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Home care demand; denied vote; pollution law shakeup; living as trans in Wisconsin; solar solution

Of note: This week we highlight a Cap Times story examining the widening gulf between Wisconsin’s growing demand for home health care workers and compensation for the grueling work. Home care work is the fastest-growing job in graying Wisconsin, Natalie Yahr reports, but half of such workers live in or near poverty, averaging wages of $12.32 an hour. Those who hire care workers blame Wisconsin’s government, which subsidizes home care through Medicaid and failed to boost its reimbursement rate for nearly a decade. 

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Direct support worker Ben Mitchell feeds ice chips to client Michael Alder at Alder’s apartment in Madison. (Ruthie Hauge / Cap Times)

As demand rises, wages for Wisconsin home care workers stagnate

Cap Times — April 13, 2022

Home care work is the fastest-growing job in Wisconsin, as baby boomers age and more people choose to age at home. With the state’s unemployment rate at a near-record low, what will it take for Wisconsin to attract and retain the care workers it needs?

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Coronavirus exposes caregiver shortage, upending lives of Wisconsin’s disabled residents

Disabled Walworth County man unable to cast ballot April 5

Lake Geneva Regional News — April 8, 2022

A Walworth County man who is disabled said his absentee ballot was not accepted for the April 5 election because he was not present when his wife submitted it. What happened to Dave Nusberger is what disability rights advocates were trying to prevent from happening before the election.

Related: Wisconsin Supreme Court considers whether to allow absentee ballot drop boxes this fall

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren. (Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ aren’t defined as hazardous in Wisconsin — so the state can’t force cleanup, judge says

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — April 12, 2022

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cannot enforce one of its key environmental protection tools, known as the “spills law,” without first creating a definitive list of hazardous substances approved by lawmakers, a Waukesha County judge ruled Tuesday.

Also from the Wisconsin State Journal: DNR board restarts process to limit bacteria in groundwater; regulation voted down in February

‘We’re just trying to live’: Trans youth, families in Wisconsin struggle in contentious political environment

WPR — April 12, 2022

In the last year, Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature introduced multiple bills that would have sweeping effects on the lives of transgender children. The proposals stand little chance of becoming law with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in office, but transgender youth are still feeling an impact.

This is the solar array atop the La Crosse Public Library. Wisconsin utilities have argued that state law prohibits companies from generating solar power on property they do not own. The city of La Crosse is using a workaround that other municipalities could duplicate that allows it to contract with a private company to power some of its buildings with solar. (City of La Crosse)

La Crosse finds solar path despite ownership hurdle

Energy News Network — April 13, 2022

A lack of clarity over third-party-owned solar in Wisconsin has stymied cities’ efforts to install photovoltaics on municipal buildings. But the city of La Crosse says it’s come up with a workaround that could be replicated elsewhere.

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Solar flare-up: Utility blocks Iowa firm from harnessing the sun in Milwaukee

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