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Lakeland Times, Minocqua, Wisconsin
Friday, August 30, 2019 7:30 AM
Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has resigned his northern and central Wisconsin congressional seat, effective Sept. 23, and, with a special election looming, state Sens. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) both say they are giving serious consideration to running. (subscriber access)
  • Gov. Tony Evers this week announced more than 60 new assistant district attorney positions throughout Wisconsin in what he calls the largest state investment in the district attorney program in the state’s history and the first new full-time GPR-funded positions created for the program by the state in more than 10 years. 
  • The Legislatures’s Joint Committee on Finance has voted to approve additional funding for farmer mental health counseling and services, state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), the co-chairman of the committee, announced this week.
  • Joining the governors of 16 other states, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers last week blasted a proposed rule by the Trump administration that could push some 25,000 Wisconsin households — and 12,000 children — off the state’s food stamp program. (subscriber access)
  • Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) have introduced bipartisan legislation to create a student loan reimbursement program for beginning farmers.
  • Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has resigned his northern and central Wisconsin congressional seat, effective Sept. 23, and, with a special election looming, state Sens. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) both say they are giving serious consideration to running. (subscriber access)
  • Momentum built this past week for bipartisan legislation to enable dental therapists to work in Wisconsin — a bill supporters say would help increase access to dental care, especially in rural areas. (subscriber access)
  • Hemp as a Wisconsin crop took another step forward this week as members of the state Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue, and Financial Institutions voted unanimously for both the Growing Opportunities Act and its amendment, which were authored by Sens. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Reps. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Dave Considine (D-Baraboo).
  • The MacIver Institute, a free-market non-profit organization, is suing Gov. Tony Evers for excluding its MacIver News Service  journalists from press briefings and refusing to provide them with press material that is shared with other news outlets. (subscriber access)
  • The state Department of Health Services (DHS) is promulgating a rule which would require an additional vaccine for school students entering the seventh grade, but the agency is facing pushback from a state lawmaker and an advocacy group for parental choice after DHS shut down a required public hearing after only an hour, denying dozens the right to speak. (subscriber access)
  • Two state Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation to impose a state tax on firearm manufacturers which would be used to create a fund for victims of gun violence, the lawmakers announced this past week. (subscriber access)
  • Gov. Tony Evers this week called on President Donald Trump to listen to farmers and put an end to what he called an unnecessary trade war between the United States and its international partners, including China.
  • The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) and other shelters across Wisconsin say they are vociferously opposed to newly proposed rules by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), which they believe will have a devastating effect on homeless dogs and Wisconsin families. (subscriber access)
  • A petition asking the state Supreme Court to review some of Gov. Tony Evers’s partial vetoes of the state budget bill as an original action and to find them unconstitutional earned a quick response this week from the high court, which said it wants more information before deciding whether to formally hear the case as an original action. (Subscriber Access)
  • In an original action filed at the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has asked the state’s highest court to review Gov. Tony Evers’s use of partial vetoes. (Subscriber Access)
  • The Trump administration unveiled a proposed rule last week which could remove up to 27,000 Wisconsin households and 61,000 individuals from food-stamp eligibility, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) taking aim at those who qualify for benefits under so-called categorical eligibility rules.

    The USDA said the rule would close what it called a categorical eligibility loophole which allows states to make participants receiving minimal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, or welfare, automatically eligible to participate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps. (Subscriber Access)
  • DATCP secretary-designee makes Rhinelander stop
    The secretary-designee of a department responsible for a wide swath of government services impacting all Wisconsin residents, as well as tourists visiting the state, made a stop in Rhinelander last week as he makes the rounds of the state. (Subscriber Access)
  • The state Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)’s fraud, waste, and mismanagement hotline has collected more than 1,100 tips since its inception 11 years ago, a clip of about 100 calls per year, the LAB reported this week in a semi-annual report to the Legislature. (Subscriber Access)
  • In the recent state budget debate, legislative Republicans made a strong push for additional funding for local roads, inserting a one-time $90 million appropriation into the budget specifically for that purpose, but a partial veto by Gov. Tony Evers not only slashed that appropriation, but removed language which restricted the use of the money. (Subscriber Access)
  • News analysis

    Rebecca Grassl Bradley, the Wisconsin Supreme Court justice appointed to her seat by Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 and elected to a 10-year term in 2016, has in her short tenure become not only a leader on the high court, but a conservative who is not afraid to take issue with mainstream orthodoxy, especially if it’s coming from other conservatives. (Subscriber Access)
  • When Gov. Tony Evers signed the state budget last week, legislative Republicans largely claimed victory, saying they had managed to eliminate what they saw as Evers’s worst excesses. (Subscriber Access)
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