Afternoon State News Briefs: Van Hollen was state Supreme Court to rule on Voter IDWisconsin News
-- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying again to get the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take control of two cases challenging the state’s photo ID law again.
MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying again to get the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take control of two cases challenging the state’s photo ID law again.
The state Justice Department was hoping the court would restore that mandate before this week’s election, but the case has been tied up in appellate courts for months. They are reviewing the decisions of two Dane County judges to kill the photo ID requirement for people to vote. The Supreme Court rejected Van Hollen’s request last September to take up the cases and combine them into one. This marks the third time the state has tried to speed up the process of reviewing those judicial decisions.
Second verse, same as the first. Well, not quite – but the new Republican majority in the Wisconsin Legislature plans to tackle many of the same issues in the next two years as it did in the last two. Leaders say the top priority is to pass the next state budget – and it remains to be seen what major policy issues might be pushed into that package. Mining is also high on the GOP’s agenda. Republican Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said on WISN Radio in Milwaukee that you can expect a somewhat different package than what was scrapped back in March. The GOP’s agenda also includes new tax cuts, an expansion of voucher schools, more incentives for creating jobs, and a continued easing of state regulations on business. Republicans will control both houses, even if Democrats win all four recounts that have been discussed – three in the Assembly and one in the Senate.
Tonight is Bright Light night in Madison. UW-Madison police will stop people riding bicycles after dark with no lights. They won’t issue tickets, but they will offer a short lecture about safety and hand out free lights for the front and back of those bicycles. This event is the second of its kind. As many as 50 lights are available, paid for by a small grant from the Dane County Bicycle Association. A spokesman for the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation calls it an educational event to let bicycle riders know they are required to use a light when they are riding their bikes after dark.
Two young girls who died in a house fire in Racine were identified by relatives today as nine-year-old Dayja Scott and her eight-year-old sister Dalija. Two other boys in the Scott family, ages 5-and-7, were at a hospital in Milwaukee this afternoon. Racine Fire Chief Steve Hansen said one of the boys was unconscious, while the other was moving around. Officials said both were in extremely poor condition. The children’s mother reported the fire from a neighbor’s house around 12:45 this morning. Hansen said it was extremely difficult to reach the youngsters because there were safety bars on their windows – and home furnishings that blocked passageways as fire-fighters dealt with heavy smoke. It took around 15 minutes to complete the process of evacuating the youngsters from the burning structure. And immediately afterward, the chief said four fire-fighters succumbed to exhaustion. All four of the kids were unconscious. An adult victim was taken to a Racine hospital. Authorities were not sure whether the house had working smoke detectors.