State Government and Political Roundup: Gov. Walker speaks publicly about the spa shootingsWisconsin News
-- Governor Scott Walker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday that Wisconsin needs to toughen its laws against domestic violence.
Governor Scott Walker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday that Wisconsin needs to toughen its laws against domestic violence.
Walker appeared with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to address the deadly acts of violence in their two states over the last few months. When asked why there has not been a national debate on guns, Walker said it was domestic violence that caused last weekend’s spa shootings in Brookfield. And the governor said quote, “We didn’t do enough in this state apparently, at least at the local level, to adequately enforce those laws … We need to do more than that – and that’s something that isn’t a partisan issue.”
Radcliffe Haughton shot seven women last Sunday at the Azana Salon-and-Spa in Brookfield, killing his estranged wife and two others before turning the gun on himself. Haughton is from Brown Deer, where police have been under heavy criticism for not arresting him right after a 2011 standoff in which he apparently pointed a gun at his wife. Haughton violated a restraining order when he bought a gun from a private dealer the day before the slayings. Yesterday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said a law is needed to prohibit those under restraining orders to buy guns online. State Assembly Republican Robin Vos of Racine County says his colleagues have talked about some ideas for toughening domestic violence laws. But Vos – who’s expected to become the new Assembly speaker in January – says he won’t rush to judgment for now.
With eight days before the election, Hurricane Sandy has put a dent into the intense campaigning planned by President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. But for now, both men still plan to appear in Wisconsin during the next two days. Romney canceled three events in Virginia yesterday. But he’s still scheduled to be in Ohio and Iowa today before appearing at a rally this evening at State Fair Park in West Allis. President Obama is scheduled to speak in Green Bay tomorrow night – and for now, that’s still on. The Democrat Obama called off three joint appearances with former President Clinton for today. Instead, Obama was planning a morning rally in Florida, and was then going to return to Washington to oversee the federal response to Sandy. The hurricane was expected to hit the nation’s capital and other major Eastern Seaboard cities today. It could affect up to 50-million Americans in the East Coast region. The storm is expected to reach land tonight in New Jersey.
An advocacy group plans to file a complaint with state elections’ officials today about an e-mail that a Milwaukee executive sent to his employees about the presidential contest. Citizen Action of Wisconsin said Michael White of Rite-Hite tried to intimidate workers last week. His memo told employees to understand the quote, “personal consequences” to them if President Obama is re-elected. Among other things, he said the company’s health insurance and retirement contributions might have to end due to higher taxes. White said he respected the workers’ right to vote for who they choose, but he said he was just trying to present the facts as he knows them. Mike Wilder of Citizen Action called on White to retract the e-mail, and apologize to workers at his industrial equipment manufacturing company. Media reports say a number of U.S. business leaders are bringing up political concerns to their employees, but a Wisconsin election law bans employers from discussing certain subjects. After White’s memo was publicized last week, the state Government Accountability Board said it would be up to the local district attorney to file charges. And the Milwaukee County D-A said it would be interested in hearing from employees and from White. Rite-Hite has refused public comment on the e-mail.
A court hearing is set for Thursday on a request for a restraining order against former state Senator Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac. His ex-wife wants a judge to force Hopper to stay away from her. That’s after he was arrested eight days ago for allegedly getting into a fight with another man at her Fond du Lac County home. Charges have not been filed in the case yet, and sheriff’s deputies are still investigating. Authorities say the 46-year-old Hopper faces possible counts of domestic abuse, trespassing, and the illegal use of a telephone. He was also arrested for drunk driving. Hopper spent last Sunday night in jail, and was freed Monday after posting a 500-dollar bond. It was Hopper’s second arrest since the Republican was recalled from office 14 months ago. Last October, he was arrested for drunk driving while coming home from a Packer game – and a jury found him innocent in March.
Wisconsin’s new public school report cards show that about 15-percent of schools are not meeting most of the state’s new-and-tougher standards. But officials have not said what they’ll do about it. The state issued school-by-school rankings last week, which showed that the lowest-performers did not keep up with the state’s expectations for student growth, dropout-and-graduation rates, and other factors. The state Department of Public Instruction says it will ask lawmakers next year to budget more money to help schools that are struggling. But some administrators are not holding their breath. Sheboygan Superintendent Joe Sheehan says the state will probably claim that it doesn’t have the money – and it will probably make schools use existing resources to improve. Miles Turner, head of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, fears that the schools’ low marks will be used as punishment – and not an incentive to improve. There’s talk about a possible expansion of the state’s private school voucher program, if Republicans can regain control of both houses in next week’s elections. Republican Luther Olsen of Ripon, a member of the Senate’s Education Committee, says he doesn’t believe the report cards will be politicized. But he says lawmakers need to approve consequences to make schools accountable.