Update: State Senate passes bill making spitting on prosecutors felony

MADISON — Spitting at prosecutors would carry a felony charge under a bill the Wisconsin Senate passed Tuesday.

It's already a felony to throw or expel bodily substances at police, prison guards, firefighters and first responders, such as emergency medical technicians and ambulance operators. The Republican bill would extend that protection to prosecutors, who currently can only charge people with misdemeanor disorderly conduct for the act.

The bill's supporters say the increased penalty of up to 3 ½ years in prison and $10,000 in fines will deter people from spitting on prosecutors. Democrats say more time in prison will just exacerbate the mental health issues that often lead to the attacks.

The Assembly passed the bill last month. The Senate approved it 24-8 Tuesday, sending it to Gov. Scott Walker for approval.