THU News Summary: Sexual assault kit tests delayed hundreds of active cases

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June 13: luncheon: The future of transportation funding in Wisconsin

Transportation funding has become one of the key debating points in the two-year state budget making its way through the Legislature. Gov. Tony Evers proposed an 8-cent-a gallon increase in the gas tax plus while getting rid of the minimum markup on gasoline — something the administration said would more than wipe out the increase. Republicans have removed the minimum markup provision and left in the gas tax increase for now. Where will the debate lead and will it result in a long-term solution?

Hear details from some of the key players in the debate at a issues luncheon set for Thursday, June 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UW-Milwaukee’s Waukesha campus just off I-94.

Panelists for the discussion: Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. subscribers and members receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $20 per person, including lunch. Price for the general public is $25 per person, including lunch.

This event is sponsored by: Kapur & Associates, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

The Waukesha County Business Alliance is an event partner.

For more information and registration, visit:



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Report: Sexual assault kit tests delayed hundreds of active cases
DOJ In 2016 Began Testing Thousands Of Unanalyzed Kits … [DOJ] found the labs took in 8,626 cases for DNA testing in 2018 and completed work on 5,664 cases…. compares with 5,311 incoming cases and 4,782 completions in 2017. … spent more than 4,850 hours on the sexual assault kit project, causing delays in nearly 350 active cases. By AP

Proposal Would Allow For Electronic Early Voting In Wisconsin
… Under [GOP Rep. Brandtjen] proposal, officials would have the option to electronically process ballots on the day they are cast. … not be officially tabulated until Election Day. … would allow for quicker tabulation of results on Election Day, save election officials from having to hire additional workers on Election Day to handle a glut of ballots, and increase voter confidence. … “It is incredible, the amount of folks that are now taking advantage and voting early,” Brandtjen said. Beloit Clerk Stottler: “This is going to save the city of Beloit hundreds of hours of time and thousands of dollars of money.” Municipal Clerks, MUnies registered support. LOWV written testimony worried plan “would reduce opportunities for observation of absentee ballot processing by spreading it out over a period, potentially, of weeks.” Dem Rep. Subeck dittoed. GOP Rep. Sortwell concerned it favors wealthier communities who have electronic balloting. No committee vote in either house. By Johnson, WPR

Democrats Resurrect Voucher Transparency Bill
[Larson] Bill Would Disclose [on property tax bill line item] How Much Taxpayer Dollars Are Sent To Voucher Schools … after a similar one failed in the Legislature in 2017 and [JFC removed Evers’ budget plan] … About 40,000 low- and middle-income students in Wisconsin attend voucher schools, which are mostly religious institutions, and are funded with more than $300 million tax dollars each year. Q&A with Larson. By Dohms, WPR

The ‘Harvey Weinstein of the WI National Guard’
Records show WI National Guard rehired unit leader who allegedly sexually assaulted soldiers … according to emails between the soldier [one of victims] and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch’s office … included “10.28 MBs of substantiating documentation,” which was not included in the records provided to the Cap Times … asked Kleefisch to provide some oversight to Adjutant General Donald Dunbar … cited concerns about how the Wisconsin Army National Guard investigates sexual assaults and said it was violating federal protocols. … said she filed a formal complaint and in March 2015 the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations investigated her claim, which it substantiated … Guard allowed the alleged perpetrator to retire honorably with benefits and then later rehired him as a civilian contractor … had access to soldiers’ health records including his victims … “My perpetrator also has the gall to periodically email me directly — despite once having a Military Protective Order against him,” the soldier wrote. … Baldauff said [Evers] remains committed to ensuring “a safe environment for our service members and expects a thorough, fair, and impartial review from the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations.” … Suhr [for Kleefisch in 2017 email] said the Department of Military Affairs … reviewed her concerns and said the alleged offender no longer worked there … said it had changed its policies to safeguard future hiring decisions. … in December 2017, the soldier thanked Suhr but cautioned that the system of justice in the Wisconsin National Guard was not effective and asked Kleefisch to provide oversight of it. … [later wrote] “The Office of the Lt. Governor is literally my last viable… option to affect positive change in our State’s National Guard with regards to sexual assault response procedures.” … Suhr continued to have discussions with officials at the National Guard Bureau throughout the spring of 2018. … Kleefisch [in June 2018 email to soldier] said her office had been discussing protocols for investigating sexual assault allegations with Dunbar’s office. … said that the Wisconsin National Guard sometimes investigates allegations in house because of a backlog at the National Guard Bureau that “prevents prompt resolution.” By Ferral, CAPITAL TIMES


– Trump Administration To Close Northwoods [Laona] Job Training Center For Disadvantaged Youth, Blackwell Job Corps Center Helps Hundreds Find Jobs In Trades … [USDA] has overseen the New Deal-era program for decades. Under the new [USDOL] plan … majority of its work will be privatized, with training programs transferred to contractors. Nationwide, nine centers will be closed outright; Blackwell is one of these.

