Thursday, February 22nd

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Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).(Photo: Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON - Wisconsin would create an "alcohol czar" with police powers and a mandate to toughen enforcement of the state's liquor laws, under a fast-moving proposal from a top GOP senator. 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said a committee could hold a hearing as soon as Thursday on his proposal, which would also give a special liquor exemption to the Kohler American Resort.

Less than a month ago, Fitzgerald's brother, former Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, signed up to lobby for the state's wholesale wine and liquor sellers on topics including this type of legislation.

Scott Fitzgerald, who said he'd been working on the bill for months, said turnover of key personnel in state government has led to lax enforcement and some undisclosed businesses taking improper advantage of that legal vacuum.

"Enforcement has completely fallen apart," the Senate leader told reporters Tuesday.