Thursday, February 21st

State

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State Sen. Lena Taylor (left, D- Milwaukee) and State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) sing along with Chris Crain during a Black History Month observance recognizing the winners of a Martin Luther King Jr. writing and speech contest at the Capitol in Madison.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - For the second year in a row, some white lawmakers in the state Legislature objected to how black lawmakers want to honor Black History Month — this time because of Colin Kaepernick.  

The state Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday drafted by the Legislature's black caucus to honor prominent black Americans during February — but only after Republicans blocked it until black Democratic lawmakers agreed to remove the name of the controversial National Football League quarterback.

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Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, who authored the resolution, called the episode "a textbook example of white privilege" and a "slap in the face.

MADISON - A freshman Republican lawmaker disavowed a tweet posted under her name Tuesday that attacked Colin Kaepernick amid an explosive debate over Black History Month.

Barbara Dittrich(Photo: Submitted)

Rep. Barbara Dittrich of Oconomowoc said she was angry about the tweet that appeared under her name and suspected it was done by her aide, Keith Best. 

The tweet came just seven months after Best posted a tweet under another lawmaker's name that called voter ID opponents "the true racists."

Tuesday's development came as Republicans and Democrats argued over whether Kaepernick — the National Football League player who has attracted attention for kneeling during the national anthem — should be included on a list of people to be recognized for Black History Month. 

RELATED: State lawmaker may discipline aide who admits tweeting about 'true racists' under legislator's name

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

"Colin Kapernick wore socks depicting police as pigs.

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The We Energies power plant at 8000 95th St. in Pleasant Prairie.(Photo: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

We Energies has agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle claims that nearly 800 workers weren't paid for the time they were required to spend at shift change meetings over several years.

The settlement was reached during negotiations with a mediator last fall and approved Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin. By agreeing to it, We Energies is not admitting any violations, according to the settlement document.

Peter Luebke, a retired We Energies electrician from Sawyer County, sued the utility in federal court in 2017, claiming its failure to compensate workers, usually at overtime rates, for the shift change meetings violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and Wisconsin wage and hours laws.

The suit was designated a class action on behalf of the similarly situated workers at the many plants We Energies operates 24 hours a day around Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

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Gov. Tony Evers delivers his State of the State address at the Capitol in Madison on Tuesday night.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON – Republicans in the state Assembly passed a middle-class income tax cut Tuesday that has little chance of becoming law.

The GOP-controlled Senate could take up the measure as soon as Wednesday, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers strongly signaled he would veto the measure if it gets to him. 

The Assembly passed the measure 61-33, with all Republicans for it and all Democrats against it. 

The Republican proposal would cut taxes for middle-class families by 10 percent — a pledge Evers made on the campaign trail. Evers' plan would be paid for in part through a reduction in a controversial tax break for manufacturers.  

GOP lawmakers instead would achieve the cut by spending a budget surplus — a funding mechanism Evers strongly opposes. 

Evers criticized the Republican plan hours before the vote, but came short of saying he would veto it if it gets to his desk.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.(Photo: RIck Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said Tuesday that she will oppose William Barr's nomination as U.S. attorney general.

"I do not have the confidence I need that this nominee to be America’s top law enforcement official will provide the independence we must have at this critical time," Baldwin said in a statement.

The Republican-held U.S. Senate is expected to vote on Barr's nomination later this week and it's anticipated that he will be confirmed.

Two Democratic senators, West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Alabama's Doug Jones, have said they'll vote for President Donald Trump's pick to replace Jeff Sessions.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is expected to vote in favor of Barr.

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Democrats have raised concerns over how Barr might handle a report by special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.