– UW-Madison student pleads guilty to sneaking into Mar-a-Lago … Mark Lindblom, who was 18 and a college freshman at the time of the incident, got in line with other guests and entered a restricted area of the club in late November. He remained on the property for about 20 minutes until Secret Service agents discovered him. Did not see Trump or Melania. UW’s McGlone confirmed Lindblom is enrolled at UW-Madison without a declared major, declined to comment on Lindblom’s case. Lindblom could not be reached.

– John Nichols: Impeachment Would Affirm the Will of the People, Trump lost the popular vote in 2016. Can we stop imagining that holding him to account would overturn the country’s general will?

– With parts of lame-duck laws on hold, just one Wisconsin agency has acted on [8] guidance documents … “The law is enjoined right now so we are not taking action on those documents,” [Baldauff for Evers] said. “The court proceedings will obviously continue to play out.” But at the state Ethics Commission, administrator Dan Carlton said the body’s history — it was created under a 2015 law to succeed the former Government Accountability Board — and nature differentiates it and its approach to the law from other governmental agencies. … Six of the eight guidance documents the commission submitted are still able to receive public comment until June 3.

– The bad relationship between Evers and Vos gets worse amid Vos’ false claim about Wisconsin troops

– US Rep. Steil Introduces Bill To Curb Human Trafficking, Bill Aims To Fight Human Trafficking By Exposing Illicit Financing

– [28-4] Outagamie County will introduce a 0.5% sales tax starting Jan. 1, 2020 … County Executive Tom Nelson, who has been at the forefront in opposing the tax, has the power to veto the board’s decision and said he believed the process of imposing the tax was rushed. “When people open the newspaper, when they look at this on TV, folks are going to be really surprised that the Outagamie County Board adopted a sales tax,” Nelson [said] … “My inbox has been jam-packed by very upset citizens. What I’ve been reading the last couple of days is (potential for) a citizens’ veto.”

– Mayville’s outlaw turkey must move out after ordinance change rejected

– [Durand] Farm crisis meeting brings mental health to the fore … DeMuth, the executive director of United Way of Dunn County, was one of more than a dozen people to speak Wednesday at a Farm Crisis Town Hall … organized by Brian Winnekins of WRDN Radio … Additional speakers included area legislative leaders and their aides, along with UW-Extension, Pepin County Health Department and [DATCP’s Friar] who discussed programs available to help farmers during difficult times. … Winnekins said [Loganville farmer] Roecker’s Sauk County meetings provided some of the inspiration for the Farm Crisis Town Hall.

– Complaint: Cows on Spencer farm didn’t have water, were living in collapsed barn full of feces

– Cannabis Banking Bill May Falter (Again) Despite State Support … Seventeen state treasurers and attorneys general [including Kaul] from 34 states and four U.S. territories back [Dem US Rep. Perlmutter’s fourth] Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act … argue that under current law, licensed marijuana businesses are pushed out of the banking system, leaving them dependent on cash, a target for crime and harder to tax and regulate. … over a third of members have co-sponsored the House bill [including Pocan, Moore] — support is weaker in the Senate.

COURTS ^top^
– Bruce Thompson analysis: How Non-Partisan Are Supreme Court Races? Not very, the data suggests. Is there any way to change this?

– Prosecutors push back on enforcing new state abortion laws … [AP] reached out to nearly two dozen district attorneys across seven states, and several said they would not file criminal charges against doctors who violate the laws. Even a few who left open potentially charging doctors said they would not prosecute women for having an abortion, which some legal observers say could be a possibility under Georgia’s law. … Of the district attorneys AP contacted in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Utah, Louisiana, Ohio and Missouri — states that have recently enacted or are about to enact abortion restrictions — most did not respond or declined to comment.

