>>Walker, Senate Leader Talk School Safety

(Madison, WI)  —  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald both say they want to set aside some spending in the state budget to increase safety in school buildings.  The only legislation senators could vote on right now would provide state grants for schools to hire armed security guards.  If lawmakers come up with another approach, the governor would need to call a special session for its consideration.  Fitzgerald is supportive, but he has ruled out letting school district increase property taxes to raise the revenue they need for more security personnel.

 

>>Kimberly-Clark Incentive Plan Approved By Wisconsin Senate Committee

(Madison, WI)  —  The Wisconsin Senate is expected to take up a bill offering tax incentives to Kimberly-Clark if the paper-making giant will reverse plans to close two plants and lay off 600 workers.  A Senate committee approved the legislation Wednesday.  The incentives are similar to those offered to Foxconn Technology Group to convince it to build a high-tech plant in Mount Pleasant.  Kimberly-Clark hasn’t indicated whether the tax incentives would be enough to keep the plants operating.  The full Senate is scheduled to take up the bill March 20th.

 

>>UW Starts Accelerated Nursing Program To Deal With Shortage

(Madison, WI)  —  The University of Wisconsin is starting an accelerated nursing program in May to deal with a statewide shortage.  The Wisconsin Center for Nursing Research projects a shortage of 20-thousand nurses in the state by the year 2035.  The new program will let students take nursing classes and graduate in one year.  The traditional program takes two years.  Students would work through the typical summer and winter breaks.  The accelerated program lets 20 percent more students graduate with a Bachelor of Science each academic year.

 

>>Eau Claire Bus System Gets $5M Federal Grant

(Eau Claire, WI)  —  A five-million dollar grant from the U-S Department of Transportation will be used to help pay for a new transit center and multi-purpose building in downtown Eau Claire.  The complex would include two parking levels and apartments or condos on the upper floors of a seven-story building.  The total cost of the complex is estimated at 23-million dollars.  Private industry partners are being sought.  There is still no projected date for construction to begin.

 

>>Emergency Room Visits For Opioid Overdoses Double In Wisconsin

(Madison, WI)  —  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the number of emergency room visits for opioid overdoses more than doubled between July 2016 and September 2017 in Wisconsin.  That’s the biggest increase in 16 states which were tracked by the federal center.  Wisconsin had more than 34-hundred visits to its emergency rooms.  E-R visits rose by about 30 percent nationwide when patients sought help for suspected opioid overdoses.  The C-D-C says the trend shows the need to enhance mental health services, treatment for addiction and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs.