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Wisconsin roundup: State budget deal won't be reached in time; 9 more state news stories

Members of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, shown here during a 2017 visit to Ellsworth, haven't completed their work as the July 1 deadline nears. Lawmakers expect to send the budget to Gov. Scott Walker next month. File photo

MADISON — Friday is the deadline to get a two-year, Wisconsin state budget package approved, but there's not enough time left to get it done.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos calls it an artificial deadline anyway. If the packages aren't approved, the state keeps going on the previous tax and spending agreements until the new ones are approved. The budget committee didn't even meet last week.

Over the last 20 years, only three of the 10 budgets have been passed by July 1. Three passed later in July and four were at least two months late. State government was divided between the two parties then. The lack of agreement is surprising since Republicans control all parts of Wisconsin government in 2017.


Report: More state government workers leave

MADISON — Wisconsin is losing state government employees at the highest rate in more 10 years.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says almost 4,000 state employees outside the UW System left in 2016, and that's 11-percent more than the previous year and twice as many as in 2010. Reports say more public servants are leaving for better jobs in the private sector, or they're among the growing numbers of baby boomers retiring.

Almost 40 percent of state personal health care workers quit last year — and Gov. Scott Walker proposed an extra $40 million in wages for those employees in his new state budget package, while other public workers would get 2 percent annual pay hikes, the most in years. State employees have seen their pay go up by just 7.5 percent since 2006, well above the 19 percent inflation rate for that period.


Rodgers big winner on '$100,000 Pyramid'

LOS ANGELES — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers conquered another TV game show.

He helped contestant Brooke Snell win the top prize on ABC's "$100,000 Pyramid" Sunday night. Snell won two preliminary word games — one with Rodgers and one with "Dancing With the Stars" host Erin Andrews — and Snell made two trips to the winner's circle where she won $112,000. In her final game, she gave the following clues to Rodgers in the last of six questions — "Terry Bradshaw ... Old people ... Terry Bradshaw." Rodgers gave the right answer, "People that are bald," and it won the $100,000 for Snell.

Andrews won the first preliminary game, and she teased Rodgers by making his famous "championship belt" move when she stood up. In the recent past, Rodgers also won a celebrity contest on "Jeopardy," and he let three fans test their knowledge of him on ABC's "Big Fan."


Johnson: Senate shouldn't vote on health package this week

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says there's no way his colleagues should vote this week on the GOP's version of the Obamacare replacement package.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, the Wisconsin Republican says some parts of the package would improve the nation's health care system — but it won't accomplish his party's promise to lower health costs. Also, Johnson agreed with some Republicans who say people with pre-existing health conditions should pay more for their insurance — and he compared those people to cars that have been in traffic accidents. Assuming all Democrats vote no, Republicans can only have two defectors and still pass the GOP package — and the party already has at least four no voters on record.


DPI opposes bill to make students learn personal finance

MADISON — The state Department of Public Instruction says it has problems with a bill to make schools teach personal finance.

The Assembly approved the measure on a voice vote last week, and the Senate is expected to take up a similar bill this fall. About three-fourths of the state's 424 public school districts offer some kind of financial lessons, so future adults don't make the same mistakes as many Baby Boomers — like letting credit get out of control or not saving enough for retirement.

But DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy says state mandates are not the best way to increase financial literacy — and his agency is working with schools to build what he calls "robust" programs. The bill lets schools use model programs from the Wisconsin Bankers Association and other groups — and Dan Rossmiller of the state School Boards Association says it does not have to be as expensive or specific as other unfunded mandates that lawmakers put on schools.


Former teacher receives 6-year prison sentence

CHIPPEWA FALLS — A former Chippewa Falls science teacher has been given a six-year prison term for sexually assaulting a student who was 13 years old at the time.

Joel Jahnke pleaded no contest to three felony charges. He admitted he had touched the girl inappropriately and had sent her nude photos and videos. The judge ruled the former teacher will spend six years on extended supervision after he gets out of prison. He chastised Jahnke for taking advantage of a teenage girl who had a crush on him. Jahnke's attorney says his client has "gut-wrenching remorse" for what he did.


Wisconsin given until Monday afternoon to file Dassey response

MADISON — The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given the state of Wisconsin until Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. to respond to a defense motion that convicted killer Brandon Dassey be freed.

The court upheld a lower court decision that Dassey's conviction be overturned Thursday. He was given a life sentence 10 years ago for his role in the 2005 death of photographer Teresa Halbach. Dassey had told investigators he helped his uncle rape and kill her at the family's salvage yard in Manitowoc County. The federal judge determined police took advantage of Dassey's youth and cognitive problems to coerce his confession.


New Berlin boy injured when slide 'explodes'

WEST ALLIS — A 9-year-old New Berlin boy was left with second-degree burns after an accident at a in West Allis Friday.

Guiseppe Storniolo's family says he was on a slide at Reservoir Park when it exploded. The boy says he doesn't know what happened when the equipment spontaneously bubbled. City officials say they never saw anything like it before and they have contacted Landscape Structures, the company that made the slide. That slide was removed, but two others in the park were examined and declared to be safe.


Fifth person dies from injuries inflicted in May explosion

CAMBRIA — A spokesperson for Didion Milling plant in Cambria says a fifth person injured in the plant explosion last month in Cambria has died.

Carlos "Charly" Nunez succumbed to his injuries Friday in the University of Wisconsin Burn Unit in Madison. Nearly a dozen workers were injured May 31. Didion has more than 200 workers at several locations in southern Wisconsin, most of them employed at the Cambria plant. Construction of the corn mill, where the accident happened, was completed in 1991.


UW-Eau Claire unveils plans for Big River education center

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is unveiling plans for an education center and student housing.

University officials announced plans Thursday to start construction on its Big River Education Center. Construction on the center would begin next spring and include apartments for students.