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Wisconsin Democrats: No heads-up on Capitol security study

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic legislators are complaining that their Republican colleagues didn’t give them or the Madison Police Department advanced notice about a proposed security study of the state Capitol even though the study would require the department’s involvement.

The state’s budget committee adopted the proposal on party lines on Tuesday, but the full Legislature and governor have yet to weigh in, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Committee Republicans said the study would be a way to protect visitors and workers in the building in an age of increasing threats.

“We’re simply asking for consultation on the day-to-day security operations in the Capitol,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “How can you oppose looking at ways to improve safety in one of the most visited public buildings in the state?”

Fitzgerald added that he’s unaware of any security analysis that’s be done of the Capitol to take into account the world people live in today.

The budget committee’s plan would require the state Department of Administration and the Madison Police Department to study Capitol security and safety and submit recommendations by January 2020.

But not receiving a notice on the study’s proposal didn’t sit well with Democrats, who suggested that the DOA should examine the Capitol’s policy allowing some firearms on the premises.

Concealed carry is permitted in the Capitol, except in the offices of the Capitol Police and state Supreme Court.

The Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said he wasn’t notified of the proposed study. He noted that the involvement could mean that the department’s central-district command staff would consult the DOA.

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, voted against the study. Taylor, who represents the Capitol area, said she wasn’t given early notice.

“I don’t have any specific objection to studying security and safety at the Capitol,” she said. “However, you have to consider when you do a safety study the presence of guns in the Capitol.”

Taylor acknowledged that there had been no trouble with firearms in the Capitol over the past several years.

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