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PIXABAY.COM

Michigan has extended by five weeks a pandemic order requiring masks in public, limiting capacity inside businesses and capping gathering sizes.

The measure announced Friday replaces one that had been due to expire Monday.

It includes one change. Children ages 2 to 4 in day care facilities or camps are no longer exempt from having to wear masks, starting April 26.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

  A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate held steady at 3.8% in March, far below the national rate of 6%. The state Department of Workforce Development released a report Thursday that found the state added 12,900 total non-farm and 11,100 private-sector jobs from February to March. Wisconsin is still down 129,000 jobs from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic seized the state. The state unemployment rate then was 3.3%.

Wisconsin Public Radio

  Democrat Tom Nelson says he has raised nearly $264,000 in the first three months of the year in his bid for the U.S. Senate, about a quarter of what challenger Alex Lasry brought in over six weeks. Nelson, the Outagamie County executive, has cast himself as the financial underdog in the race. He facest Lasry, a Milwaukee Bucks executive and son of a billionaire, and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who is married to a millionaire. They are all running for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who has yet to say whether he will seek a third term next year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices have chosen Annette Ziegler to replace Patience Roggensack as chief justice.

The court voted on the move Wednesday.

The 80-year-old Roggensack has been on the court since 2003 and had served as chief justice since 2015.

Roggensack replaced Shirley Abrahamson after voters approved a constitutional amendment giving justices the power to select their chief.

Before the amendment the chief was automatically the longest-serving justice.  

The 57-year-old Ziegler was elected to the Supreme Court in 2007.

PIXABAY.COM

Michigan will expand the use of a COVID-19 treatment in hopes of substantially reducing climbing hospitalizations and deaths.

Additional doses of monoclonal antibodies will be given to hospitals and other providers, which will be asked to add infusion sites.

The treatment has concentrated doses of lab-made antibodies to fight coronavirus infections and is geared toward people who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday the treatment could save lives.

PIXABAY.COM

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has procured a federal tracking system to trace the status of sexual assault evidence kits in case the Legislature gives the green light to implement it.

Attorney General Josh Kaul said Wednesday that the system will be funded with a $327,000 federal grant.

It will monitor how long kits spend at different points in the processing system. Victims will be able to directly access information about their kits.

PIXABAY.COM

 Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate have given final approval to a set of bills that would wrest control of billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and hand it to the GOP.

The state is in line to receive $3.2 billion in federal stimulus money.

By law the funding is at Evers' disposal. But Republicans have developed legislation that would give them control, saying that would create more accountability.

Evers has signaled he'll veto the package, but Assembly Republicans passed it anyway on Tuesday.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

The state Senate has approved a host of Republican-authored changes to Wisconsin elections.

The chamber passed bills Wednesday that would allow the state elections commission to order municipal clerks to follow state law; allow observers to watch recount workers from 3 feet away; allow election violators to be tried in counties covered by the office involved in the race they tried to sabotage; and prohibit the state elections commission and local governments from applying for or accepting private grants to aid election administration.

PIXABAY.COM

  The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Tony Evers’ administration does not have the authority to issue capacity limits on bars, restaurants and other businesses without approval of the Legislature.

Wednesday's ruling comes two weeks after the conservative-controlled court struck down the state’s mask mandate.

The Supreme Court also ruled last year in a similar case that the Democratic governor needed approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature for an emergency declaration that shut down businesses early in the coronavirus pandemic.

WI Office of State Treasurer

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski has joined the growing ranks of Democrats running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who has yet to say whether he will seek a third term. Godlewski launched her bid in a video on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old Godlewski is a native of Eau Claire who was elected treasurer in 2018.

Democrats already in the race include Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is among others also considering a run.

Pixabay.com

The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bipartisan bill that would require schools to include instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides.

Under the proposal, public, charter and private voucher schools would have to include instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides at least once in grades 5-8 and once in grades 9-12.

The bill would require the state superintendent to develop model curricula by working with an organization in Wisconsin and a state agency in another state that has already developed similar curricula.

Pixabay.com

The Wisconsin Assembly approved Republican plans for spending $3.2 billion in federal pandemic response aid.

The GOP has put together a package of bills that call for a $1 billion property tax cut; $200 million for small businesses; and $75 million in tourism grants.

The package also calls for $150 million for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities; a three-month summer sales tax holiday; and an unknown amount for reimbursing the state's unemployment insurance fund.

The Assembly passed the bills yesterday afternoon and evening.

Pixabay.com

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has extended workplace coronavirus restrictions for an additional six months.

 

That includes a requirement that Michigan employers prohibit office work to the extent that employees’ jobs can feasibly be done remotely.

 

The emergency rules could be modified or withdrawn before they expire in mid-October.

 

An advisory group assessing a phased return to offices may make recommendations to the governor as soon as next week.

 

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  The Department of Natural Resources in both Wisconsin and Minnesota are working with federal officials to try a new method to capture and remove invasive carp from the Mississippi River. Biologists are using huge nets to section off parts of the river where the carp have been found. Recently they were working near La Crosse, a spot where the invasive species has been increasing in numbers. Underwater sound and electricity are used to drive the fish into the nets. The agencies are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S.

Wisconsin Department of Administration

  The Wisconsin Assembly is set to vote on Republican plans for spending $3.2 billion in federal pandemic response aid. The GOP has put together a package of bills that call for a $1 billion property tax cut; $200 million for small businesses; and $75 million in tourism grants. The package also calls for $150 million for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities; a three-month summer sales tax holiday; and an unknown amount for reimbursing the state's unemployment insurance fund. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bills during a Tuesday afternoon and evening floor session.

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