Associated Press

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Michigan.gov

Michigan is accepting applications for tuition-free assistance for adults 25 and older to earn an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate at a community college or a private training school.

The program, called “Michigan Reconnect,” is being supported with an initial $30 million in funding.

Applicants must be at least 25, have lived in Michigan at least a year, have a high school diploma or equivalent and not already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Summerfest

Organizers of the music festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Milwaukee’s lakefront each year is postponing its original June dates and moving the event to September. Summerfest officials say that will allow more time for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The festival has moved to a split-week format with the event this year held Sept. 2 to 4, 9 to 11 and 16 to 18, running from Thursdays to Saturdays. Officials are working to reschedule American Family Insurance Amphitheater concerts and will provide updated concert information within the coming weeks.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

A national hunting group is suing to force an immediate start to Wisconsin's wolf season.

Kansas-based Hunter Nation Inc. filed the suit Tuesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Wisconsin.

The group is seeking an order forcing the state Department of Natural Resources to start the season immediately.

The Trump administration removed wolves from the federal endangered species list last month.

The DNR is planning to resume hunts in November but a group of GOP lawmakers demanded the agency start them now.

Pixabay.com

House Democrats want a quick up-or-down vote on disbursing $5 billion in federal coronavirus relief throughout Michigan.

They say the funding shouldn't be delayed by Republicans pushing to curtail state-issued COVID-19 restrictions.

The aid was enacted by Congress and then-President Donald Trump five weeks ago.

It includes money for vaccine distribution, virus testing, food and rental assistance, and education.

Pixabay.com

The former home of an Air Force base in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been picked for the location of a command and control center.

That’s as part of an ambitious plan to make the state a major player in the aerospace economy.

The Chippewa County International Airport was selected by Michigan’s Launch Initiative program on Thursday.

It is a final selection of locations for core infrastructure.

Earlier, an area near Marquette along Lake Superior was selected for vertical launches of satellites. Horizontal launches would be at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport.

Pixabay.com

Wisconsinites will be able to sign up online to get their coronavirus vaccinations later this month.

The state is working with Microsoft to set up an online signup system.

The system will launch in 10 communities on Feb. 15.

The state’s plan is to use those communities as a test of the software before the system rolls out statewide.

Deputy Health Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says users will answer questions about their age and profession to see if they’re eligible.

Pixabay.com

A new report shows nearly 80 percent of indefinitely confined voters in November's elections produced a valid photo ID for at least one election dating back to 2016.

Indefinitely confined voters came under scrutiny following President Joe Biden's narrow win in Wisconsin because state law allows them to obtain absentee ballots without providing photo ID.

PIXABAY.COM

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly has backed off on voting to repeal Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate.

The retreat Thursday came in the face of broad criticism from the state’s health, school and business leaders and out concern the move would jeopardize more than $49 million in federal food assistance.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he still believed the Assembly would vote at some future date to repeal the mask mandate.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

The state Department of Natural Resources policy board has overwhelmingly approved new rules that would dramatically raise costs for nonferrous mining in Wisconsin.

The rules require mining applicants to pay more for permits and licenses and supply more detailed plans to the department.

The DNR estimates the changes could cost applicants about $502,000 more per project.

PIXABAY.COM

Wisconsin will become one of only 10 states without statewide mask mandates when the Assembly votes this week to overturn Gov. Tony Evers’ order.
 

More than two dozen public health organizations, as well as state and local health officials, have urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to reconsider.

The vote to repeal the mask order, planned for Thursday, comes as Wisconsin lags in distribution of the vaccine compared with other states.

Pixabay.com

Wisconsin state government's financial future just got brighter.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released projections yesterday that show the state should finish the next three-year period with about $1.2 billion more than expected in November.

The bureau said the national gross domestic product is expected to rebound strongly in 2021 and 2022, bolstered by federal pandemic stimulus dollars.

Vaccinations will lead to increases in employment over the next year.

The federal stimulus package also is expected to boost personal income in the 2021.

Pixabay.com

University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson says Republican legislative leaders warned him not to include any tuition increases in the system's budget request, or the spending plan would go nowhere.

Thompson spoke Monday at a panel discussion hosted by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The panel focused on lagging state support for the system.

Thompson was asked whether it was time to consider ending an eight-year freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition.

PIXABAY.COM

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate has voted to repeal Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, despite warnings from virtually every sector of the health care community that doing so would impair efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate voted Tuesday to repeal the mandate. Both legislative chambers have to pass the resolution in order to undo the mask requirement. The Assembly scheduled it for a vote Thursday. The Assembly on Tuesday passed an expanded COVID-19 response bill that may face a veto by Evers.

State of Wisconsin

  The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate plans to vote on repealing Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, despite warnings from virtually every sector of the health care community that doing so would impair efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The measure up for a Senate vote Tuesday must also pass the Assembly before the mandate would be undone. That could come as soon as Thursday. The Assembly on Tuesday passed a COVID-19 response bill that would prohibit the closure of churches during the pandemic and bar employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

The latest report from a court-ordered monitor finds that conditions are worsening at Wisconsin’s juvenile prisons, in part due to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that the report finds exhausted guards are more likely to restrain inmates at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.

The monitor also found that inmates aren’t receiving enough programming and staff members fear for their safety.

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