After the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Governor Tony Evers compelled the state legislature to meet a special session. However, the republican-controlled legislature held no discussion, and instead created a new task force on racial disparities. Nearly two months after it was created, the task force met for the first time Wednesday.
Representative Shelia Stubbs, a Democrat representing Madison, says racial disparities are a health crisis that the assembly must address. “This is the only next viable step to work bipartisan,” she says. “Everyone I have talked with since special session has demanded that our legislation move forward and take action together.”
Stubbs co-chairs the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparity with Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican from Kaukauna. Steineke calls the task force momentous and says the conversations will be difficult. “We understand that not everyone around the table, probably none of us, will get 100% of what we are looking for through this process, but I really honor [the task force’s] commitment to coming together to try to find those solutions,” he explains.
The group includes law enforcement, pastors, activists, and educators from across the state. During the introductory meeting, the 4 state representatives and 28 community members spoke about their goals for the task force.
The task force will break into two sub-committees. One will address law enforcement policies and procures while the other focuses on education and economic development. They plan to begin meeting in person next month and to introduce legislation in 2021.
Photo by Brian Standing for WORT-FM.