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State Budget Increases Funding to UW SystemSubmitted: 02/21/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WAUSAU - UW System schools learned they'll be getting $181 million more from the state over the next two years.

Governor Scott Walker plans to reverse spending cuts from the last biannual budget. It doesn't quite make up for the entire amount cut two years ago from the UW System. But local administrators say this budget is a huge step in the right direction.

The money will go to the 26 universities in the UW System. The goal is to train students for high-demand jobs.

The Dean of UW-Marathon County says this is an "education budget"

"It invests in the UW in several key areas. In particular job creation and workforce development. So it provides us with some resources specifically, in specific areas to enhance work in fields such as business, healthcare, science and engineering," says Dr. Keith Montgomery.

The state budget includes $20 million in incentive grants. Dr. Montgomery says that could help UWMC work more with four-year universities.

He also thinks the UW System will use the money to help keep tuition prices down.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - During a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that it would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugsâ€"including painkillers.

After speaking with one of the bill's authors, that notion is not at all true. 

John Murray, the executive director of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, which supports the bill, said it was never the bill's intention to include narcotics, or any drugs not related to neuro-muscular skeletal healing. The bill is in its early stages, having had a co-sponsor hearing on Tuesday, and future drafts of the bill will not have that broad language. 

"It is the position of the WCA that going forward that was never the intention and that's not the intention going forward to have opioids and highly addictive schedules to be part of this," Murray said. 

What the bill is meant for, he said, is to allow chiropractorsâ€"with 60 credit hours of additional education and hours of clinical trainingâ€"to be able to prescribe non-narcotic pain medication, such as muscle relaxants or steroids. This they could do instead of referring their patients out to a medical doctor for such prescriptions, as all chiropractors do now. He said this would make it more convenient for the patient and better that they see the same doctor for a medication instead of two. 

"It's not that we think referring out to other providers is a bad thing," Murray said. "But there are situations in which a patient comes in and has something that a chiropractor with proper training could treat in the short term with some pharmaceutical intervention."

Not all chiropractors agree with this bill despite its clarifications. 

Dr. Scott Bautch, D.C., of Bautch Chiropractic in Wausau, wants to stay true to being "the non-drug option" to health care. 

He would rather continue referring his patients out to medical doctors.  He presented on behalf of the Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin, which does not support the bill, at the bill's hearing in Madison on Tuesday. 

"I'm going to counsel people on what they eat, I'm going to counsel people on how they move, I'm going to counsel people on what they think," Bautch said. "But if we need to have help with something your body can't heal, I'll refer you out. In my 33 years plus of practice, I've not had a problem. And if I've had to send a patient out because the pain was so unretractable, it's not been a difficult situation at all. If I call them that day, I've had patients that we call, and they get them in in an hour."

Murray says it's up to each chiropractor in the state to decide how they want to practice.

"We have great respect for chiropractors who want to work that way," Murray said. "But there are chiropractors in the state who want to have those extra clinical tools and practice that way. It's about freedom of practice."

The bill still has a few legislative steps before, and if, it becomes law.


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AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground on a project to replace its aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago to power the local feed mill.

But now the Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500-year flood criteria, so it gave the town a choice.

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MADISON - The Republican National Committee says it plans to add 250 additional staffers in battleground states, including Wisconsin.

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MADISON - Wisconsin voters will likely need to show an ID during the August primary.

A federal judge is hearing challenges to Wisconsin's voter identification law.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson says the rules for the August primary election will be the same as they were for the April presidential primary.

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EAGLE RIVER - Inside a Northland Pines fitness room, the laughter comes a little easier than the exercises.

"By God, we have a good time," Denise Simon said with a laugh.

Twice weekly, more than a dozen women sweat, strain, and snicker their way through the Strong Women fitness program at the high school.  It's a lively atmosphere that Denise Simon says keeps her coming back.

"This is just as important physically and socially equally," Simon said.  "And then to be dropped into this group of women, there's where the gift is."

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HILES - Community members got together to celebrate some students' hard work Thursday afternoon. Students from Crandon High School built a visitors' kiosk in Hiles.

There was a ribbon cutting Thursday to announce that the kiosk is officially open. About 15 students built the kiosk.

It features community events, trail maps, and more for everyone to use.

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MERRILL - Wisconsin will now be the 11th state to join a lawsuit against the federal government over new bathroom rules for transgender students.

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