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As I See It

Wisconsin Legislature in no hurry to debate police reform

Scott Robert Shaw

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What do politicians do when they don’t support legislation, or don’t even want to have to vote on legislation? They appoint a task force. That is what the Wisconsin Legislature did amid growing calls for police reform measures. Governor Tony Evers proposed a series of reform measures back in June. Things like eliminating no-knock warrants, more de-escalation training and banning the use of chokeholds. Leaders of the Legislature for months ignored the Governor’s call to gather in a special session to discuss his ideas. Following the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the protests that followed, legislative leaders couldn’t ignore the growing calls for reform any longer. So they got together, not to discuss the Governor’s ideas, but to appoint a task force to study the issue. They made headlines when they appointed a black legislator to co-chair the task force, but we haven’t heard a peep since. No hearings have been scheduled, no debate heard. They don’t seem to feel any urgency. Now those legislative leaders say they likely won’t hold a vote on any police reform measures until next year. But appointing a task force is hardly a solution. It is simply designed to give the appearance of action in hopes this difficult issue will go away.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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