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Assembly set to vote on bills affecting the hiring of felons

The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill to let employers fire and refuse to hire convicted killers, kidnappers and child molesters.

That would be a big exception to the current law in which employers can consider criminal histories only when a crime relates to the job.

Wisconsin would be the only state in the country where major offenders can be turned away from work with no questions asked.

The bill was authored by Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. He also wants child molesters to drive around with bright green license plates.

He and others say employers should have the right to keep violent people out of their businesses.

But Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, called that "scary," and said it would keep offenders from having any chance to live constructive lives.

Bob Andersen, an attorney for Legal Action of Wisconsin, says current laws already address the issue and there's no room to consider individual circumstances.

Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch supports the bill. But it may not make it out of the Democratically-controlled Senate.

Also Wednesday, the Assembly will vote again on letting schools fire or refuse to hire felons, even if their jobs have nothing to do with their crimes. Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a similar bill in the last session.