Spectators disrupt abortion reform debate but measures OK'd, sent to Walker; Clear Lake teen named state FFA leader, more state news
MADISON -- State Assembly members shared impassioned family stories before approving three bills to restrict abortion rights.
All Republicans voted yes and all Democrats voted no Thursday, as the house sent Gov. Scott Walker a bill to make abortion candidates get ultrasounds so they can see the fetuses they want to give up.
Opponents say the bill would shut down the Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton, because it forces abortion doctors to have admission privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics. The Appleton clinic does not have such doctors.
Walker has said he would sign the measure.
Assembly Republicans also sent two other abortion bills to the Senate. One would let religious groups opt out of requirements to include contraceptives in their employee health plans. Democrats said it's wrong to equate contraceptives with abortion, saying the drugs work to prevent babies from being conceived in the first place. That bill also prohibits the use of tax money to pay for abortion coverage in public employee health plans.
The Assembly also agreed to ban abortions for women who simply object to the unborn child's gender.
During Thursday's debate, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer twice ordered the spectator galleries to be cleared, after visitors broke house rules by applauding Democrats' speeches.
Tougher domestic abuse bill passes Assembly
MADISON -- Alleged domestic abusers could have more of their past used against them under a bill approved by the Wisconsin Assembly Thursday.
It's one of three domestic violence measures that received bi-partisan support, and were sent to the Senate on voice votes.
One bill would let juries hear about a defendant's domestic incidents dating back 10 years - even if the person was not charged in all of them. De Pere Republican Andre Jacque said victims endure an average of six physical abuse incidents before they call police - and those incidents can provide solid evidence against an alleged abuser.
Milwaukee Democrat Fred Kessler, a former judge, said the bill allows hearsay evidence without proof of an arrest - and that could violate defendants' Fourth Amendment rights. Jacque said his bill would give judges leeway in deciding what evidence gets admitted. He also authored the other bills which were approved.
They would establish statewide police training standards for handling domestic abuse cases - make police file reports to prosecutors about all domestic violence calls, even if no arrests are made - and keep restraining orders in place in cases where new judges are assigned.
All the measures are designed to address the aftermath of the Radcliffe Haughton-Brookfield spa murders from last fall. Haughton killed himself, his estranged wife, and two other women after police refused to make arrests in over two dozen domestic abuse calls at his family's home in Brown Deer.
UW Platteville student's Regent appointment rescinded
Governor Scott Walker says he never routinely checks to see whether his state government appointee candidates signed the 2011 recall petitions against him.
The Republican Walker refused to confirm-or-deny yesterday that Joshua Inglett had his appointment as a UW student Regent withdrawn because he signed the petition.
The governor simply said he had other candidates, and would name a replacement soon. Inglett, an engineering physics student at UW Platteville, was named Monday by Walker to a two-year term as a student member of the university's policy-setting body.
Right Wisconsin.com reported on Wednesday that Inglett signed the recall petition. Later on Wednesday, Inglett said a Walker aide called to ask if he signed.
He said he did, and a few hours later, he was told his appointment was rescinded.
Inglett said he was questioned extensively before his nomination, and the subject of the recall never came up.
GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he should have brought it up anyway. Inglett said he answered every question he was asked by Walker's people, and he objects to being portrayed as someone who was not forthcoming.
"I felt my character had been attacked," he told a reporter.
Platteville chancellor Dennis Shields defended his honor student, and said he was still proud of him.
Moderate Senate Republican Dale Schultz of Richland Center and Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Middleton both asked Walker to reconsider, and appoint Inglett anyway. Erpenbach said it looks as if the governor keeps a black-list in his office "It's McCarthyism."
Sauk County farmer fined for raw milk sales
Sauk County dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was fined $1,000 Thursday for violating a holding order on raw milk made at his Loganville farm.
State prosecutors asked a judge to fine Hershberger $3,000 with a year of probation but the judge decided the probation was not necessary.
