Wisconsin Roundup: House Members Vote With Their Parties To Limit Abortions; and more state news
WASHINGTON, DC — None of Wisconsin's seven voting House members strayed from their parties, as the House voted Tuesday to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Four state Republicans voted yes and three Democrats no, as Arizona Republican Trent Franks moved to make it a crime for doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks. There would be exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother's life — and it would not be a crime for women to seek the procedure. The House okayed the bill 237-189 but it faces a tough road in the Senate, because the GOP only has 52 votes while 60 are needed to send the measure to President Donald Trump. Pro-life groups say an unborn baby starts feeling pain after 20 weeks, but abortion rights supporters say the bill "shames" women and bans what they call a safe and legal procedure.
U.S. Justices Express Deep Concerns In Wisconsin Gerrymander Case
WASHINGTON, DC — We won't know until next year whether Wisconsin Republicans acted illegally in drawing districts that assured GOP legislative majorities. But we do know that the nation's Supreme Court justices have deep concerns on both sides. And they expressed them Tuesday during oral arguments on the state's appeal of a lower court ruling that found the GOP's 2011 redistricting unconstitutional. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said people lose their incentives to vote if legislative maps are stacked for one party, because the results would be "preordained." But Chief Justice John Roberts said redistricting is part of the legislative process of a democracy, and the nation would lose that if more cases got thrown into the courts.
Dry Weather Speeds Up Crop Harvest
MADISON — Recent dry weather is helping speed up the harvest of Wisconsin farm crops. The Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says 56 percent of the corn for animal feed has been harvested. But that's still 11 days behind the average for the past five years as the result of wet fields in the summer — many of which didn't dry up until September. Sixteen percent of the Wisconsin soybean crop is harvested, five days ahead of last year but about the same as the five-year average. Almost three-fourths of the Wisconsin potato harvest is completed, and 53 percent of the state's winter wheat is in the ground — seven days ahead of last year.
Foxconn To Announce Mount Pleasant Plant Location
MADISON — Foxconn is expected to announce Wednesday morning it will build its new $10 billion plant at Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The Taiwanese high tech giant will hold an 11 a.m. news conference in Sturtevant to announce its choice. Foxconn has reportedly been talking for months with local officials about a site close to Highway 11, east of Interstate 94. That's where up to 13,000 workers could eventually be hired to make LCD screens for smartphones and TVs, with the help of up to $3 billion worth of incentives from state taxpayers as approved by Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature. Foxconn hired its first Wisconsin employee this week, as former Navy pilot Chris Murdoch became a senior adviser.
UW Eau Claire Grad Slowly Recovering After Vegas Shooting
LAS VEGAS, NV — UW-Eau Claire graduate Philip Aurich is showing more signs of life, but he remains in critical condition from his wounds in the Las Vegas shootings. His wife Sheila said Tuesday that he has started to open his eyes, breathing on his own — and as she put it, "Everything's looking pretty positive." Aurich is a native of Minnesota's Twin Cities area — and he graduated from Eau Claire in 2005 before moving to Vegas where he's now an area president for a mortgage company. Aurich is the most seriously injured survivor with Wisconsin ties from the Vegas shootings. We learned Tuesday that 44-year-old Brookfield native Steve Berger died after being shot.
Avery To Keep Pursuing New Trial Despite Judge's Dismissal
MANITOWOC, WI — Steven Avery's chief attorney says she'll keep pursuing a new trial, even though her bid was rejected by a circuit judge Tuesday. Sheboygan Judge Angela Sutkiewicz said a recent review of DNA evidence would probably not change the guilty verdict from Avery's original trial, in which he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County in 2005. Avery is now 55 — and both he and his nephew Brendan Dassey are trying to strike down their convictions after the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" raised questions about the state's evidence. Attorney General Brad Schimel says Tuesday's ruling puts the Halbach family one step closer to getting justice — while Avery lawyer Kathleen Zellner says she'll seek to throw out the ruling, based on a September agreement with the state that allowed new evidence testing and more affidavits from witnesses.
After Two Nervous Days, Family Learns Of Son's Death In Vegas
BROOKFIELD, WI — After two days of waiting, a suburban Milwaukee couple learns that their son has died in the Las Vegas shootings. Richard and Mary Berger of Brookfield were told by Steve Berger's friends Monday that he was among the hundreds shot at Sunday's Route 91 country music festival. Relatives say Steve was celebrating his 44th birthday with six others — and they lost touch with him after he was shot in the chest or back by Stephen Paddock, who opened fire from his Mandalay Bay hotel room and killed 59 people and wounded about 530 others. Mary Berger says a coroner called her Tuesday to confirm his death. Steve Berger was a 1991 graduate of Wauwatosa West High School, and he lived in Shorewood, Minnesota where he was a financial adviser.
USDA Declares Calumet And Surrounding Counties As Disaster Areas
MADISON — The USDA has declared Calumet County and six surrounding counties as disaster areas, as the result of heavy rains and flooding in June and July. Governor Scott Walker applied for the assistance after Calumet County lost more than 30 percent of its strawberry crop due to the oversaturated soils. Farmers in Calumet, Brown, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Sheboygan, and Winnebago will be eligible for emergency loans and other USDA assistance, based on their losses.
UWM Experts Help Three Physicists Win Nobel Prize
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — A team of UW-Milwaukee scientists helped three other researchers win the Nobel Prize for Physics today Tuesday. Physicists Kip Thorne and Barry Barish from the California Institute of Technology Caltech won the honor along with MIT professor Rainer Weiss. They were recognized for detecting gravitational waves. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that dozens of Milwaukee professors were involved in the research, which could eventually provide important clues on how the universe began. UWM's part of the project calibrated data from two large "L" shaped detectors in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington. The Milwaukee team was led by Patrick Brady, Jolien Creighton, Alan Wiseman, and Xavier Siemens.
Prosecutors: Fired Employee Shoots At Former Workers On I-43
MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors in Milwaukee say a man who was just fired from his job shot at co-workers in another vehicle on a crowded Interstate 43. Twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Perez-Perez is charged with reckless endangerment and reckless injury after a shooting incident last Friday at the height of Milwaukee's rush hour. According to prosecutors, two men in an SUV had just left their employer in Brown Deer when they saw Perez-Perez pull a gun and fire one shot at them. Officials say the 43-year-old SUV driver was grazed and his 52-year-old passenger was wounded in a thigh and finger. Perez-Perez was arrested Monday. The incident prompted Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt to order saturation patrols by his deputies on I-43.
White-Tailed Deer In Shawano County Tests Positive For CWD
SHAWANO COUNTY, WI — State authorities say a white-tailed deer from a hunting ranch in Shawano County tested positive for chronic wasting disease CWD. Television station WBAY reports that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the infected deer was a 3-year-old buck. The ranch owner says 245 deer were reported to be on the 481-acre ranch.