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Category: Experts Guide

What’s The True Impact Of Enhanced Federal Unemployment Aid? A Labor Economist Weighs In


While the debate over enhanced federal unemployment aid in Wisconsin has been settled for now, the broader, national discussion on the issue continues.

At least 26 states have cut their ties with the program. Business owners and interest groups argue that ending the additional aid is the best way to address difficulties in hiring new workers.

For more on the debate, WORT producer Jonah Chester spoke with Laura Dresser, a labor economist at UW-Madison.

Dairy market reports show optimism, but uncertainty, for higher prices, slowing production

Wisconsin State Farmer

Industry experts Mark Stephenson and Bob Cropp say they see optimism in price and supply for the coming months, according to the latest episode of the Dairy Markets and Policy podcast.

Cropp, professor emeritus of UW-Madison’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said cold storage reports bring both bad and good news to dairy farmers: American cheese stocks are slowly decreasing at 2% this month, but butter stocks have gone up 14% in the same timeframe. Stephenson, director of the Center for Dairy Profitability, said cheese stocks will continue to see rising price support.

A wolf hunt blew past its kill quota in February. Another hunt is coming this fall.

The Washington Post

Quoted: Lead author Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, argues that without a more precise number the hunt quota should be set as low as is possible.

“A quota of one would comply with the statute [mandating a hunt] and acknowledge that we have no clue how successfully the wolves reproduced this year,” Treves said. “Because the hunt happened during the mating season, we would need good data on how many packs produced pups, and that is data we do not have.”

Forget Critical Race Theory in the Classroom. Kids Are Learning About Race on TikTok.


Quoted: “If you look at the language of some of these bills, they’re really pretty broad,” says Diana Hess, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school of education. “There’s a lot of things that are in the language that would make it really hard to teach civic education.”

CDC: Mask Up In Some Situations Even If Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “The virus multiplies exponentially so 10 today could be 100 tomorrow,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, director of infection control at UW Hospital and Clinics and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Safdar urged people to take precautions like mask wearing and getting vaccinated.

“All around us, we are surrounded by high transmission, and it’s just a matter of time before we are right in there with the rest of the country,” she said.

‘There is a real cost’: As Covid shows, barring bedside visitors from ICU deprives patients of the best care


Quoted: Doctors and researchers who share Ciappa’s hope are worried about how much progress the movement lost during the last year and a half. “It took time to get those family-centered policies into the fabric of hospitals,” said Traci Snedden, a career critical care nurse and assistant professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Will Covid give clinicians permission to pull back again, or will it propel us forward like, ‘I can’t believe we went without family at the bedside’?”

Decision on former Wauwatosa cop Joseph Mensah’s 2016 shooting to come Wednesday. Here’s what we know about the proceeding.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The law Motley is seeking to use — Wisconsin Statute 968.02 — is similar to a John Doe proceeding, but is technically not the same thing, according to Keith Findley, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Findley said the law is essentially used as a check on the court system. Findley also said Statute 968.02 means a judge has more discretion when it comes to filing charges. Under the statute, a judge “may” file charges if they find probable cause.

‘An abomination’: the story of the massacre that killed 216 wolves

The Guardian

Quoted: Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied wolf-hound conflicts, found that neighboring Michigan, which has stricter hounding regulations, has seen far fewer dogs injured or killed by wolves. Lighter regulation in Wisconsin means more dogs in the woods, Treves said, which leads to more conflict. “Houndsmen prefer to hunt in a place that lets them do what they want to do.”

A federal eviction moratorium ends July 31. Here’s what you need to know about rental assistance and more.

Green Bay Press Gazette

Quoted: Landlords have a lot more options available to them than eviction, Madison-based rental housing lawyer and University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Mitch said. Mitch said property owners can negotiate rather than file evictions that will go permanently on the tenant’s record.

“I know that eviction isn’t the only tool in your toolbox when renters don’t pay, and I wish that property owners would realize that they have other tools such as working out agreements on early move-outs, working on payment plans or working together to get government assistance,” Mitch said.

Intense heat raises the risk of violence in American prisons

The Economist

Noted: Another, and probably underestimated, factor may be the weather. Mississippi summers usually see average temperatures rise above 80℉ (26.7℃), a threshold at which the likelihood of violence in prisons increases.

