Thursday, February 21st

State

Attorney General Josh Kaul (left) and Gov. Tony Evers (right)(Photo: File photos)

MADISON - Attorney General Josh Kaul has declined to represent Gov. Tony Evers in a suit over lame-duck laws limiting their powers, prompting Evers to spend up to $50,000 of taxpayer money on private attorneys. 

The move comes soon after Republican lawmakers approved billing taxpayers for their own private attorneys in the legal fight. They have not said what firm they plan to use. 

The Democratic governor selected the Madison firm Pines Bach to represent him last week after Kaul told Evers he couldn't represent him because of a conflict of interest.

Pines Bach senior partner Lester Pines often represented the state when Democrat Jim Doyle was governor and in recent years has led legal challenges to laws approved by Republicans. 

Pines and his colleagues will be paid $275 an hour, according to a copy of the contract released Monday under the state's open records law.

A man blows into a breathalyzer.(Photo: RICHARD LEE, DETROIT FREE PRESS)

Wisconsin's courts recently refined what constitutes a valid traffic stop, vacating one man's drunken driving and gun charges in the process.  

After a Forest County sheriff's deputy pulled over a car with several people inside one night in March 2017, one of them ran off into the woods.

The deputy called for backup and Deputy William Hujet drove to the area, on the lookout for the absconder.

About 30 minutes later, Hujet saw Brady Adams driving on Airport Road near Crandon, within a mile of where the stop had occurred, and began to follow him. Adams turned off onto a dark, dead-end road and Hujet continued past him but watched in his rear view mirror as Adams stopped, backed up onto Airport Road, and headed back in the opposite direction.

That's when Hujet turned around and pulled Adams over and found him intoxicated and illegally in possession of a concealed weapon.

Attorney General Josh Kaul (left) and Gov. Tony Evers (right)(Photo: File photos)

Gov. Tony Evers said Friday he knew Attorney General Josh Kaul would follow the law when he told a statewide audience he was directing Kaul to withdraw from a federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act — an act Kaul is legally barred from taking. 

"When I said that, I always believed and I still believe that Josh Kaul as attorney general will follow the law and go according to what they put together in the lame-duck session," Evers told reporters in Milwaukee. "There's nothing inconsistent with what I said and what was actually going to happen. I always knew that Josh Kaul was going to the Joint Finance Committee."

Gov. Tony Evers spoke with Kevin Kroll, a bricklaying instructor, Friday during a visit to the Milwaukee Area Technical College facilities on National Avenue, where Evers toured that and other apprenticeship programs.

Attorney General Josh Kaul (left) and Gov. Tony Evers (right)(Photo: File photos)

Gov. Tony Evers said Friday he knew Attorney General Josh Kaul would follow the law when he told a statewide audience he was directing Kaul to withdraw from a federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act — an act Kaul is legally barred from taking. 

"When I said that, I always believed and I still believe that Josh Kaul as attorney general will follow the law and go according to what they put together in the lame-duck session," Evers told reporters in Milwaukee. "There's nothing inconsistent with what I said and what was actually going to happen. I always knew that Josh Kaul was going to the Joint Finance Committee."

Gov. Tony Evers spoke with a bricklaying instructor on Friday during a visit to the Milwaukee Area Technical College facilities on National Avenue, where Evers toured that and other apprenticeship programs.

Terry Kafka, a runoff management specialist with the Department of Natural Resources, holds a water sample containing manure flowing from a farm field in Marathon County in 2014.(Photo: Ken Pozorski / Marathon County)

Gov. Tony Evers' declaration this week that 2019 would be "the year of clean drinking water" underscores a growing urgency over water quality problems in Wisconsin.

The troubles range from the potential health impacts of lead pipes in older homes — including tens of thousands of homes in Milwaukee — to polluted wells in rural areas and emerging chemical contaminants that are leaching into groundwater. 

In his first "state of the state" address, Evers promised to give water problems more attention, noting that 1.7 million residents rely on private wells and 47% of those wells do not meet acceptable health standards.

Some context: 

Between 2007 and 2010 health departments in Wisconsin tested about 4,000 private wells and found that 47% did not meet one or more health-based standards for measures like bacteria, nitrates and heavy metals, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health.