State News

Drug screening for public beneficiaries approved

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee has approved requiring drug screenings for recipients of public aid programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits. Gov. Scott Walker had proposed the testing. The Assembly last week passed a pair of bills to do that, and the Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday approved it 11-4 with More >

Health insurance opt-out payments for state workers approved

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s finance committee has approved a plan in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget to offer state workers $2,000 a year to opt out of taking state-subsidized health insurance. According to data cited in a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report, the state would spend about $6.6 million annually on the payments. According to More >

Budget panel to approve takeover for some Milwaukee schools

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget-writing committee plans to approve a Republican-backed plan that would convert the worst-performing Milwaukee Public Schools into independent charter or private voucher schools under control of the county executive. The proposal has been floated by Joint Finance Committee co-chair Sen. Alberta Darling and fellow committee member Rep. Dale Kooyenga. More >

Committee to reject charter school approval board

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget-writing budget committee plans to reject Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to create a new approval board to allow for more independent charter schools that operate outside the control of local public school boards. Joint Finance Committee co-chair Sen. Alberta Darling said Tuesday that the Republican-controlled panel plans to vote More >

Budget committee to approve special needs vouchers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee plans to vote on creating a special needs voucher program in Wisconsin, a divisive proposal that’s been floated and rejected several times in recent years. Co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said Tuesday the Republican-controlled panel will create a special needs voucher program that will work similar More >

Committee to vote on expanding Wisconsin voucher program

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget-writing committee plans to vote for expanding the state’s private-school voucher program. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed doing away with the 1,000-student enrollment cap for the statewide program that began two years ago. But in doing that, Walker’s plan would lower the amount of the taxpayer-funded voucher that students More >

Republicans to increase school funding, expand vouchers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled budget committee plans to increase funding for public schools while also eliminating a 1,000-student on the private school voucher program and allowing vouchers for students with disabilities. Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said Tuesday they planned to approve $200 million more in funding for public schools above More >

Committee to decide how to handle new prisoner projections

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s finance committee is set to decide how to handle higher-than-anticipated growth in Wisconsin’s prison populations. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, population growth estimates in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plan are already outdated for both the state’s female and male prison populations. The fiscal bureau says the state More >

Drug-testing for public beneficiaries up for vote

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee is set to vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to require drug screenings for recipients of public aid programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits. The Assembly last week approved a pair of similar bills. The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday is also voting on the issue More >

Board approves adding deductibles to employee health plans

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state insurance board has voted to add deductibles and increase out-of-pocket payments in state employees’ health care plans in a move that could cost workers $85 million over the next two years. The state Department of Employee Trust Fund’s Group Insurance Board approved the measure on a 9-2 vote Tuesday. More >