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Updated 3:17 p.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the first bill passed by the Legislature to address the coronavirus pandemic in 10 months on Friday, a Republican-backed measure that Democrats said would do nothing to combat the virus or help reopen the state.

Evers vetoed the bill that put $100 million toward combating the virus two hours after the Senate voted along party lines to send it to him. The move came as Wisconsin topped 6,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Jack Hurbanis

Updated 4:36 p.m. CST

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new statewide mask order on Thursday, an hour after the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to repeal his previous mandate saying he didn't have authority to make such a decree.

Evers and the Legislature have been at odds throughout the pandemic but the latest moves created an unprecedented level of whiplash. Republican lawmakers last year persuaded the state Supreme Court to scrap Evers' stay-at-home order and a state appeals court halted the limits he placed on indoor gatherings.

CHUCK QUIRMBACH

Worldwide electronics leader Foxconn Technology Group violated terms of its contract in Wisconsin, while local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for the project, a lawsuit filed by a real estate development company alleges.

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Prosecutors asked a judge Wednesday for a new arrest warrant for an Illinois teen charged with shooting three people, killing two of them, during a protest over police brutality in Wisconsin after he apparently violated his bail conditions.

Kyle Rittenhouse failed to inform the court of his change of address within 48 hours of moving, Kenosha County prosecutors alleged in a motion filed with Judge Bruce Schroeder. The motion asks Schroeder to issue an arrest warrant and increase Rittenhouse's bail by $200,000.

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Gov. Tony Evers plans to renew efforts designed to lower prescription drug costs, putting forward a plan in his state budget that the Republican-controlled Legislature previously rejected.

The plans were unveiled Wednesday, less than two weeks before the Democratic governor was to release his two-year spending plan to the Legislature. Republicans will spend the next several months rewriting the proposal before passing something, likely in June or July.

MARTI MIKKELSON / WUWM

Organizers of the music festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Milwaukee's lakefront each year is postponing its original June dates and moving the event to September.

Summerfest officials say that will allow more time for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The festival has moved to a split-week format with the event this year held Sept. 2 to 4, 9 to 11 and 16 to 18, running from Thursdays to Saturdays.

Susan Bence / WUWM

A suburban Milwaukee police chief who supervised an officer who killed three people in five years will retire the summer.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber will retire on June 1, the department said in a statement. Weber has served as chief for 31 years, but tensions have been rising between the department and community over the last few years because Officer Joseph Mensah kept opening fire on people.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers lashed out Friday at rival Republicans who tried to repeal his statewide mask mandate, saying killing the order would be a ridiculous move comparable to abolishing speed limits.

Republican leaders say they want to kill the mandate not because they don't believe masks work in the fight against the coronavirus but because Evers is trampling their constituents' personal liberties.

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Updated 4:08 p.m. CST

Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Assembly on Thursday abruptly canceled a vote to repeal Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate in the face of broad criticism from the state's health, school and business leaders and out of concern it would jeopardize more than $49 million a month in federal aid.

Speaker Robin Vos said the Assembly was “hitting the pause button" and could return as soon as next week to repeal the mask ban. In the meantime, Vos said he wanted to be sure that the move could be made without losing the federal money.

Wisconsin Assembly To Vote On Repealing Statewide Mask Order

Jan 28, 2021
Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly was poised Thursday to repeal Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate, a move that would jeopardize more than $49 million in federal food assistance, brush aside warnings from health experts and make Wisconsin one of only 10 states without a statewide order.

Teran Powell

Two police officers who were on the scene when a white officer shot and partially paralyzed a Black man in Wisconsin, triggering several nights of violent protests, have returned to duty, according to police officials.

The update announced Wednesday comes as Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake seven times on Aug. 23 in Kenosha, remains on administrative leave while a police review board examines the case.

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A man accused of assaulting a police officer during the protests in Kenosha over the shooting of Jacob Blake has been indicted on two federal counts, authorities said Wednesday.

Ashton Howard, 27, of Kenosha, is charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder and unlawful transport of firearms as a convicted felon. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on the two charges.

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An Illinois teen accused of killing two people during unrest in Wisconsin and the teen's mom were fixated on social media comments about them in the hours after his August arrest, newly released police video shows.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Wisconsin will become one of only 10 states without statewide mask mandates when the Assembly votes Thursday to overturn Gov. Tony Evers' order, but masks will still be required in some of its largest cities thanks to local ordinances.

