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NEWS STORIES

Senate debate continues into night on biennial budgetSubmitted: 06/20/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
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

MADISON -

The state Department of Natural Resources will unveil a new endangered species license plate tomorrow.

The plate features a photograph of Glory.

Glory is the eagle that stars in education programs at a Nature Center in Milwaukee.

The design was chosen from more than 2,000 entries.

Two other endangered species plates are currently available.

One features a wolf.

The eagle plate will replace the other, a badger plate.

The plates' fees include an annual $25 donation to the DNR's endangered species fund.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)


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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

The trail starts at Community Park in Conover and continues across County Highway K to Highway 45. It runs 
parallel to the highway along old railway beds. The trail will end at Muskrat Creek Road in Conover.

The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County might get a larger courthouse.

The Vilas County Board Public Property Committee met on Monday to discuss possible plans.

The county thinks it needs another courtroom to accommodate its second circuit court judge. The county asked the state to fund the project last year.

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HURLEY - Iron County officials say other developers with better qualifications than Gogebic Taconite are interested in mining ore in the Penokee Hills.

County Board members met last week with representatives from La Pointe Iron Co., which owns much of the land in northern Wisconsin that Gogebic Taconite tried to develop before pulling out in February.

One county board member says Gogebic Taconite's performance may make it harder for another developer to gain the public's trust.

He says county residents will likely remain divided on the mine because of environmental concerns.

But if state and federal regulators can guarantee the environment won't suffer, he says the mine might be worth pursuing because it could bring jobs to an area that desperately needs them.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A stretch of Highway 8 in Oneida County will get smoother after some resurfacing over the next few months. The project started Monday on a section of the road between Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It's been several years since that area of Highway 8 has been repaved.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has asked Wisconsin's attorney general to take "immediate action" to protect ratepayers and workers from what the Republican presidential candidate calls "devastating impacts" of a new rule designed to cut greenhouse gases.

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