Gov. calls capitol safety study ‘unsettling’ without input from Democrats

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MADISON (WKOW) — Governor Tony Evers called a proposal to examine safety protocols at the state capitol “unsettling” because it didn’t have input from law enforcement or Democrats.

Republicans on the joint finance committee approved the measure last week. It would require the Madison Police Department to work with the state’s Department of Administration to conduct a study to improve safety measures for visitors and employees in the building.

But without any prior knowledge of the proposal, Madison Police Spokesman Joel DeSpain said they’re still unsure what they’re involvement would be. The measure still needs to put up for a vote in the full legislature then the governor would decide to implement or not.

Public safety is not a partisan issue, but Governor Evers said how Republicans presented the idea left some without answers.

“I find it unsettling it was passed without any Democratic knowledge and the city of Madison who provides a lot of safety to this capitol,” said Evers. “That aside looking at safety is an important thing, communicating about it should have been a little better.”

Republicans said the study would be a proactive way to prioritize the safety of visitors especially during this day an age where threats are more prevalent nationwide.

The study could also look at how firearms are used on the capitol’s grounds. Currently concealed carry is allowed except in the Capitol Police office and the state supreme court.

27 News reached out to the Department of Administration for comment and when the last time capitol police experienced a threat. DOA did not immediately respond.

According to WKOW’s archive, the last bomb threat was made in April 2018, then in July 2015.

Democrats on joint finance voted against this proposal saying over the last several years there have been no major problems with firearms at the capitol.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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