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PIXABAY.COM

Wisconsin lawmakers are poised to take their first votes on police reform measures since George Floyd died last year.

The state Senate is set to vote Tuesday on five bipartisan bills. More divisive proposals, such as a ban on the use of chokeholds, remain in the works.

One bill up Tuesday would require Milwaukee and Madison's police and fire commissions to add union representatives.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Shawano County transgender woman who has been prohibited from changing her male name due to her listing on the state sex offender registry.

The plaintiff, identified only as Ella, was placed on the sex offender registry for a sexual assault she committed as a teenager.

She argues that requiring her to register as a sex offender violates her First Amendment rights and forces her to identify herself as a male anytime she is required to present her legal name.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

After more than 100 years, a Presbyterian church in an Upper Peninsula community is changing hands, the result of a shrinking congregation.

First Presbyterian Church in Ironwood was down to seven members, including two people in nursing homes and two more who go to Florida in the winter.

Pastor Jack Fashbaugh says there once were more than 300 people.

The first service was in 1906 while the last inside the church was in 2018.Services were suspended for a time because of Fashbaugh’s health and then the pandemic struck.

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Republicans are moving to reinstate a requirement that unemployment people in Wisconsin search for work in order to qualify for benefits while they don’t have a job. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Friday he would support an effort to reinstate the requirement that was suspended by state officials last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republican Sen. Steve Nass, who co-chairs the Legislature’s committee that has the power to reinstate the rule, said he wants to put it back in place by the end of the month. The rule is currently slated to be reinstated in July.

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Wisconsin health officials have ordered only a fraction of their allotted COVID-19 vaccine doses for next week in another sign of plateauing interest in the vaccine.

President Joe Biden's administration announced earlier this week that it would shift doses from states with lower demand to states with more interest.

Wisconsin has been allocated 86,580 Pfizer doses and 65,900 Moderna doses and 10,200 Johnson & Johnson doses for the week starting Monday.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Hundreds of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' priorities, including legalizing marijuana, raising $1 billion in taxes and expanding collective bargaining rights, have been killed by the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee.

Lawmakers are taking their first votes Thursday in writing the next state budget. Republicans essentially scrapped the Democratic governor's entire two-year proposal.

They instead are building off the current budget, The Joint Finance Committee voted to remove nearly 400 of Evers’ proposals.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

The Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee has voted to expand a mental health center in Madison to reduce the number of inmates at the state’s juvenile prisons.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to go along with Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to borrow up to $66 million to build a new unit at the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison.

The new unit will be able to house up to 30 boys and 20 girls. This will reduce the number of juveniles housed at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in Lincoln County. 

PIXABAY.COM

Wisconsin farmers say spring planting is ahead of schedule this year. Some essential crops, including soybeans and corn, have already been planted because drier weather has allowed farmers to get out into their fields earlier than previous years.

A weekly crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says planting for Wisconsin’s staple crops is well ahead of the five-year average.

Wisconsin Farmers Union spokeswoman Danielle Endvick says farmers usually aim to finish planting by Memorial Day, but this year, many will have their crops in the ground by Mother’s Day.

PIXABAY.COM

State tourism officials say the coronavirus pandemic caused a 30% decline in direct spending by tourists in Wisconsin in 2020, but they are optimistic the industry will rebound this year.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, spending dropped about $4 billion last year to $9.8 billion.  

All of Wisconsin’s 72 counties experienced a decline in tourism activity last year compared to 2019.

But officials say the first four months of this year are shaping up to be better than 2019.

PIXABAY.COM

A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man who was found guilty of arming himself with a gun while intoxicated.

The court issued a 6-1 ruling on Tuesday rejecting the man's argument that his core Second Amendment rights outweighed a state law barring people from brandishing firearms while drunk.

Mitchell Christen argued that the state law was unconstitutional as it applied to him. But the state Supreme Court upheld a state appeals court ruling rejecting his arguments.

whitehouse.gov

Vice President Kamala Harris is touring clean energy laboratories on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus and touting President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during her first Wisconsin visit since taking office.

Wisconsin Republicans said instead of coming to the Upper Midwest state, Harris’ time would be better spent at the U.S. border dealing with the increase of migrants trying to cross from Mexico.

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Republican legislative leaders are calling on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to meet with them to discuss his plans for spending $3.2 billion in federal stimulus money coming to the state.

Evers last week said that such discussions are not a “top priority.”  

Republicans on Monday requested a meeting with Evers.

State law gives the governor the power to decide how to spend the money.

Evers has vetoed bills passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that would give lawmakers control.

PIXABAY.COM

  Authorities say a man who shot and killed two people and wounded a third at a Wisconsin casino restaurant before police killed him had been fired from the eatery and banned from the property.

Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said Monday that the 62-year-old Bruce Pofahl walked into the Duck Creek Kitchen and Bar on Saturday and fatally shot Ian Simpson and Jacob Bartel at a wait station, then shot and wounded Daniel Mulligan outside the restaurant.

The sheriff says police shot and killed the attacker on the north side of the building near a parking garage.

 A Wisconsin Army National Guard member and his friend have been charged with entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack.

Abram Markofski and Brandon Nelson are charged with four counts including entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

PIXABAY.COM

Authorities in Wisconsin say a gunman killed two people at a Green Bay casino restaurant and seriously wounded a third before he was shot and killed by police.

Brown County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Pawlak says investigators believe the gunman was targeting a specific person in the attack Saturday, but that person wasn’t at the Oneida Casino at the time and the shooter targeted others instead.

Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill told WLUK-TV on Sunday that the tribe prohibits firearms on its properties.

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