Pay increase for Assistant District Attorneys and Public Defenders passes Budget Committee.

Byline: Steve Schuster,

By Steve Schuster

Wisconsin inched closer to the light at the end of the tunnel in preventing a constitutional crisis Tuesday in Madison.

Wage increases unveiled Wednesday by Wisconsin Republican lawmakers called for a substantial pay increase for Assistant District Attorneys and Public Defenders, slightly surpassing the increase proposed in Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' budget.

Under the Wisconsin GOP proposal, wages would increase for Public Defenders and Assistant District Attorneys to $36 an hour. The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) unanimously passed the increase Tuesday.

"We are incredibly grateful for the JFC's unanimous vote and the leadership from the Co-Chairs, Senator Marklein and Representative Born. This represents a transformational investment in public safety and prosecutors. We expect this will stabilize the prosecutor ranks allowing us to recruit and retain excellent prosecutors to work together with law enforcement to keep dangerous criminals off our street and find justice for crime victims and our community," said Fond Du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney. Toney also serves as President of the Wisconsin District Attorneys' Association.

Gov. Evers had previously proposed an increase to $35 an hour for Public Defenders and Assistant District Attorneys.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Wisconsin Law Journal on May 5 that he supports a "substantial" pay raise for Wisconsin Assistant District Attorneys (ADA's).

"We have been working in our caucus to do a substantial raise, because we need to make sure we keep the people who are already there," Vos said.

During a May 5, 2023 Milwaukee Press Club event, the Wisconsin Law Journal asked Vos: Given law students are graduating with significant student loan debt and are taking on serious cases as ADA's, does he support increasing the current wages for Assistant District Attorneys.

In response, Vos said he supports raising the current starting wage of $27.24 per hour that Wisconsin Assistant District Attorneys currently earn.

"We just did a salary study for the State Legislature. it made me realize that for a lot of these jobs, we have to think differently to attract the best and brightest people," Vos said.

Vos also said, Gov. Tony Evers made a mistake by not proposing a high enough salary increase for Assistant District Attorneys.

"Gov. Evers proposed an increase and I think he made...

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