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Category: State news

A year in, legal fight over Gableman election investigation keeps growing

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “The investigation has become a morass of competing lawsuits back and forth between different parties in the state and outside the state,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “And those legal debates have sort of overtaken the substance of the investigation itself.”

In a post-Roe world, some medical students rethink plans to practice in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Molly Wecker, a second-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had long planned to be an obstetrics-gynecology doctor in her home state. But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling last week, the Rock County native is rethinking her plan.

Century-Old State Laws Could Determine Where Abortion Is Legal

New York Times

Quoted: “I hadn’t heard much about the ban until quite recently,” said Jenny Higgins, a professor of gender and women’s studies and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. “Folks didn’t really believe that overturning Roe was possible, or palatable, until recently.”

Out-of-state abortion providers prepare to help Wisconsin patients after Supreme Court overturns Roe

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Jenny Higgins, a professor and director of the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said their research has also shown an increase in birth rates in Wisconsin in recent years due to abortion clinic closures. Higgins said Wisconsin’s abortion ban will have devastating impacts on people’s health and wellbeing in Wisconsin.

“Either people will travel out of state to get abortion care in Illinois and Minnesota, for example, which will take significant time, money and logistical resources,” said Higgins. “Some people will self-manage their abortions here in Wisconsin … and then, of course, some people will not be able to access abortion care at all.”

What should the candidates be talking about as they compete for your vote in Wisconsin this summer? Tell us.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: When the La Follette School of Public Affairs surveyed Wisconsin residents last fall, researchers found people in the state have far more complicated — and frankly, far more important — issues on their minds, things like climate change, health care, race relations and water quality, precisely the issues that don’t often get covered extensively in political campaigns or can easily be reduced to bumper sticker slogans.

Over the next four months, our “Wisconsin Main Street Agenda” project will report on what we’re learning from residents and explain what we know about the mood of the electorate based on that massive survey of Wisconsin residents by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center.

The project is a partnership of the Ideas Lab, the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Universities Begin Officially Reacting To Supreme Court’s Overturning Of Roe V. Wade


University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman issued this statement: “We know that abortion remains a highly contentious issue that directly affects our students. We are reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court decision to determine what impact it may have on our universities. Like others, we will monitor the legal process surrounding this issue and will adhere to the law as it continues to evolve.”

No Wisconsin clinics are providing abortions as of Friday after SCOTUS struck down Roe v. Wade

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: UW Health on Friday said the loss of safe, legal abortion access would be predominantly felt by underserved rural areas and marginalized populations.

“As we enter a time of rapid change and uncertainty, UW Health will put the needs of our patients first and foremost to ensure they receive not just the best care but the best medical advice related to their care options,” the statement read.

Wisconsin doctors scramble to understand abortion care post Roe v. Wade

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Wisconsin’s abortion ban makes the procedure illegal unless deemed medically necessary to save a patient’s life.

Abby Cutler, an OB-GYN on faculty at UW Health said that definition is impossible to pin down.

“Knowing when that line is, when does a patient, when does a mother or a future mother become sick enough or is in enough danger to require life-saving treatment immediately,” Cutler told Wisconsin Public Radio. “I think that’s a really difficult line. There is no line, really.”

Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders 2022, Part 1

Madison 365

Noted: Dr. Soyeon Shim assumed her current position as the Dean of the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. She has led SoHE’s All Ways Forward campaign and exceeded its campaign goal by 150% by raising $72 million, including 13 endowed chairs and professorships, a deanship, and 10 new graduate fellowship endowments. Dr. Shim’s scholarly research focuses on consumer decision-making and has won competitive grants totaling more than $1.5 million from federal agencies and private foundations. Dr. Shim has received numerous teaching, research, development, and leadership awards, both at the university and state/national level.

Former WPM Director Gene Purcell inducted into WBA Hall Of Fame

Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin Public Media and the Educational Communications Board joined broadcasters from around the state to celebrate the life and career of former WPM Director Gene Purcell who was one of four people inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame on June 23, 2022. Purcell was a longtime WPR reporter, regional manager, and former director of the ECB before becoming director of WPM at UW-Madison in 2018. He was killed in a traffic collision in August 2021.

