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Capital City Sunday: Special session on police reform, unrest in Kenosha, RNC recap

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republicans in the legislature don’t have plans to head back to the capitol after Governor Tony Evers called a special session to take up police reform bills.

However, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he will gavel in for the session to come back another date to consider police related legislation. 

“In addition to the series of bills that Governor Evers has asked the legislature to consider, Senator Wanggaard of Racine has released a package of bills aimed at increasing transparency and community involvement into law enforcement,” said Fitzgerald in a statement.

Demonstrators are voicing their anger over the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake and many voters, including Wisconsin sport teams, are calling on state lawmakers to convene to take up meaningful reform on police accountability. 

Sen. Van Wanggaard, R - Racine, is the only Republican who’s introduced proposals related to law enforcement this year.

The legislative package includes: creating an independent review board to analyze deadly police shootings, ban training officers to use chokeholds, requiring law enforcement agencies to have a policy on how "use of force" situations are reported and provide grants to create community police houses.

However Wanggaard said he doesn’t believe his caucus will return to the capitol to vote on any bills, including his, until after the election.

“I don’t anticipate we will,” he said. “You have to do it right the first time.”

Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) called Republicans' refusal to convene a “smack in the face.”

“Our state is on fire and they have no desire to show up and do what they were elected to do and what they are paid to do,” said Johnson.

Republican National Convention Recap

President Donald Trump closed out the Republican National Convention by making his case to the American people for a second term. 

Themes included contrasting what America would look like under another four years under Trump’s presidency while calling Joe Biden’s America "dark" and "radical".

“While we did prop up America it was also vital to show where Democrats want to take this country. It's not a good place and I don’t think the American people are going to buy what their selling," said Hogan Gidley, national press secretary for the Trump campaign.

Republicans also blamed Democrats for recent violence in some cities, including Kenosha, as protests grew over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

When asked why the president didn’t name Blake or condemn the 17-year-old charged for allegedly shooting and killing two protesters, Gidley continued to put the blame on Democratic-run states, referring to Gov. Tony Evers.

“Rioting, looting, beating people up, that’s no America,” said Gidley, “We have to stop that and the president has offered the whole weight of the Federal government to come in so we can preserve American.”

Trump, during his acceptance speech, said the rioting will continue under his rival Joe Biden, saying American’s won’t be safe if he’s elected. However, the unrest is currently occurring under the Trump administration. 

“At the DNC we didn’t hear a single word about any of this death and destruction even though it’s happening in state’s controlled by Democrats for decades,” said Gidley.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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