Bill would create exemption for sex offender registry

Posted at 1:54 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 17:53:08-04

A bipartisan proposal creates an exemption to Wisconsin's sex offender registry for teenagers ages 15 to 18 who are convicted after having consensual sex.

State law makes it a crime for two people under the age of 18 to have sexual contact, regardless of consent. Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch (KLAY'-fish) and Democratic Rep. Fred Kessler have written legislation that creates a new crime of "underage sexual activity" and lowers the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor. Other states have labeled it the "Romeo and Juliet" exemption.

Kessler tells WITI-TV ( ) he's not sure exactly how many teens who have engaged in consensual sex are on the registry, but he expects it's less than 100. Kleefisch says 30 lawmakers have signed onto the bill since it began to circulate this month.