Fellow Community Members,
The Wisconsin State Legislature has recently announced a bill that it will seek to pass that stands in violent opposition to popular demands for racial justice that have been voiced by citizens across our state and the nation at large. This bill Senate Bill 119 and its companion Assembly Bill 111, also referred to as the “Fund the Police” bill, would render any popular action to counteract the structural racism upheld by policing and mass-incarceration essentially impossible.
This pending Wisconsin legislation would reduce the shared revenue dollar-for-dollar to any municipality bold enough to listen to its constituents and defund their police in favor of funding human needs and solutions to improve our communities. Targeting Milwaukee specifically, this bill would take the money away from the cities, towns and villages who need it the most and distribute it to those who continue to overfund law enforcement despite the wealth of data that shows how ineffective that is in reducing crime and how damaging it is, especially to communities of color.
In addition to these concerns, SB 119 / AB 111 represents an egregious attempt to interfere with each municipalities’ ability to set their own priorities for their budgets. Local governments should be able to determine which services should and should not be funded, and these decisions should reflect the will of the people who live in those communities. This bill is an overreach by state governments, and frankly, a threat to a democratic budgetary process.
We, the undersigned organizations and community leaders, stand firmly opposed to this assault on communities who are desperately seeking solutions to the harms caused by policing. We call on lawmakers at the state and local level to oppose this bill, and demonstrate a real commitment to racial equity by allowing cities to continue to set their own budget priorities without interference.
Black Educators Caucus
African American Roundtable (AART)
The Party for Socialism and Liberation
UW Milwaukee Chapter, Students for a Democratic Society
Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union
Dr. A. DeLessio-Parson