‘UpFront’: Schimel says nationwide capacity problem behind sexual assault kit backlog

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said a backlog of sexual assault kits – all of which have now been submitted for testing – is a “capacity” issue that is nationwide in scope.

The final 4,155 kits, some of which are decades old, have become an issue in the race between the Republican Schimel, and his Democratic challenger, former federal prosecutor Josh Kaul.

“We’re going to solve a problem that has accumulated for more than 20 years in three years,” Schimel said. “It’s really a remarkable accomplishment.”

“This is a nationwide issue,” Schimel said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “These kits have flooded into system, and there’s been no capacity to test them.”

Schimel said the Department of Justice has found labs that have agreed to “move our kits to the front of the line eventually,” and that DOJ has put in place a procedure to make sure a backlog of untested kits “never happens again.”

Schimel rejected charges from Democrats that he’s moved too slowly on getting the kits tested.

“This is a priority from the time I got in office. We made this a campaign issue, and I got in office and we took it on right away,” he said.

“It’s politicizing something that is a really serious public safety challenge that’s very complicated. My opponent has never told anyone, he never told you during your interview, how he would have gotten it done more quickly, because it’s a capacity problem,” Schimel said.

In another segment, Democratic candidate for governor Matt Flynn vowed to stop Foxconn “dead in its tracks” through litigation if he is elected.

“It’s a disaster for the state,” said Flynn, a Milwaukee attorney.

“It’s an unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional contract, and unconstitutional contracts are unenforceable in Wisconsin,” Flynn said.

He said the state’s contract with Foxconn, a Taiwanese tech giant preparing to build a massive plant in Racine County, is unconstitutional because it exempts the company from several state laws and “gives them a method for avoiding Court of Appeals jurisdiction.”

“That is unconstitutional and wrong, and I will go in with litigation to stop it,” he said.

Flynn also said his campaign “feels great to me” several weeks out from the Aug. 14 primary. Democrats have large field of candidates running for governor this year, with 10 speaking at the state party convention in Oshkosh.

“We have a very good team, we’re getting larger audiences, contributions are coming in very well. I’m excited about our chances,” Flynn said.

Also on the program, Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin discussed the Wisconsin redistricting case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. A ruling is expected soon.

Heck said Wisconsin Republicans in 2011 chose “the most partisan possible maps in which to draw state legislative districts.”

“They basically made legislative elections in Wisconsin uncompetitive,” Heck said.

“The problem with that is that voters don’t have a real choice at election time. The elections are decided in the primaries, not in the general,” he said.

The Wisconsin case before the Supreme Court argues that excessive partisanship has disenfranchised voters, Heck said.

“It is, I think, a powerful argument and one I think may resonate this time,” he said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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