As chair of the State Assembly Corrections Committee in his early years Scott Walker toed the early 1990’s GOP party line on crime — supporting mandatory minimum sentencing laws and building more prisons.
That he parlayed his tough on crime rhetoric into campaign contributions from the special interests that built prisons and housed the overflow of Wisconsin inmates in out of state facilities raises the ever present question: were his actions motivated by a concern, however misguided, for the public good or was he using his position at the time to advance himself?
His positions on the issue of concealed carry of firearms provides clues. Representing solidly Republican suburban ring communities around the City of Milwaukee, Walker supported legislation to allow the carrying of hidden weapons. But when running for Milwaukee County Executive, Walker voted against concealed carry legislation. As he again eyes higher office and seeks to woo right-wing Republicans by touting his conservative bona fides Walker forgets his past vote against a concealed carry bill and touts his efforts to roll back gun safety laws in Wisconsin.
Gov. Scott Walker today announced the closing of the troubled Lincoln Hills juvenile correctional facility.[One Wisconsin Now, 01/04/2018]
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements about Gov. Scott Walker calling for a special session of the already-in-session Wisconsin state legislature to discuss opioid addiction.[One Wisconsin Now, 01/05/2017]
MADISON, Wis. – One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on Gov. Scott Walker’s Wednesday press conference.[One Wisconsin Now, 12/02/2015]
Days before Tony Robinson shooting, Wisconsin DOJ requested more funds to investigate officer-involved deaths
Just a few days before an unarmed, 19-year-old black man was shot and killed by a Madison police officer, Wisconsin's attorney general had asked lawmakers to fund more positions to investigate officer-involved deaths...Gov. Scott Walker last April signed into law a bill requiring outside agencies to investigate officer-involved shootings. The legislation was championed by Reps. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Gary Bies, R-Sister Bay, in response to three high-profile officer-involved deaths in the last decade. Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to pass such a law. In order to implement the law, the state Department of Justice under then-Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested $352,600 in 2015-16 and $386,000 in 2016-17, and 5 full-time positions annually, to investigate officer-involved deaths and review public records associated with those investigations. Walker did not fund the request in his biennial budget, introduced in February.[Capital Times, 03/10/2015]
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel wants the Legislature's budget committee to give the state Justice Department more positions in the state budget to deal with officer-involved death investigations. Lawmakers signed a bill last year that requires outside agencies to lead investigations of officer-involved deaths. Attorney General Brad Schimel told the Joint Finance Committee on Monday that more agencies are turning to the DOJ to handle such investigations. The agency asked Gov. Scott Walker to include funding for five new positions -- three agents and two records specialists -- to help with the workload. Walker didn't include the request in his budget proposal.[WMTV-TV, 03/02/2015]
The National Rifle Association is trying to revive the flailing campaign of Gov. Scott Walker by placing a $1 million television buy for the next month in several markets around Wisconsin. The $1 million buy covers markets in La Crosse, Green Bay and Wausau.[One Wisconsin Now, 09/16/2014]
Gov. Walker on Line One: Wisconsin Gov. Phones Home From Political Junket in Washington State to Cancel...
A $500,000 taxpayer funded state grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin has generated increasing controversy over the last several weeks as serious questions were raised about how the grant process was rigged to make sure it went to a politically connected GOP front group and the trustworthiness of the organization.[One Wisconsin Now, 09/05/2013]
In Response to Mass Shooting, Walker Said Arming School Officials Should Be ‘Part of the Discussion,’...
In the wake of the country's latest mass shooting, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that more should be done to help mentally troubled individuals and that arming school officials should be "part of the discussion." Walker called for a summit involving top mental health professionals from around the state early next year...And Walker said that he would not rule out allowing school employees with firearms training to carry guns to fight back against armed intruders.[Wisconsin State Journal, 12/20/2012]
Scot Ross, the director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, couldn’t pass up a comment on the irony. He sent me Courtney’s letter, which is attached to this post, with the following comment: “With Scott Walker and the Republicans, you always follow the money. In May, they used the threat of guns in the Capitol to raise money. And in October they want to allow guns in the Capitol to raise money from the NRA.”[Capital Times, 10/10/2011]
Walker signed into law SB 93, the “Conceal Carry” legislation, which allows individuals to go armed with a firearm, loaded or not, and concealed or openly carried. Loaded firearms are also now generally allowed in vehicles with a concealed carry permit. The law specifies that an individual carrying a firearm openly or concealed cannot be charged with disorderly conduct. The individual can even openly load a firearm. Handguns, but not other types of guns, are allowed in public parks and wildlife refuges, however all firearms are prohibited within 1,000 feet of school grounds. The bill passed the Senate 25-8 and Assembly 68-27, and was signed into law by Walker on 7/8/11. (2011 SB 93, introduced 5/10/2011; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)[2011 WI Act 35, 07/08/2011]
Police officers will no longer have to collect traffic-stop data to track possible racial profiling, under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker. The bill, which passed the Senate in February and the Assembly June 8, will reverse a state mandate requiring Wisconsin's 600 law enforcement agencies to collect racial and other data on drivers pulled over by officers. Opponents of the mandate say the repeal will eliminate unnecessary paperwork for law enforcement and cut costs, while supporters of the mandate say the data-collection system helps keep track of potential racial profiling. "During tight budget times we need to set priorities in all areas of government, and this bill allows law enforcement agencies to focus on doing their job - protecting and serving the public," Walker said in a statement.[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 06/22/2011]
