State lawmakers want to expedite Lincoln Hills transition - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

State lawmakers want to expedite Lincoln Hills transition

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Wis. (WAOW) -

Shortly after Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to restructure the state's juvenile corrections systems, state lawmakers called for swifter action.

In the governor's original announcement, overhaul measures would be budgeted for in 2019. Changes would include turning the current Lincoln Hills facility into a medium security adult institution and opening five regional youth facilities across the state.

The timeline immediately sparked criticism from certain Democrats, several saying the move is too little too late.

Friday morning, Reps. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) and David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) released a statement announcing they're working on legislation to accelerate the governor's plan.

“Two bills, including one that we co-authored, could be passed this session that would cut the red tape of waiting for the next budget to go into effect, speeding results to children and their families, corrections workers, and taxpayers," the statement read, in part. 

Newsline 9 spoke with Rep. Bowen after he toured Lincoln Hills in November, and spoke separately with staff members. After visiting the facility, he said "It's hard when things are not adding up. When people don't feel safe, I have a really big concern with that.

His, and Rep. Kleefisch's statement from Friday continues to read: "These bills could be heard and approved by committees, passed by the legislature, and signed into law by the governor before the current legislative session is gaveled out."

However, Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), has concerns over being too hasty with implementing the changes.

"This will take a little time, the communities need to be identified where these youth will be moved to," Tiffany said. "There needs to be facilities for them, and this does not happen over night."

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