Bill would let AG file lawsuits over civil rights violations

MADISON, Wis. — Two Democratic lawmakers are introducing a bill that would allow Wisconsin’s attorney general to file lawsuits over civil rights violations.

The bill would give the attorney general the power to investigate civil rights violations and file lawsuits if someone has engaged in a pattern of violating civil rights in housing, employment or education matters.

“We must ensure that, for every Wisconsinite, our civil rights are more than simply rights on paper,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said. “This legislation would significantly enhance the protection of our rights by authorizing the Wisconsin Department of Justice to take action when significant violations occur.”

Rep. Jimmy Anderson of Fitchburg and Sen. LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee introduced the proposal Thursday.

The bill would create fines of up to $50,000 for an initial violation and up to $100,000 for each subsequent violation within seven years.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Legislature.