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Wisconsin roundup: Lawmakers could act on concealed weapons without permits; 9 more state news stories

The Wisconsin Senate could act as early as October on a bill to let people carry concealed weapons without permits or training. File photo

MADISON — The Wisconsin Senate could act as early as October on a bill to let people carry concealed weapons without permits or training.

The Republican measure was endorsed Tuesday by the Senate's judiciary panel on a 3-2 party line vote. It would still keep Wisconsin's permitting system in place for those who choose to use it so they can carry hidden weapons when they go to other states. More than 330,000 residents have obtained concealed weapons permits since Wisconsin became the second to last state to adopt concealed carry in 2011.

Senate GOP judiciary chairman Van Wanggaard says the new bill would create "less tension" in situations where law abiding people have weapons — but Madison Democrat Fred Risser says it would weaken current firearms laws. The Republican bill would let some people carry hidden guns on public school grounds, let others beside police carry Taser stun guns with no training, and let felons carry muzzle loaders.


Foxconn to locate in Mount Pleasant, report states

MOUNT PLEASANT — At last word, Foxconn was still negotiating with Racine County officials on the location for its new $10 billion LCD screen plant.

But WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee quotes Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca as saying it will go in Mount Pleasant, just west of Racine on County Road H between Highway 11 and Braun Road. Barca, who lives in nearby Kenosha, was one of just a few Democrats voting in favor of the state's $3 billion assistance package to lure Foxconn.

Meanwhile, WTMJ says up to 30 people in Mount Pleasant are working with the same lawyer to make sure their rights are carried out. Jay Eckholm of Mount Pleasant says he built a dream retirement home there two years ago — and now, he fears having to sell the site to Foxconn.


Man found dead along highway was missing since Sept. 11

ADAMS — A 33-year-old man found dead along a central Wisconsin highway has been identified as Isaac Salinas, who disappeared Sept. 11 in Adams County.

Sheriff's officials say an autopsy confirmed his identity, but the cause of his death is still being investigated as the county medical examiner awaits test results. A landowner found Salinas' body late Monday night behind a garage close to County Road M near Adams.

Deputies say Salinas was last seen at his home near Friendship in the town of Preston, and he was reported missing last Friday — four days after he vanished. At first, officials called it a "suspicious death" but they did not believe the property owner who found the body had anything to do with it.


Heavy T-storms rumble through Wis.

SUPERIOR — Far northwest Wisconsin was hit with heavy thunderstorms during the night.

The National Weather Service says Superior got pea sized hail around 3:30 a.m. But most of the damage was to the west in neighboring Minnesota, where lightning and wind gusts of up to 45 mph knocked out power to about 7,000 electric customers.

Forecasters say the region could get more strong thunderstorms Thursday night and into the weekend. Storms are also forecast in the Madison area, with partly to mostly cloudy skies predicted for the rest of the Badger State with highs in the 70s and 80s.


Former Packers GM has street named for him

GREEN BAY — Ron Wolf is the latest of the 1990s Super Bowl champion Packers to have a street in Green Bay named in his honor.

The former general manager unveiled a sign for Ron Wolf Way during a ceremony on Tuesday. Wolf, his son Eliot, their wives, and Wolf's baby granddaughter attended the event — and he called it a reflection of what the Packers did themselves, saying it's a "tremendous honor." The street runs from Brookwood to Blue Ridge drives near the Packers new Titletown District just west of Lambeau Field.

Wolf joins Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, and the late Reggie White as the 1990s Packers with streets named for them. Current coach Mike McCarthy also has a street named in his honor in Ashwaubenon, after he led the Pack to a Super Bowl title seven years ago.


Waukesha DA probes Facebook comments during jury deliberations

WAUKESHA — Waukesha County's chief prosecutor says she's investigating comments on Facebook to see if a man had inside information from the Slender Man jury during its deliberations.

District Attorney Sue Opper says the man who posted the comments could have been bluffing or made innocent predictions — but she's using caution by having an investigator check to see if the commenter had improper contact with a juror. The jury ruled last Friday that 15-year-old Anissa Weier had a mental defect in 2014, when she helped a friend stab a classmate in allegiance to the horror character Slender Man.

WISN-TV was live streaming the trial on Facebook, and Danny Black wrote that he knew a juror and predicted "three years of mental health" care for Weier — and he later asked if anybody wanted to bet with him on that.


Appeals court: Right-to-work law constitutional

MADISON — A state appeals court says Wisconsin's right to work law is constitutional.

The Third District appellate court in Wausau Tuesday overturned a Dane County circuit judge's ruling that threw out the 2015 law, which prohibits companies from making union membership a condition of employment.

The law no longer requires workers to pay union dues, and unions argued that it amounts to an unconstitutional seizure of their property. But the appeals court says the law still lets workers unionize, and whatever benefits that non union workers receive do not deprive the unions of compensation. In July, a federal court also upheld the state's right to work law.


Assembly Democrats choose Hintz as new minority leader

MADISON — Assembly Democrat Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh was chosen by his party colleagues Tuesday as the new minority leader of the lower house.

He replaces Peter Barca, who stepped down amid criticism that he helped Republicans pass the massive state aid package for the Foxconn plant to be built in Barca's area. Hintz called on Democrats to focus on winning elections, and move beyond primary challenges and what he called partisan "purity tests" like Barca was said to have violated.

Democrats have their smallest minority in the Assembly since the late 1950s, with just 35 of the 99 members — and Hintz says they all need to be on the same page or they won't be an "effective voice for Democrats" throughout the state.


Video shows rifles in Milwaukee murder

MILWAUKEE — A surveillance video shows a 37-year-old man being shot to death with apparent rifles outside a tavern on Milwaukee's west side.

Lanell Taylor, a regular customer, was shot outside the Talk of the Town bar. The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, and patrons reported hearing dozens of shots as they dropped to the floor while fearing for their lives.

The video, shown by Milwaukee's WITI-TV, showed bullets creating sparks on a sidewalk while other shots flew in the air. Police continue to investigate, and officials say they're seeking one suspect that's known to officers.


Minn. congressman: Soo locks need to be rebuilt

DULUTH, Minn. — U.S. House Democrat Rick Nolan of Minnesota says a new lock is needed at Sault Ste. Marie to connect Lake Superior with the other four Great Lakes. Nolan told reporters at Duluth/Superior that if the $1 billion project does not go into the president's infrastructure package, he'll propose it separately in Congress. Tom Rayburn of the Lake Carriers Association says there are two locks at the Soo, but only the Poe Lock can handle most of the Soo's shipping traffic on the Great Lakes.

And if the 49-year-old Poe Lock is not replaced, Nolan says it would plug up Lake Superior's key business link to Lake Michigan and elsewhere — while reducing the nation's gross domestic product by one-point-one trillion dollars and laying off eleven million people in the region.