TUE News Summary: Evers signs first bill, appoints three regents; Vos supports gas tax increase, other transpo boosts

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Evers signs first bill as Wisconsin governor
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill into law that removes the term “mental retardation” from state agency rules and regulations. The [Fitzgerald-Jagler] measure is the first Evers has signed since becoming governor in January. Evers was surrounded by supporters of the measure, including Republican lawmakers, for the bill signing ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. BY AP, WKOW

Evers appoints first slate of people to UW System Board of Regents
… Karen Walsh, of Madison, and Edmund Manydeeds III, of Eau Claire … will serve seven-year terms that begin May 2. … will replace John Robert Behling and Regina Millner. … Olivia Woodmansee, a UW-La Crosse student studying math and English, will serve a two-year appointment as student regent. Manydeeds was a one-term Regent under Doyle. WDC showed both are Evers donors. Evers was Regent for 10 years until elected guv, at his final board meeting last December, pledged to appoint independent people, “not employees of mine.” Walker lame-duck appointees Beightol and Tiedeman are under legal challenge. By Meyerhofer, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Evers’ marijuana decriminalization plan would make WI unique. Here’s how
[WPF noted 13 states treat small amounts as misdemeanor, but Evers’ plan] would go a step further and remove even civil citation penalties for having less than 26 grams of the drug, making it unique among the states. … [WPF’s] Wisconsin Taxpayer notes that currently such civil penalties for first-time possession range widely among the state’s largest cities, from as little as $1 in Eau Claire to $500 in Green Bay. … promotes full legalization only for medical marijuana, like 33 states, and not for recreational use, like 10 states, including neighboring Michigan. … suggests lawmakers can’t avoid the question forever, because of various levels of legalization in surrounding states and a growing interest by Wisconsin’s electorate. … characterizes Evers’ two-step approach as reasonable. … “keep the state in line with regional trends and public opinion, and his decriminalization proposal would create a uniform policy statewide” … would give lawmakers some experience by which to consider broader legalization later on. … examines Evers’ proposal for medical marijuana. [shall be WI-grown by Wisconsinites and] pass inspections for potency and impurities. Report reminds pot it still federal Schedule 1 illegal substance, “creates an uncertain environment for states with medical or legal marijuana programs.” Baldauff for Evers: “As is the case with Medicaid expansion and increased funding for special education, the people overwhelmingly agree with the governor on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.” By Vielmetti, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Vos supports increasing gas tax, but says that’s not the entire answer
… “I will say, for our roads, I support raising the gas tax,” Vos said at a budget listening session in Union Grove on Thursday. “I think we need to raise revenue. I support tolling; I support any revenue option that says we’re going to pay cash instead of borrowing.” … “You are not going to save your way out of it; you are not going to be able to borrow your way out,” Vos said. “The only way that we can (pay for roads) is to figure out how do we continue to find efficiencies, and the (Department of Transportation) has done an excellent job of finding efficiencies.” … Vos said the state needs to consider fees for electric vehicles … some estimates claim as many as a third of cars on the road in 2030 will be electric. … Vos, accompanied by state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, also held listening sessions Thursday in Mount Pleasant and Burlington. … Wanggaard did not comment directly on increasing the gas tax … wants to help towns and villages across the state repair their roads with state dollars, but … “I don’t want to see road dollars go to funding bike paths,” Wanggaard said. “We need bike paths, but we need the bike people to help pay for that.” By Torres, RACINE JOURNAL TIMES

While Advocates Push For Criminal Justice Reform, State Officials Urge Patience
WISDOM’s Liners likes parts of Evers’ budget: expanded inmate mental health, “Opening Avenues to Reentry Success program,” into all 72 counties, opening 4 more institution-based job centers, expanding the Windows to Work program to all minimum- and medium-security institutions. But Evers’ increases prison capacity, “Leads one to believe that there’s not a very aggressive plan to reduce the prison population,” and Liners said Guv is dragging his feet on appointing a chair to the parole commission, “something he could do and could actually make a point of moving very quickly.” DOC Sec. Carr: “Just wait and see. The governor’s only been in office for three-and-a-half months, and there’s much work to be done and there’s some time left to do it. … I believe that with a new commissioner comes a new perspective on parole eligibility and a more expansive view of who should be eligible for that parole,” suggested he could release almost 5,000 inmates who are only in for supervision violations, “who aren’t there because of having committed a crime,” hopes for reduced recidivism and improved staffing by first term’s end.” By Dohms, WPR


