State News

Former EPA official: Fracking transparency vital

MIDDLETON, Wis. (AP) – A former official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Wisconsin can remain the leading supplier of sand for the nation’s fracking boom as long as the state imposes and enforces strong regulations. A Wisconsin State Journal report ( ) says J. Winston Porter is now an energy consultant and fracking supporter. More >

OWI fines hefty, but deterrence effect debated

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) – The fine for a first drunken-driving offense, including court costs and surcharges, can be as high as $1,000. But industry experts are questioning whether heavy fines serve as effective enough deterrents. A Northwestern Media report ( ) says the actual fine ranges from $150 to $300. But court costs can add More >

Wisconsin police brace for new probe protocols

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A bill revamping officer-involved death investigations would mean a culture shift for Wisconsin’s largest police departments. The measure would require every department to adopt policies requiring an investigator from a different agency to lead probes into officer-involved deaths. The bill’s authors say the measure will fight perceptions that police protect their own. The More >

Federal appeals court upholds Walker’s union law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s public union restrictions. The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and More >

Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers’ blood without a warrant or driver consent. The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on More >

Another Justice Department worker disciplined

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Department of Justice says another employee has been disciplined for a delay in investigating a child pornography case. The disciplined employee is in addition to two department investigators who lost their jobs for allowing other child pornography cases to languish. Department spokeswoman Dana Brueck tells WKOW-TV ( that a member of More >

Appeals court revives Capitol protest lawsuit

ASHLAND, Wis. (AP) – A state appeals court has revived a lawsuit brought by a group protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill at the Capitol in 2011. Six people who were issued citations for carrying signs sued state officials, saying their free speech rights were violated. The tickets were later dismissed by the Dane More >

Attendance up 2 percent at Midwest Horse Fair

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Attendance was up this year at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison. Officials say despite rain and thunderstorms last weekend attendance hit nearly 55,000 people at the three-day fair, an increase of 2 percent over 2013. According to the fair, the event’s estimated economic impact on the Madison area was $8.4 million, which More >

Oconto High fire causes $5M damage

OCONTO, Wis. (AP) – A fire at Oconto High School has caused an estimated $5 million in smoke damage to the school. Students have been out of school since Wednesday morning when a fire broke out in a boys’ bathroom. Classes are also canceled Thursday and Friday is a scheduled day off. WLUK-TV ( ) reports when More >

Justice Department IDs ousted investigators

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Justice Department has released the names of two investigators who lost their jobs after they let child pornography cases languish for months. Agency officials identified the investigators on Wednesday as Milwaukee Special Agent-In-Charge Willie Brantley and former Milwaukee Special Agent Anna King. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said they More >