That is the finding of a working paper by Anita Mukherjee of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nicholas Sanders of Cornell University. The authors matched county-level weather variations across Mississippi with violent incidents reported in the state’s 36 prisons and jails between 2004 and 2010. Using these data, they built a statistical model that controlled for the time of year that the violence took place, the type of institution and other factors. They calculated that on days with average temperatures of 80℉ or higher the chances of violence increased by 20%. The hot weather leads to an average of 44 additional incidents of severe violence—those that result in serious injury or death—each year,

Kathleen Gallagher: What’s standing in the way of growing Wisconsin’s wine industry?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “You used to have to use McKinsey or another specialized consultant, but with the Internet and data science you can do this at a fraction of the cost and make it very easy for the farmers themselves,” said Tom Erickson, Founding Director of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences.

Milwaukee considers updating building codes in the wake of Surfside collapse. Should other Wisconsin cities and the state do the same?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Annual inspections might offer peace of mind, but building professionals said the expenses would be astronomical. Besides, it’s when the building is being constructed that inspectors have the most critical safety checklist to ensure its longevity, said Steven Cramer, vice provost for instructional continuity & academic affairs and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We have a great set of building codes in Wisconsin, but the greatest scrutiny occurs at the time of construction or remodel when building permits are required and inspections occur,” Cramer wrote by email.

Carbon-capture pipelines offer climate aid; activists wary

Associated Press

Quoted: “These early plants are relatively easy and that’s a good place to start,” said Greg Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in the development of climate-friendly energy technology. “As that gets shown and proven, you get some transportation networks, then it gets easier to do the harder stuff later.”

Small Farms Vanish Every Day in America’s Dairyland: “There Ain’t No Future In Dairy”

Mother Jones

Quoted: Mark Stephenson, the director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the industry definitely has a lot of challenges but is nowhere near extinction.

“We’ve produced record amounts of milk in the last year or two. It’s being consumed. Most of it domestically, but increasingly with exports,” said Stephenson.

Wisconsin Lawmaker Proposes Lifetime Restraining Orders To Protect Sexual Assault Survivors

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Ryan Poe-Gavlinski is clinical director of the Victims of Crimes Act Restraining Order Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She said creating a lifetime protective order would put survivors of assault “in the driver’s seat.”

“If someone has committed sexual assault and that’s been determined, either at the (civil) restraining order level or through a criminal court, there’s no reason that that perpetrator needs to have contact with that victim going forward,” Poe-Gavlinksi said.

Opinion: Legislation would make obesity medications more widely available and help reduce inequities in care

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Dr. Luke Funk is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Srividya Kidambi is an associate professor and chief in the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin/Froedtert Hospital. Dr. Christopher Weber is an obesity medicine specialist practicing in Milwaukee.

Alliant Energy touts progress toward climate goals, pledges to plant 1 million trees

Wisconsin State Journal

But the results depend on details, such as the type of trees, where they’re planted and how they’re managed, said David Mladenoff, a professor of conservation, forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison, who cautions that such efforts are often public relations “gimmicks” that divert attention from more meaningful efforts to combat climate change. “If you add something, you are taking away something else,” Mladenoff said. “Nearly all open, noncultivated (areas) have habitat, water quality or other values.”

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

Wisconsin Examiner

Quoted: “This is just a stunning change in the American social policy context,” says Tim Smeeding, a professor of public affairs and economics with the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an advocate for the policy.

Some form of universal child allowance benefit is found in 17 affluent countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

“They allow parents who don’t have enough money to do things for their kids,” he adds. “It says kids are important.”

Families Embrace Their A, B, CTCs As Child Tax Credit Expands To Monthly Payouts

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “It’s transformative,” said Tim Smeeding, a professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s a recognition that kids are expensive, and that we as a society have an obligation and an interest in having them grow up well, and do well.”

Smeeding noted that it’s particularly remarkable for including families who aren’t typically reached by the Earned Income Tax Credit, like the children of immigrant parents and “grandfamilies” — families where kids live with grandparents at least half of the year, and for whom grandparents provide at least half of the support. Unlike the Earned Income Tax Credit, which families receive as a credit when they file taxes each year, families can be eligible for the child tax credit even if they don’t make enough to file taxes.

Why Did Evers Veto An Update to Withholding Tables After a Tax Cut?

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: “This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I have no idea why he did that,” said John Witte, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus who specializes in tax and budget policy.

