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Wisconsin roundup: Finance panel OKs new funding, controversial provisions for schools; 9 more state news stories

MADISON — State finance Republicans have endorsed the governor's proposed $639 million increase in state school funding for the next two years.

On a 12-4 vote, with all Democrats voting no, the GOP also added several controversial measures into the school portion of the new state budget that's almost two months late in being adopted. School districts would be limited to two referendums a year, and only on election days that are otherwise scheduled.

The panel also adopted higher family income limits to get tax funded vouchers for private schools outside of Milwaukee and Racine. Also passed was a provision allowing teachers and administrators to get lifetime state licenses after three years with provisional licenses. UW and tech schools throughout the state could start charter schools under the bill and Racine's suburbs would be allowed to break away from the city's unified school district if they choose. The finance panel is expected to finalize the budget at its next meeting next Tuesday.


Hillary to visit Wisconsin at last — to promote book

MILWAUKEE — Hillary Clinton will visit Milwaukee Nov. 9 to discuss her new book called "What Happened."

A news release about the appearance says the 2016 Democratic White House hopeful will give a "highly personal perspective" on the election and what's next for Clinton in what the statement calls a "story of resilience." Clinton lost Wisconsin by about 23,000 votes following a statewide recount last December. Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Wisconsin since 1984.

Critics say it might have been because Clinton never visited the Badger State during the general election campaign last fall, while Trump appeared several times. Simon and Schuster will release Clinton's book on Sept. 12.


Report: Foxconn could put big local tax hike on plant’s neighbors

MADISON — The community that gets the Foxconn plant could be in line for a huge increase in local property taxes.

Dale Knapp of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the tax hikes could come early — to make sure local amenities like streets keep up with the rapid growth of the LCD screen plant. Knapp says the amount of the tax hike would depend on the finances and costs for the Racine or Kenosha County community that gets the Foxconn plant, and ripple effects like new homes and suppliers.

Senate Republican Van Wanggaard of Racine has been talking with GOP leaders and the governor's office about the possible local impact. An aide to Wanggaard says it's not an immediate issue that has to be addressed before lawmakers give final approval to a $3 billion incentive package that's pending in the Senate.


Wis. businesses attempting to deploy generators to Harvey victims

Makers of backup electric generators in Wisconsin are busy getting their products to Texas hurricane victims — or trying to.

Art Aiello of Generac in Waukesha says all the flooding makes it a challenge for his three teams of technicians to get to where they're needed. Generac, Briggs and Stratton, the Kohler Co., and Wacker/Neuson all make emergency generators and water pumps in the Milwaukee region. They've been working around the clock to make additional generators — but it might take a while to figure out where to send them, because rain is in the forecast at least into Wednesday night in the Houston area. Laura Timm of Briggs and Stratton says they've been getting their products as close as possible to distribution centers and their retailing partners.


Cool, dry weather slows crop maturity

MADISON — Wisconsin farmers say they need warmer weather and more timely rains before the first frost, due in about a month.

The state Ag Statistics Service says both of the state's largest cash crops — corn and soybeans — are behind schedule in maturing, and the cool temperatures of the past week did not help. Sixty-nine percent of the Wisconsin corn is rated good to excellent, two points below the past week. Seventy-three percent of the soybeans were good to excellent, one point below the previous week. Wisconsin potatoes remain ahead of schedule with 27 percent harvested, and three fourths of the spuds are good to excellent — one point less than the week before.


Labor Day rally to call for $15 minimum wage, new governor

MILWAUKEE — Labor groups say they'll campaign for a $15 minimum wage and a new governor when they rally in Milwaukee on the morning of Labor Day.

Speakers include Democrat Randy Bryce, who's running against House Speaker Paul Ryan next year — and state fire union president Mahlon Mitchell. The Service Employees International Union is organizing next Monday's events, in which fast food workers are expected to walk off their jobs like they've done a number of times in recent years to push for a wage that's more than double the current Wisconsin minimum of $7.25 an hour. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who's up for re-election next year, has long opposed a minimum wage hike but says he seeks jobs which make well above that amount.


Wis. DOJ creates elder abuse task force

MADISON — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has announced a new program to examine elder abuse in the state.

The Attorney General's Task Force on Elder Abuse's mission is to study the impact of elder abuse and find ways to protect a growing population of citizens. Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Schimel says over the next two decades, Wisconsin’s 65 and older population will increase by 72 percent and one in nine seniors have reported being abused, neglected or exploited in the past 12 months.

The Attorney General's office says elder abuse is "vastly underreported." The Task Force will be made up of a number of groups, including the Department of Justice and local law enforcement.


Wis. group finds missing Lake Tahoe kayaker

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A nonprofit rescue group from western Wisconsin has found the body a kayaker missing since June 8 on Lake Tahoe in northern California.

Bruce's Legacy of Black River Falls was contacted by the El Dorado County sheriff's department to find 41-year-old Dan Pham. Officials say the private searchers used a state of the art scan sonar unit to find Pham's body in about 245 feet of water on Saturday. The group used its remote underwater vehicle to move his body to the surface.

The El Dorado deputies say they've used Bruce's Legacy to find 18 drowning victims the past four years. According to its web page, Bruce's Legacy was inspired by the death of Bruce Corcoran in a 1995 rescue attempt in rough waters in which three firefighters got swept from their mission.


Search resumes for missing boater in Chippewa Falls

CHIPPEWA FALLS — A search resumed Monday morning for a boater missing on the Chippewa River in Chippewa Falls.

Officials say a boat capsized Sunday afternoon between Highway 178 and Wissota Hydro Dam. A number of agencies responded — and while the boat was found, its only occupant was not. Officials were not sure if the victim was wearing a life jacket, and the person's name was not immediately released.


Packer Mike Daniels’ father-in-law deals with Harvey floods

DICKINSON, Texas — Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels has in-laws dealing with the massive South Texas floods from Hurricane Harvey.

James Tutson is the father of Heaven Daniels and he was ordered to evacuate his home Monday in Dickinson, Texas about 30 miles southeast of Houston. But he tells WLUK-TV he couldn't leave because he couldn't find a street that wasn't flooded.

Meanwhile, Tutson got his electricity back Monday after a couple days of outages — and he took advantage by making as many meals as he could. Heaven Daniels said the gravity of the situation hit home after Tutson sent her pictures of flood waters that went halfway up his car door — but he was still able to use the car's battery power to charge his phone.