- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A bill that would make upskirting - secretly taking a photo of someone’s genitals, buttocks or breasts - a stand-alone felony stalled in a state Senate committee.

Current state law doesn’t address upskirting. District attorneys, typically prosecute it as a misdemeanor invasion of privacy. The bill would make upskirting a felony punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison.

Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, the chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee, said the bill stalled in a committee meeting Wednesday. He said committee members are concerned making upskirting a felony is too harsh.

Wanggaard said committee members plan to meet with bill authors to discuss the penalty before it moves to the Senate.

“We don’t want to have a floor fight,” Wanggaard said Wednesday. “We’d rather hash it out in committee.”

The bill’s author, Mequon Republican Rep. Jim Ott, on Thursday said the punishment fits the crime. He said upskirting can leave victims traumatized.

“We’re not trying to make more felons, we’re just trying to prevent an act that is a major invasion into someone’s life,” Ott said.

The state Assembly approved the bill on a voice vote last month.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bydanaferguson .

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