MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on Monday announced a $115 million legislative package to strengthen gun control and create grants for community policing and mental health treatment programs.
The Democratic attorney general’s proposals include funds for a wide array of criminal justice programs, including mental health crisis response programs, substance abuse diversion, re-entry opportunities and police officer recruitment and retention, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. It also includes gun-control measures, like universal background checks, that have not found success in the Republican-held Legislature.
Kaul unveiled the proposals, which he said would be funded out of a $4.4 billion tax surplus, at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The city of Milwaukee has been hit especially hard with violent crimes amid a nationwide increase. In 2020, either the city or the county of Milwaukee set new records for homicides, nonfatal shootings, motor vehicle deaths and overdoses.
Kaul’s opponent in next year’s election, Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney, disparaged the proposal as “a recycled, liberal wish list.”
But Kaul said the grant programs would give communities an opportunity to tailor programs to fit their unique needs.
“We have a real opportunity right now to invest resources into communities,” he said.