At a recent trial, Hershberger was found innocent on three charges of processing and selling milk without the proper state licenses. He was found guilty on one count of violating a holding order, after he was told not to move raw milk that inspectors found and did so anyway.
Hershberger said he did not break state laws against selling raw milk, because he only gave the product to members of a private buying club. The case was watched nationally.
Raw milk supporters saw it as a referendum on the product's health benefits. Prosecutors said it was no such thing.
The state said the only pertinent issues were the lack of licenses and the holding order violation.
Justice investigating another police killing
The state Justice Department is investigating a second shooting death this week that involved police officers in far southern Wisconsin.
Walworth County officials said 39-year-old Jeremiah Krubert of Elkhorn entered his mother's house early Thursday and beat her boyfriend with a pipe.
A sheriff's deputy saw Krubert trying to leave with the man's truck and Krubert ended up stealing the deputy's vehicle, which he crashed after a short chase.
He then reportedly took a shotgun in the squad car, and walked toward three other deputies. All three fired their guns, and Krubert fell to the ground and died. His mother's 54-year-old boyfriend, suffered extensive skull and facial damage.
He was taken to an Elkhorn hospital before being transferred to a Milwaukee unit. None of the four deputies were hurt. They're on administrative leave, pending the outcome of investigations.
Both state and Walworth County officers are looking into the incident.
It happened two days after police in nearby Beloit shot a 23-year-old man to death. Authorities said he drove toward officers who boxed him in while they had him under surveillance.
Golf course worker killed by when tree branch falls
A maintenance worker at a Racine County golf course was killed Thursday, after a large tree branch fell on him.
The accident happened at the Ives Grove Golf Course in Yorkville.
Sheriff's deputies said 83-year-old William Cieszynski of Caledonia was on a riding lawn mower when the branch came down, and he was pinned between the tree branch and the steering wheel.
A preliminary investigation shows that a large roll-bar on the mower struck the overhanging branch, causing it to fall onto the operator.
Cieszynski was employed by a company that's hired by Racine County to run and maintain the golf course.
Follower's mourn end to baby's struggle with leukemia
A central Wisconsin baby who touched thousands of hearts around the world died Thursday.
One-year-old Treyden Kurtzweil of Stratford spent most of his life battling lymphocytic leukemia, which destroys bone marrow cells.
Almost 25,000 people followed Treyden's story on Facebook, where his mother Cassie wrote almost every day about her son's accomplishments and struggles.
Last Friday, doctors said there was nothing else they could do to help the child. On Monday night, about 500 people gathered outside Treyden's hospital room in Marshfield for a candlelight vigil which marked his first birthday. Hundreds of others around the country also lit candles.
He died about 3:30 yesterday afternoon.
In announcing the death on Facebook, the Kurtzweil family thanked people for their prayers and support. They said "Treyden received his wings today ... he was surrounded by nothing but love." Within hours, more than 700 followers posted condolences.
Monroe teen is newest Wisconsin FFA leader; Clear Lake boy on leadership team
Logan Wells of Monroe is the new president of the Wisconsin FFA, and the Waupaca FFA is the state's top overall chapter for the last school year.
Both honors were presented Thursday during the final day of the 84th state FFA convention in Madison.
Membership is at a 29-year high for Wisconsin's largest agricultural education group. Wells says he wants to make it 30.
He was a state vice president during the past year. Besides being named the top overall chapter, Waupaca received two other awards for student-and-community development.
The Walworth Big Foot FFA was honored for its chapter development. As president, Wells will work with a 10-member statewide leadership team.
They are Connor Anderson of Clear Lake, Tom Olson of Menomonie, Emma Heser of Tomah, Alison Wedig of Darlington, Jon Jennings of Milton, Alexandra Klapoetke of Westfield, Jenessa Friedhof of Colby, Reba McClone of Bonduel, Justin Schwahn of Reedsville, and Kaitlyn Freeman of Fort Atkinson.