Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed a pair of bipartisan bills Friday that would increase penalties for carjacking and reckless driving.
The bills come as part of a Republican-backed push to crack down on dangerous driving across the state but particularly in Milwaukee, where Mayor Cavalier Johnson has called rising rates of reckless driving a crisis. Evers signed the legislation at a Milwaukee church.
The first bill designates carjacking as a formal crime. Until now, someone who uses force or threatens to use force to steal a vehicle can be charged with operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
The bill raises the maximum sentence from 40 years in prison to 60 years. Anyone who steals a car by force without using a weapon will still face up to 15 years in prison.
The other bill doubles the fines and forfeitures for reckless driving. The range will increase to a maximum of $400 for a first offense to $1,000 for a subsequent offense. The maximum fine for reckless driving that causes bodily harm will increase to $4,000. Reckless drivers who cause great bodily harm will face up to six years in prison, up from the current maximum of three-and-a-half years.
Evers signed another bill in April that allows local governments to impound unsafe drivers’ vehicles.