2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
January 20, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Kessler, Crowley, Brostoff,
Berceau and Ohnstad, cosponsored by Senators L. Taylor and C. Larson.
Referred to Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
1An Act to create
66.0414 of the statutes; relating to: limiting the authority of
2a law enforcement officer to arrest someone for sleeping or camping in a county
3park, authorizing local ordinances to prohibit overnight sleeping or camping in
4a county park, and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under this bill, and subject to a number of exceptions, no state or local law
enforcement officer may arrest a person, without a warrant, who is suspected of
sleeping in an area of a county park in which the county has prohibited overnight
sleeping or overnight camping. The exceptions include situations where the law
enforcement officer knows the person is wanted for arrest on charges unrelated to
sleeping or camping in a county park or the officer reasonably believes the person is
a threat to public health or safety for reasons unrelated to sleeping or camping in a
The bill authorizes a city, village, town, or county to enact and enforce an
ordinance prohibiting a person from sleeping in a county park in an area designated
by the political subdivision as an area in which overnight sleeping or camping is
prohibited, but the ordinance must specify that the penalty for violating such an
ordinance is a forfeiture of not less than $10 nor more than $200, plus costs. The
ordinance must also specify that a person who is convicted of violating such an
ordinance and does not pay the forfeiture may be sentenced to a term of not more than
90 days in the county jail or county house of corrections.
If a political subdivision has in effect on the effective date an ordinance that is
inconsistent with the provisions contained in the bill, the ordinance does not apply
and may not be enforced.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
66.0414 of the statutes is created to read:
266.0414 Law enforcement in county parks. (1)
In this section:
(a) “Law enforcement officer" means any person employed by the state or any 4
political subdivision for the purpose of detecting and preventing crime and enforcing 5
laws or ordinances and who is authorized to make arrests for violations of the laws 6
or ordinances the person is employed to enforce, whether that enforcement authority 7
extends to all laws or ordinances or is limited to specific laws or ordinances.
(b) “Political subdivision" means any city, village, town, or county.
Except as provided in sub. (3), and subject to subs. (4) and (5), no law 10
enforcement officer may, without a warrant, arrest any person who is suspected of 11
sleeping in a county park in an area that the county has designated as an area in 12
which overnight sleeping or overnight camping is prohibited.
The limitation on arrest in sub. (2) does not apply if any of the following 14
apply to the person suspected of sleeping in a county park:
(a) The law enforcement officer knows that the person is wanted for arrest on 16
other charges unrelated to overnight sleeping or camping in a county park.
(b) The law enforcement officer reasonably believes that the person poses a 18
threat to public health or safety that is unrelated to sleeping or camping in a county 19
(a) Subject to par. (b), a political subdivision may enact and enforce an 2
ordinance prohibiting a person from sleeping in a county park in an area designated 3
by the political subdivision as an area in which overnight sleeping or overnight 4
camping is prohibited.
(b) The ordinance described in par. (a) shall specify the penalty for violating the 6
ordinance is a forfeiture of not less than $10 nor more than $200, plus costs. The 7
ordinance shall also specify that, if a person convicted of such an ordinance does not 8
pay the forfeiture, the person may be sentenced to serve a term in the county jail or 9
county house of corrections for a period not to exceed 90 days.
If a political subdivision has in effect on the effective date of this subsection 11
.... [LRB inserts date], an ordinance that is inconsistent with the provisions of sub. 12
(2) or (4), the ordinance does not apply and may not be enforced.
(1) This act first applies to a person who is found sleeping in a county park by 15
a law enforcement officer on the effective date of this subsection.