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State and Local News
Wis. committee erases governor's GPS plan
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature's finance committee has erased a plan in Republican Governor Scott Walker's budget that would allow judges across the state to order GPS monitoring for people under restraining orders. The budget calls for handing the state Justice Department $3 million over the next two fiscal years to run a local grant program to pay for the tracking. But Republicans on the finance committee Thursday weren't comfortable with the idea, noting no other state has imposed GPS tracking as part of restraining orders. Representative John Nygren, one of the committee's co-chairs, proposed deleting the governor's language and instead creating a grant program for counties to try the idea on their own and laying out $1.5 million more for domestic abuse shelters. The committee approved Nygren's plan 15-1.
Wis. committee cuts roadwork to close budget gap
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature's budget-writing committee has unanimously approved dozens of recommendations aimed at closing a $54 million deficit in Wisconsin's roads fund. The Joint Finance Committee voted 16-0 Thursday to delay freeway work in the Milwaukee area and scale back road aid to local governments. It also agreed to cut funding for reconstruction on part of Milwaukee's Zoo Interchange. Those efforts alone are expected to save more than $37 million. The committee also voted to add 180 positions related to highway engineering. The $27 million in costs would come from budgeted highway-rehabilitation funds. The proposals were prompted by a drop in gas-tax revenue, which the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says will lead to a budget deficit of about $54 million, revised downward from an earlier estimate of $64 million.
Man facing child pornography charges waives preliminary hearing
A Reeseville man facing charges of possessing child pornography for allegedly downloading images and videos waived his preliminary hearing Thursday. 32 year old Adam Rogers is charged in Dodge County Circuit Court with ten counts of possession of child pornography. An arraignment hearing has been scheduled for June 19th. A search by a state computer analyst found the content on the hard drive of Rogers’ computer. If convicted, he faces up to 250 years in prison.
Fdl wants to pull the plug on hotel alcohol and liquor license
After giving the hotel a second chance earlier this year the city of Fond du lac is asking the Fond du Lac Alcohol Licensing Committee not to renew the Retlaw Hotel’s alcohol and liquor license. The committee will consider the license renewal at their meeting next week. According to a civil complaint the hotel still owes the city more than $64,000 for unpaid 2013 utility bills and its 2012 property tax bill. The complaint says because the hotel has failed to fulfill its obligations the city has reinstated more than $81,000 in fees and interest that were held in abeyance under the agreement. That leaves a total balance due of $145,454. Since the beginning of March the hotel has paid the city $85,500.
Judge overturns Wisconsin man's rape conviction
OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man who has spent two decades in prison for rape has had his conviction overturned. Fifty-three-year-old Joseph Frey has been serving a 102-year sentence for an attack on a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student. The woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint after her apartment was broken into in 1991. Judge Daniel Bissett overturned Frey's conviction Wednesday after new DNA tests matched evidence from the crime scene to a man convicted of sexually assaulting two sisters, ages 12 and 13, in Fond du Lac. Those assaults happened after the attack on the UW-Oshkosh student. The man has since died. Frey remains in the Winnebago County Jail on $100,000 bail while prosecutors decide whether to retry him.
Food For Freedom
Fond du Lac High School junior Danny Loomans says he is confident the world record for the largest food drive in a 24 hour period is going down. The 16 year old Loomans is leading the effort to break the world record to help feed the hungry in five northeast Wisconsin counties. The event is being held this weekend at Fond du Lac High School. The current world record of nearly 560,000 pounds of food was set two years ago.
Wis. committee weighs bill to slash UW funding
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin System would miss out on a $181 million spending increase in the upcoming budget, and also lose an additional $2.5 million under a bill before the Legislature's budget-writing committee. Governor Scott Walker initially proposed the $181 million increase. But he revised that figure this month following news the university has a $650 million surplus. He called for a two-year tuition freeze and additional spending cuts. The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday debated a bill that would remove even more funding. It would also maintain the tuition freeze and impose reporting requirements on the UW System Board of Regents. The bill represents Republicans' outrage at UW System officials after learning the system amassed the surplus even while raising tuition for six straight years.
Budget committee permits Milwaukee crime lab move
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature's finance committee has approved language in Gov. Scott Walker's executive budget that would allow the state Justice Department to move the Milwaukee crime lab out of the city. Wisconsin law requires the state's crime labs be located in the cities of Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau. DOJ officials are considering moving the Milwaukee lab, saying it's located in an unsafe area, isn't easily accessible and has become too small. The agency says it would like to move the lab to another space in the Milwaukee area but isn't within the city. Walker's budget would delete provisions in current law requiring the state's crime labs be located in Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau. The committee took no action on the language Thursday, which allows the provision to stand.
Hundreds of thousands hit state roads this weekend
MILWAUKEE (AP) — If you're hitting the road for the Memorial Day weekend, you'll have lots of company. The travel organization AAA estimates 627,000 people are expected to travel by land during the weekend in Wisconsin and another 33,000 by air. Travel is expected to be down about 1.6 percent from last year. Statewide, gas prices are averaging $3.93 a gallon, or 33 cents more than a month ago and 21 cents higher than last year. AAA says gas prices are higher here than the national average of $3.65 because several refineries in the Upper Midwest have been closed for maintenance. You're expected to have the most company on state roads from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and again Monday during the same hours.