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Schimel proposes gun deal, open records law update

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican attorney general hopeful Brad Schimel says he would devote state Justice Department resources to helping Milwaukee prosecutors go after gun crimes — if they agree not to drop charges in plea deals.

Schimel’s campaign released a statement Thursday saying Schimel believes Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has been dropping charges against felons in possession of firearms or choosing not to charge them.

He said he’s not trying to micro-manage Chisholm’s office but violent crime plagues Milwaukee and he can help solve it. He said he would devote DOJ investigators and prosecutors to Milwaukee but only if local prosecutors agree not to dismiss possession charges during plea discussions. Schimel acknowledged his offer “absolutely” comes with strings attached.

Chisholm, a Democrat, didn’t immediately return a message. A spokesman for Schimel’s opponent, Democrat Susan Happ, said the attorney general should offer to help local prosecutors without interfering in their decisions.

Also on Thursday, Schimel said he wants to update the state’s open records and open meetings laws.

Schimel told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s editorial board on Thursday that the state’s laws are woefully out of date. He said he wants to bring the laws into the 21st century and address such questions as whether officials can appear at meetings by remote video and whether officials’ texts during meetings are public.

He said he would convene a summit involving the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and law enforcement to brainstorm how to update the laws.

He also promised to produce a legal opinion on whether Wisconsin police agencies must redact identifying information from accident reports.

A spokesman for Happ said Schimel sounds like he wants to be a legislator.

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