Sunday, August 18th

State

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MADISON – Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $200,000 to a liberal organization's lawyers because Republican lawmakers blocked the group on Twitter. 

State officials agreed Thursday to make the payment for One Wisconsin Now's legal bills after a federal judge determined in January that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Rep. John Nygren had infringed on the group's First Amendment rights.

Vos, of Rochester, and Nygren, of Marinette, did not immediately say whether they would pay back taxpayers for the legal bills. 

One Wisconsin Now routinely criticizes Republicans on Twitter and other platforms. In 2017 it sued Vos, Nygren and then-Rep. Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum for blocking it. 

U.S. District Judge William Conley, who was put on the bench in 2010 by President Barack Obama, in January concluded the three lawmakers had acted unconstitutionally by blocking the group on Twitter "because of its prior speech or identity."

In response, Vos and Nygren unblocked the group. Kremer did not seek re-election last year and shut down his official Twitter account, @RepJesseKremer.

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MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos accused a paralyzed Democratic lawmaker of trying to sabotage a new national role for the Republican legislative leader by publicly seeking accommodations for his disability.

"(This) does not seem like an accident to me," Vos told a conservative radio show host Thursday. "Everything they do is political and trying to make the other side look bad."

Vos, of Rochester, earlier this year rejected Democratic Rep. Jimmy Anderson's request to be able to call into legislative meetings he cannot attend because of his disability and to bar overnight floor sessions, which Anderson cannot participate in fully for the same reason.

Vos told WISN's Jay Weber he believes the timing of Anderson's public appeal, which included speaking to a Journal Sentinel reporter, was meant to undermine the announcement of Vos taking over as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

But Democratic legislative leaders made the requests in February and Anderson reached out to a Journal Sentinel reporter in May.

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MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers is asking Wisconsin lawmakers to expand background checks to most gun sales following a pair of shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 31 people dead in a matter of minutes.

Evers released the legislation on Thursday — just hours after a third shooting left six Philadelphia police officers injured and as the Republican leader of the state Assembly said it's unlikely lawmakers will take up any new restrictions on who can purchase or possess guns. 

"We cannot pretend this is something that happens in Texas and Ohio because it happened here, too," Evers said at a press conference. "'No' is simply not enough."

Evers did not call lawmakers into a special legislative session to take up the bill but rather used his bully pulpit to call for the new policy. He said he might call lawmakers into session if lawmakers don't take up the bill offered Thursday, which is very likely.

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MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers is asking Wisconsin lawmakers to expand background checks to most gun sales following a pair of shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 31 people dead in a matter of minutes.

Evers proposed the legislation on Thursday — just hours after a third shooting left six Philadelphia police officers injured and as the Republican leader of the state Assembly said it's unlikely lawmakers will take up any new restrictions on who can purchase or possess guns. 

"We cannot pretend this is something that happens in Texas and Ohio because it happened here, too," Evers said at a press conference. "'No' is simply not enough."

Evers did not call lawmakers into a special legislative session to take up the bill but rather used his bully pulpit to call for the new policy. 

The legislation, authored by Milwaukee Sen. LaTonya Johnson and Madison Rep. Melissa Sargent, would require background checks for most sales or transfers of guns, unless the firearms are sold or transferred to a firearms dealer, law enforcement, or to a member of the armed services.

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About 31 school districts in Wisconsin still use Native American imagery for their team names, mascots and logos. These are a few of the logos past and present.(Photo: Journal Sentinel files)

School districts around the state could be forced to retire their Native American mascots if a resolution being circulated by a central Wisconsin school board gains traction.

The Wausau School District is asking school boards to endorse the resolution, which calls on the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to recommend legislation effectively barring schools from using Native American mascots and imagery as part of its legislative and lobbying agenda.

Already, the Madison and Sun Prairie school districts have signed on. And it is expected to be endorsed by the Milwaukee Public Schools Board when members take up the measure this month, board President Larry Miller and Vice President Tony Baez said Tuesday.

"Wisconsin has reached a point where we have to do away with these vestiges of anti-Native American thinking," said Baez, who likened the controversy to that surrounding the use of the Confederate flag in the south.