State News Roundup: Judge rules Governor can't set rules for public educationWisconsin News
-- A judge in Madison says Governor Scott Walker is not more powerful than the elected school superintendent in setting rules for public education.
A judge in Madison says Governor Scott Walker is not more powerful than the elected school superintendent in setting rules for public education. Dane County Judge Amy Smith ruled yesterday that a 2011 law which gives the governor the power to veto the administrative rules of state agencies is unconstitutional. But the ruling only applies to the Department of Public Instruction – because the voters elect the head of that agency, whereas the governor appoints leaders for the other state departments. The governor’s office promised an appeal. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said he was confident that the governor would eventually win. The Justice Department said it would review the case before deciding whether to represent Walker in an appeal. State Superintendent Tony Evers praised the ruling, saying he knew all along that the governor’s power over his agency is unconstitutional. State-and-local teachers’ unions filed a lawsuit challenging Walker’s powers over public schools. The governor said he needed the authority to veto the rules that agencies adopt in carrying out new laws, because many bureaucrats had overstepped their boundaries and hurt businesses in the process.
A Wittenberg man has struck a plea deal in which he’ll go to a mental health facility instead of prison for the brutal killing of his father. Joshua Johnson pleaded guilty yesterday to a homicide charge, and was found to be insane when he killed 53-year-old Donald Johnson in late February. Prosecutors have recommended that the 21-year-old Johnson be institutionalized for the rest of his life – while the defense says he should have a chance for freedom after he’s treated. A judge will consider the matter after Shawano County social service officials review the case. The elder Johnson was shot, beaten, and stabbed repeatedly. Two doctors called by the defense said that the younger Johnson suffers from paranoid schizophrenia – and he was getting messages from his T-V screen that told him to kill his father.
A 60-year-old Shawano woman has been awarded 32-thousand-500 dollars, after her ex-employer settled a federal lawsuit for age discrimination. Sharon Passon was fired in 2010 from her job as a billing specialist at Computer Systems of Shawano, where she had worked for 38 years. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the firm kept a 34-year-old employee who was less qualified than Passon. The company was sold six months after Passon was let go, and the government said the new owner has no obligations in the case.
School kids in eastern Wisconsin are learning more about the honey industry, and the roles played by the state’s 500-plus bee-keepers. American Honey Princess Danielle Dale of Sparta is visiting schools in advance of a large “Kids-and-Bees Expo” on Saturday afternoon in Waupaca. Dale says the commercial honey industry has been in a decline over the last 20 years due to pressure from mites, and colony collapses. But Dale says it has opened the door to individual beekeepers, and there are groups throughout the state to help people get started. Today, only one-percent of bee-keepers are considered commercial – and many of those operations have thousands of hives. Dale reminds the youngsters that honey is a tasty and versatile product. She says it’s legendary for healing sore throats and cuts because honey is “naturally anti-bacterial.” Dale also says bees are important in pollinating a number of Wisconsin’s farm crops. At Saturday’s expo, youngsters can see live hives – learn how to roll bees-wax candles – and taste a variety of honey flavors. The event is free, and it runs from 1-to-3 Saturday at the Best Western Grand Seasons in Waupaca.