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Wisconsin statewide news update - Thursday, June 16

Marquette poll shows Clinton ahead

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin's best known independent poll gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a 42 to 35 percent lead over Donald Trump among registered voters in the state. 

But the Marquette Law School survey also shows that voters are holding their noses, like others around the nation. Seven of every 10 overall voters say they would be uncomfortable with Republican Trump in the White House, while close to two-thirds say they'd be uncomfortable with Democrat Clinton running the country. 

Seventeen percent of the 800 voters surveyed last week say they won't vote for either Clinton or Trump in November. Trump did make gains within his own party, as 52 percent of Wisconsin Republicans now view him favorably.

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Auto group says texting while driving ban needs updating

MADISON -- Wisconsin auto organization AAA says the state's ban on texting while driving needs to be updated. 

The motor club's Nick Jarmusz tells WIBA radio radio in Madison that other states now ban using social media, downloading music, and other functions of modern smartphones. Since December of 2010, it's been illegal in Wisconsin to write and send text messages behind the wheel -- but in 2012, critics said it was rarely enforced. 

The State Patrol issued 83 citations in the law's first 35 months, not counting tickets from local law enforcement.

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Johnson-Feingold Senate race now a statistical dead heat

MILWAUKEE -- The new Marquette Law School poll has U.S. Senate Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold in a statistical dead heat. 

Feingold, who's trying to win back the seat he lost to Johnson in 2010, now leads 45 to 41 percent among the 800 registered voters surveyed last week. That's within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error, and it's a slimmer lead for Feingold than the 5-point edge he had in the previous Marquette poll in late March. 

A lot of people still don't know what to think of either candidate, as 35 percent in the new poll could not give an opinion about Johnson and 26 percent said the same about 18 year Senate veteran Feingold. Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says the unfamiliarity numbers have not changed recently -- but voters will certainly start focusing on it during the next couple of months.

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Senate Democrats end filibuster after GOP agrees to gun votes 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin was among the U.S. Senate Democrats who staged a 15 hour filibuster that ended when Republicans agreed to hold votes on two gun control measures. 

Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy says a compromise was reached early Thursday, in which Senate leaders agreed have votes to expand background checks for gun buyers on the Internet and at gun shows -- and barring those on the U.S. terrorist watch list from having gun licenses. Murphy started the filibuster in response toSunday's Orlando shooting massacre that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub. 

Baldwin created a somber tone during her segment by reading the names and life stories of the Orlando victims. That's according to the Washington Monthly, which kept a running blog on what was said.

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Facebook receives Johnson request for Orlando shooter's searches

Facebook says it has received Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson's request for posts and searches made by Orlando shooter Omar Mateen. 

Johnson, who chairs the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security Committee, says he's giving Facebook until June 29 to turn over items from Mateen's five accounts. In a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Johnson says Mateen used the site to post messages about his loyalty to the Islamic State -- he told the U.S. and Russia to stop bombing the group -- and Mateen wrote, "Now taste the Islamic State vengeance." 

The senator also asked FBI Director James Comey to report on Mateen's contacts with the agency around the time of Sunday'sattacks and other information on his activities. Johnson says his panel wants to know more about "the root causes of homegrown extremism."

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Report: Search warrant confirms DNA link to UW student's killer

MADISON -- A search warrant reportedly confirms that UW-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann's clothing had DNA from a man said to be in the area the day she was killed in 2008. 

The Wisconsin State Journal uncovered the warrant, which says the DNA match led police to Andrew Scoles, who was serving time in a federal prison for illegal gun possession -- and Scoles reportedly told officers that his close friend David Kahl confessed to him that he killed the 21-year-old Zimmermann. 

The report says Scoles would not say more, apparently hoping to get a break with his own sentence. The 50-year-old Kahl said in February he was at Zimmermann's apartment around the time she died -- but he denied killing her. That was around the time that Zimmermann's family from Marshfield announced a DNA link, but did not identify the suspect -- and Madison Police are saying nothing further as they continue to investigate.

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Settlement reached in Milwaukee police gun lawsuit

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee has reached a $250,000 settlement of a lawsuit against a dealer which sold a gun that wounded two police officers. 

Badger Guns has paid $85,000 to former officer Alejandro Arce, and $22,000 to officer Jose Lopez -- and more than $140,000 went to the city for worker's compensation and related expenses. 

A jury was selected last month to hear a trial in the case, but a mistrial was declared before testimony could begin -- and the settlement was reached around that time. A judge said Badger Guns violated a rule in which prospective jurors could not be told about the impacts of potential verdicts. In a similar case earlier, a jury ruled that Badger Guns broke the law by selling a gun to a buyer who later sold it to a shooter who was barred from buying weapons -- and the gun was used to wound two other Milwaukee officers.

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Actor Dustin Diamond owes $94K in Wisconsin back taxes

MADISON -- "Saved By the Bell" actor Dustin Diamond owes Wisconsin almost $94,000 in back income taxes. 

That's according to the Revenue Department's list of the state's largest tax delinquencies, created a few years ago at the request of a GOP lawmaker who called it the "Website of Shame." The agency has said that people only show up on the list if they've brushed off letters and notices to start paying what they owe. 

Diamond served more than three months in jail earlier this year, after being convicted in a bar fight at a Port Washington tavern on Christmas night of 2014 -- and he was arrested in late May for taking oxycodone in violation of his probation. He said he needed the drug for a toothache.

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Officers kill armed man in Marinette County

PEMBINE -- Sheriff's deputies in northeast Wisconsin have shot and killed an armed man wanted by Madison Police for making threats. 

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state were asked to be on the alert for the suspect Wednesday afternoon -- and Marinette County Chief Deputy James Hansen says his officers found the man's car during the evening. They reportedly followed him for several miles and tried negotiating by phone for his surrender. 

Hansen says the man stopped just off Highway 141 near Pembine, walked toward the deputies with a gun, and was shot when he ignored repeated commands to drop the weapon. No officers were injured, the State Justice Department has taken over the investigation, and no names were immediately released.

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Middle school wrestler dies from bacterial meningitis

STURGEON BAY -- A middle school student in Door County has died from bacterial meningitis. 

Officials in the Sevastopol district say Matthew West quickly became ill recently, and his organs have been donated to help others. West was going to be a ninth grader this fall, and he spent the last three years on the middle school wrestling team. 

Coach Leif Lautenbach says West was outgoing, generous and possessed great passion. The Door County health department told parents that bacterial meningitis cannot be transferred by casual contact, and officials urged parents to contact their family doctors if their kids show symptoms of high fever, severe headaches, nausea, rashes, eye sensitivity, and lethargy.

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Murder case at Kenosha group home moves forward

KENOSHA -- The case of a Kenosha man accused of killing another man at a group home will move forward after it was delayed for six months. 

Sixty-six year old Marcel Kudzin was found last December to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. Now, Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder says Kudzin has regained the ability to help with his defense. A preliminary hearing is now set for June 29. 

Kudzin is accused of stabbing 52-year-old James Nelson more than 30 times last November, to stop Kudzin from further injuring a 47-year-old woman at the former St. James Manor in Kenosha, which has since been closed. Kudzin is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, reckless endangerment, and aggravated battery.

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