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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Legion, VFW upset over bill that sets restrictions on asbestos-related lawsuits

MADISON -- Wisconsin American Legion, Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars and Wisconsin Military Order of the Purple Heart all say they are “stunned” and claim Assembly Republicans have refused to stand up for veterans. This comes on the heels of the State Assembly passing a bill that sets restrictions on asbestos-related lawsuits. The bill passed the Assembly Thursday on a partisan 55-to-38 vote. Democrats believe the bill denies rights to victims of asbestos exposure. Republicans claim the bill is necessary to prevent multiple lawsuits. Under the bill, cancer victims suing an existing company would have to disclose whether they have also filed a claim with any of asbestos compensation trust funds.

If signed by the Governor, a new bill will restrict in person, absentee voting by limiting such early voting to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, for two weeks before an election, and preventing clerks from holding weekend voting hours. Democrats say the measure targets minorities and Democratic voters and spent hours last night fighting the bill which eventually passed a partisan vote. Republicans argue the bill is needed for "uniformity" - because rural areas can't offer extended voting hours.


It wasn't the bill most, on either side, working on school accountability wanted but the limited accountability measure that cleared the Senate earlier was passed by the Assembly on Thursday night. It's now waiting for the Governor's approval. Walker was one of many who had hoped for a more expansive measure but he has indicated he will sign the bill as is. 

The legislation requires any school that takes public funds to have performance data and other information included on report cards as public record. ________________ A two year construction project to make improvements on the Bong Bridge between Superior and Duluth will begin on March 31st. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says the $18.2 million project is the most significant project on the Bong Bridge since it opened in 1984, and is expected to preserve the life of the structure for years to come. Bridge work will include a new pavement overlay, expansion joint replacement and arch painting. 


It may have felt like a wet winter, but a new study released this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 45% of Wisconsin is experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. The dry areas are in the south, central and western portions of the state. Southeastern Wisconsin has received less than 50 percent of normal precipitation over the past 90 days.

 __________________ The four-year-old Milwaukee boy that was accidentally shot on Wednesday evening is now reported to be "alive and awake" at Children's Hospital. Doctor's are waiting for swelling on his brain to decrease. Police now believe the boy shot himself after he and other children found a gun in his Grandparent's house. Leaving a loaded gun within reach of a child is a misdemeanor crime in Wisconsin and carries a maximum nine- month jail sentence. The District Attorney's Office will review the case next week.


Spring is officially here and it’s a good time to donate blood. Brian Gomez, spokesman for the Badger Hawkeye Region of the American Red Cross, says blood supplies remain adequate, because people have been stepping up to donate despite the cold weather. But more donors are always needed because hospitals have a continuous need for blood. Finding a blood drive is easy by entering your zip code at the Red Cross website. The blood donation process takes about an hour and fifteen minutes from start to finish.