Wisconsin split its senatorial vote in reauthorizing the federal Violence Against Women Act. Democrat Herb Kohl voted yes and Republican Ron Johnson voted no.
The 1994 law normally gets routine bi-partisan renewals but it has become a political hot topic this year. Republicans initially balked when majority Senate Democrats added provisions to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender abuse victims. Republicans rejected those provisions and added more penalties for abusers. With the GOP facing criticisms of waging a “war on women,” 15 Republicans joined Democrats in passing the act.
Johnson held his ground, accusing Democrats of politicizing the measure and voting down important provisions: “They voted against legislation to establish an interstate database for DNA evidence, to ensure sex offenders are brought to justice regardless or the jurisdiction in which they commit their crimes.”
Kohl said his colleagues approved new protections he suggested for elderly victims.
Just prior to Senate passage Thursday, Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore talked of her backing of the House Democrats’ plan.
AUDIO: Moore on VAWA (:50)
The Senate package now goes to the House.