North Central Wisconsin lawmakers respond after controversial special legislative sessionSubmitted: 12/06/2018
Rose McBride
Rose McBride

North Central Wisconsin lawmakers respond after controversial special legislative session
WISCONSIN - People protested in Madison outside the Capitol, in the hallways, and in the chambers of the Senate this week.

They were hoping to convince the legislature to vote against bills that would limit the power of the incoming Democratic administration.

"I don't believe for one second Republicans would have voted to take away power from themselves," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, (D) Stevens Point.

Republicans claimed these bills have actually been on the table for a while, but Rep. Shankland says that isn't the case.

"I asked the Legislative Reference Bureau when these bills were drafted, and they were drafted two weeks after the election when Republicans lost every single statewide office," said Rep. Shankland. 

Rep. Shankland said the bills increase GOP power and go against what the people of Wisconsin want because they elected Democrats to state offices.

"It is clear to me that they are being sore losers. If they really cared about limiting the executive branch and limiting the Attorney General then they would have done it within the eight years of total power that they had in state government," said Rep. Shankland. 

Republicans don't disagree they wanted to put restrictions on the governor's office, but say the negative attention surrounding the session wasn't warranted.

"I think once you get under the headlines you see some really god stuff in this bill," said Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R) Minocqua. 

Sen. Tiffany says one of those good things is giving the legislature power to pick the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which Gov.-Elect Tony Evers has made clear he doesn't like.

"I think about right here in Rhinelander, Print Pack would probably be in Georgia if it wasn't for WEDC," said Sen. Tiffany.

Rhinelander Republican Representative Rob Swearingen says by limiting the power of the governor, the playing field is more even between both branches of government.

"If one branch has power over the other with a stroke of the pen, that doesn't say very much about co-equals so what we did was level the playing field back out," said Rep. Swearingen. 

Both Sen. Tiffany and Rep. Swearingen say despite voting to take away some power, they are looking forward to working with Governor-Elect Evers in his coming term.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


RHINELANDER - A man died near the entrance of Nicolet College in Rhinelander on Thursday afternoon.

Neither the campus nor the public were in danger, according to the Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office. Due to the circumstances of the man's death, Newswatch 12 is not releasing more information, but there appears to be nothing suspicious about the death.

Police got a report at 3:55 p.m. about a man lying face down near the entry drive to Nicolet College. Emergency responders took him to St. Mary's Hospital, but he died.

The Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office, Rhinelander Fire Department, Pelican First Responders, and Oneida Co. Medical Examiner's Office were involved in the response.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Mixed in with a sea of cakes, brownies, and muffins, Sue Loeffler thought her cookies stood out.

"Yeah, yeah, it was a real production," Loeffler said of her work.

Loeffler spent the better part of Wednesday making 91 cookies for a bake sale, which started Thursday, knowing her role was an important one in drawing a crowd.

"Us Methodist women are really good bakers, so we have this reputation in town for good food," Loeffler said.

+ Read More

Play Video


The Oneida County Beekeepers Association promotes beekeeping in the Northwoods. 

It does its part to save the bees, and wants to encourage to do the same. It works to recruit new beekeepers, as well as teach people the importance of honeybees in our everyday lives.

"Bees are essential for our food supply," said Oneida County Beekeepers Association member, John Bigley. "If we lose the bees, we lose most of the food supply. So, we got to keep them healthy. We have to ensure that they are pollinating not only the flowers, but the fruit trees and vegetable gardens."

The organization is holding a class on June 1st for anyone who is interested in learning how to become a beekeeper. 

It's also an advanced class for beekeepers to learn more about bee tips and tricks. 

It will be held at Hansen's Honey Farm.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A semi-trailer arrived in Rhinelander this week carrying a lot of bees. While some people don't like to be around bees, they provide a lot of benefits.

The owner of a local honey farm wants to show the great things bees bring for everyone.

Concerns about the declining bee population have been around for many years.

"There's a few different elements to the decline and I think most of it is going to stem from stress [on the bee population]," said Hansen's Honey Farm Owner Chris Hansen.

The biggest cause of stress is mites.

+ Read More

ASHLAND - A man wanted on a federal warrant died in a police shooting in Ashland.

The Ashland Police Department posted on Facebook that the shooting happened in the 800 Block of 4th Avenue West.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - People living in Rhinelander may notice discolored water at different points throughout the month of June.  The city plans to flush its hydrants over a four-to-six-week stretch.

The routine flushing helps clear out iron deposits in water lines and make sure hydrants are working properly.

+ Read More

Play Video

ARBOR VITAE - Do you know where your food comes from? Kindergarteners at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff elementary do. They have been growing their own fruits and vegetables all year. On Thursday, their work culminated in a final celebration as part of the first-ever Wisconsin School Garden Day. 

Each kindergartner was partnered with a fifth grader to help them with planting and weeding.

Organizer Adriane Morabito said it is important for young people to know where their food comes from.

"It teaches them important skills like empathy, compassionate, and kindness," said Morabito. "It also helps them eat healthy."

+ Read More
+ More General News