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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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MERRILL - Pastor James Weiland of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church remains in critical condition after a crash with a semi-truck on Friday afternoon, near Rhinelander.

After the crash, medics took Pastor Weiland in an ambulance and later flew him to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, where he is now.

The Pastor's truck and the semi crashed a few miles west of Rhinelander on Highway 8. The semi-truck driver wasn't injured.

Weiland has lead the congregation at Christ Evangelical for more than 20 years and is a large part of the entire Northwoods community. 

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MERRILL - Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger will retire.

Jaeger announced Thursday morning he will not run for re-election, and will step down at the end of this year.

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PRESQUE ISLE - The Town of Presque Isle dubs itself "Wisconsin's Last Wilderness."

One of the best places to enjoy the outdoors is at the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area owned by the Nature Conservancy. 

Thanks to the town, it's now more accessible to people who enjoy silent sports in the winter.

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WISCONSIN - On Tuesday, the State Assembly passed legislation that aims to change how violent sex offenders are placed on supervised release in the state.

Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) cosponsored the bill and says the changes are meant to help protect rural areas of the state.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office released the names of two snowmobilers killed in a crash over the weekend.

Garrett Peterson, 37, of Wausau and Adam Wolf, 33, of Spencer died when their snowmobile apparently crashed into the shoreline.  Their bodies were found on the southern end of Long Lake in the township of Elk.

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MINOCQUA - Monday night at a Minocqua town board meeting around two dozen people gathered to discuss wake boat operations on area lakes.

Minocqua resident Jerry Mader had asked the topic to be put on the agenda out of concern for the impact wake boat waves have on shorelines.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County loggers saw a spike in sales this past year.

Local loggers say that record came as a surprise.

Enterprise Forest Products owner Dennis Schoeneck has been logging for more than 40 years.

"I've been through a lot of ups and downs," said Schoeneck.

One of those downs happened to be last year.
"It rained. It rained so much. [There was] so much rain we couldn't get a break," said Schoeneck.

But to Dennis's surprise, Oneida County broke a two-year-old timber sales record in 2017.

"We're just trying to do the best we can," said Schoeneck.

Oneida County Forestry Director John Bilogan says the record was half a million dollars more than their average annual sales.

"We brought in $1,925,000 worth of timber revenue," said Bilogan.

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