Witte said there is speculation that Evers vetoed the change in the withholding tables because the governor hopes Democrats will take control of the Legislature in the 2022 election and repeal the tax cuts. By not changing the withholding tables, most taxpayers wouldn’t notice a difference, that thinking goes.

“If he changed the tables the tax cuts would be permanent,” said Witte.

Wisconsin Labor Market Faces Challenges New And Old Coming Out Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Menzie Chinn, an economics professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an email that while there is much demand for workers, supply remains constrained.

“Rising wages are not a ‘bad’, since that’s how the market adjusts to market conditions,” said Chinn. “There’s not a ‘shortage’ as the business community keeps on complaining about.”

Steve Deller, an applied economics professor at UW-Madison, said increased wages and benefits are one way companies are trying to be creative in the current labor market.

“Five years ago or so, people would think that a $15-an-hour job is a good paying job,” said Deller. “People are coming to the realization that’s not a good paying job. It’s got to be more than that. And businesses are coming around and saying, ‘If I want quality workers, I’ve got to up my pay.'”

‘Why Do You Keep Harassing Me?’: An Outagamie County Judge Controls Defendants After Sentencing

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “It is a little bit gray whether or not courts have the authority to do that,” said Cecelia Klingele, a law professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Wisconsin law alludes to the inherent authority of the court over its sentence, but it has not been fleshed out fully in case law, sort of, what are the outer bounds of that power,” she said.

LIFT Dane’s Legal Tune-up Tool can help you remove eligible criminal and eviction records

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “We used public data that is so often used against people to help correct situations or improve situations that might be barriers to employment, housing, education, childcare and health,” explained Marsha Mansfield, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Economic Justice Institute and director of LIFT Dane.

Milwaukee Cuban-Americans watch with unease as Cubans take to the streets in protest

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “We haven’t seen these kinds of protests in Cuba, in part because the system is not one that grants the legitimacy of that kind of civic protest,” said Patrick Iber, an associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The Cuban government often sees and accuses people who are involved in these protests as being interests of foreign powers, and that is the kind of accusation that the current president has used against the protestors.”

Boosting Funding for K-12 Schools

PBS Wisconsin

An increase for Wisconsin’s K-12 schools in the state’s budget coupled with one-time federal pandemic aid still falls short according to public school advocates. Julie Underwood, former dean of the UW-Madison School of Education and board president for the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, explains.

A Basic Primer On The Delta Coronavirus Variant

In recent weeks, public health officials have been raising concerns over the delta variant of the coronavirus.

But, according to numbers from Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, only about 83 casesof the variant have been formally diagnosed in the state.

For more on the variant, and the risk it could pose, our producer Jonah Chester spoke with Doctor Ajay Sethi, an Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences at UW-Madison.

‘They’re More Than Willing To Suppress My Vote’: Voters With Disabilities Sound off on GOP Voting Bills

Up North News

Quoted: The proposals, which would broadly make absentee voting more difficult, are in line with legislation that’s moved forward in other battleground states with Republican-majority legislatures, said Barry Burden, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and director of the Elections Research Center. Similar bills advanced in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.

“The bills we’re seeing in Wisconsin and other battleground states are really just an immediate reaction to legislators’ discontent with what happened in 2020,” said Burden. “Its roots are in Donald Trump’s complaints about absentee voting. He railed for about a year, consistently and publicly, in speeches and on Twitter, about what he believed was fraud happening with mail-in voting,” he added.

Gov. Evers stresses importance of vaccines after someone at budget signing event tests positive for COVID-19

CBS 58

Quoted: Ajay Sethi, professor of population health sciences at UW-Madison, said this scenario is proof the pandemic is not over.

“It’s a good reminder that anybody who is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 really ought to do so because as soon as you leave your house without a mask, you have a risk of catching the virus,” said Sethi.

Wisconsin group works to conserve and restore prairies

Spectrum News

Quoted: Earth’s vegetation is changing as fast as it did during the Ice Age, according to University of Wisconsin geography and climate professor Jack Williams. Organizations like the Prairie Enthusiasts conserving and restoring land makes a big difference.

“One of the things we’ve definitely learned from the past is that when climates change, species move and one way we can help those species is helping this movement across these modern, fragmented, very much transformed landscapes,” Williams said.



