2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
November 30, 2017 - Introduced by Senators Darling, L. Taylor, Johnson, Larson,
Ringhand, Tiffany and Wanggaard, cosponsored by Representatives Hutton,
Fields, Crowley, Horlacher, Knodl, Krug, Kulp, Novak, Schraa, Spiros,
Subeck, Tauchen and Brostoff. Referred to Committee on Judiciary and
1An Act to create
20.625 (1) (h), 758.20, 895.492 and 973.25 of the statutes; 2relating to: creating a procedure for granting certificates of qualification for
3employment for persons convicted of a crime and making an appropriation.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be ineligible
for, or at a disadvantage related to, certain types of employment, occupational
licensing, or occupational certification. This bill creates the Council on Offender
Employment, which may issue a certificate of qualification for employment (CQE)
that grants relief to the person from ineligibility for or disadvantage related to
employment, occupational licensing, or occupational certification.
Under the bill, a person who has been convicted of a nonviolent crime and
released from confinement may apply to the council for a CQE after he or she has
served a term of incarceration of at least 24 consecutive months or after he or she has
served a term of incarceration of at least 12 consecutive months and a term of
extended supervision of at least 12 consecutive months. Under the bill, the
Department of Corrections must supply the council with information gathered
during the person's period of incarceration and supervision that the council may use
to determine whether to grant a CQE.
Under the bill, the council must grant a person's application for a CQE if the
council finds that the person is not likely to pose a risk to public safety, that the CQE
will substantially assist the person in obtaining employment or occupational
licensing or certification, and that the person is less likely to commit an additional
criminal offense if he or she obtains a CQE. The council may not issue a CQE that
provides relief from ineligibility for certain occupations, licenses, or certifications
that are related to certain offenses, that are designed to protect public health and
safety, or that have a close connection to the crime for which the person was
convicted. Under the bill, generally, if a person who received a CQE is convicted of
a felony or of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or has his or her probation or
extended supervision revoked for committing a criminal offense, the CQE is
The bill also provides limited immunity from civil liability for employers who
hire a person who is issued a CQE. Under the bill, the employer is immune from
liability for the acts or omissions of the employee unless the employer acted
maliciously, with gross negligence, or with intent to cause harm when he or she hired
For further information see the state 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:
20.625 (1) (h) of the statutes is created to read:
(h) Certificates of qualification for employment.
All moneys received 3
under s. 973.25 (4) (a) for general program operations of the circuit courts.
758.20 of the statutes is created to read:
5758.20 Consolidated court automation programs. (1)
In this section, 6
“Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Internet site" means the Internet site of the 7
consolidated court automation programs, which is the statewide electronic circuit 8
court case management system established under s. 758.19 (4) and maintained by 9
the director of state courts.
The director of state courts shall ensure the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access 11
Internet site provides the department of corrections access to the information 12
required to complete the report under s. 973.25 (7).
895.492 of the statutes is created to read:
1895.492 Civil liability exemption; certificate of qualification for
In this section:
(a) “Employee" has the meaning given in s. 101.01 (3) and also includes a former 4
(b) “Employer" has the meaning given in s. 101.01 (4).
An employer who hires an employee who has been issued a certificate of 7
qualification for employment under s. 973.25 is immune from liability for the acts or 8
omissions of the employee unless the employer, when he or she hired the employee, 9
acted maliciously, with gross negligence, or with intent to cause harm.
973.25 of the statutes is created to read:
11973.25 Certificates of qualification for employment. (1) Definitions.
(a) “Certificate of qualification for employment” means a certificate issued by 14
the council on offender employment that provides an offender with relief from a 15
collateral sanction, except that it does not provide relief from s. 48.685 (5m), 50.065 16
(4m), or 111.335 (1) (c), (cg), (cm), (cs), or (d).
(b) “Collateral sanction” means a penalty, ineligibility, disability, or 18
disadvantage that is related to employment or to occupational licensing or 19
certification and that is a result of the offender's criminal record. “Collateral 20
sanction” does not include confinement in a jail or prison; probation, parole, or 21
extended supervision; suspension or revocation of motor vehicle operating 22
privileges; imposition of a forfeiture, fine, or assessment; costs of prosecution; or an 23
order to pay restitution.
(c) “Offender” means a person who has been convicted of a crime other than a 25
violent crime, as defined in s. 165.84 (7).
1(2) Council on offender employment.
The director of state courts shall provide 2
forms for use in filing an application for a certificate of qualification for employment 3
and shall convene a council on offender employment that shall review applications 4
for certificates of qualification for employment. The council shall consist of the 5
following 3 members: the attorney general, or his or her designee; the state public 6
defender, or his or her designee; and the chairperson of the parole commission, or his 7
or her designee. The council shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities set 8
forth in this section.
. An offender who has been released from confinement may 10
apply for a certificate of qualification for employment under this section if any of the 11
(a) He or she has served at least 24 consecutive months of a term of confinement 13
in prison in the Wisconsin state prisons.
(b) He or she has served at least 12 consecutive months of a term of confinement 15
in prison in the Wisconsin state prisons and at least 12 consecutive months of a term 16
of extended supervision under s. 302.113.
(a) An offender may file an application for a certificate of 18
qualification for employment to the council on offender employment on a form to be 19
provided by the director of state courts along with an application fee of $20 that shall 20
be deposited in the appropriation under s. 20.625 (1) (h). The council may waive the 21
fee if the offender submits an affidavit along with the application in which he or she 22
swears or affirms that he or she is unable to pay the application fee.
(b) After receiving an application under par. (a), the council on offender 24
employment shall request from the department of corrections and the department 25
shall provide to the council all of the following information about the offender:
1. His or her highest level of education.
2. Any treatment he or she has completed.
3. Any performance evaluations for his or her work.
4. Any risk and needs assessment reports.
5. Any other reports of information gathered during the normal course of 6
business, as requested by the council.
(c) Within 60 days after receiving the information requested under par. (b), the 8
council on offender employment shall issue an order granting or denying the 9
offender's request for a certificate of qualification for employment.
10(5) Granting of certificate; exceptions.
The council on offender employment 11
shall grant an offender's application for a certificate of qualification for employment 12
if the council finds that the offender is not likely to pose a risk to public safety, that 13
the certificate will substantially assist the offender in obtaining employment or 14
occupational licensing or certification, and that the offender is less likely to commit 15
an additional criminal offense if he or she obtains a certificate of qualification for 16
17(6) Revocation of certificate of qualification for employment.
(a) If an 18
offender is convicted of a felony or of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor after he or 19
she is issued a certificate of qualification for employment, or if his or her probation, 20
parole, or extended supervision is revoked for the commission of a crime, the court 21
shall permanently revoke a certificate of qualification for employment issued under 22
(b) The court may not revoke an offender's certificate of qualification for 24
employment as a sanction for the offender's commission of an act or offense that is 25
a violation of a condition of the offender's probation, parole, or extended supervision
that is not a crime, or if the offender's probation, parole, or extended supervision is 2
revoked as a result of the offender's commission of a noncriminal act.
3(7) Data collection; report to legislature.
The department of corrections 4
shall prepare an annual report that includes, for each year, the number of 5
applications that are received under this section, the number of certificates of 6
qualification for employment that are issued, and the number of certificates of 7
qualification for employment that are revoked and the reasons for revocation. The 8
department shall submit the report to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature 9
for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2).