Wisconsin Weekly is a roundup of the week’s top stories from around the state by Wisconsin Watch and trusted news outlets. Access to some stories may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing, and sign up to get our free newsletters here.
In this issue:
- More funding for local governments, schools passes with strings attached
- Wisconsin statutes still discriminate against same-sex couples
- Abortion bans driving away doctors in Wisconsin and elsewhere
Of note: Milwaukee County household income falls in the middle nationally, but infant care at about $16,000 a year ranks in the top 3%. That disparity is causing many parents to exit the workforce, Tyler Dedrick reports. On Friday morning at 2:30 a.m. the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted to end the state’s pandemic-era federally funded Child Care Counts program, which Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had proposed continuing after February with $340 million in state funding over the next two years. The program has provided financial assistance to child care providers to help them stay in business as more parents work from home.
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Access to some stories listed in the Wisconsin Weekly roundup may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing.
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Statehouse bureau chief
Wisconsin Watch — June 15, 2023
The Associated Press — June 14, 2023
The Republican-controlled Legislature this week approved the biggest compromise yet with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, giving more state aid to local governments and public and private K-12 schools, and allowing cash-strapped Milwaukee to raise a sales tax to stave off severe service cuts. The deal also:
- Blocks local governments from holding advisory referendums on most topics;
- Eliminates the personal property tax for businesses;
- Prohibits local governments from using affirmative action hiring practices;
- Prevents local governments from cutting funding for police, fire and emergency services;
- Limits business closures due to health emergencies to 60 days;
- Limits local regulation of quarries;
- Requires reporting of school crime data;
- Requires local governments to sign off on conservation projects.
The bill needed Democratic support in the Senate to pass. Six Senate Democrats voted for it, and seven Senate Republicans voted against.
Wisconsin law still refers to husband and wife, a reminder to LGBTQ+ families that their rights are at risk
Wisconsin Watch — June 16, 2023
Wisconsin is one of only two states that include the word “husband” in their primary definition of “parent.” While many states have updated their statutes to include neutral language in the eight years since the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage the law of the land, Wisconsin has resisted such change.
KFF Health News — June 12, 2023
Three out of four current or future doctors say they won’t practice in a state such as Wisconsin that bans abortion, according to a survey earlier this year. Wisconsin saw 8% fewer applications for OB-GYN residencies. That means Wisconsin’s existing doctor shortage will likely get worse.
Previously from The Associated Press:
- GOP prosecutor urges judge to toss Wisconsin abortion suit
- Wisconsin Supreme Court control, abortion access at stake
Wisconsin Republicans sowed distrust over elections. Now they may push out the state’s top election official.
ProPublica — June 15, 2023
The future for Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Megan Wolfe remains unclear. One member of the WEC and the Republican president of the state Senate say they won’t support Wolfe getting a second term. Her term ends July 1.
Inside Climate News — June 13, 2023
Wisconsin has 14 coal ash dumping sites. A new EPA rule would extend federal regulation over the half-billion tons of toxic waste that has accumulated in those and other sites across the country. Many of the sites are in low-income areas and communities of color.