State News

Civics test would be required to graduate high school

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee wants to require Wisconsin high school students to pass the civics portion of the U.S. citizenship test to graduate despite misgivings from educators. The Joint Finance Committee was to vote on making that a requirement on Tuesday. A separate bill had been introduced, but the committee is More >

Budget committee approves more spending for prison beds

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee has approved spending an additional $5 million above previous estimates to pay for housing inmates in the state prison system. The committee’s action Tuesday was needed because the prison population growth estimates in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget released in February are already outdated for both the state’s More >

Committee votes to cut 60 Wisconsin prison guard positions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Sixty tower guard positions in 10 Wisconsin prisons would be eliminated under a vote by the Legislature’s budget committee. The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday went along with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to reduce third-shift tower guard staffing. The cuts will save the state about $5.9 million over the next More >

Survivor of Menasha shooting says she’s grateful for support

NEENAH, Wis. (AP) — A mother who survived the May 3 shooting on a Menasha park bridge says she has a long road ahead, but she’s grateful for the support she’s received. Erin Stoffel led two of her children to safety but was shot three times. WTMJ-TV reports she’s in good condition at a Neenah More >

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 >