Republicans tell committee to restrict warden access

A legislative committee is set to consider a bill that would restrict conservation wardens’ ability to enter private land to enforce Wisconsin law.

Case law has established that evidence wardens collect in open fields without a warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a crime is admissible in court. Open fields are typically considered areas where Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in people’s homes don’t apply.

Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow has introduced a bill that would prohibit wardens from entering private land without a warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion. If a warden does enter private land without any of that any evidence they find wouldn’t be admissible in court.

The Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee is set to hold a public hearing on the bill Wednesday.