The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources surveys the state's waterways to track everything from fish populations to mussels, as well as overall water quality. Here, DNR technicians Justin Haglund, right, and Aaron Nolan collect live brook trout from Ash Creek in April 2013 in a long-term study on the spread of gill lice.

Wisconsin DNR mulls dissolving science bureau

Internal correspondence obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism confirms discussions about the possible dismantling of the bureau and a reorganization that would move researchers into other agency divisions.
Critics, both inside and outside the agency, say such a reorganization would rob the state of impartial science that should guide critical natural resource management decisions. Continue Reading

Jennifer Shilling

Scott Walker budget bill is rife with non-fiscal policy items

Some of Walker’s proposals appear to be policy changes with little or no fiscal impact. Wisconsin governors and lawmakers from both parties have often injected these into the budget. Walker, as a candidate for governor in 2010, made an unequivocal pledge to “strip policy and pork projects from the state budget.” By his first budget, this promise was labeled “broken.”
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Your Right to Know: Don’t let the UW hide research records

This blanket exemption would spare the UW from needing a good reason to deny access to these records, as current law requires. Instead, universities could categorically spurn inquiries from citizens, media and even lawmakers looking into controversial research, potential threats to public safety, conflicts of interest or how tax dollars are spent.
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Cheryl and Scott Peterson in an elevator service room in Jackson, Wis., on Jan. 29, 2015. Cheryl Peterson’s complaint to the state that her company was being unfairly targeted led to a probe that nullified a restriction on Scott Peterson’s ability to service elevators, and to disciplinary action against the state workers who imposed it.

State workers punished after curbing non-union elevator shop

The employees said they acted to protect public safety in restricting the contractor’s ability to service a particular elevator model. But the state Department of Safety and Professional Services, responding to complaints filed with an office created by Gov. Scott Walker to assist small businesses, accused the employees of violating workplace rules and nullified this restriction. Continue Reading

Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker noncommittal on right-to-work, firm on no pardons

And on a presidential run: “I don’t think people should just run particularly for office as high as that because it’s the next logical step or it’s part of adding a career, in this case in politics,” Walker said in an end-of-year interview. “I think it’s something you should feel like you’re actually called, that there’s a purpose, there’s a reason for doing it.”

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