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GOP passes bill defunding cities who defund police

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican senators passed a bill Wednesday cutting state funding for cities and villages who slash their police budgets.

The bill passed along party lines, 20-12, with supporters arguing the measure ensuring shared revenue -- the money the state provides to municipalities -- would go toward communities prioritizing public safety.

"The reductions in shared revenue to municipalities under this bill would be redistributed among the municipalities that do not cut their police, fire, or EMS," said Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).

The bill calls for the state to reduce its shared revenue aid by the amount a city or village reduced its police budget.

Democrats argued the bill ran counter to Republicans' small government principles by dictating what communities had to fund under the threat of reduced state aid.

"The idea that local municipalities would be prevented from making decisions that are in the best interest of their residents and fiscal responsibility to their constituents is ridiculous," said Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is likely to veto the bill if and when it is passed by the Republican-controlled Assembly.

The senate passed two more police-related bills with far less controversy Wednesday.

On a voice vote, senators approved a measure banning police from using chokeholds unless they believed either their own or someone else's life was in danger.

All but two senators voted in favor of a bill requiring police departments to post their use of force policies online. The 'no' votes belonged to Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) and Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin).

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A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

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