MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic legislators are complaining that their Republican colleagues didn’t give advance notice to them or the Madison Police Department about a proposed security study of the state Capitol that would require the department’s involvement.
The state’s budget committee adopted the measure Tuesday along party lines. The full Legislature and governor haven’t approved the study, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Committee Republicans said the study would be a proactive way to prioritize the safety of visitors and workers in the building in an age of increasing threats.
“We’re simply asking for consultation on the day-to-day security operations in the Capitol,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “How can you oppose looking at ways to improve safety in one of the most visited public buildings in the state?”
Fitzgerald added that he’s unaware of any security analysis of the Capitol grounds that reflects the world people live in today.
The budget committee plan would require the state Department of Administration and the Madison Police Department to study Capitol security and safety and submit recommendations by January 2020.
But not receiving a heads-up on the study’s proposal didn’t sit well with Democrats, who suggested that the DOA should examine the Capitol’s policy allowing some firearms on the premises.
Concealed carry is permitted in the Capitol, except in the offices of the Capitol Police and state Supreme Court.
Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said he wasn’t notified of the proposed study. He noted that the involvement could mean that the department’s central district command staff would consult with the DOA.
State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, voted against the study. Taylor, who represents the Capitol area, said she wasn’t given prior notice.
“I don’t have any specific objection to studying security and safety at the Capitol,” she said. “However, you have to consider when you do a safety study the presence of guns in the Capitol.”
Taylor acknowledged that there have been no major problems with firearms in the Capitol over the past several years.