Afternoon News Brief - Wisconsin Senate Democrats will select new president and president pro temWisconsin News
-- The Wisconsin Senate will meet next Tuesday to choose two new Democratic leaders for at least the next six months.
The Wisconsin Senate will meet next Tuesday to choose two new Democratic leaders for at least the next six months. Democrats want to replace Republican Senate President Mike Ellis with former Democratic president Fred Risser of Madison. The party will also select a new president pro tem to replace Sheboygan Republican Joe Leibham. Earlier today, the state Government Accountability Board certified the results of the June 5th recall election in Racine County, in which Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard lost to former Senator John Lehman. He’s scheduled to be sworn in next Monday and that will give the Senate a 17-16 Democratic majority at least until November, when half the seats are up for election. Republican Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald says he supports the plan for what Democratic leader Mark Miller calls a smooth transition of power.
An insurance company that agreed to settle a lawsuit over an explosion in Door County cannot try to collect money from a contractor that might have caused the blast. A couple from Michigan was killed in a 2006 explosion at the Cedar Grove Resort in Ellison Bay. Five others were injured, including three of the couple’s children. Survivors and estates of the victims sued several parties in federal court, and they settled that suit in 2008 for $21 million dollars. The Wisconsin Public Service utility and AEGIS Insurance then tried to seek payment from Arby in a separate state action. But the Supreme Court struck down that effort today on a 5-2 vote. Justice David Prosser said the new plaintiffs were simply trying to debate the merits of a suit that had already been settled. Arby Construction was installing underground electric lines at the Door County resort when it struck an old unmarked propane line. That caused a leak which resulted in the explosion.
Low to moderate income people in three suburban Milwaukee counties could soon be eligible for affordable used car loans. A Milwaukee based group called “Ways to Work” said today it would expand its services for Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee counties. The group operates 50 loan offices in 22 states, so needy families don’t have to pay exorbitantly high interest rates for used car loans. The group now operates in Milwaukee and Racine counties. It says it has helped 32,000 families get over $63 million dollars in affordable loans. It also provides financial education, coaching to help families be self sufficient, and guidance for repairing bad credit.