Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio
Conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck a decidedly skeptical tone Wednesday during oral arguments in one of the lawsuits challenging the December lame-duck session of the Legislature that limited the power of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The lawsuit, by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and other plaintiffs, contends the entire session was unlawful because the state constitution doesn't explicitly allow legislators to meet in what's known as an "extraordinary session."
The two candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court argued Friday over their partisan ties, with Judge Lisa Neubauer calling Judge Brian Hagedorn a political operative for former Gov. Scott Walker and Hagedorn saying Neubauer would help liberals politicize the court. During the debate at the State Bar Center in Madison, Neubauer also repeatedly touted her endorsement by 345 judges in Wisconsin while Hagedorn took her to task for her support of Justice Shirley Abrahamson, the longtime jurist they're both running to replace.
A top aide to Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he believes all of the state permits issued to tech giant Foxconn have been reviewed by the state Department of Natural Resources and deemed appropriate. Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan also said the state planned to meet with Foxconn in the next several days to learn more details about the company's plans for Wisconsin, saying the project has been "cloaked" with uncertainty.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday to remove former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick from a resolution recognizing Black History Month. The move came over the protests of the chamber's only two African-American lawmakers, including Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, who said the decision to exclude Kaepernick was emblematic of white privilege. "The Wisconsin white Republicans are going to decide which forms of protest are acceptable," Taylor said during one of several lengthy floor speeches.
Tech giant Foxconn won't build televisions in Wisconsin, according to a report in Reuters, focusing instead on hiring engineers and researchers at its Mount Pleasant facility. While Foxconn Technology Group said Wednesday it remained committed to the Wisconsin project and the jobs it promised, the move would represent a dramatic about-face for the company, whose promise to bring TV manufacturing to North America helped it secure billions of dollars in state tax incentives.
The Wisconsin state Legislature's budget committee began a lengthy public hearing Monday afternoon on several wide-ranging plans that would restrict early voting, change the date of Wisconsin's presidential primary, and limit the power of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Republican lawmakers were met with chants of "shame" and "protect our vote" as they entered the hearing room from a spillover crowd gathered in the hallway. Those inside the hearing room periodically booed.
Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik announced Thursday that he's dropping out of the crowded Democratic primary for governor, saying the latest Marquette University Law School survey showed his campaign wasn't catching on. Marquette's latest survey, released Wednesday, showed that among Democratic voters, just 4 percent supported Gronik. That placed him in the middle of the field of 10 Democrats running for governor, and well behind the 25 percent who supported state schools Superintendent Tony Evers.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel formally announced his re-election campaign this week, releasing a video that described himself as tough on crime and independent. Schimel, a Republican, was first elected attorney general in 2014. Prior to that, he was Waukesha County's district attorney. He emphasized his background as a prosecutor in his announcement video, with the ad's narrator referring to Schimel as the state's "top cop" and proclaiming he had kept Wisconsin safe.
About four out of five Wisconsin voters favor universal background checks for gun purchases, according to the latest poll by the Marquette University Law School. A total of 81 percent of voters surveyed said they support background checks on private gun sales and at gun shows. Just 16 percent opposed them. The strong support was in line with the last time Marquette asked about background checks, in June 2016. In that survey, 85 percent favored universal background checks compared to 12 percent who were opposed.
Wisconsin would revive its long-dormant Conservation Corps under a bill that had a hearing at the capitol last week, raising the prospect that the state could again pay young people to build trails, bridges and boardwalks on public land. The plan by Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, would set aside money for workers between the ages of 16 and 25 to work on the projects. Half of the funding would go to crew members who don't have a college education and come from low-income families.