Dehumidifier Malfunction Causes Fire Response in Wausau 7-19-17

Wausau Fire Department was paged to a residents on North 9th Avenue. & Maple Street for a report of a house filled with smoke.

It was later determined that a dehumidifier malfunctioned and caused the smoke. Officials say they don’t believe there was any damage to the structure.

Photo’s From The Scene.




Governor Walker Signs Bill to Crack Down on Repeat Drunk Drivers

Madison – Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law making the 4th drunk driving offense a felony regardless of when it was committed and increasing penalties for repeat drunk drivers. Senate Bill 455, now Act 371, was authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R – River Hills) and Representative Jim Ott (R – Mequon).

“This law is being signed to honor the lives of Jennifer, Courtney, and Sophia,” Governor Walker said. “Eight years ago today, the lives of their families changed forever when a repeat drunk driver decided to get behind the wheel.”

More than 200 people are killed each year on Wisconsin’s roads and, prior to 1990’s, operating while intoxicated (OWI) convictions were based on the number of times the offender had been convicted in the five year period preceding arrest. The new law eliminates the 4th offense look back period and increases penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders.

“Penalties in Wisconsin for repeat drunk drivers are less severe than neighboring states,” added Governor Walker. “It is time to match the severity of our penalties to this crime, regardless of when it occurs.”

A photo from the bill signing is attached.

SB 455 Image

Governor Walker Signs Seven Bills into Law

Madison – Governor Scott Walker signed seven bills into law at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison today.

Senate Bill 455, now Act 371, increases penalties for drunk driving offenses and aligns state law with surrounding states in how multiple offenders are penalized. The bill was authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R – River Hills) and Representative Jim Ott (R – Mequon).

Assembly Bill 624, now Act 372, allows alcohol retailers to retain invoices in electronic format rather than paper and eliminates the local referendum option for the elimination of all alcohol licensing. The bill was authored by Representative David Steffen (R – Green Bay) and Senator Luther Olsen (R – Ripon).

Senate Bill 387, now Act 373, provides clear statutory guidance to prevent confusion and aid in finding children a good, permanent home by establishing and clarifying procedures for changing the placement of a child or juvenile who is involved in the juvenile court system. The bill was authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R – River Hills) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan).

Senate Bill 533, now Act 374, regulates the production and use of photo identification cards by local units of government to protect taxpayers and the integrity of elections. The bill was authored by Senator Van Wanggard (R – Racine) and Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R – New Berlin).

Assembly Bill 549, now Act 375, makes it more convenient for physical therapy patients to obtain a needed x-ray by allowing physical therapists who fulfill certain criteria to order x-rays.  Rather than being referred to another healthcare provider, physical therapists will be able to order an x-ray for the physical therapy patient, thus providing more prompt treatment and reducing costs to the patient. The bill was authored by Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R – New Berlin) and Senator Van Wanggaard (R – Racine).

Assembly Bill 720, now Act 376, shortens the length of the redemption period in the foreclosure from a six or 12 month process to a three or six month process.  This incentivizes borrowers to negotiate with lenders and reduces the possibility properties will be abandoned, left in disrepair, or damaged. The bill was authored by Representative Terry Katsma (R – Oostburg) and Senator Frank Lasee (R – De Pere).

Assembly Bill 901, now Act 377, increases funding to the Arts Board by $13,800 for fiscal year 2015-16. This grant from the National Endowment for the Arts requires a 1:1 match from each recipient and allows the Wisconsin Arts Board to fully match available federal funding to support the development of arts and humanities throughout the state. The bill was authored by Representative Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls).

Governor Scott Walker Signs Senate Bill 293 Into Law

From: Laurel Patrick

Governor Scott Walker Signs Senate Bill 293 Into Law


Green Bay – Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 293 into law today at the Bellin Psychiatric Center in Green Bay.  Senate Bill 293 works to improve mental health service delivery in Wisconsin by giving health care providers tools to allow for greater coordination of care, greater access to care, and more efficient health care delivery for those suffering from mental illness.

“The legislation we’re signing today improves the delivery of mental health services to Wisconsin patients, with the potential to reduce our state’s costs in the Medicaid program,” Governor Walker said.  “Treating mental and physical health together is of great importance for Wisconsin citizens.  We want to break the stigma associated with mental health issues and assist people in getting the care they need by continuing to invest in resources which support a healthier and more prosperous Wisconsin.”

Senate Bill 293 – establishes the Behavioral Health Care Coordination Pilot program, the Medicaid Psychiatric Consultation Reimbursement Pilot program, as well as a mental health bed tracker program.  The Behavioral Health Care Coordination Pilot program tests alternative, coordinated care delivery and Medicaid payment models designed to reduce costs and improve care for Medicaid recipients who have significant or chronic mental illness.  The Medicaid Psychiatric Consultation Reimbursement Pilot program will test a new payment model to encourage psychiatrists to provide consultation to primary care providers treating a small population of Medicaid adults with mild to moderate mental health needs.  Senate Bill 293 also establishes an online bed tracking system, which shows the number of available child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric inpatient psychiatric beds throughout the state.  The system will be available to any hospital emergency department in Wisconsin.  Authored by Senator Leah Vukmir (R – Brookfield), Senator Janet Bewley (D – Mason), Representative Mary Czaja (R – Irma), and Representative Debra Kolste (D – Janesville), the bill passed the Senate with a vote of 30-0 and was concurred by the Assembly with a vote of 98-0.  It is Act 153.

Wisconsin Students Award Ron Johnson a Failing Grade 2-26-16

From: Jonah Hermann, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters 

Wisconsin Students Award Ron Johnson a Failing Grade,
Announce Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2015 National Environmental Scorecard

Full scorecard available in English and Spanish here.

GREEN BAY, WI — Today, students from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, St. Norbert College, Green Bay area educators, and other community leaders unveiled League of Conservation Voters’ 2015 Environmental Scorecard at a rally outside the Brown County Courthouse. This year, more votes than ever were tracked, revealing that the 114th congress has unleashed more attacks on our natural resources than any other year in our history.

UW-Green Bay student, Lorissa Banuelos, said “As a leader of UW-Green Bay’s student environmental group, I know the importance of conserving our air, land, and water for the next generation. When I talk to my peers, they agree, and together we are doing our part in our community to ensure Wisconsin remains safe and beautiful for our children. I am disappointed to see Ron Johnson’s grade so out of touch with reality.”

Scores are given to every member of the U.S. House and Senate. In Wisconsin, the most notable score was Senator Ron Johnson, who received a zero, bringing his lifetime environmental score to just four percent.

Maggie McConnaha a St. Norbert student, criticized Johnson, saying “Today, I join with my fellow students in giving Ron Johnson an F grade for his assignment to protect our natural resources. We are ashamed that Ron Johnson sided with corporate polluters and not the needs of his constituents. Students like us all across the state will not stand for this behavior from our Senator.”

Thielen continued, “Our decision makers in Washington DC need to stand up for us and support legislation that aims to reverse the undeniable science of climate change, not take steps to roll back progress we have already made on this enormous threat to our community.”

The 2015 Scorecard includes votes cast during the first session of the 114th Congress. Both chambers seemingly left no environmental issue untouched in 2015, with assaults on the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Antiquities Act. It includes 35 House votes, which ties the record for the most votes scored in the House for the fourth time in five years, and 25 votes in the Senate, the second highest number ever included.