Milwaukee taxpayers would no longer pay fired police officers charged with serious crimes under a bill that passed the state assembly last night, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The assembly also approved adding information about mental health to a federal database for gun purchases. The police pay bill marked a breakthrough for those who wanted to end the practice to protect Milwaukee taxpayers and a setback for the police union that fought some of the changes. Under current law, fired officers are paid until their appeals are exhausted, a process that can take months or even years. Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker said the bill would be quickly adopted in the Senate.
The gun bill requires the state to submit mental health information on residents who aren’t allowed to own guns to a federal database used for gun-purchase background checks. Wisconsin would join 32 other states in forwarding such information to federal officials. Since last spring’s shooting at Virginia Tech, states have stepped up efforts to provide details about mentally ill people who have been involuntarily committed. Gov. Jim Doyle supports the legislation, and Decker is leaning toward bringing it to a vote in the Senate.