After a month of no new bird flu cases, Wisconsin lifts order prohibiting poultry shows ahead of county fair season

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Ron Kean is a poultry specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. He said the influenza virus has historically died down in summer months, so bird enthusiasts are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the summer.

“We’re hopeful that we’re through this at least for now,” he said. “Especially a lot of the small producers, exhibition breeders, things like that, I think are quite excited to be able to go back to having shows.”

Heatwave leaves much of Wisconsin sweltering Monday and Tuesday

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Heat-related deaths are often underreported, said Jonathan Patz, the Vilas Distinguished Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“A lot of times you don’t see the underlying issue being heat, so it’s underreported,” Patz said. “A recent re-analysis of heat deaths in the United States finds that about 12,000 Americans die every year from heat waves.”

“When there’s a lot of humidity in the air, that daytime heating doesn’t dissipate at night as easily,” said Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist with the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at UW-Madison. “It’s like putting a heavier blanket on us at night, and so we can’t cool off. That’s when we get into these somewhat dangerous conditions at times during heat waves.”

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what will it mean for pregnancy loss care in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Miscarriage management or removal of an ectopic pregnancy shouldn’t fall within even the strictest interpretation of the 1849 law, said University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Miriam Seifter. Still, she said that gray area could create a “chilling effect” on patients or doctors involved in care that could be construed as an abortion.

“It’s understandable that a lot of people would feel like they needed to proceed with caution and would be concerned about potential ramifications in a legal landscape that really hasn’t been clarified yet,” she said.

Wisconsin’s abortion laws are a “tangled set of provisions,” Seifter said, with a number of “outstanding legal questions about how to make sense of them.” She expects there will be ongoing debate about the state of legal abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down.

Examining Wisconsin’s parole system through the political fog

Wisconsin Examiner

Noted: Adam Stevenson, clinical professor, director of the Frank J. Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School, noted that people may confuse parole with what is now often called early release. The truth-in-sentencing law provided a sort of “clarity” to sentences, he explains, separating them into a clearly designated periods of time incarcerated and time under community supervision. For example, someone convicted of a felony might spend 10 years behind bars followed by five years on extended supervision. Parole, on the other hand, acts as a sort of floating date within the imposed sentence.

“A person who is on parole is out in the community in a similar fashion to a person who’s out on supervised release, or extended supervision,” Stevenson says. “There are different processes or different things that may apply if they do something wrong, or if something happens, but it’s a very similar type of situation. That is, they’re just following different rules and under supervision out in the community.”

Grace Stanke crowned Miss Wisconsin 2022


Stanke is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is earning her Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering. She is the first woman in the history of the Miss Wisconsin Organization to have held both the titles of Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen (2017) and Miss Wisconsin.

2 Wisconsin governor candidates say they’d replace Evers’ unconfirmed UW Regents selections with their own

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The board overseeing Wisconsin’s public universities could look remarkably different come this time next year.

At least two of the four Republicans running for governor have vowed to replace all of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ unconfirmed appointees serving on the UW Board of Regents with their own picks if elected this fall.

Wisconsin farmers are experiencing record high milk prices, but for how long?

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Bob Cropp, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said high demand for milk is what drove prices up in 2014. But he said this year’s record prices are due to farmers cutting back on production.

“Milk production for several months, starting actually the last quarter of last year, has been running below a year ago,” Cropp said. “Cow numbers have declined and production per cow has been below normal, so we have resulted in a tightness of the supply-demand situation.”

Kohl’s Corp. negotiating company sale to owner of The Vitamin Shoppe

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Hart Posen is an expert on business strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business. He said he was surprised to see Kohl’s move forward with Franchise Group, Inc. because the holding company runs such a different set of retail businesses.