– Hundreds expected for opening of [J-ville’s] Section 8 waiting list, Family Empowerment Fair

– New Group Hails Asian Pacific Americans, ElevAsian was founded to champion one of the city’s least-known minority groups.

– Wisconsin’s Middle Class Sees Growth But Lags Pre-Recession Levels … Wisconsin is one of 30 states that saw more middle-income households between 2016 and 2017, according to [Pew] analysis … “We used to expect the middle class to grow. That was kind of a given. And we’ve had nearly 20 years where it hasn’t,” said [CPWS’] Dresser … median household income. In Wisconsin … was $56,759 in 2017. … Only two places have grown their middle class the last two decades: Nebraska and Washington, D.C. … farm incomes are stagnant in agriculture-dependent states

– Another Madison teacher accused of using racial slur in front of students … email to parents Wednesday afternoon, Spring Harbor Principal Pam Waite wrote that the “serious incident … involves a staff member allegedly using a racial slur in front of several students.” … teacher was removed from the classroom and an investigation begun. … There have been at least seven cases this school year … In all the previous cases, the staff member has been fired or resigned. … [Supt.] Cheatham has taken a zero-tolerance approach … district has been tight-lipped … Only one teacher who used a slur has spoken publicly … former Hamilton Middle School teacher told the Wisconsin State Journal that when she used the N-word Oct. 31, it was as part of a misguided attempt at teaching a black seventh-grader a lesson after the student called a white student a “cracker,” a derogatory term for whites. MMSD’s Strauch-Nelson no further info.

– UW-Madison Increasing Student Attention Through Changing Classroom Structure, Colleges Use Different Methods To Tackle Digital Distraction In Large Lectures

– Local college leaders look to streamlining the educational process for workforce needs … [GTC pres. Albrecht, UW-P chancellor Ford, Carthage pres. Swallow] met Wednesday morning to discuss details of the Higher Education Regional Alliance, a program that includes 18 regional colleges. … participating schools will help smooth [student] transition … to build a worker pipeline with graduates and certified professionals who are prepared to step into many of the jobs that are readily available.

– Two UW-Whitewater chancellor finalists who dropped out took other president positions

– GB schools expand all-day Head Start program with help of $3M-FED grant … Full-day Head Start will be offered at Howe and Keller elementary schools, Southwest High School and Head Start Learning Center next year. By fall 2020, the district plans to consolidate the four locations into two.

– Student debt crisis: How are campaign promises of free tuition and debt forgiveness playing out in Wisconsin? Details candidate proposals, WI student responses

– Whitewater school board OKs budget funds … two new funds … allowable under existing state statutes … will be Fund 46, a long-term capital improvement trust fund, and Fund 73, a post-employment benefits trust fund.

– Sound it out, Why are Madison students struggling to read?

– Center Stage: Which Democrat for president can win Wisconsin? 31:14 audio with MIlfred and Hands

– Continued Flooding On Mississippi River Increases Dredging, Delays Shipping, US Army Corps Of Engineers: High Waters Quadrupled River Locations Needing Dredging This Spring

– Massive $390 million transformation of Milwaukee’s ‘forgotten river’ underway … [Kinnickinnic renovation] nearly rivals the $400M construction for Miller Park

– Great Lakes Fishery Commission Unveils Project To Combat Invasive Species

– Sen. Wirch authors bill on deer tagging … “During the last two rounds of Conservation Congress spring hearings, hunters overwhelmingly voted in favor of the tagging requirement. I think we should go back to what worked,” Wirch said.

– Foxconn awards contracts to ‘Wisconsin’ firms with headquarters in Connecticut and England … contracts announced Wednesday are for work on the foundations of the display panel plant … going to C.D. Smith Construction Inc., of Fond du Lac; Otis Elevator Company, Milwaukee; and PSI Intertek, Waukesha. “We’re proud to be delivering on our ‘Wisconsin First’ commitment” … the company said in its announcement. … Otis Elevator, with headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut, is part of United Technologies Corp., also of Farmington. … PSI, with headquarters in Arlington Heights, Illinois, is part of Intertek Group plc, of London. … Asked about Otis and PSI, Foxconn said … firms must have had a presence in Wisconsin for at least a year, “provide full operational delivery of services with local employees and management” at their Wisconsin locations, and pay sales or other taxes to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. … Meanwhile, Mount Pleasant said it has assessed Foxconn’s 850 acres in the village at $57.6 million. A year ago, that land was assessed at $8.4 million.

