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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


When Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes — now the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Wisconsin — was a state legislator, he voted against a 2015 Republican-proposed bill that made it a felony to “intentionally cause bodily harm or threaten to cause bodily harm” to a judge, prosecutor, public defender or law enforcement officer acting in their official duties. The previous law designated only threats against judges and battery against judges and law enforcement officials as felonies.

Under both the old and the new laws, such crimes are Class H felonies, carrying a maximum penalty of six years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

The Legislature approved the measure, with a bipartisan group of 80 lawmakers voting in favor of it — including all but one Republican. Barnes as one of 15 lawmakers who voted against it.


Wisconsin State Legislature: 2015 Assembly Bill 347

Wisconsin State Legislature: 2015 Assembly Vote 154

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.