State News Roundup: The concealed weapons law might have saved a life in WausauWisconsin News
-- Supporters of Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law insist it will save lives – and that might have been the case during a road rage incident in Wausau.
Supporters of Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law insist it will save lives – and that might have been the case during a road rage incident in Wausau. It happened on Tuesday along the Highway 29 expressway. Police said an 49-year-old Appleton man was driving into town from the west, when his S-U-V passed a van – and the van started ramming the S-U-V from behind. The Appleton man called 9-1-1, and a dispatcher told him to wait in a parking lot for an officer. In the meantime, the attackers followed the man – and police said the couple got out and started beating him and stabbing him with their vehicle keys. The man pulled his concealed gun, and the two backed off. A 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman from Michigan were arrested on possible charges of battery and disorderly conduct. The S-U-V driver had a legal state concealed carry permit, and police say he will not be criminally charged.
The U-W Board of Regents is about to decide whether to let a larger percentage of its students come from out-of-state. Right now, only 25-percent of students can come from outside Wisconsin, not including Minnesotans who pay in-state tuition under a long-time reciprocity agreement. And the Regents will consider an increase to 30-percent when they meet today and tomorrow. State Assembly Colleges Committee chairman Steve Nass objects. He says it might create fewer opportunities for Wisconsin students to attend the state’s largest campus in Madison. But officials say the proposal would add 200 more spots at Madison for Wisconsin freshmen. Spokesman David Giroux says the school is trying to strike a balance between giving access to Wisconsinites, while attracting the best-and-brightest from throughout the world. U-W Madison is the only school that’s close to the current out-of-state enrollment limit – and Provost Paul DeLuca says it’s difficult to stay under it. That’s because officials must estimate their enrollments each year, due to the growing numbers of students who apply at more than one college and go somewhere else. The proposal could also bring in more revenue, because out-of-state students generally pay higher tuition. Each percentage point in non-resident enrollments would give Madison an extra four-and-a-half million dollars a year. Nass said he was caught off-guard when the proposal was unveiled this week – and he wants to delay it so the public can have more of a say. But DeLuca says many lawmakers support the change – and he calls it a policy matter for the Regents – not a political matter for the Legislature.
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance plans to build a new 30-story office building in downtown Milwaukee, to replace at 16-story structure that faces high maintenance costs. The company announced the 300-million-dollar project yesterday. It asked for 48-million in tax incremental financing from the city. Northwestern Mutual said it would spend the money up-front, and then receive its allowable property tax breaks over the next 25 years. About 11-hundred employees in the old building would move to a temporary facility while the new and larger building is built. Northwestern Mutual has said it would add up to 17-hundred more downtown Milwaukee employees by 2027. C-E-O John Schlifske calls the new project quote, “a signature development that makes a huge statement about the attractiveness of the whole Milwaukee metro area.” He said it would guarantee that Northwestern Mutual plays a vital role in the city for generations to come. Mayor Tom Barrett said the proposal sends a quote, “tremendous message” about the viability of downtown Milwaukee.
Wisconsin voters were much more generous to their local school districts in November than they’ve been lately. According to the state’s Taxpayers Alliance, 70-percent of the 38 construction and revenue proposals were approved. And the schools’ success rate was 50-percent higher than it was two years ago. Alliance president Todd Berry says money remains tight, especially in smaller school districts. But if people believe in a project, and they know their money is spent wisely, Berry says voters will give their approval. The state’s largest building referendum was approved by a 2-to-1 margin in the Middleton-Cross Plains district, where almost 60-million dollars will be spent for additions and renovations to two middle schools. Voters also said yes to a number of requests by school districts to exceed their state-mandated revenue limits – in some cases, just to continue current programs. Marshfield voters approved the state’s largest revenue cap exemption. They agreed to pay an extra two-and-a-half million dollars a year for the next four years.