– Foxconn awards $13 million in construction contracts

– Check out some recent drone images from the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant

– Foxconn to be Mount Pleasant’s biggest taxpayer at nearly $1.2M for 2019

– EPA Scientists Opposed Foxconn Ruling, Emails show senior EPA scientists complained smog exemption for company wasn’t supported by data.

– Rep. Gwen Moore launches Mamas First Act to make services of doulas, midwives eligible for Medicaid coverage … after the city in March approved a [pilot] program that provides doulas for 100 expectant moms in the 53206 ZIP code. … The congresswoman hosted a news conference Wednesday with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and others … Moore expects her measure, if enacted into law, would help reduce maternal and infant mortality. … “This is a resource that our communities have been waiting on for a very, very long time,” Moore said to a crowd of 50 doulas, mothers and other community members. “As our speakers have said, we are really restoring an institution among women that is ancient and all we need is a way to formalize those relationships and makes sure that those connections are made.”

– Miracle cure or placebo? As CBD industry booms, some worry about quality control

– Iowa regent universities to evenly split $12 million increase in state support

– Taycheedah women’s prison placed on lockdown after emergency declared … DOC’s Hendricks’ email] said the moves were initiated “as a measure to maintain the safety of all who live and work” at the prison… conducting an institution-wide search as a proactive measure, and there is no specific or active threat … in effect “until further notice” [said Warden Cooper memo] … As of May 24, the prison housed 936 inmates, nearly 300 over its capacity of 653 … currently has a vacancy rate of 21% for correctional officers and sergeants … lockdown was declared about six weeks after the death of inmate Barbara Jean Krause, 63. … less than two weeks after being transferred to Taycheedah from the Winnebago County Jail … Krause’s death is “under review” by the DOC, Hendricks said, and no details. FdL Med Examiner office said no reports available. Officials from [DOJ, FdLPD, Sheriff] did not immediately respond.

– Would you call 911 to help a friend overdosing, if it meant you’d be arrested?

– Madison’s largest class of police recruits aims to serve community in untraditional ways

– Madison Rasta church busted: Police raid shuts down Mifflin Street marijuana dispensary

– Waupun Correction inmate faces charge of attacking correctional officer

– [Marinette] Board backs bills to help corrections officers

– “Safer cages” or a “moral responsibility”? Dane County set to approve jail project, again [see Mahoney column]

– The Chippewa Falls Memorial Day parade was canceled, but that didn’t stop this local veteran from marching

– Labor shortage may cast a cloud over Duluth’s ambitious construction schedule

– Walz requests presidential disaster declaration … says major flooding, blizzard conditions and gale force winds have caused nearly $40 million in infrastructure damage across the state.

– Locals tell state water task force to focus on nitrate contamination … Wednesday hearing of [Vos’] Water Quality Task Force at Blackhawk Technical College. … Presentations were given by several local officials including Rock County Conservationist Thomas Sweeney and county Environmental Health Director Rick Wietersen. Rock SUpv. Davis urged focus on nitrates. Soybean Association-Rock County Nitrate Working Group’s MUlhooly said locals and farmers are willing to help fight water contamination, citing management techniques that change how farmers till the land and plan nutrient management.

– Sierra Nevada Corp. completes $20M rocket test facility at former Badger Ammunition depot

– Not so happy trails, Despite court defeats, DNR again considers snowmobile trail through Blue Mound State Park

– Happy 171st birthday, Wisconsin! Here are 17 reasons why we love our state

– CT Editorial: We have always been impressed with Ben Wikler … Democrats must choose between two fine candidates [for DPW chair]. We’re most impressed, as we have been for many years, with Ben Wikler.

– Sheriff Dave Mahoney: Dane County has an opportunity to give inmates a humane space

– Dave Cieslewicz: Zen mayor

– M. D. Kittle: Medicaid expansionists should know, no free lunch from debt-ridden federal government

– Michael Cummins: Eliminate all exemptions, Parents are free to homeschool their unvaccinated kids

– Spencer Black: Proposed ATC project threatens peace, productivity in Driftless region

– Alan Talaga: Another failing grade, Republicans pass on fixing broken school funding system

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