– Leading pediatrician slams Donald Trump claim that doctors are ‘executing’ babies … Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said Monday that data from the National Center of Health Statistics show a fetus survived an abortion in at least 143 cases nationally, and as many as 588, between 2003 and 2014. During that period there were 9.3 million abortions, of which roughly 1.3 percent occurred after 21 weeks’ gestation, according to [CDC]. … Trump’s comments Saturday — in which he repeated a claim that doctors are “executing” babies — were “unacceptable,” [pediatrician, aap officer] Dipesh Navsaria … “No one is executing babies, period. … only happening in his imagination. It’s antithetical to what physicians do.” … Evers’ office issued a statement Monday calling Trump’s comments at Saturday’s rally “false, dangerous and deeply offensive.” Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said Republicans are trying to distract voters from Evers’ budget proposals … Steineke thanked Trump in a Monday statement for “making it clear just how extreme of a position Gov. Evers has taken in vowing to veto this life-saving legislation.” WRtoL’s Weininger, UW prof. Higgins comment.

– John Nichols: Bernie Sanders’ trolling of Trump is a smart strategy for winning Wisconsin

– ‘She was tart. She was smart and caustic. She was funny.’ Journalist Susan Page reflects on Barbara Bush

– AG Kaul aims to ramp up efforts to combat human trafficking … calling it “an outrage” the crime still exists. “There’s both sex trafficking and forced labor. This is a crime where people have been forced or coerced into engaging in an illegal activity.” … DOJ also works to educate the public and law enforcement about human trafficking, including sex trafficking and forced labor. … has requested six [dedicated DOJ] positions [4 in digital forensics, 2 in Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force] … unclear whether they will win the approval of the Republican-controlled Legislature … [noted DOJ] has had a human trafficking bureau … since August 2017 … “to reduce demand by prosecuting people who are paying for sex and soliciting prostitutes.” … holds training for law enforcement, both in how to conduct human trafficking investigations and teaching about the signs of trafficking. … “it’s been under-reported,” Kaul said. “We don’t think there’s as much awareness as there should be.” … Court cases here have revealed generations of traffickers, some of whom participated in “pimp roundtables” …
a statewide problem. … nearly 100 recent incidents of sex trafficking involving children between June 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018. … many incidents are not reported. “It’s a significant problem,” Kaul said. “It’s a problem that has been impacting communities around the state and around the country.”

– WisEye Morning Minute: Tommy Thompson (R) & Tom Loftus (D) Discuss the Extraordinary Session

– Rep. Steil invites constituents to call in Tuesday

– Funding Douglas County health services faces challenges

– Rhinelander council members, mayor face open meetings probe … [DOJ] investigating whether four Rhinelander City Council members and the mayor secretly and illegally plotted to push the council president to step down.

– Sheriff’s detective placed on leave: Oneida officer and Rhinelander alder Rossing on paid leave is related to the ongoing investigation into an alleged “walking quorum” of city elected officials in late January.

– Farmers market season returns, highlighted by a 100th anniversary in West Allis

– Parmesan from Wisconsin? Italy wants to reclaim its cheese … “This looks like the fishiest thing ever,” one of the food investigators, Domenico Vona, said this month after some internet sleuthing led him to an “Italian parmesan” made in Ukraine.

– [National Alliance of Forest Owners] Report says Wisconsin forestry industry on the upswing

COURTS ^top^
– UW law clinic helps victims attain restraining orders

– Advocates warn ‘don’t use alone’ after 10 overdoses [mostly men, between 29-64] reported in Kenosha: Ten people overdosed on opioids in the city of Kenosha over a four-day period, all of them surviving after being revived with Narcan. KFD’s Poltrock comments.

– Milwaukee gears up for 2020 census with court decision on citizenship question looming … “The ramifications of the census are much more than just a simple count of the population,” Sharon Robinson, director of the city’s Department of Administration, said Monday at a meeting of the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee. … Among the topics of conversation was the citizenship question at issue in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. … decision is expected by the end of June. … [RObinson] hoped the court would rule against … “But even if the citizenship question still stays, the national consensus is that we’re going to push if you’ve been filing your taxes with your (individual taxpayer identification number), they know where you live, they know where you work, so it’s fine, nothing is going to happen to you or your family,” she said. “On the contrary, it is going to be a benefit to be counted.” … A decade ago, the city saw results when it pulled together to communicate the importance of the census, Robinson told the committee.

