Wisconsin roundup: Walker offers beer to reporters who think he’s a bore; tuition freeze OK'd for universities; 8 more state news stories
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker offers a Miller Lite to reporters who accuse him of being boring.
The Republican Walker mildly struck back Thursday after the website "Wired" criticized his photos on Instagram of an airplane emergency exit door during a flight instead of a scenic image from out the window — or his traditional "brown bag" ham and cheese sandwich for lunch instead of the much more attractively cooked dishes that lots of people post.
Walker posted a can of Miller Lite on Instagram and wrote, "For those in the liberal media who don't like my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, I have a simple response: Can I get you a beer?" One critic said it should have been a Spotted Cow brew from New Glarus — a notion that appeared to be addressed hours later when the governor posted an Instagram photo of three bottles of Wisconsin-brewed beer, including a Spotted Cow. Walker's son Alex tweeted, "When they give me the middle finger, I reply with two thumbs up — Kill them with kindness."
UW regents OK tuition freeze, hikes in other student costs
MADISON — State residents attending UW-System colleges will see no change in their tuition for the fifth straight year.
But they'll pay more for other things after the university's Board of Regents approved a budget on Thursday for the new school year. Student fees and dorm rates will go up by $321, or 1.6 percent at the flagship Madison campus. Eau Claire has the highest jump in fees, room, and board, a 3.5 percent rise.
The UW expects a $38 million increase in state tax funds, and it plans to spend down another $113 million from unrestricted fund balances carried forward from previous years. The Regents voted 16-1 in favor of a total university budget of six-point-two billion dollars — and Bryan Steil cast the lone no vote, saying he was against some of the student fee hikes.
Baldwin campaigns for more federal highway funds
NEWVILLE — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin took a page from Gov. Scott Walker's playbook, and held a media event on the Interstate to push for highway funding.
Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, spoke with reporters on I-39-90 at Newville in Rock County Thursday, to talk about a $1 trillion plan by her party to improve the nation's infrastructure. Republican President Donald Trump has touted a similar plan, and Baldwin says she wants to work with the White House.
She says she would support the Trump plan if there's "real resources that come along with it." Democrats say their package would create 15 million jobs throughout the course of 10 years. The Republican governor recently took to freeway news conferences to urge approval of a state highway funding package that remains in dispute among majority GOP lawmakers.
Walker proposes end to budget stalemate by borrowing less
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says he's willing to borrow less money for highway projects, if it means getting his fellow Republican lawmakers to agree on a new state budget.
Walker wrote Assembly and Senate leaders Wednesday and made his compromise public Thursday. It calls for borrowing $300 million instead of the $500 million Walker originally budgeted for highway work.
He proposed borrowing more if the state was able to get more federal aid. Walker says his new plan would not result in further delays to major projects like the rebuilding of Milwaukee's zoo freeway interchange. He contends that it would still give "meaningful" increases to local governments for their road maintenance, without raising the gas tax or transportation fees. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald had no immediate response to Walker's compromise plan.
Man killed in industrial cleaning mishap
BROWNSVILLE — The federal workplace safety agency is investigating the death of a 20-year-old man in an industrial accident in Dodge County.
It happened early Thursday afternoon at the Michels Corporation plant in Brownsville. Sheriff's deputies say a 20-year-old man was killed when he was hit by a pipe that fell from a jack, during a cleaning operation by subcontractor All Tools of Fond du Lac. The victim's name was not immediately released. Michels is a utility installation contractor.
At ‘employee town hall,’ Ryan touts tax, regulatory reform
OAK CREEK — House Speaker Paul Ryan told workers in suburban Milwaukee that tax and regulatory reforms are still among his priorities.
The Janesville Republican toured WPC Technologies in Oak Creek Thursday and held an "employee town hall" session that was not open to the general public. CBS News mentioned criticisms about a lack of public accessibility to Ryan and other congressional Republicans, at a time when many face criticisms back home for their votes on health care.
In Oak Creek and Racine, CBS said Ryan got no questions about Russia or President Donald Trump's tweets. He did say that North Korea is his biggest foreign policy concern after it conducted an ICBM missile test Tuesday — which Ryan called a "real problem."
State cheese output grows slightly, lags behind national growth
MADISON — For the second straight month, Wisconsin has a much smaller increase in cheese production than the nation as a whole.
The USDA says Wisconsin factories put out 272 -million pounds of cheese in May, just 0.2 percent more than the same month last year while the national increase was a solid 4 percent. Wisconsin's mozzarella cheese production dropped by 1.5 percent in May, while the state's cheddar output fell by 0.10 percent and Italian cheeses had a rise of more than 1 percent.
Wisconsin remains the national leader in cheese making, with 26-percent of the national total. But second place California caught up a little in May, with a 2.8 percent jump in its production from the previous year.
Johnson: Feds can, should stop national security leaks
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says a "deluge" of leaks has the ability to harm national security with "real world consequences."
The Wisconsin Republican chairs the Senate Homeland Security committee, that issued a majority report Thursday pointing to at least 125 news stories from 18 national outlets that had "leaked information potentially damaging." Johnson says laws already exist in which the Justice Department can bring "criminal prosecutions" in leak cases. He says many of the unauthorized disclosures involved alleged interference by Russia in last year's presidential contest, along with private talks President Donald Trump had with world leaders that wound up in the media, and details of operations targeting America's deadliest adversaries.
Dead crow tests positive for West Nile in Manitowoc County
MANITOWOC — A dead crow found in Manitowoc County has tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The Manitowoc County Health Department reports the bird was found June 25. The agency did not provide a location. West Nile is spread to people through infected mosquitoes, who get it by feeding on infected birds.
The Health Department says most people infected with West Nile do not get sick. Those who do fall ill will experience fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, or fatigue. Older people and those with compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk of getting a central nervous system illness that can result in death.