- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Shooting video up a woman’s skirt or recording images of a person’s genitals without permission would become a crime in Wisconsin under a bipartisan Assembly proposal.

One of the first measures filed in the GOP-controlled chamber this session, the bill would specifically criminalize “upskirting,” which is using a camera, phone or other device to record another person’s private parts without consent. The measure would make it a felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison.

Current state law does not address upskirting. District attorneys around the state have been prosecuting upskirting as an invasion of privacy offense, which are misdemeanors punishable by up to nine months in jail.

“This bill solves a problem that has plagued DAs,” Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol told the Assembly Judiciary Committee during a public hearing on the measure Thursday. “This gives us some area to attack (upskirting).”

The bill’s authors, Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, and Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, said they drafted the bill after hearing what Sargent called “creepy” stories about men secretly putting camera phones under women’s skirts. They said people shouldn’t feel afraid in public places.

“I think under our clothing, no matter where we are, we have an expectation of privacy,” Ott said. “It’s a sad state of affairs that this had to be done. Who would have thought that we would need it?”

No committee members expressed any opposition.

The panel was expected to vote on the measure next week. Passage would clear the way for a vote in the full Assembly.

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

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