Bill would let Wisconsin AG file civil rights violation lawsuits

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Two Democratic lawmakers introducing a bill Thursday, April 8 that would allow Wisconsin’s attorney general to file lawsuits over civil rights violations.

Wisconsin attorneys general and district attorneys currently lack the authority to bring civil rights action, state Department of Justice spokeswoman Gillian Drummond said.

Under Rep. Jimmy Anderson and Sen. LaTonya Johnson's proposal, the attorney general would be given the authority to investigate civil rights violations and file lawsuits if someone has engaged in a pattern of violating civil rights in housing, employment or education matters.

The bill would create fines of up to $50,000 for an initial violation and up to $100,000 for each subsequent violation within seven years.

Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said in a news release that the bill would enhance civil rights protections.

The measure faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Aides for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu didn't immediately respond to a message inquiring about the proposal's prospects.

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