STATE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Pierce farmers allowed to harvest and graze on state-owned properties
For the second year in a row, Wisconsin farmers are being allowed to harvest hay and graze cattle on state-owned properties. Governor Scott Walker allowed the practice last year to help farmers survive one of the worst droughts in decades. Now, the state D-N-R says farmers can take hay, and let their cattle roam for free, in parts of 32 counties where a state-of-emergency was declared for last month’s flooding – and where disaster areas were declared for crop winter-kill caused by this year’s long winter. D-N-R Secretary Cathy Stepp says the move should help farmers deal with shortages of feed on their own lands. They can use no more than 20 acres. D-N-R staffers have identified about 300 fields to be used, totaling over 53-hundred acres. To take advantage of the program, Stepp says they’ll need to sign agreements promising they will not sell the feed they generate off the state properties. Here is a list of the counties where farmers can harvest hay and graze cattle on state lands, due to flooding and previous winterkill – Ashland, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dodge, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green Lake, Iowa, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pierce, Richland, Saint Croix, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Washington, Waupaca
State legislative Democrats will announce an effort today to repeal the state law that requires abortion candidates to get ultrasounds. That’s after a federal judge in Madison decided yesterday to keep blocking another part of the same law. William Conley said he would decide within two weeks whether to issue an injunction against a requirement that abortion clinic doctors have hospital admitting privileges. The injunction would prevent the mandate from taking effect until Conley rules on a lawsuit which claims the measure is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, ultrasound requirement remains in effect. Democrats are planning a news conference to announce plans to try-and-repeal that measure. But they would have convince at least some majority Republicans to flip-flop, after the G-O-P acted in unison to pass the abortion restrictions last month. Republicans say the ultrasounds give women the chance to see their unborn babies in the womb, with the idea that some would change their minds about giving them up. As for the hospital admitting privileges, Planned Parenthood says most abortion doctors don’t need them. A state attorney said an abortion results in a hospitalization about once every 16 days in Wisconsin. If the law is upheld, abortions would no longer be performed north of Madison.
Wisconsin taxpayers will again invest in a host of new businesses, under a venture capital program that Governor Scott Walker will sign today. A bill-signing ceremony is set for late this morning at M-C-T Incorporated in Milwaukee. Lawmakers voted in June to create a 75-million-dollar fund to help start-up companies get off the ground in fields that include agriculture, energy, and high-tech. Taxpayers will provide 25-million, and private sources will supply the other 50-million. The bill received wide support from both parties, even though many Democrats said bio-tech medical firms should have been included. Venture capital has been a sticky subject in Wisconsin since the late 1990’s, when out-of-state firms were allowed to run a funding program – and millions-of-dollars were never accounted for. In the meantime, the state’s Technology Council said many new firms left the state, because there was not enough venture funding to help them survive their early stages.
Governor Scott Walker will be on hand this afternoon, when the Green Bay Packers cut a ribbon for the latest improvements at Lambeau Field. The governor will speak along with Packers’ president Mark Murphy and community leaders. It will mark the official opening of 66-hundred seats on two new decks in the South End Zone, as part of a 143-million dollar renovation which took a year-and-a-half to complete. Those with seats in the two new levels can try them out, while Packer highlights are shown on the new video boards that were unveiled around this time last year. The project also includes a new gate, suites, viewing platform, concessions, and sound system. The team paid the entire cost of the renovation, partially with the help of a quarter-million new stockholders who became N-F-L team owners in late 2011 and early 2012.