Wisconsin groups join petition to reclassify gray wolves under Endangered Species Act

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 30 January 2015 13:39

Animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act as threatened throughout the contiguous United States, with the exception of the Mexican gray wolf which remains listed as endangered.

Bullets exact terrible toll on children, African Americans

Written by Bill Lueders,
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Thursday, 29 January 2015 22:21

Lt. Mark Stanmeyer’s son wanted to know why his dad was going into work on a Sunday. And although the boy is only 9, Stanmeyer, spokesman for the Milwaukee Police Department, decided to tell him.

“A little boy was in his home and someone shot bullets into it and he was killed,” Stanmeyer related of the incident. He found it difficult: “How do you look your child in the face and tell him that?”

University of Wisconsin-Madison quietly closes controversial cat lab

Associated Press writer
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 09:48

A University of Wisconsin-Madison cat research lab that was the focus of protests by animal-rights groups and a Hollywood actor quietly closed more than a month ago, a university spokesman said.

Neuroscience professor Tom Yin had run the lab for nearly 40 years, and said it closed Dec. 1 when his research funding ran out.

Amid presidential campaign, Walker’s deficit balloons to $2B

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 08:32

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will have to plug a roughly $280 million budget shortfall by the end of June, and the state faces a two-year deficit that could be as large as $2 billion, based on new estimates released from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Mercy for Animals opposes an 'ag-gag' bill in Wisconsin

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:24

Mercy for Animals is responding to reports that Wisconsin lawmakers plan to propose an "ag-gag" bill aimed at prohibiting the taking of photographs or videos on a farm without the owner's permission.

Mercy for Animals is one of the groups at the forefront of a campaign to expose animal cruelty at farms and in the factory farming industry using videos and photographs taken by undercover investigators.

Walker forms political organization to boost potential 2016 presidential bid

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:57

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced this week that he formed a political organization to help boost a potential 2016 presidential run, the first concrete step toward a possible campaign that comes as others are also ramping up efforts to seek the GOP nomination.

The tax-exempt group, Our American Revival, was formed on Jan. 16 and can raise and spend unlimited cash to help Walker push his agenda. But if he were to become an official candidate, Walker would not be able to move the balance from his tax-exempt group to a presidential campaign.

Wisconsin lawmakers to take up bill to ban vaping indoors

Written by The AP Monday, 26 January 2015 11:01

Wisconsin lawmakers are set to reignite conversations about whether vaping — using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices — should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban.

The ban took effect in 2010 and it outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars.

A group of business leaders opposed to making Wisconsin a so-called right-to-work state announced 50 new members this week. Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said any debate over the idea likely won’t happen before the April 7 election.

Twenty-four states have so-called right-to-work laws, under which private-sector workers can’t be forced to join a union or pay union dues.

Plan for Milwaukee-area private rail company released

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 23:11

The proposed B-Line. — Illustration: Milwaukee Passenger Rail Co.

For five years, a group of individuals has been quietly gathering input from Milwaukee-area residents and civic leaders to develop plans for a private passenger rail that would link key areas across Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. 

Walker proposes $300-million cut, more freedom to UW system

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 28 January 2015 06:30

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to give the University of Wisconsin System more freedom would allow it to impose unchecked tuition increases that could price students out of college, one of the system’s toughest critics and student leaders said.

Bipartisan effort in Wisconsin seeks to ban powdered alcohol

Written by Dana Ferguson,
AP writer
Sunday, 25 January 2015 10:33

Powdered alcohol may be banned in Wisconsin before the product, known as Palcohol, ever hits store shelves.

Critics: Effort to change method of selecting state’s chief justice is a partisan attack

Written by Bill Lueders,
Wis. Center for Investigative Journalism
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 12:09

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson

The left-leaning Center on Media and Democracy called it “a coordinated GOP attack” on Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Neil Heinen, editorial director of WISC-TV in Madison, said it “borders on frivolous abuse of the constitutional amending process.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized that Republicans apparently want “to retroactively overturn an election.”