– Superior builds on business energy

– Seven tips to keep a job and stay competitive with robots in a brave new age of automation … Most experts say invest in two-year technical degrees, four-year college degrees and retraining programs tailored for a data-driven automation age. … Think of occupational evolution — not job losses … Not all jobs are in danger … Don’t look to Uncle Sam for help … Strengthen the education pipeline … State training tax credits … Tinker with the social safety net … Invest in health and retirement benefits

– Evers appoints longtime Dem donors to UW Board of Regents

– Madison Schools Proposed Budget Aimed At Supporting Students Of Color, Superintendent Calls It ‘Unapologetic Equity Agenda’ … asks for $250,000 for a new Community Service Fund, which the Black Excellence Community Coalition, comprised of district parents, will use to invest in extant community programs which support black youth academically and social-emotionally. … increasing its early college STEM academy and expanding access to advanced learning. … support special education programs. … takes on mental health. … including adding four community clinicians … for young students who have experienced trauma. “We’re pretty proud of what’s in there,” [Supt.] Cheatham said.

– Madison School Board affirms support to ‘end sexual violence in our schools’

– Beloit College still investigating students’ disruption of speaker: College pres. Bierman comment on protests and cancellation of Erik Prince’s speaking engagement late last month

– UW-Oshkosh investigation shows racist messages pose no threat of physical violence

– Is middle school too young to be recruited? ‘No right or wrong solution,’ athletes, parents say

– Teachers call for full cost of living increase as negotiations with district begins next month

– Five area high schools stand out in U.S. News & World Report rankings

– IL Governor OKs First Steps On Blocking Asian Carp, Technologies In Chicago-Area Waterway Would Prevent Asian Carp From Reaching Lake Michigan … Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River … a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake. … Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.

– Authority seeks to reopen Menasha lock after building an electric barrier to repel invasive goby … The $3 million system would be paid for by FRNSA and could be in use by 2020, five years after the lock was closed by order of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to block the spread of the goby.

– Report: Lack Of Transportation A Barrier To Better Health For Latino Community, UW-Madison Carbone Cancer Center Report Also Finds Cost A Concern

– What obstacles complicate health care for rural Wisconsinites? … “Medicine on Main Street,” a [WPT, UW-Madison] documentary … chronicles these barriers through the stories of doctors, nurses and other health workers who practice in the state’s rural communities. … marks the 10-year anniversary of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine … Four broad obstacles [analysis] … Recruiting and keeping rural doctors and nurses … A shortage for and stigma surrounding mental health … A deficit of local pharmacists … The tyranny of long distances

– Medicaid Work Requirements Hit Roadblocks … Legislation on Medicaid work requirements died in West Virginia and Wyoming in February and in Iowa in March at virtually the same time a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that work requirements in Medicaid in Kentucky and Arkansas were illegal. … other states whose work requirement plans have been approved by HHS are moving ahead, including Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Utah. Not including the two states affected by the court ruling, HHS has approved Medicaid work requirements in seven states and is considering applications from six others. … In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has indicated that he opposes work requirements. But during the lame-duck session last fall, Republicans passed a measure requiring legislative approval to lift the work requirements.

IOWA ^top^
– Iowa regents consider 4 percent tuition hike for UI, ISU resident undergraduates … For nonresident undergrads at the UI, tuition may rise by 1 percent. ISU nonresident undergrads would see their tuition rates increase by 4.9 percent under the proposal. … if Iowa lawmakers did not fully fund their appropriations request. … the regents said a tuition hike would be 3 percent plus Higher Education Price Index, which was around 2 percent this year.

LABOR ^top^
– Stripper sues longtime Milwaukee club over wages … Mahogany Hinton sued Art’s Performing Center, and owner Lyle Messinger, in federal court last week. … seeks class-action status, says she and other dancers weren’t paid minimum wage or overtime and were unlawfully fined by the business as well.

– Police: Sex offender to be released in Elkhorn, Walworth County area

– Officials cancel meeting on placement of sex offenders near Footville

– Superior agencies to conduct active shooter training exercises Tuesday

– Lawmakers propose restitution legislation: responding to Treasurer embezzlement: Summerfield, Petryk, Bernier, Smith comment.