The US doesn’t really know how widespread the Delta variant is because its virus sequencing is lagging far behind many other rich nations

Business Insider

Quoted: Thomas Friedrich, professor of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the FT that federal regulations designed to protect people’s privacy can get in the way of the “rapid sharing of information we need.” States interpret these regulations in different ways, he said.

Wolf study raises questions about what’s going on in Wisconsin’s woods

Wisconsin Examiner

After contributing to an independent study to assess how many wolves were killed during the February wolf hunt, Professor Adrian Treves expected some criticism. “There’s just more controversy surrounding wolves, their protected status, and the conflict that some people experience with them that makes management very difficult and controversial,” Treves, a professor of environmental studies at UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, told Wisconsin Examiner. It’s also normal for new research to be debated, questioned, and compared with other existing information. Treves, however, feels that’s not how the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is handling the study’s findings.

Native bees need saving too, research shows decline across Midwest

Spectrum News

This summer, UW-Madison researchers further looked at the links between certain types of crops, the growth in those types of crops and the correlation to a decline in native bees across the state and the midwest as a whole.

“Rarer [bees] that have become increasingly rare, they might not be able to thrive because we’ve eliminated those flowers that they need from the landscape,” said Jeremy Hemberger, a research entomologist at UW-Madison “by converting prairies and wetlands to agriculture and developments.”

The decline of native bees is a decades-long problem that keeps the list of endangered bees growing.

“Native bees are silently playing these really important roles, so just people becoming more aware that there’s all these other groups out there that through our actions we could be supporting, I think is a really valuable thing,” UW-Madison professor Claudio Gratton said.

Researchers Estimate 1/3 of Wisconsin’s Wolf Population Wiped Out in Last Year


In an analysis published in the journal PeerJ on July 5, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) estimate that Wisconsin’s wolf population was reduced by about one-third between April 2020 and April 2021. Specifically, the researchers estimate that 313 to 323 (27 to 33 percent) of the state’s 1,034 wolves were killed by hunters or poachers in that period of time.

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Variant Looms for Unvaccinated People

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: “The really good news is that if you have gotten your vaccine, you’re not going to be sick with the Delta virus,” said David O’Connor, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the July 7 edition of Here & Now’s Noon Wednesday.

“Most of the people who are getting sick with the Delta variant, and indeed with covid generally, in the United States are people who are not vaccinated,” said Thomas Friedrich, a professor of pathobiological sciences at UW-Madison, also during the July 7 episode of Noon Wednesday.

UW Prof. Jordan Ellenberg, “Shape: The Hidden Geometry Of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy And Everything Else.”


Stu Levitan welcomes one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, here to talk about his New York Times best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.

Humans are practically defenseless. Why don’t wild animals attack us more?

Live Science

Quoted: There are a few likely reasons why they don’t attack more often. Looking at our physiology, humans evolved to be bipedal — going from moving with all four limbs to walking upright on longer legs, according to John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“There is a threat level that comes from being bipedal,” Hawks told Live Science. “And when we look at other primates — chimpanzees, gorillas, for instance — they stand to express threats. Becoming larger in appearance is threatening, and that is a really easy way of communicating to predators that you are trouble.”

‘I Think The Governor Wins’: Experts Weigh In On Political Spin Of State Budget

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison, agreed the tax cut will likely play to the governor’s advantage during campaign season.

“He will not be easy to paint as a tax-and-spend liberal,” Burden said. “I think (the tax cut) takes the edge off some of the criticism that Republicans would use.”

New Federal Funding Aimed At Small Meat Processors Could Help Industry Capitalize On Pandemic Demand

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Jeff Sindelar is a meat specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. He said small and mid-size processors saw demand for their services and products expand rapidly in 2020, after coronavirus outbreaks forced large processing plants to reduce capacity or shut down.

“They were really stressed because (farmers) were needing places to go with their animals, (consumers) were interested in buying more protein, and there was also this small hoarding phenomenon that was going on for a short period of time,” Sindelar said.

Season 4 premiere: Critical race theory and a ‘woke’ military

Stars and Stripes

In the Season 4 premiere episode of Military Matters, host Rod Rodriguez discusses “wokeness” and critical race theory in the military with guests, Brian “BK” Kimber, Air Force veteran and host of the weekly podcast, “World News with BK,” and John Witte, professor emeritus from University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the departments of political science and the Robert La Follette School of Public Affairs.