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TOP STORY

Expert: Walker still has time to declare Pres. run after Jeb Bush comments, Legislature to take lead on some issuesSubmitted: 12/18/2014
RHINELANDER - Gov. Scott Walker won't say when he'll decide if he'll run for president in the upcoming 2016 election, but some political observers say former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's announcement to "actively explore" a presidential run adds some urgency to declare for possible contenders.

Gov. Walker said this week that Bush's comments, "don't affect me one way or another."

However, UW-Madison Professor of Political Science Kenneth Mayer says Walker and other possible candidates may have time into January or February to make a decision.

"Once you get into the late winter and spring, March-April, it gets a little too late," Mayer said.

That's because candidates need time getting their national campaign together before caucuses and primaries in 2016. Bush may be the first to announce an interest in running, but Mayer points to a handful of legislators who have taken the same kind of step.

He says Sen. Rand Paul(R-Kentucky), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) have each put together Leadership Political Action Committees (PACs).

The PACs are designed to help prospectus candidates to raise money and fund travel around the country. That allows them to do all of the things that are like campaigning, while not technically campaigning under federal rules, according to Mayer.

However, a new Washington Post/ ABC poll shows more than a dozen Republican candidates, including Walker, have some kind of support. Those include Cruz, Paul, Bush, Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie (R- New Jersey) and former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. (A link to the poll is at the bottom of the article)

Romney received the highest percentage in the poll with 20%. Mayer says the field should become much clearer once candidates finally declare.

"And with so many candidates, there are too many permutations to allow to figure out if (New Jersey Gov.) Chris Christie drops out or once people start dropping out or making a decision not to run, then those voters have someplace to go," Mayer said.

Walker said his ultimate decision would be based upon him, his family, and his state, and what he may or may not be able to do for the country. In the meantime, Mayer says Walker may let the Republican-led Wisconsin State Legislature take the lead on state issues as he weighs his options.

"Once you begin to think about running for a higher office, you necessarily view all of the decisions that you are making through that lens," Mayer said.

Governor Walker hasn't said when he'll make a decision. He says he wants to focus on Wisconsin and push for government consolidation, tax cuts and education reform.

Related Weblinks:
Washington Post /ABC Poll

Story By: Adam Fox

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Fee planned for access to ice cavesSubmitted: 12/18/2014

BAYFIELD - You'll pay five bucks if you visit the Apostle Island ice caves.

That's if we get the chance to see them again this winter.

The fee would pay for more staffing, portable toilets and medical needs.

138 thousand people visited the majestic ice caves last winter.

The park service spent more than 450 thousand dollars dealing with them.

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Two men arrested after police chaseSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MARINETTE - Two men accused of shooting at police now sit in jail.

They were arrested following a manhunt in the woods of northeastern Wisconsin.

Marinette County deputies closed a section of Highway 141, evacuated some homes and locked down two bars Wednesday night.

They searched for the armed men near Middle Inlet.

Things started when the Marinette County Sheriff's Department got word from police in Michigan that two wanted felons were staying at a hotel in Crivitz.

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Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

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Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

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Flood warning extended in Menominee CountySubmitted: 12/17/2014

KESHENA - A flood warning in the Menominee County community of Keshena will now be extended until Friday.

Yesterday, the water got high enough to close a highway.

The Department of Transportation closed down parts of Highway 47 and 55 due to the flooding yesterday.

The Menominee tribe says the water had risen two inches above the centerline - creating a safety hazard.

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Medical College of Wisconsin to do concussion studySubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Medical College of Wisconsin will help study concussions for the Defense Department.

The school got a four-year federal grant of more than 5-million dollars.

Concussions have become common injuries on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in professional and youth sports.

The study will initially include about 900 athletes from 10 local high schools and two local colleges.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court to take up some Governor Walker related John Doe casesSubmitted: 12/16/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to hear three cases stemming from a John Doe investigation of fundraising and spending by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and conservative groups backing him.

The court on Tuesday accepted a legal challenge from two targets of the probe; a separate lawsuit from those two targets and another; and an action by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to try to reinstate subpoenas that were quashed by the judge overseeing the investigation.

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