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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

RHINELANDER - After the vendors closed up at the end of the first Hodag Farmers Market of the season, several people stayed behind to honor the man who started the market.

That's Douglas Jacobson, and he died last October.

His son, Jonathan Jacobson, said Douglas Jacobson was a big part of the Rhinelander community‚Ä"serving as Lions Club president, being part of many clubs and being a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service.

The Jacobson family and Rhinelander city leaders worked to dedicate a bench in his honor in Pioneer Park. That bench went up on Saturday, just off the road that leads into the park.   

"He was a pioneer in helping to establish the Hodag Farmers Market many years ago. And from those humble beginnings, the market vendors, the patrons that arrive here, the citizens of Rhinelander, and those in the community have a wonderful place to come to get fresh, home grown, locally grown vegetables," Jonathan Jacobson said. "It was a great event. It was really nice to have everybody stop out and pay attention to what my dad's been doing and acknowledge all the effort he put into the farmers market for many years. And not only that, dad was a great citizen here in the Rhinelander community."

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PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA - South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says a body discovered in Grant County on May 17 has been identified as a missing Wisconsin woman.

Jackley says the woman is 25-year-old Tess Morgan Monae White, of West Allis, Wisconsin. She was last seen on May 5, 2016.

An investigation being conducted by the Grant County Sheriff's Office and the state Division of Criminal Investigation is ongoing.

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ANTIGO - For the first time since 2013, deer hunters in Langlade and Price counties will be able to target does with an antlerless deer tag in hand.

This week, Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board approved the fall hunt plans submitted by County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) all over the state. Langlade and Price counties had had bucks-only harvests in each of the last two deer seasons. But in 2016, some hunters will get antlerless tags as well.

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WAUSAU - In the midst of a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugs, 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 the bill was never intended to cover 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 feature more specific language.

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MINOCQUA - Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off the boating season in Wisconsin.

The Safe Boating Council has designated this week as National Safe Boating Week.

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RHINELANDER - You'll likely find some slow-moving guests on the road this weekend. Turtles start laying their eggs in late May and continue through mid-June. But, because of where they like to lay those eggs, it's a dangerous time for the reptiles.

Wild Instincts Rehab Center in Rhinelander treats at least 30 injured turtles each summer.  Painted and snapping turtles are most common in the Northwoods.  They tend to lay their eggs along roadsides, driveways, and in places with soft sand.

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RHINELANDER - Every kid deserves a safe and comfortable place to sleep, but many parents can't afford to buy their children proper beds.

That's why Slumberland Furniture in Rhinelander is giving away 40 new twin mattress sets and frames to families who need them. 

The effort is thanks to Slumberland's 40 Winks Foundation. The program found families in need through the local housing authority. Slumberland sees the program as a big benefit to the community.

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