Thursday, February 21st

State

MADISON - Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate rejected a move Wednesday by black lawmakers to recognize Colin Kaepernick as part of Black History Month — prompting Democrats to say they would oppose a ceremonial resolution that usually gains broad bipartisan support. 

The turn of events meant that both of the state's black senators, Lena Taylor and LaTonya Johnson, were set to vote against a measure meant to celebrate Black History Month.

The pair expressed frustration that white legislators excised the National Football League quarterback's name from the long list of those worthy of praise. 

"This year all of the sudden for the first time we’ve been told that we have to have permission to determine who we want to honor for Black History Month," Taylor said on the Senate floor. "I have not seen it when we’ve honored any other group, any other thing."

She said white Republicans have maintained "they’re best suited to decide for African-Americans what we should value, who we should honor.

Esquire magazine stirred up the latest social media controversy for its March cover story — and again made Wisconsin a stand-in for the state of our country.

The story, released during Black History month, profiles a 17-year-old white boy growing up in West Bend in the time of Trump and #MeToo. Ryan Morgan, a senior at West Bend High School, loves hunting and the Packers. He plays video games and has a girlfriend.

Screenshot of Esquire magazine March 2019 cover(Photo: Esquire)

In the words of Esquire's editor in chief Jay Fielden, "What we asked Jen (Percy) to do—and she did brilliantly—was to look at our divided country through the eyes of one kid." 

The cover features Ryan in his bedroom with the cover line: "An American boy: What it's like to grow up white, middle class and male in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity, #MeToo and a divided country."

The critique on Twitter and elsewhere is that the article is tone deaf and uses the #MeToo movement — the point of which was to show that no one was listening to women, people of color and LGBTQ people — to tell yet another story about a white, straight, middle-class male.

MADISON - Wisconsin Democrats will renew their fight Wednesday to have Colin Kaepernick recognized as part of Black History Month — a move Assembly Republicans quashed Tuesday. 

The plan to honor Kaepernick has won initial support from two Senate Republicans, but it is unclear if the idea can gain traction in that house. 

Assembly Republican leaders, all of whom are white, refused to include Kaepernick's name on a resolution drafted by the Assembly's black lawmakers honoring more than two dozen African-Americans because the National Football League quarterback had routinely kneeled during the national anthem to protest poor treatment of black Americans.

RELATED: Wisconsin GOP lawmakers oppose Black History Month resolution naming Colin Kaepernick

The resolution — without Kaepernick's name — passed the Assembly unanimously on Tuesday. Afterward, at least five Assembly Democrats repudiated their votes for it and announced they were asking to be recorded as opposing it. 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday plan to take up the version of the resolution that doesn't include Kaepernick's name.

MADISON - Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin agree on the outlines of an income tax cut for the middle class, but they're nowhere near a deal they can finalize to put money in people's pockets. 

The Republican-controlled Senate is set to take up a version of the tax cut Wednesday, just as their counterparts in the Assembly did Tuesday. But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers opposes the deal because of its long-term effect on the state's finances. 

He's all but said he will veto it. Republicans, meanwhile, say they won't ever accept Evers' proposed tax cut because it would scale back a tax break for manufacturers. 

RELATED: Assembly passes GOP-backed middle-class tax cut that Tony Evers is likely to veto

RELATED: Tony Evers and GOP lawmakers pledge to block each other's plans to cut taxes

That puts the two sides in a standoff that could result in nothing getting done. 

The tax fight will continue for months.

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A Milwaukee Menards store(Photo: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Menards said it has stopped purchasing paint removers that contain a pair of chemicals blamed in dozens of deaths after groups sent letters to company officials last year saying they wanted the home improvement retailer to phase out and ban the sale of the products.

On Tuesday, 17 Midwest health and environmental groups publicly asked the Eau Claire-based company to stop selling the chemicals — methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone, or NMP.

Other companies, including Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams and AutoZone, earlier agreed to stop selling paint strippers with the compounds.

“The chemicals are dangerous and should not be on store shelves,” the groups said in a letter to company founder John R. Menard Jr. 

The Eau Claire-based retail Menards said it's no longer purchasing toxic paint thinners that have been linked to lung and liver cancer.