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Walker to sign bill Friday changing Wisconsin civil serviceSubmitted: 02/11/2016
APPLETON - Gov. Scott Walker plans Friday to sign a Republican-backed bill to overhaul Wisconsin's civil service system.

Walker's office says the GOP governor is scheduled to sign the bill into law at Manpower Group in Appleton.

The bill eliminates job applicant exams, centralizes hiring decisions within the governor's administration, does away with bumping rights that have protected more experienced workers from losing their jobs and allows agencies to keep new hires on probation for up to two years.

The bill also defines just cause for termination and lists infractions that would result in immediate firing.

Democrats contend the bill will open the door to cronyism within state agencies. Walker has been outspoken in his support of the proposal.

Story By: Associated Press

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 REGIONAL NEWS

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MILWAUKEE - Democratic Party leaders say Milwaukee was chosen to host the presidential debate because of the state's battleground status in the Midwest.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she expects Democrats to do well this fall in Wisconsin considering the position of the Republican field, which she says is far to the right.

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MADISON - A bill that would prohibit people form bothering hunters in the woods goes before the Assembly. Approval would send the bill on to Gov. Scott Walker.

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FARGO, ND - Police say an officer shot during a standoff at a North Dakota home has died.

Police officials say 33-year-old Officer Jason Moszer died at 12:45 p.m. Thursday from a single gunshot wound. Moszer was shot while responding to a domestic violence report at a home in Fargo Wednesday evening.

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MADISON - Fire safety rules might prevent the use of real Christmas trees in some spots.

A bill now approved by the Assembly would ensure live trees are still allowed in churches and the state Capitol rotunda.

National Fire Protection Association guidelines call for banning live Christmas trees in places where 50 people or more gather.

The guidelines also allow limited quantities of combustible vegetation....if local fire officials decide adequate safeguards are in place.

Under the bill, the state and local governments would not be allowed to prevent placement of Christmas trees in the Capitol rotunda or in a church.

Trees in the rotunda and churches would be presumed to be safe during fire inspections.

The Assembly approved the bill Tuesday evening.

Now it goes to the state Senate.

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MADISON - Big changes for Wisconsin's managed forest program cleared the state Senate.

The Program gives participants property tax breaks if they keep their land open to the public....and follow timber management plans.

Land owners can close their property, but get a smaller tax break and must pay a fee.

The bill would cap closed land at 320 acres.

Fees would be reduced for withdrawing from the program early.

Property owners would be able to lease their land.

The changes would eliminate local taxes on timber harvested from program land, but allow local governments to keep 80 percent of closed acreage fees.

Right now 100 percent of those fees go to the state forestry account.

The changes now go to the state Assembly.

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WASHINGTON - The new boss of the House is confronting the same tea party challenges as his predecessor.

Speaker Paul Ryan is scrambling to avoid an embarrassing fiscal defeat this year in the face of a hard-right conservative revolt over last fall's spending-and-tax plan.

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget committee has approved state health officials' request to spend more on Wisconsin's mental health institutes.

The Department of Health Services wants to spend an additional $15.8 million beyond the state budget on upgrades at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, the Winnebago Mental Health Institute near Oshkosh and three centers for the mentally disabled in Madison, Union Grove and Chippewa Falls.

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