Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman has announced he will not run for re-election, saying that he has done everything "that he set out to do." Three candidates have announced plans to run for his seat. Also this week, Wisconsin's legislature budget-writing committee rejected Gov. Walker’s self-insurance proposal and voted for health insurance premium increases for state employees.
Overdoses from opioids are on the rise in Wisconsin. Experts project that Milwaukee could see more than 400 overdose deaths in 2017. Between 2005 and 2014 deaths from heroin went up by 495 percent. To fight back, Milwaukee’s health commissioner Bevan Baker is leading a new City-County task force. Baker wants help from politicians and physicians, saying, "This is truly a public health epidemic."
Wisconsin could become the 28th of 34 states needed to force a convention to add a budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, says he is worried that a convention could be used to overturn existing laws and amendments. "There are no rules stipulated anywhere which govern such a convention," he says. "There's no popular support for this."
Gov. Scott Walker and the state legislature continue to debate about how to pay for roads in the state budget. Many legislators are open to raising the gas tax, but Walker remains strongly opposed. As another option, lawmakers are considering implementing toll roads across the state. We visit a rest area on Interstate 90 near Janesville to see what travelers think about the toll road proposal.
The Wisconsin State Assembly passed a resolution demanding a convention of states to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If the Senate supports the resolution, Wisconsin would become the 28th of 34 states needed to force a convention under Article V. Republican Rep. Kathy Bernier, the lead sponsor of the resolution, says "the federal government is out of control."
President Trump signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships June 15. Earlier this week, the president was in Wisconsin touring Waukesha County Technical College to highlight his $200 million expansion of job training and apprenticeships. Job training expert Mark Kessenich says investing in the workforce with apprenticeships is a critical, yet is a “lost and forgotten part of our economy.”
On today's show, we examine: the controversial Constitutional Convention bill: President Trump's new apprenticeship program and local jobs training; a new drug task force in Milwaukee to address heroin, opioid and cocaine epidemic; Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman announces retirement; Walker’s self-insurance plan is rejected; and the travelers speak out about state toll road proposal.
Wisconsin is making strides in improving broadband access for rural communities. We speak with local residents and Internet providers in Pepin, Wisconsin. Don Sidlowski of the Northwoods Broadband and Economic Development Coalition tells us: "There can't be two Wisconsins. One that has all of the advantages of the 21st century and the other that's in this backwards place without access to it."
On today's show, we examine: the debate over education funding in the state budget with Rep. John Nygren and Rep. Gordon Hintz; new numbers on Wisconsin’s private sector job outlook with WPR reporter Shawn Johnson; the importance of investing in broadband access for rural Wisconsin; Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and pledge to keep property taxes low; and the proposal to drug test Medicaid applicants.
Joint Finance Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren thinks Gov. Scott Walker, the senate and the assembly agree more on the state budget proposal than they realize. However, he stresses: “We shouldn’t just rubber stamp the governor's budget. Let’s put out different ideas, get public input.”