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Senate debate continues into night on biennial budgetSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Senate debate continues into night on biennial budget
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

MADISON - The biggest bill in Wisconsin government is just two steps from becoming law.

But that second-to-last step is taking a long time.

The Senate started to debate the state budget this morning.

But they're several hours into debate late at night.

The biggest debate between Democrats and Republicans has been whether Wisconsin is going in a fundamentally good or bad direction.

"Forty-seven states plus the District of Columbia are doing better than the state of Wisconsin. Of those three states, Wisconsin lost the most jobs," said Sen. Julie Lassa, (D) Stevens Point.

"Look at what you have done to the property-taxpayers of this state. We aren't going to apologize for giving people back their money. We will not apologize for that," said Sen. Mike Ellis, (D) Neenah.

Minority Democrats have brought several amendments to the floor.

One of the most controversial was to kill the proposal to expand private school vouchers.

Each amendment has been defeated so far.

Democrats plan to introduce several more amendments.

Democratic leader Chris Larson told reporters they hoped to have a final vote "before midnight".

Republicans expect the budget bill to pass.

If it does, it will go to Governor Walker for final approval.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

PORTAGE COUNTY - Police want to find a suspect in a shooting in the Town of Plover.

The Portage County Sheriff's Department is looking for 18 year old Alec Varney. Police believe he fired a shotgun at two men injuring them. A third person had a stab wound. 

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EAGLE RIVER - An Eagle River man pleaded not guilty to multiple drug related charges. 

Police arrested Scott Schmidt, 33, of Eagle River and Stephanie Wolfe, 34, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on March 30 for making meth in Schmidt's Eagle River home on Highway 45.

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MERRILL - It appears a Merrill man accused of killing his father might not go to trial. 

On July 14 2017, prosecutors charged Tyler Monroe with killing Kevin Monroe in January 2016 and hiding his corpse.

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RHINELANDER - Oneida County Sheriff Grady Hartman wants the job for another term.

Hartman submitted his nomination papers to the county clerk's office on Monday.

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TOMAHAWK - Lemon Bar and Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler can be more than just bakery desserts.

They're flavors at one Tomahawk ice cream shop.

The Windmill Ice Cream Shoppe will open its doors at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Owner Pat Berg says a couple of people will be already waiting in line for the door to be opened.

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MERRILL - People keep asking Northwoods veterans officers the same question.

When will the new national cemetery near Rhinelander open?

At an information session in Merrill on Wednesday, the VA said design plans are about 35 percent done. But a John Knapp, a VA representative, couldn't give a timeline on when construction might start or finish.

He said it depends on the contractor, the weather, and approval from the VA.

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RHINELANDER - DNA evidence from a pair of sweatpants could link a Northwoods man to a violent sexual assault. Prosecutors offered up some of that evidence against Richard Loppnow in Oneida County court on Wednesday morning.

The victim accuses Loppnow, 38, of forcing her into several sexual activities twice on his property south of Eagle River back on October 28 and 29th of 2017.  

The criminal complaint shows the first assault happened in a building on Loppnow's property.  Testimony revealed claims that Loppnow held a gun to the victim's head.

"[Loppnow was] advising that she could either be humiliated or shot in the head," Oneida County Detective Sergeant Ryan Rossing testified.  "She chose to be humiliated due to not wanting to be harmed."

After later moving to a mobile home trailer on the property, the victim claims Loppnow pointed a sawed-off shotgun or handgun to her head and gave her several options.

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