembly on December 6. The WPPA thanks Governor Doyle, our state legislators, and especially the many WPPA members who took the time to contact their elected officials. This law would not exist today were it not for the efforts of our members.