The bill wouldn’t have any effect on district attorneys except if the attorney general designated one as the lead on a case.
The bill would allow a court to assess a civil forfeiture against the defendant of up to $50,000 for a first violation and up to $100,000 for each subsequent violation committed within a seven-year period.
“We must ensure that, for every Wisconsinite, our civil rights are more than simply rights on paper,” Kaul said in a statement. “This legislation would significantly enhance the protection of our rights by authorizing the Wisconsin Department of Justice to take action when significant violations occur.”
Advocates say the bill could help the state address racism and discrimination against people of color, people with disabilities and LGBT individuals.
Attorneys general in Arizona, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington and Virginia have similar civil rights authority, where they have used their powers to bring racial discrimination cases against employers and landlords, as well as against a municipality for denying employment to a firefighter due to a perceived disability.
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