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NEWS STORIES

Lawmakers Say Hands Off Transportation BudgetSubmitted: 02/20/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment that prevents lawmakers from diverting money from the state transportation fund to pay for other items.

The Assembly passed the measure last week with an overwhelming 82-13 vote.

If it clears the Senate today, it would then get on the ballot for voter consideration in the November 2014 election.

Republicans authoring the amendment say any money the state collects through the gas tax, or fees on driver's licenses must go to the transportation fund and not be used for any other program.


Former Gov. Jim Doyle diverted $1.3 billion from the fund to pay for schools and other expenses.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether vaping, using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices, should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban.

The ban took effect in 2010. It outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars. But the ban does not currently apply to vaping, giving venue owners the right to decide whether or not to permit e-cigarettes.

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KENOSHA - Police say 11 people were hurt but none seriously when a bus crashed on Interstate 94 in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Kenosha County sheriff's office says the coach-style commercial bus was returning from Milwaukee to the Chicago area when the driver suffered an apparent medical condition and collapsed about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

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CALEDONIA - An elderly couple is dead after being struck by a sport utility vehicle as they left a church in southeastern Wisconsin.

Police say Oscar and Vernetta Lang, both 83 and from Caledonia, died after being struck about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police say a 7-year-old boy has drowned while attending a birthday party at a hotel.

Police say the party was at the Comfort Suites Park Place hotel in northwest Milwaukee.

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MEDFORD - 28 middle aged and elderly people will need to find housing after an apartment fire in Medford Saturday.

It happened a little before 1 p.m. The Medford Police Department says the fire happened in Riverview Village Apartments on the third floor.

Medford Police Chief Ken Coyer says a neighbor smelled and saw smoke.

The 28 people who lived there were displaced due to smoke, fire and water damage throughout the building. Red Cross helped them at Medford Area Senior High School to make arrangments for housing.

The chief says this was an accidental fire.

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WAKEFIELD - Close to 3,000 people in Gogebic County experienced a widespread power outage Friday.

The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office aren't sure how it happened, but power is being restored.

They say the outage affected much of the county, but it was narrowed down to the city of Wakefield. About 50 percent of the city was without power.

Deputies say the city of Wakefield maintains its own power grid. They say Wakefield Electric Department and Xcel Energy worked all day Saturday to restore power.

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KENOSHA - The Kenosha mayor says he's very disappointed Gov. Scott Walker decided against a request to build a casino there.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday denied the Menominee Nation's request for permission to build an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, saying it could leave the state owing a rival tribe millions of dollars.

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman says he's frustrated with Walker's denial of the tribal casino at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park.

He said the loss of $800 million in investment and the expected thousands of construction and permanent jobs is a blow to the city.

Bosman said the process has been very frustrating.

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