GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Gov. Walker to seek federal and state aid to help storm victims
Governor Scott Walker says he'll seek both federal-and-state aid to help storm victims who don't have enough insurance. The Republican governor made the comment yesterday after touring Platteville and Verona -- where three tornadoes touched down late Monday night. The National Weather Service said yesterday that an "F"-Three tornado hit Verona with winds of up to 140-miles an hour. It blew down a wall at Country View Elementary School and made 19 homes in Verona uninhabitable while damaging dozens of others. In Platteville, football players said they probably lost their home games this fall, after an F-Two twister with 120-mile-an-hour winds hit Pioneer Stadium and twisted the bleachers and snapped off light poles. The storm also tore the roofs off two dormitories. Five buildings in all were damaged on the Platteville campus, and a dozen homes were destroyed in that community. The twisters were the first in Wisconsin in 2014. Meanwhile, more heavy thunderstorms rumbled through the state last night and early this morning. Plover had one-and-a-quarter inch hail, 47-mile-an-hour winds, and just over an inch of rain in 37 minutes. Golf-ball-sized hail also fell near downtown Milwaukee, and at Augusta in Eau Claire County. There's a chance for more thunderstorms throughout the day. At least a chance of rain is in the statewide forecast every day through Sunday.
Wisconsin's Ron Johnson is among at least five U-S Senate Republicans who say President Obama is wrong to bring suspected Libyan terrorist bomber Abu Khattala to the U-S for a trial. Johnson, a member of the foreign relations and homeland security committees, says Khattala should instead be shipped off to the U-S military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. He's said to be a "key leader" in the September 2012 attack on the U-S consulate in Benghazi, where ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Obama says Khattala needs to be brought to justice. On Fox News, Johnson says it can years to gather the proper intelligence from a foreign suspect like Khattala. He calls it the nation's "best line of defense." Texas Senate Republican Ted Cruz says the alleged Libyan bomber has no business in a U-S civilian court where he can get the same constitutional protections as American citizens. Johnson says we may never know how much intelligence the U-S won't get through a long interrogation of Khattala. He denies that terrorist suspects get abused at Guantanamo Bay, saying they're treated "beautifully, quite obviously." In Minneapolis yesterday, F-B-I Director James Comey said the investigation into the Benghazi attack is not over.
If you want the best auto insurance rates, you'll have to start building a credit history -- and then be responsible in handling your debt. That's according to Wallet-Hub, which says Wisconsin drivers without credit histories pay an average of 80-percent more for car insurance than those with the highest credit scores. The consumer Web site says Wisconsin has the nation's 12th-highest price difference -- 15-percent more than the national gap of 65-percent. Back in 2008, the Wisconsin Senate passed a bill to ban the use of credit reports in setting premiums for auto-and-home insurance coverage. Democrats who ran the Senate at the time said auto rates should hinge only on how well people drive. The measure died in the Republican-controlled Assembly. The insurance industry defends the use of credit scores in setting coverage rates, saying those who are reckless with their credit are more likely to be more reckless on the road -- thus causing more accidents. Wallet-Hub sides with the insurers, but it's concerned that too many rates are based on inaccurate credit reports. Wallet-Hub encourages people to take advantage of their ability to view free credit reports once a year.
Conservatives are crying foul, as the state's education agency gathers information from private schools about tax-funded voucher students with disabilities. It's part of a reported federal investigation into complaints that tax-funded voucher schools are rejecting disabled youngsters. The U-S Justice Department began receiving those complaints in 2011. G-O-P legislative leaders accuse the state Department of Public Instruction of trying to undermine the voucher program. On Monday, Senate Republican Paul Farrow of Pewaukee fired off a series of questions for State Superintendent Tony Evers. Farrow accused Evers of being biased against the private school choice program, that was expanded statewide on a limited basis last fall. D-P-I spokesman John Johnson says it's voluntary for private schools to offer up their data. He says the D-P-I is only trying to ensure that there's no discrimination taking place. A number of Democrats have been speaking out to support the inquiry, saying it's important that voucher schools be held accountable. The D-P-I is asking voucher schools to respond by June 30th.
Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson will urge Congress today to require Medicare coverage for seniors' obesity medicines. Thompson will join state officials in Michigan to encourage government leaders to recognize obesity as a disease. Thompson served as the nation's Health and Human Services secretary more than a decade ago. He'll join Michigan Community Health Director James Haveman at a news conference in Lansing. Haveman will give a progress report on a statewide health-and-wellness plan from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. That state's obesity rate jumped from 18-to-32 percent between 1995 and 2010. By 2030, officials say half of Michigan's population could be obese.