January 23, 2008

 

Committee Recommends Passage on Fire and Police Commission Legislation

MADISON – On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing voted to recommend passage of Senate Bill (SB) 390, which makes changes to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.  SB 390 was authored by Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), who also serves as Chair of the Committee.

“The Fire and Police Commission has so much potential as a resource for Milwaukee,” said Taylor. “It’s important that it be organized in a way that makes it as effective as possible.  I’m confident that this legislation will help make that happen.”

SB 390 expands the Commission’s membership from five to either seven or nine members, depending on what Milwaukee’s mayor decides.  It also allows the Commission to hear complaints in three-member panels.  Current law requires that complaints be heard by the full body.  By increasing the body’s membership and allowing panel hearings, the bill dramatically increases the Commission’s capacity to research and hear cases.

“Studies show that a lack of resources is really impeding the Commission’s ability to do its job,” said Taylor, “This bill gives the Commission more manpower and frees up more of its members to work on more cases.  That adds up to more access for Milwaukee citizens, which is exactly what we need right now.”

The Committee voted 4-1 to recommend passage of SB 390 after recommending adoption of an amendment proposed by Taylor.  The amendment requires that Commission members receive appropriate training prior to taking office. “I think the amendment will do more than just help Commission members learn their responsibilities,” Taylor noted. “I think it will also help familiarize them with the resources that are there to assist them.”

It is not yet known when the Senate will take up SB 390.