Increasing shared revenue, making schools safer, fighting violent crime; AG Kaul’s 2023 priority list
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Increasing shared revenue, making schools safer and fighting violent crime and the opioid epidemic are things Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul wants to accomplish in 2023. He says he has plans already in motion to make them all happen.
“Right now the level of violence we have seen in communities, around the country really, in the wake of the pandemic is unacceptable,” Kaul said. “We need to invest in our communities.”
When it comes to curbing violent crime, Kaul says his Safer Wisconsin plan dedicates $115 million to ramp up public safety efforts. He says that combined with adding universal background checks to gun laws and investing in the DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation will help fight violence.
Kaul also addressed the opioid epidemic and the dangers associated with fentanyl being laced in other illegal drugs.
“Fighting the opioid epidemic generally has been a priority of the DOJ for years and continues to be,” Kaul said. “Right now the biggest driver in the overdose deaths we are seeing is fentanyl.”
The attorney general says changes in the law will be helpful in fighting back. This includes legalizing fentanyl testing strips and increased penalties for fentanyl-related crimes.
“What we do at the DOJ is we are working to enforce drug trafficking laws in the books,” Kaul said. “We have focused on large scale drug trafficking and arresting the most serious offenders, and we will continue to do that. We also have to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.”
Kaul says he has secured hundreds of millions of dollars that will go to communities across the state to help fight the opioid epidemic too by lawsuits won against big pharmaceutical companies.
“We are working to hold big pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role I the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Through that work we’ve helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars that’s going to go to communities across Wisconsin that will help fight the opioid epidemic through treatment and prevention and enforcement efforts, continue to hold those companies accountable to get dollars to communities.”
Kaul also talked about increasing shared revenue to fund local municipalities. He also says making schools as safe as they can be is a top priority through the DOJ’s Office of School Safety.
Another priority, tackling frauds and scams.
“If there is fraud or other deceptive conduct in marketing, making sure laws are enforced and making sure we are protecting Wisconsinites. Those laws are always important but it’s especially important now as inflation is impacting people making it harder to afford everyday items people buy,” says Kaul.
When asked where Kaul’s lawsuit stands which attempts to get rid of Wisconsin’s 1849 law that criminalizes most abortions, the attorney general said the case is pending in Dane County circuit court. Three district attorneys were named as defendants, and one of them has filed a motion to dismiss the case. The next step is for Kaul to respond to that motion.
“This is a process that will continue to play out over months. What we are committed to is fighting to restore access to safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin. Now the easiest way that could happen is for the legislature to simply repeal the 1849 abortion ban that is still on the books. But short of that we will continue litigating this case in court,” said Kaul.
Kaul says he suspects the case will go through the appeals process eventually, and it will take some time to go through the courts.
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