Republican Gov. Scott Walker has killed a statewide mandate on police to gather racial data during traffic stops. Walker signed a GOP bill Wednesday that ends requirements that officers collect the age, zip code, gender and ethnicity of drivers and passengers. Democrats passed the requirements when they controlled the Legislature, arguing the data will prove whether racial profiling exists in Wisconsin. Some police have countered the requirements are too time-consuming. Walker issued a statement saying the data-gathering effort is burdensome and police should be allowed to do their jobs.[Wisconsin State Journal, 06/22/2011]
A state group representing more than 600 criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and academics also opposes the castle doctrine bill. "AB 69 changes Wisconsin law by providing a defense for irrational people armed with deadly force. Under its provisions, malevolent, reckless, or paranoid people who shoot trick-or-treaters or repairmen on their porch will be presumed to be acting in self-defense," reads a statement issued this week on behalf of the criminal law section of the State Bar of Wisconsin…"At present, no member of the criminal law section of the State Bar, which is made up of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and academics, can come up with a single case wherein a homeowner was charged with a crime for defending himself or herself from a home intruder," the memo reads.[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/04/2011]
“Unpaid furloughs ordered to help balance Milwaukee County's 2010 budget could compromise public safety, according to law enforcement and court officials. The impact of furloughs -- or other substitute budget cuts - -could range from slower prosecutions to delayed trials and criminal arrest warrants, the officials said. Restraining orders in domestic violence cases also might be slowed, they said. The furloughs may force him to make ‘triage decisions’ in which charges for lesser crimes are delayed or skipped so prosecutors can focus on serious felony cases, said District Attorney John Chisholm.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 01/18/2010]
“The board did not disrupt Walker's plan to place oversight of the House of Correction under Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and merge it with Clarke's operation of the county jail. Under the change, Walker would give up his management responsibility over the House of Correction and county work-release center. The center came under fire in a federal audit early this year. Holloway said he wasn't enthusiastic about that change, but noted supervisors had little choice because of some $3 million in savings linked to the merger. Supervisors ordered a specific merger plan by July 1 and use of the National Institute of Corrections audit as the blueprint for changes at the House of Correction.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/11/2008]
Walker’s House of Correction Mistakenly Released Inmates, Had Over 50 Inmates Leave Without Permission
“Also Thursday, Malone released a report showing the House of Correction has mistakenly released six inmates since April 2005 and the downtown work-release center has had 54 inmates who left without permission since 2003. The minimum-security center downtown can't lock its doors overnight when inmates are supposed to be confined because the converted 1930s hospital building is a fire hazard.… The jail is run by Clarke, while the House of Correction and work-release center are the responsibility of Walker.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 03/07/2008]
Freddie Dudley was a work-release inmate when charged with reckless homicide for killing a man on the city's west side last August while he was supposed to be sleeping at the House of Correction center.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 03/07/2008]
“The Milwaukee County House of Correction in Franklin and the downtown work-release center come under severe criticism in a new federal report, which calls the operations seriously flawed and marred by security lapses, bad management, poor employee morale and crowded conditions. Both facilities also have serious fire safety shortcomings, including inoperative alarms and no sprinklers at the work-release center. The report, by the National Institute of Corrections, calls for a major overhaul of operations and suggests that the county plan to build additional lockups and consider merging the county jail with the House of Correction under management of a single department.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 01/25/2008]
What Walker tells the voters today doesn't seem to bear any resemblance to what he might tell them tomorrow. Example: Walker has been a co-sponsor of a bill in the Legislature that would allow people to carry concealed weapons. Never mind that the bill would increase the guns on the street at a time when homicide is the leading cause of death among young African Americans. Never mind that the bill would endanger the lives of police officers, who oppose concealed carry laws. Well, just plain never mind. When the state Assembly recently passed concealed carry, Walker voted against it. Apparently, when you're running for an office that includes Milwaukee, which regularly loses its children to gun violence, you suddenly don't believe in concealed carry anymore. Walker's position on cutting state shared revenue to Milwaukee County is even more of a hypocritical flip-flop.[Capital Times, 04/13/2002]
The bill would have granted, “firearm importers, manufacturers, dealers and trade associations immunity from civil liability in any action brought by an individual or group for an injury or death caused by a firearm or by firearm ammunition.” (Assembly Journal)[1999 AB 246, 02/08/2000]
Walker Received Campaign Contribution From Private Prison Industry Executive Whose Company Did Business With...
“Quite frankly, I was surprised that if he was going to give, he hadn’t given earlier. I’ve been a private-prison advocate for some time.”[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/18/1999]
Walker Authored Bill to Allow Private Prison Construction in Wisconsin and House Prisoners From Other States
The bill, “establishes the conditions under which a private person may construct and operate a prison in this state for the confinement of inmates from other states.”[1999 AB 519, 01/01/1999]
The bill made numerous revisions to the juvenile justice code including providing, “a uniform age of 15 years at which DOC may transfer a juvenile prisoner to an adult prison.”[1997 AB 729, 01/01/1997]
The bill prohibited, “any city, village, town or county (political subdivision) from enacting an ordinance that regulates firearms in a way that is more stringent than state law. (Assembly Journal )[1995 AB 69, 10/03/1995]
Walker’s bill increased “the general obligation bonding authority for the prison expansion project by $50,000,000, from $25,000,000 to $75,000,000.[1995 AB 1018, 01/01/1995]
Walker Sponsored Juvenile Code Rewrite to Include Allowing Children as Young as 10 to be Tried as Adults
The bill granted bill adult courts “original jurisdiction over a juvenile who is alleged to have attempted or committed first-degree intentional homicide or to have committed first-degree reckless homicide or 2nd-degree intentional homicide on or after the juvenile's 10th birthday.” (1995 WI Act 77)[1995 AB 130, 01/01/1995]
Under the bill, a court could determine a serious child sex offender should be ordered to undergo pharmacological treatment aka “chemical castration”[1995 AB 594, 01/01/1995]