– Photos tell story of Wisconsin servicemen killed in Vietnam … “Wisconsin Remember” features pictures of 1,161 Wisconsinites listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

– WI lawmaker pushes to regulate trampoline parks after his daughter gets injured … Sen. Chris Larson said after his 4-year-old daughter Stella — who he describes as a “bottomless well of energy” — fractured her tibia at a trampoline park in February, he began asking questions. … discovered that neither the federal government nor Wisconsin government regulates trampoline parks, something he called “shocking.” Larson to meet with DATCP Sec. Pfaff to see if thrill ride regs could apply, seeking mandated reporting of injuries on site, special inspections and special operating licenses to open up trampoline parks, bill coming this session. Int’l Association of Trampoline Parks, Madison’s Sky Zone park comment.

– Report: Watchdogs not looking hard enough for public health hazards in lakes, fish … two-year study by the Madison-based Midwest Environmental Justice Organization found that local governments aren’t fully using their powers to find sources of industrial contaminants, including PCBs and metals … “They don’t really want to go up to the source,” [MEJO’s] Powell said. “If you don’t find it you don’t have to clean it up.” … County and city administrators of local stormwater systems didn’t dispute MEJO’s finding that they don’t systematically trace those pollutants … [no comment on] Powell’s charge that they don’t want to find the sources. … [city, DNR reps] discussed their efforts to prevent nutrient pollution … Under a DNR permit that requires efforts to control pollutants … local governments have focused on limiting [residential effluent like leaves, soil, motor oil, food] … [city’s Voegeli said] department tests based on what the DNR tells it about pollution sources … many of the contaminants polluting local waters were released long ago and are now in soil, groundwater and sediment. … Madison-Kipp president and CEO Tony Koblinski said Monday that despite complaints from MEJO and others, it is clear to him that local, state and federal governments have held the company accountable with fines and required cleanups. MEJO VP Xiong grew up near Starkweather Creek, family regularly ate fish caught from lakes Monona and Mendota. MEJO report details locals’ failure to meet DNR stormwater permit. DaneCo’s Balousek, punted to Hicklin, who wasn’t available. Parisi spokeswoman didn’t respond. City’s Mohelnitzky said Admin. Fries not available, encouraged public to contact him, shared document that includes an account of “illicit discharge detection and elimination” program activities, acknowledged the city hasn’t promptly posted meeting minutes, noted DNR hasn’t cited the city for noncompliance with permit that expired 5 years ago [renewal in process]. DNR’s Rortvedt said DNR very busy with construction permits since 2008, said new permit doesn’t address MEJO concerns, said DNR has chosen to focus on the “broader” problem of nutrient pollution.

– Paine announces agreement with Husky; wastewater to go to city treatment facility

– Site’s Ties To Shootings Renew Debate Over Internet’s Role In Radicalizing Extremists … alleged [synagogue shooter] posted a letter on the website 8chan. … echoes last month’s New Zealand shootings, in which the alleged perpetrator took to 8chan to announce the attacks on mosques in Christchurch.

– Buffalo County Deer Advisory Council Recommends No-Buck Deer Hunt, Hunting Guides Say Antlerless-Only Hunt Will Kill Local Businesses … Hunters in Buffalo County have shot more trophy deer than in any other county in the nation, according to the Boon and Crocket Club, which verifies trophy whitetails. … [Council chair] Noll said a lack of tools [like repealed DNR earn-a-buck] led them to make the unusual recommendation to only allow hunters to shoot antlerless deer in November. … said in order to get the deer population under control, at least 6,000 deer need to be killed. … “That’s going to kill all my hunters wanting to come here,” [outfitter/lodger] Fluekiger said. “It’s going to kill the restaurants coming in, taxidermists. The amount of money the county makes during that time of the year puts everybody through the winter and it’s going to kill a lot of businesses,” noted guide companies will lose money on $70-100K, multi-year leases with local farmers to allow hunting on their property.

– JG editorial: [Commercial Development] fails to build goodwill: in razing GM’s iconic smokestack

– BDN editorial: Can the courts return balance? Founders intended to avoid an all-powerful presidency.

– BDN editorial: Fiddling while benefits burn, The arithmetic is simple: Retirement security is in peril.

– Dave Zweifel: Scott Walker’s refusal to grant pardons failed people, like Eric Pizer, who deserved a second chance

– Jessie Opoien: Joe Biden owes Anita Hill a real apology

– Kelly Ruh: Trump rocked the Resch Center in triumphant return to Green Bay

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