Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said he is not sure there is a “legal opportunity” to do as GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has suggested and have the Republican-controlled Legislature take over federal elections in Wisconsin.
LeMahieu, who was in a meeting Johnson held with Republican leaders at the state Capitol last week, appeared Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Johnson has said lawmakers should take over federal elections and tell local officials to ignore the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.
“I am not sure how that would be accomplished,” said LeMahieu, R-Oostburg.
“We have a state agency for a reason, to look at nomination signatures, to help candidates along the way, and to make sure clerks around the state know how to administer elections. I think the Legislature unilaterally taking over elections, I’m not sure how that would work,” he said.
LeMahieu also said the state Senate subpoenaed the city of Madison for its election records because the city failed to work with the Legislative Audit Bureau in its recent look at the 2020 election in Wisconsin.
“Since we feel that the city of Madison is completely ignoring state law, we felt that it’s important to give the audit bureau the opportunity to have access to those ballots and finish and complete their audit,” he said.
Host Matt Smith asked LeMahieu if he favored reform of the WEC, which Republicans created to administer elections after they disbanded the former Government Accountability Board.
“We’ll have to take a broader look at that. It’s going to be tough, probably, to reform it with (Democratic) Gov. Evers in office, but the commission definitely needs to take the Audit Bureau results seriously, follow those recommendations and make sure they are abiding within state law,” LeMahieu said.
Smith also asked LeMahieu if he thought five of the six commissioners should be criminally charged, as the Racine County sheriff has recommended.
“I’ll leave that up to the prosecutors around the state of Wisconsin,” he said.
In another segment, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said he sees “a lot of energy behind solutions” to the reckless driving problem in the city.
Norman said the department’s traffic safety unit is engaged in “active enforcement … on a regular basis.”
He also said red-light cameras could help with “certain parts of our community who don’t believe in stopping at red lights or ensuring that they are slowing down.”
He said dramatically increasing fines for reckless driving, as a suburban mayor has suggested, is a possible tool but would not be an all-encompassing solution to the public safety problem.
Norman also addressed the spike in homicides happening in Milwaukee. He said too many people with poor conflict resolution skills are turning to available firearms to resolve disagreements.
“We need to work on that, in regards of what can we offer better in regards to you might have disagreements, but does it have to turn deadly?” Norman said.
See more from the program: