The Wisconsin State Bar is hopeful that a proposed increase in funding for prosecutors and public defenders will survive the budget process.
Governor Tony Evers wants to raise the base pay for both, and State Bar President Margaret Hickey says Wisconsin desperately needs to raise the pay for public defenders.
“It’s just as stressful and the pay is not good. So you know, for lawyers, the choice might be well, why do I want to do this job that A is very stressful, and B might actually be dangerous.”
Evers is hoping to spend 36 million dollars on that increase, which would move base pay for starting prosecutors and defenders to 35 dollars an hour. He’s also hoping to hire 50 more prosecutors and public defenders statewide.
Hickey says the state is hurting for justice. “There are lots of open positions. And that means that cases are not being processed the way they should be. So victims are waiting for justice, and people who are charged with crimes are waiting.”
That proposed budget is now in the hands of the legislature’s joint finance committee.