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Wisconsin state government's financial future brightened Tuesday after analysts released projections that show the state should collect $1.2 billion more in tax revenue by mid-2023 than estimated in November.

The good news comes just two weeks before Gov. Tony Evers was to submit his two-year state budget proposal to the Legislature.

WAUWATOSA POLICE DEPARTMENT

A police officer in a Milwaukee suburb who resigned after being involved in his third fatal shooting in five years has been hired as a sheriff's deputy.

Joseph Mensah was hired in Waukesha County after an extensive review that found his use of force was proper in all three shootings, Sheriff Eric Severson said Tuesday.

COURTESY OF THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL

The board in charge of decorations at the state Capitol voted Monday to create a subcommittee to study the prospect of placing a statue of Wisconsin's first Black secretary of state on the building's grounds.

The State Capitol and Executive Residence Board voted unanimously to create the subcommittee. The panel will work with a community advisory committee and the state Department of Administration on a proposal to build a $241,000 statue of Vel Phillips.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

  Updated 7:00 p.m. CST

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted Tuesday to repeal Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, despite warnings from virtually every sector of the health care community that doing so would impair efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

The Wisconsin Medical Society on Monday announced its opposition to a Republican-authored resolution that would overturn the statewide mask mandate put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The state Senate planned to vote Tuesday on the resolution. The Assembly, also in session on Tuesday, has not said if it will vote on the resolution. The resolution must pass the Senate and Assembly to undo the mask mandate. Resolutions do not require the signature of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to take effect.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature are considering ending the statewide mask mandate designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and could do so by passing a resolution as soon as next week.

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Gov. Tony Evers defended Wisconsin's vaccination efforts in the face of increasing Republican criticism Thursday, while urging patience because the number of people eligible will expand exponentially next week.

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Updated 3:44 p.m.

Ted Thompson, whose 13-year run as Green Bay Packers general manager included their 2010 Super Bowl championship season, has died. He was 68.

The Packers announced Thursday that Thompson died the previous night at his home in Atlanta, Texas. The team said it was contacted by a direct family member.

Thompson announced in May 2019 he had been diagnosed with an autonomic nerve disorder.

MILWAUKEE POLICE / RIEMANN

Two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday designed to reform police use-of-force policies and investigations, including proposals that would ban training on chokeholds, punish municipalities that defund police departments and create a board to investigate officer-involved deaths and injuries.

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The state has started distributing and receiving at-home test kits for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Traci DeSalvo says more than 12,000 kits have been ordered and more than 1,600 have been returned as of last week.

“People are ordering a kit and having it on hand for when they’re ready,” she said. “It’s a tool in your medicine cabinet so that if you do become symptomatic or have an exposure to COVID, you have a test ready to go.”

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Don Sutton, a Hall of Fame pitcher who was a stalwart of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation spanning an era from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela, died Tuesday. He was 75.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, said Sutton died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, after a long struggle with cancer. The Atlanta Braves, for whom Sutton was a long-time broadcaster, said he died in his sleep.

Maayan Silver

Republican legislative leaders took no action Tuesday on Gov. Tony Evers' call to modernize the state's backlogged unemployment system, convening and adjourning a special session within seconds.

Evers called the GOP-controlled Legislature into special session on Tuesday to pass a $5.3 million plan to modernize the Department of Workforce Development's process for handling unemployment claims.

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  Updated 5:36 p.m.

A Wisconsin pharmacist accused of trying to defrost and spoil dozens of vials of COVID-19 vaccine was charged Tuesday with attempted misdemeanor property damage, and prosecutors warned more serious charges could follow if tests show the doses were ruined.

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Updated 5:29 p.m.

Everyone over age 65 in Wisconsin will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday but it could take a couple of months to inoculate the entire group of 700,000 people, state health officials said.

The department cautioned that the speed of vaccinations depends on how much vaccine the federal government sends. Wisconsin receives about 70,000 doses of first-dose vaccine each week; at that pace, it could take two months to vaccinate the next group.

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Wisconsin’s plan for the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations covers essential workers, including teachers, child care providers, law enforcement officers and hospital staff who aren’t on the front lines.

In Wisconsin, it doesn’t include grocery store employees, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the states’ second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations. Grocery store owners, who thought their employees would be included in the next phase, are upset.

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Wisconsin’s top health official, who has led the state throughout the coronavirus pandemic, is leaving for a job with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President-elect Joe Biden.

Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, has been nominated as deputy secretary of the federal agency.

Palm will work to fulfill Biden's pledge to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and speed up the rate of vaccinations.

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