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GOP bill mandates prisoners’ stimulus go to restitution

March 15, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would require Wisconsin prisoners to spend their COVID-19 stimulus dollars on restitution.

President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package last week that includes $1,400 checks for Americans at qualifying income levels. Democrats rejected a Republican amendment to the package that would have prohibited prisoners from receiving checks.

Under Wisconsin state Sen. Julian Bradley and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo’s bill, any federal COVID recovery money sent to someone incarcerated in the state would have to go toward any restitution the prisoner owes.

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Bradley called the bill “a common sense proposal” in an email to The Associated Press.

“President Biden’s irresponsible stimulus package sends stimulus checks to imprisoned murderers, rapists, and child molesters,” he said. “So, Rep. Sanfelippo and I are taking action to ensure the victims of these heinous crimes are paid restitution before criminals sitting in prison can profit.”

No one from Sanfelippo’s office responded to message. A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had no immediate comment.

A federal judge in September ruled that incarcerated people were eligible to receive stimulus checks from the federal CARES Act.