“There are two reasons one firm acquires another firm. One reason is they believe that the firm’s assets are undervalued, they think they’re getting a good deal on it,” Posen said. “More often than not what we would like to see in these situations is what we would call a strategic buyer —  a buyer that brings specific assets or knowledge or expertise to bear — that we believe may add value within Kohl’s. And it’s not at all clear to me that this buyer is a strategic buyer in that sense.”

Wisconsin ranks third worst in country for air pollution exposure disparities

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: A study released last month by UW-Madison researchers found the elimination of air pollution emissions across the country from energy-related activities could prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths a year.

In a press release about the analysis, Claire Gervais, a clinical associate professor with University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, called the results “shocking.”

“Doctors can only do so much,” Gervais said. “We must have better public policy to reduce industrial and transportation sources of fossil fuel burning.”

Wisconsin faces a ‘tangled series’ of abortion laws dating back to 1849 as it heads into a possible post-Roe future

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Collaborative for Reproductive Equity (CORE) says Wisconsin already restricts many aspects of abortion, including banning government-funded insurance coverage, limiting availability through family planning programs, requiring mandatory counseling, ultrasounds and waiting periods for medication and surgical abortions and gestational limits, among other restrictions.

“None of these restrictions are evidence-based,” says CORE director Jenny Higgins.”There’s no medical reason for any of these restrictions. So just on that alone, these restrictions should be seen as onerous.”

Quoted: According to UW associate law professor Miriam Seifter, the judges found a right to privacy based on precedents dating back to the late 19th century. The opinion concludes that the “mother’s interests are superior to that of an unquickened embryo,” regardless of whether that embryo is “mere protoplasm,” in the view of the physician, or “a human being,” in the view of the Wisconsin statute.

Voters don’t go to the polls for another 10 months, but the race for a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court seat in 2023 is already on

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Mitchell, who lives in Windsor, is the presiding judge of the juvenile division in Dane County and oversees cases within the county’s high-risk drug court program. He is a former prosecutor for the county and was the director of community relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before first being elected judge in 2016.

With the help of two Supreme Courts, Republican map prevails

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Rob Yablon, University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor and redistricting expert, disputes that.

“Even at that late stage, I do think it’s an exaggeration to say that there weren’t any other options that were available,” he said.

Yablon said the state Supreme Court could have taken more evidence or reconfigured the Milwaukee districts. They also could have drawn a whole new map. These are things courts do, Yablon said.

Republicans head into their state party convention still consumed with the 2020 election. Will that play in November?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Barry Burden, the director of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center, said the Republican candidates’ focus on elections or Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers’ push to show himself as a goalie fending off anti-democratic legislation could resonate, but the complicated nature of the issue might blunt the impact when compared to other matters that animate voters.

“Most of the public would say they think there were things that could be done to improve the election system and to tighten it up. That tends to be what you see in surveys. But, as I said, people were also contradictory,” Burden said. “They want voting to be easy, and they like getting ballots by mail … and I think the average member the public just hasn’t put all these pieces of the system together to think about how it all interacts.”

Report: Wisconsin Legislature maps have the worst partisan-bias of any court-drawn map in the nation


Noted: The new maps, drawn by the Wisconsin State Legislature, are considered the most partisan-biased, court-adopted maps in the nation. That’s according to a new analysis from the University of Wisconsin Law School. The maps heavily advantage Republican politicians, all but guaranteeing Republican-rule in the state Legislature, regardless of what most voters want.

The analysis looked at four metrics: partisan-bias, efficiency gap, mean-median difference and declination.

“On every one of these standard partisan fairness metrics, these new maps are the worst, court-adopted maps that we’ve seen anywhere in the country,” says Rob Yablon, an associate professor at the law school, who published the analysis.

‘He doesn’t understand medicine is a science’: Ron Johnson escalates ‘guerrilla war’ against medical establishment

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Patrick Remington, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, severely criticized Johnson and called his persistent questioning of medical science irresponsible.

“If he had a medical license these would be grounds for malpractice,” said Remington, a former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But since he’s not trained in medicine, he should stay in his lane and focus on things he knows about.”

