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Wisconsin roundup: Sales tax holiday dead, entire tax-cut bill on life support; more state news stories

MADISON — A package of tax cut bills which swept through the Wisconsin Assembly isn't doing nearly as well in the state Senate.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Republicans won't even hold a hearing on the one-time sales tax holiday legislation. He says he thinks he has the votes to shut down the plans for the troubled state juvenile prison in Irma. Fitzgerald has called the $52 million sales tax holiday a gimmick which would simply change when consumers make their purchases, rather than boost economic activity. The $100 child tax credit rebate would return an estimated $122 million to Wisconsin parents.


Labor unions sue to overturn governor’s collective bargaining law

MILWAUKEE — Two Wisconsin labor unions are suing, saying Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law violates their free speech and free association rights.

Locals 139 and 420 of the Operating Engineers of Wisconsin represent more than 10,000 workers in the state. Act 10 was the law passed during Walker's first term which curtailed collective bargaining rights for most Wisconsin public employees, including teachers. The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee. A Walker spokesperson says Act 10 will be upheld, as it has been before, and it is constitutional, adding it doesn't violate the unions' First Amendment rights.


Group chanting ‘Cows’ lives matter’ asked to leave food store

MADISON — Madison police say a group of protesters left a Festival Foods store Saturday after demonstrating in the meat and dairy section.

Witnesses say the people were chanting slogans like "cows’ lives matter." No arrests were made. The store manager says the protesters were preventing customers from making purchases. She says they left when she told them she was calling the police.

Officers warned the group they could be cited for trespassing if they returned to the food store. They had done this before. Some of the same protesters were in that store last Thanksgiving, chanting "turkey lives matter."


Bored 14-year-old in trouble for fake 911 call

BLOOMINGTON — The Grant County Sheriff's Office plans to refer charges against a 14-year-old who made a fake 911 call last week.

Dispatchers were told two armed men had broken into a Bloomington house. The phone call was disconnected and the Grant County Communications Center wasn't able to reach the caller again. Several law enforcement agencies responded, set up a perimeter and began contacting people who lived nearby.

The call was quickly determined to be a hoax. When police tracked down the teenager, he admitted he made the call because he was bored. Deputies say there was a police scanner in his home and the teen probably listened to the response to his call.


Multi-state fraud ring suspects arrested in Monona

MONONA — Monona Police believe two people arrested Sunday night are part of a large group which has passed bad checks worth more than $700,000 at several Walmart locations.

Forty-four-year-old Jason Edge and 42-year-old Shelly Scott were taken into custody after trying to pass a forged check. While officers were headed to the Walmart in Monona, a false 911 call was made in an effort to draw them away. That accomplice hasn’t been located. Police think the two Missouri suspects are part of a group which has passed forged checks in several states. They may have defrauded the big box retailer of as much as $1 million.


Would-be armed carjacker shot to death

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police say an armed man fought back when a carjacker tried to rob him early Monday morning.

Officers say the 21-year-old would-be carjacker died in the parking lot at Milwaukee MachineTool Corporation on the city's northwest side after he was shot. His name hasn't been released. A witness says the 24-year-old shooter was an employee.

He had a concealed carry permit and was just arriving at work when the attacker approached him. The shooter remained on the property and cooperated with police. Investigators haven't released his name. An autopsy on the dead man’s body will be done today.


5 injured, horse killed when SUV hits Amish buggy

IRONTON — The Sauk County Sheriff's Department says officers are on the lookout for a hit-and-run suspect after an SUV hit an Amish buggy, killing the horse and injuring five people in the buggy.

Deputies say the hit-and-run happened just before 5 p.m. Sunday on Highway 58 in the village of Ironton. Investigators say a blue 1999 GMC Yukon read-ended the buggy, causing people to fall out. Three children and two adults suffered minor injuries. Evidence collected at the scene helped deputies find the SUV in neighboring Richland County, but they were still looking for the driver Monday.


State Senate could vote in March to close juvenile prison

IRMA — The Wisconsin Senate could vote next month on a plan to close the state's troubled juvenile prison.

The state Assembly approved a measure last week that would shut down the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in Irma by 2021. Most youth offenders would be transferred to new facilities overseen by the state Department of Corrections. If the bill is passed by the Senate, Gov. Scott Walker says he will sign it.


Veterans home nurse accused of stealing pain meds

KING — A former nurse at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King is charged with stealing pain medications.

Forty-one-year-old Alicia Krisher-Behm was hired last March. VA Home workers contacted authorities about prescription drug thefts. They reported Krisher-Behm was working an overnight shift Jan. 19 when a patient received two unscheduled maximum doses of oxycodone. She noted the patient had complained of shoulder pain. When nurses checked, that patient was awake and alert and reported no excessive pain for several days. Police say they suspect she has an opioid addiction which led to the thefts.


Search is on for lighthouse vandals

NEENAH — Neenah Police are searching for the vandals who spray-painted the Kimberly Point Lighthouse Friday night.

It was tagged with spray-painted drawings and the letters "SC." Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert says the city's parks department was called out and the graffiti was erased. Kaufert says the faded blue paint will be completely covered when the weather warms up. Police haven't named any suspects or persons of interest in the crime. They are hoping somebody in the public steps forward with information leading to an arrest.