Proponents of bipartisanship and law enforcement won a major victory last week in the US House of Representatives.
A large bipartisan majority voted to approve a measure that will provide $60 million over the next five years to law enforcement agencies with fewer than 125 officers to do things like purchase body cameras, provide de-escalation training and improve recruitment and retention.
passed in the House by an overwhelming majority —
– with strong support from Democrats and Republicans. Only 9 Democrats and 55 Republicans voted against. The bill also split Wisconsin’s five Republican and three Democratic representatives, with members of each party voting for and against the bill.
Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Republican who represents much of northern Wisconsin and has frequently criticized the “Defund the police” movement, voted against the measure. He did not respond to questions asking why he did not support the bill.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the state’s largest law enforcement union, celebrated the bill’s big step forward.
“Since the 9/11 attack on our country in 2001, federal support for law enforcement has shifted dramatically toward large metropolitan law enforcement agencies and away from smaller departments,” it said. he writes in an email. “This bipartisan bill will help agencies address the growing officer shortage in Wisconsin and provide more mental health training and resources to law enforcement. These priorities are consistent with what we’ve learned through our statewide polls each year, and it’s a strong rebuke to those who would defund the vital services that law enforcement officers provide. .
Like most industries in the county, law enforcement is struggling to recruit officers as
unemployment rates are at near record highs
. Wisconsin is no different.
The total number of law enforcement officers in the state hit an all-time high in 2022.
The bill is now going back to the Senate, where a version had already passed. The House version of the bill would need to pass the Senate before the president can sign it into law.
UW-Madison political science professor David Canon said he doubts the Senate will pass the House version without further changes. A conference committee made up of House and Senate members might be needed to reach a compromise on the bill, he noted. Canon guessed that a final version of the bill would not pass until the lame duck session in December after the election.
He applauded the bill’s passage, saying it follows his mantra for how politics should work: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
“We have to compromise to be able to get things done,” Canon said. “You will never have the perfect bill. You have to (tolerate) some things in the bill that you may not like, but there are a lot of good things that you like. That’s why the far left and the far right voted against it, because they’re still operating in that mindset of “I want the perfect bill that does everything I want it to do.” . Well, the legislative process doesn’t work that way.
The nays consisted of the far-right Republican Representatives like Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the far-left Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush.
Here’s how Wisconsin’s eight congressional representatives voted on the bill and, if so, what they had to say about it.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah)
Grothman voted against the bill. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment. Democrats haven’t fielded a candidate against Grothman this election, so he has little to fear from voters in his heavily Republican district.
Mark Pocan (D-Madison)
Pocan, a leader of the House’s left-wing progressive caucus, was one of nine Democrats to vote against the bill. Through a spokesperson, Pocan said he voted no because “I had questions about the bill that weren’t answered because it wasn’t subject to the committee process”. Pocan District, which includes liberal Madison and Dane County, is safely Democratic.
Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua)
A hard-line right winger who has
“Defund the police” movement, Tiffany voted against the bill.
Earlier in September, he joined several other Republicans in introducing a bill named
Tackling Violent and Dangerous Crime Act
which they say will strengthen violent crime laws.
“As a result of the Democrats’ defund the police movement, soft-on-crime policies, and reckless bail reform efforts, far too many Americans have fallen victim to the crime wave. murderers plaguing our neighborhoods,” Tiffany said in
announcement of the bill.
His office did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau)
The son of a Chicago police officer, Fitzgerald voted for the bill. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Allow)
A former Marine and veteran of the second Iraq War, Gallagher voted for the bill. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment. Democrats did not field a candidate against Gallagher this fall, but he will face two challengers — a Libertarian and an Independent — in his heavily Republican district.
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee)
Moore voted in favor of the bill. His district consists mostly of Milwaukee, which has suffered record homicides in recent years but whose police department reportedly won’t get any money from the bill. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Representative Ron Kind (D-La Crosse)
Kind, a moderate Democrat, voted in favor of the bill. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment. Kind is retiring from Congress in December after representing western Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Republicans hope to flip his seat in the fall.
Representative Bryan Steil (R-Janesville)
Steil voted in favor of the bill. In the last round of redistricting, the district of Steil in southeastern Wisconsin moved from highly Republican-friendly to political center, making it more competitive for Democrats.
“The Invest to Protect Act makes critical investments in our local police departments,” Steil said through a spokeswoman. “This will provide the training and resources needed to keep everyone in our communities safe. I will continue to work to support law enforcement.
What the House version of the bill would fund
1. De-escalation training for law enforcement officers
2. Victim-Centered Training for Law Enforcement Officers in Handling Domestic Violence Situations
3. Evidence-Based Law Enforcement Safety Training to Respond to Calls for Service Regarding Veterans, Substance Abuse, Mental Disorders, Homelessness, Domestic and Sexual Abuse, and Trafficking
4. Overtime funding
5. Signing bonuses for new leaders
6. Retention bonuses for existing leaders
7. Funding for officers to receive training in mental health, public health or social work
8. Provide agents with access to patient-centered behavioral health services
9. Implementation of evidence-based best practices and training on the use of lethal and non-lethal force, as well as officers’ ability to provide care and intervene if another officer is not following the rules
10. Data Collection for Police Practices Regarding Officer and Community Safety
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