GOP Mum on Special Session on Police Reform
Gov. Evers called special-session this week. Bucks Players called for Legislature to convene.
Republican leaders of the state Legislature remained silent on Thursday about the prospect of a special session to take up bills related to police policies and training, despite a high-profile call-out by the Milwaukee Bucks and protests staged by other Wisconsin sports teams and activists across the state.
After the Bucks refused to take the court in a crucial playoff game yesterday, the team issued a statement calling on the state Legislature to reconvene after “months of inaction” to take up bills related to police accountability and criminal justice reform.
The GOP leaders of the state Assembly and Senate haven’t publicly commented on the Bucks’ call and didn’t return requests for comment today.
The Legislature was last in session in mid-April, when lawmakers met virtually to approve a bill responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin. Prior to that, the Assembly adjourned for the year in February. An expected return of the Senate this spring to conclude its business for the year was derailed by the pandemic.
On the same day the governor called the special session, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, unveiled a task force on racial disparities, public safety and police policies. Vos has said for months lawmakers should take their time discussing the issues and proposing legislation.
Speaking at a Capitol press conference in late June, Vos said it’s important for lawmakers to take their time “to see what the answers are.”
“And I also think that we need to have real actions,” Vos said at the time. “It’s not just about changing the names of Eskimo pies and all these things that seem like they’re just virtue signaling.”
Meanwhile, Democrats have been sharply critical of the GOP for not responding to calls to take action.
“I am ready to reconvene and take meaningful action. I hope @SenFitzgerald and @SpeakerVos are willing to do the same,” Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, D-Mason, tweeted on Thursday. “The time to act is now.”
Wisconsin GOP Leaders Silent After Calls To Convene Legislature For Police Policy Changes was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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