Something remarkable happened. Lawmakers in the state Capitol showed an overwhelming bipartisan consensus on something. The consensus was for Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin —recently approved bipartisan legislation to amend our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims.

As a survivor of violent crime, I’d like to take a moment this holiday season to express my sincere thanks to Senator Wanggaard for voting for Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. His support means the world to survivors like me, and to all of those who have joined the fight to better Wisconsin’s communities.

In 2004, I became a victim when I was beaten with a baseball bat, suffocated, dumped in a snow-filled trash can and left to die in a frozen storage shed. I saw very clearly how victims need more of a voice in the legal process that followed.

Today, I am an outspoken proponent of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, which would place additional victims’ rights in the state Constitution and strengthen the rights that are already in it, so that victims’ rights are not automatically trumped in the courtroom by those of their attackers.

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is made up of common-sense provisions to ensure that victims of crime are empowered throughout the legal process. For example, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin would expand on our current constitutional right to be heard, making clear victims will have a voice at additional proceedings like bail, plea, and parole — any time the defendant could be released and we could be in danger.

It’s not that often that lawmakers of both parties are able to so overwhelmingly agree on something. I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for standing up for survivors and making our communities safer.

Teri Jendusa-Nicolai is the Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin State chairwoman and a victim’s rights advocate. She also serves as a member of the Waterford Town Board.

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