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Lawmakers advance drug testing for workers, aid recipients Submitted: 05/06/2015
MADISON - A Wisconsin legislative committee has advanced two Republican bills that would establish drug testing for public benefit recipients.

The Assembly's public benefits reform committee approved the bills Wednesday almost on party lines. The measures passed on 8-6 votes with Republicans voting in favor. Rep. Adam Neylon, a Pewaukee Republican, voted against the measures.

The bills would require applicants for state job training programs such as Wisconsin Works and certain applicants for unemployment benefits to answer questionnaires screening for drug abuse. Based on the answers, applicants could be forced to undergo tests and enter state-sponsored treatment to retain their eligibility.

Minority Democrats on the committee prepared two dozen amendments to the bills. None was approved.

The bills now move to the full Assembly where they will be debated next week.

Story By: Associated Press

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PHILLIPS - Many times, a cat or dog in the home makes domestic violence situations even more complicated. The abuser may hurt the animal, or the victim might be reluctant to get out of the home while leaving the animal behind.

TimeOut of Price County serves victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Its workers hear story after story of innocent pets being involved in abusive situations.

"(Victims say,) 'I see this happening to my pet constantly. My abuser has a bad day or we get into an argument and they take it out on my pet. I fear for my safety, I fear for my pet's safety,'" said Becky Steinbach, a Sexual Assault Program Coordinator at TimeOut in Phillips.

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PHILLIPS - If more students went to school in their home area, school districts like Phillips would be in a much better financial place. Phillips stands to forgo more than $300,000 in state aid because of open enrollment.

The formal open enrollment window closed last week. About 80 students living in the district will likely attend school somewhere else next school year. Fewer than half of that number will come to Phillips by choice.

With how state funding is calculated, Phillips will lose about $6,600 per student that leaves.

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WOODRUFF - Seniors who rely on the Senior Meal Program in the Lakeland area won't receive their food for a few days after a fire destroyed the Lakeland Senior Center in Woodruff early Wednesday morning. 

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WASHINGTON, DC - Last week, 81 World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War flew veterans to Washington, DC, free of charge to see the memorials that stand in their honor. Veterans from our area left from Wausau on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight. It can be a challenge to convince the veterans to participate. They're humble and many feel like there are plenty of other veterans who are more deserving of the opportunity. One veteran who took some convincing is Dan Writz of Abbotsford.

"I just felt I never was qualified to go," Writz said.

It took a couple of years to convince him to go on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight. Writz served stateside as a radio repairman from 1950 to 1953, during the Korean War.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

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MADISON - Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says expanding the private school voucher program probably can't be done as Gov. Scott Walker has proposed.

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MADISON - The state Senate's leader says he's talking to his colleagues to gauge support for repealing or revising Wisconsin's prevailing wage law but a committee's moves this week is making the picture fuzzier.

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MILWAUKEE - The reward has been significantly increased in the case a 5-year-old Milwaukee girl fatally shot last fall while sitting on her grandfather's lap.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has approved 1 percent pay raises for two small state employee unions.

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