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."
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.
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.
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."
Gov. Scott Walker has submitted a request to the federal government for a waiver to become the first state in the nation to drug test Wisconsin residents who apply for Medicaid. Walker said the program would help treat drug addicts and get them jobs. Critics disagree, saying drug testing would not help people become drug-free, but rather create another hurdle for people in need to receive aid.
Gov. Scott Walker is threatening to veto the state budget if Republicans in the legislature do not uphold his pledge to keep property taxes lower than they were in 2010. Walker says he is inspired by people like Tommy Thompson who say you have to stand up for what you believe in. In addition to keeping property taxes low, Walker wants to invest more state funding in the public school system.
Wisconsin has not added many new private sector jobs in the past year. According to federal labor data, the state ranks 33rd in the nation — moving up one position since Gov. Scott Walker took office. The state lost nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2016, despite spending an estimated $300 million a year to boost jobs in the sector. In the nation, 27 other states also lost manufacturing jobs.