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Wisconsin Assembly to vote on penalty for defunding police

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly is poised to give final approval Tuesday to a Republican-backed bill that would penalize local governments that attempt to defund police.

The bill, which the Senate passed earlier this month, is expected to be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers.

The proposal would mandate that any municipality that decreases funding for police would receive an equal cut in state aid. The bill is an attempt by conservatives to stop those who want to take money away from police departments, sometimes to use for other social services that may not require a law enforcement intervention.

Under the bill, municipalities that do not cut their police budgets would receive more in state aid. Police departments with fewer than 30 officers would be exempt.

Republican backers say the bill would keep cities from indiscriminately cutting police and would keep communities safe. Democratic opponents argue the state was attempting to interfere with local government decision making and the proposal would do nothing to keep communities safe.

The measure is one of several working its way through the Legislature making changes to policing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis last year. Evers has promised to sign measures passed last week, including one generally banning chokeholds.

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