State data: About 6,400 abortions were performed in Wisconsin in 2020

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Jenny Higgins, a professor and director of the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says it’s more difficult to get an abortion in Wisconsin than it is in many other states.

“We have gone from a supportive state to a hostile state in a relatively short period of time,” she said.

Hundreds press for in-state tuition, driver’s licenses for undocumented Wisconsinites

The Capital Times

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has included provisions in both of his state budget proposals to allow Wisconsinites who entered the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses and identification cards, and to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to attend college in Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers stripped those provisions from the budget in both cases.

Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Michels is no political ‘outsider’

Wisconsin Examiner

Quoted: “Michels’ entry mostly signals a sense of discontent among Republicans with frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch,” says University of Wisconsin political scientist Barry Burden. “She is the leader for the nomination in terms of traditional indicators such as fundraising, visibility, and conservative credentials. In an earlier political era, her connections to Scott Walker and success as a statewide candidate would have made her a no-brainer for the nomination. Many in the GOP are now pining for someone who will challenge the party establishment and take on other familiar institutions.”

Beavers and wolves are key to biodiversity in northern Wisconsin, conservancy group leader says

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Lisa Naughton is a professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an expert in tropical biodiversity conservation who has also studied wolf recovery in the state.

“We have to work with private landowners. That inevitably involves some compromise, but it’s urgent,” she said. “We need to keep an eye on biodiversity beyond protected areas. We need to keep our eye on agricultural land use and industrial land use that may have cascading effects for biodiversity.

“And with effort, we can push back,” she continued. “We can turn things around for some species.”

Many of Wisconsin’s nursing students are hired months before they graduate as desperate need continues

Appleton Post-Crescent

Noted: At the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school of nursing, Associate Deans of Academic Affairs Barbara Pinekenstein and Lisa Bratzke said several students graduating this year had already accepted job offers at the end of the fall semester.

Admissions applications are also starting to stack up. Though it may be too soon to tell if the pandemic has caused more people to be interested in nursing as a career, Rentmeester said 367 people applied for Bellin College’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs for the upcoming fall, up from a usual of about 320 pre-pandemic.

Liquid brine clears Wisconsin highways faster, study says

FOX6 News Milwaukee

The use of liquid brine is more effective at keeping highways safe during the winter months, a new report says.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Lab looked at data from 143 storms occurring in 10 counties across Wisconsin. It compared brine-cleared routes to those nearby cleared with a traditional granular rock-salt method. The researchers found use of liquid brine in winter highway maintenance cleared Wisconsin highways faster, provided better friction on roadways, and reduced overall salt usage.

How Wisconsin’s colleges and businesses can partner to transform the state’s workforce

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the last few years, northeastern Wisconsin workers and companies have told us they want education targeted for today’s students, employees, and parents. They want education that leads directly to good jobs. We agree. On April 11, our two campuses, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, announced a plan to meet their needs.

Tommy Thompson won’t launch a fifth campaign for Wisconsin governor

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Tommy Thompson has decided not to launch a fifth campaign for governor.

Thompson — who was elected governor of Wisconsin four times, served as President George W. Bush’s health secretary, and led the state’s system of universities through a pandemic — said Monday he has decided against a new run for his old job but believes he would have been a formidable candidate.

Evers vetoes Republican bills on schools, COVID-19


Measures Evers vetoed also would have eliminated income and enrollment limits for the private school voucher program, limited liability for gun and ammunition manufacturers and prohibited the teaching of the concept known as critical race theory at the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System.

Wisconsin Supreme Court chooses maps drawn by Republicans in new redistricting decision

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Robert Yablon, University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor and redistricting expert, said the court’s decision had reinforced a map that was “strikingly” gerrymandered.

“And it means that although this state is often a 50-50 state one where Democrats have frequently managed to win statewide races, they are going to have virtually no chance of taking control of the Legislature,” Yablon said in an interview with PBS Wisconsin.