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The Wisconsin statue atop of the State Capitol is shown Thursday, July 7, 2016 in Madison, Wis.(Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON – Republicans who control the Legislature were so divided over the state budget Tuesday that they had to put off a key vote on whether to cut tuition at University of Wisconsin System schools. 

Assembly Republicans want to toss aside GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to cut tuition by 5%, but Senate Republicans have not come to a consensus on the issue, which forced leaders to cancel a vote on the issue before the Joint Finance Committee. 

"I’m just a little frustrated with the process being delayed because we can’t come to a decision between the two bodies. I respect their need to have those conversations but we need to do this process — we would like to be done by the end of June so we can have a budget effective July 1," said Rep.

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A technician holds a sea lamprey, an invasive species.(Photo: Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed eliminating funding for a popular program in the Great Lakes region that has funded environmental restoration projects for the world's largest freshwater system.

Trump's 2018 budget, which sharply pared funding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, made official what had been expected: The president eliminated funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has provided $2.2 billion since 2010. 

The budget mirrored the cuts for the Great Lakes proposed in March. The fight now shifts to Congress where Great Lakes states representatives, including some Republicans as well as Democrats, are expected to champion the program. 

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The money has been used in Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states to clean up toxic waste, control the spread of invasive species, restore habitat and make other improvements in the near-shore health of the lakes.

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The Wisconsin statue atop of the State Capitol is shown Thursday, July 7, 2016 in Madison, Wis.(Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON – Republicans who control the Legislature were so divided over the state budget Tuesday that they had to put off a vote on whether to cut tuition at University of Wisconsin System schools. 

Assembly Republicans want to toss aside GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to cut tuition by 5% and instead want to freeze it for another two years. But Senate Republicans have not come to a consensus on the issue, which forced leaders to cancel a vote on the issue before the Joint Finance Committee. 

It's the second time GOP lawmakers have had to delay a vote on a major budget issue. Last month, Republican lawmakers could not agree on how much of a raise to give judges and have yet to resolve the issue.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel(Photo: Associated Press)

The Wisconsin departments of justice and consumer protection sued two Milwaukee retail stores Tuesday for selling designer drugs — specifically synthetic THC with the names of "Spice" and "Kush" — in violation of a state law prohibiting fraudulent drug advertising.

The synthetic cannabinoids are similar to THC, the main psychotropic compound in marijuana, but they have slightly different chemical makeups that make them unpredictable and dangerous, according to the lawsuits.

"I will not tolerate any drug dealer putting our communities at risk," Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement. "We work hard to bring all illicit drug dealers to justice, whether their retail venue is on the street or at a store."

The lawsuits ask a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge to block the two stores —  Atomic Glass, 1813 E. Locust St., and Food Town Mini Mart, 4790 N. Hopkins St. — from selling the synthetic THC products.

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Timothy Smeeding is an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an author of the Wisconsin Poverty Report.(Photo: RIck Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

Boosted by a growth in jobs, poverty in Wisconsin dropped from 10.8% in 2014 to 9.7% in 2015 according to the Wisconsin Poverty Measure.

It is the lowest poverty rate recorded since the WPM was introduced nine years ago by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute of Research on Poverty.

Tuesday's release of the Wisconsin Poverty Report showed that the drop in the poverty was aided by 70,000 additional jobs gained in the state between January 2014 and November 2015.

"Things are going well in the state so far," said Timothy Smeeding, an economist at the LaFollette School of Public Affairs. "The labor market is leading the way. Social safety net programs are still helping and we're making progress."

Unlike the federal government's official poverty measure — which is based on pretax cash income — the WPM accounts for family income and government benefits.