Mid-Day State News Briefs: Gov. Walker to greet President in MilwaukeeWisconsin News
-- Republican Governor Scott Walker will greet President Obama when he lands in Milwaukee tomorrow. And Walker will then join the Democratic president during his visit to Milwaukee's Master Lock factory.
MILWAUKEE - Republican Governor Scott Walker will greet President Obama when he lands in Milwaukee tomorrow. And Walker will then join the Democratic president during his visit to Milwaukee's Master Lock factory.
That's a change from the recent past, when former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle almost never greeted Republican President George W. Bush in his visits to the Badger State. Walker also greeted Obama in his visit to Manitowoc a year ago, the only other time the president's been on Wisconsin soil since Walker's been governor. His office says Walker will not make any remarks during Obama's appearance tomorrow. But Walker has made his share of criticisms against the opposing party's president -- just as Doyle did during the Bush years. Walker has told supporters that if he wins his recall election, it would be a quote, "devastating blow" to Obama's re-election chances. The governor also slammed Obama in his speech to national conservatives last Friday, for the president's union support during last year's controversy over Walker's plan to limit collective bargaining for most of Wisconsin's state-and-local public employees.
At least three Republican state lawmakers plan to be out-of-office by this time next year. Freshman Representative Michelle Litjens of the Oshkosh area is the latest to announce that she won't run this fall. Litjens, from the town of Vinland, said she helped turn Wisconsin around -- and now she wants to spend more time with her family. Assembly Republicans Dan Meyer of Eagle River and Richard Spanbauer of Oshkosh also announced their decisions to step down over the past few weeks. Meyer was first elected in 2000, and he says 12 years is a good term limit for himself. Spanbauer, who's been in office for four years, says he's tired of legislators who care more about politics than about people. GOP lawmakers have been the targets of protestors ever since Republican Governor Scott Walker first proposed his collective bargaining limits just over a year ago.
A state appeals court said no today to letting a Milwaukee man withdraw his guilty pleas for the shootings of two police officers in 2009. 21-year-old Julius Burton was given 80 years behind bars for wounding officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch. The officers were shot in the face at mid-afternoon, after questioning Burton about riding his bicycle on a sidewalk in violation of city ordinances. Burton said his former attorney and the Milwaukee County circuit court did not give him proper advice, by not telling him that he could have pleaded guilty to the crimes while still having a jury determine if he was sane or not. But the First District Appellate Court ruled today that Burton failed to prove that his counsel was ineffective. And the judges said the trial court was not obligated to tell Burton about all of his plea options.
The newly-discovered state budget deficit might have killed one of the Republicans' top priorities for this year -- state funding for start-up businesses. Senate Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills has been trying to get her colleagues to support a major venture capital package. But now, she says the money is probably not available, after state officials learned last week that the current budget is $143-million-dollars in the hole. The Wisconsin State Journal said the measure got bogged down in a long debate over how much state funding should be provided. Also, Assembly Republicans had talked about getting certified capital companies involved -- which raised opposition due to a lack of accountability in state dollars given to the so-called CAPCOs in a similar effort a decade ago. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) recently said his party agreed to proceed without CAPCOs. But Governor Scott Walker's office said the new deficit would make it hard for a bill to be adopted -- even though Walker fully supports venture capital opportunities. Senate Democrat Julie Lassa of Stevens Point also favored state involvement in venture capital, and she said the deficit was a "convenient excuse" for Republicans to scrap it.
A Racine man is due back in court a week from Thursday, after his initial appearance on charges that he stabbed a girlfriend to death. 25-year-old Iryin Vaughn is being held on a three-quarter-million-dollar bond on charges of homicide, causing mental harm to a child, and two counts of bail jumping. Prosecutors said Vaughn stabbed 27-year-old Gwynevere Wright over two dozen times last Tuesday. The couple has a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter together. And a statewide Amber Alert was issued after Vaughn took off with the youngster soon after the slaying. They were picked up the next day in Chicago. Assistant District Attorney Rich Chiapete said the murder scene looked like a slasher-movie -- and blood was splattered all over Wright's bedroom. At his next appearance, a judge will decide if there's enough evidence for Vaughn to go on trial.
A Dodge County soldier who was killed in Afghanistan will be remembered by his military base tomorrow. The joint Lewis-McChord base in Washington State will hold a memorial services for 24-year-old Army First Lieutenant David Johnson of Mayville. He was killed January 25th by a home-made bomb while on a foot patrol in Kandahar Province. His funeral service was held on February fifth in Mayville. Johnson was part of the Third Stryker Brigade that was deployed to Afghanistan in December.