Committee to consider double dipping changes
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to more than double the amount of time a public employee must stay retired before being hired for another job is up for consideration this week by the Legislature's budget committee.
The Joint Finance Committee was scheduled to consider Walker's proposal on Tuesday.
School districts and others oppose the move lengthening the required break in service from 30 to 75 days, saying it will make it more difficult to fill high-need positions.
The proposal would also disallow anyone who is re-hired from collecting their retirement benefits during the time they are employed, if they are working at least two-thirds time.
The committee will also consider even tougher restrictions that would bar collecting retirement benefits even if they are working halftime.
WISCONSIN BUDGET-DNA ARRESTS
Wis. budget committee to consider DNA expansion
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin lawmakers are set this week to consider Gov. Scott Walker's plan to take DNA from anyone arrested for a felony and anyone convicted of any crime.
Wisconsin currently collects DNA only from convicted felons and sex offenders. Walker's executive budget lays out nearly $6 million for the initiative. The money largely would come from an existing $250 surcharge on felony offenders and a new $200 surcharge on misdemeanor offenders.
Twenty-five other states and the federal government take DNA upon felony arrests. Civil rights advocates, though, still see Walker's plan as an invasion of privacy.
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee is working to revise Walker's budget before forwarding it to the full Senate and Assembly. The panel is expected to review the DNA proposal Thursday.
GOP move gives state more control on construction
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democrats say a move to standardize erosion control rules for commercial construction sites is simply another Republican effort to take away local authorities' power.
The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee added the provision to the state budget last week. It would keep local governments from enacting ordinances that are stricter than rules enforced by the state Department of Natural Resources.
Democratic Rep. Cory Mason, of Racine, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the provision caters to corporate interests by letting the state set standards as low as possible. Mason also says it would prevent communities from offering developers incentives to encourage green development.
Republicans, however, say the measure would save cities money because they won't have to set up their own standards.
Explosion that leveled house investigated
TOWN OF WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) - Investigators are looking for the cause of an explosion that leveled a house in Eau Claire County.
The explosion Sunday shook the neighborhood and sent debris flying. Town fire official Mark Porter says fortunately no one was killed or injured.
All that's left of the house is a huge pile of lumber and debris. Authorities say five other houses sustained damage, including Gary Streveler's home next door. Streveler tells WEAU-TV his windows were blown out, his walls cracked and insulation, shingles and glass landed inside his house, which for now is uninhabitable.
Authorities say the couple who owns the home that exploded, and their three children, are away on vacation.
Robbery suspect arrested after shooting
TOWN OF MENASHA, Wis. (AP) - An armed robbery suspect is behind bars in Winnebago County following a police shooting outside a gas station.
Town of Menasha police say the man robbed a PDW store Sunday afternoon, then was confronted about a block away in the parking lot of a Citgo station. Authorities say an officer fired two shots at the 24-year-old man, who had a handgun. No one was injured.
WLUK-TV says it's the second officer-involved shooting in the Town of Menasha in the last month. Winnebago County investigators ruled an officer was justified when he shot and killed 66-year-old Wilson Lutz, who had pointed a shotgun at police.
JAIL ATTACK-MARATHON COUNTY
Plan to address jail problems never put in place
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - Officials in Wisconsin say they had a plan to address problems at the Marathon County jail before two officers were injured during an attack there in March.
But the plan was never put in place.
Marathon County officials provided information about the plan last week to community members assigned to tackle problems at the jail in Wausau.
Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger told Daily Herald Media the plan was created after a 2010 survey found widespread dissatisfaction among jail employees. The newspaper describes it as a plan for a plan - it's aimed at coming up with specific ways to address problems identified by the survey.
Karger says meetings scheduled to follow up on the plan were later cancelled. He couldn't say why the plan was never carried out.
HUMANE SOCIETY-PIT BULLS
Pit bulls strain Wausau animal shelter's budget
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - The Humane Society of Marathon County says pit bulls are straining the shelter's budget because it's more difficult to find new homes for the breed with a vicious reputation.
About half the dogs at the Wausau animal shelter are pit bulls. Shelter operations coordinator Lisa Held says the pit bulls can make excellent, loyal family pets with the right amount of socialization or training.
The breed has recently gotten some negative attention in the Wausau area. Facial injuries to a 7-year-old girl required reconstructive surgery after she was attacked by a pit bull May 12.
Humane Society executive director Mary Kirlin tells Daily Herald Media dogs with negative social stigmas in the past included German shepherds, Rottweilers and Dalmations, but now that has shifted to pit bulls.
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