Marti Mikkelson

News Reporter

Marti, a Waukesha native, joined the WUWM news team in February of 1999. She is also host of WUWM's weekly political podcast, Capitol Notes.

Previously, she was an anchor and reporter at WTMJ in Milwaukee, WIBA in Madison, and WLIP in Kenosha.

Marti’s work has been recognized by RTNDA, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, Associated Press, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and the Milwaukee Press Club.

Marti earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Marti currently lives on her favorite side of town – Milwaukee’s east side.

» Contact WUWM News


Wisconsin Republicans are reviving efforts to pass a resolution to call a convention of the states to consider making changes to the U.S. Constitution.

A Wisconsin Assembly committee held a public hearing Wednesday on the proposal, which is identical to one that passed the Assembly last session. It died in the Senate.

The full Legislature in 2017 passed a resolution that allowed for calling a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. The latest proposal is more expansive.

Alice Rawson /

In Wisconsin, transgender athletes would be banned from participating in girls’ and women’s sports, under a bill introduced by Republican lawmakers. The ban would apply to public and private schools from kindergarten through college.

The Wisconsin proposal faces an almost certain veto from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers should it pass the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Rep. Barb Dittrich, a Republican from Oconomowoc who introduced the Wisconsin measures, said Evers would be a “sexist” if he doesn't support them.


A big name came up last week as a possible candidate for Republican U.S Sen. Ron Johnson’s seat next year.

Longtime Democratic Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse indicated he might run. Kind narrowly won re-election to his House seat in November, beating his Republican challenger by only two percentage points.

In this week’s Capitol Notes, Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of if he thinks Kind can beat Ron Johnson — if Johnson decides to run for a third term.

Courtesy of Chantia Lewis

A Milwaukee alderwoman wants the city to adopt a “universal basic income” pilot program.

The proposal by Ald. Chantia Lewis would supplement low-income families’ wages, so they’re making a living wage. She says cities across the country are beginning to experiment with universal basic income programs, and she wants Milwaukee to do the same.


The Wisconsin Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill designed to jump-start updates to the state's antiquated unemployment claims processing system that led to many people waiting weeks or months to get paid during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tony Evers has promised to sign the bill which the Senate passed last week on a 27-3 vote. The Assembly passed it 89-0.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has been making national headlines. Last week, Wisconsin’s senior senator told a Milwaukee radio host that the deadly riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 “didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me.” He said he’d like to find out whether any firearms were confiscated and how many shots were fired. 

Emily Files

Updated Wednesday at 8:27 a.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers called on the Republican-controlled Legislature Tuesday to bolster funding for K-12 and higher education and reform both the state’s criminal justice systems, while delivering a state budget with $1 billion in taxes increases and liberal policy priorities that GOP leaders promised to quickly kill.

Evers pitched his $91 billion two-year state budget to the Legislature as a “Badger Bounceback” agenda as the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year.

Pool / Getty Images

On Tuesday night, Joe Biden will make one of his first official trips as president, coming to Milwaukee for a CNN town hall at the Pabst Theater. The focus is expected to be on the coronavirus pandemic and jump-starting the economy.   

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of why he thinks Biden chose to visit Wisconsin so soon after his inauguration.   

Michael /

Some members of the Milwaukee County Board want to reduce the fine for 25 grams or less of marijuana down to $1. Currently, the fine for that amount ranges from $250 to $500.

Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez unveiled the proposal at a news conference Tuesday. She cited a recent study that shows disproportionate numbers of people of color are arrested on marijuana charges. 

Maayan Silver

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is set to unveil his biennial budget proposal next week. We’re starting to get a clearer picture of what will be included, and some big, bold items are emerging.

Evers announced over the weekend that his spending plan for the next two fiscal years would include legalization of recreational and medical marijuana. People would purchase marijuana at dispensaries and the state would regulate and tax it just like with alcohol. Evers says about half the money generated from sales would go toward helping rural schools and underserved communities.


Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley is approaching one year in office. During this time, Crowley has made addressing mental health issues in the county’s Black community a main focus.

He says that mental health in the Black community has been overlooked and is a real public health crisis.

“This is really about making sure that people of color has access to mental health programs. But also making sure that we can do all that we can, having a hands-on deck approach is really eliminating many of the stigmas that is out there as it relates to mental health,” he says.


Last week saw a lot of activity in the Republican-controlled state Legislature. In a surprising turn of events, lawmakers did not repeal Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate. The Senate supported a resolution earlier in the week to eliminate the mask order, but then it ran into roadblocks in the Assembly. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued a memo, reminding lawmakers that Wisconsin could lose $49 million a month in federal food stamp money if it repeals the mask order. 

ANDY MANIS / Getty Images

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.

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.


Republicans in the state Legislature have introduced a resolution to nullify Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ declaration last week of a public health emergency.   

It resulted in another statewide mask mandate in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.   

More than two dozen GOP lawmakers have signed on as sponsors of the resolution, arguing the new order is unconstitutional.   

They’re hoping to vote on the resolution this week when both chambers meet, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu haven’t weighed in yet.  

Maria /

Several bills designed to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination process in Wisconsin are making their way through the Republican-controlled state Legislature. 

The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing Wednesday on a measure that would immediately prioritize anyone 60 years and older for the vaccine.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin’s Congress members broke along party lines last week when the House voted to impeach President Donad Trump for his role in inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead. It’s now up to the U.S. Senate to decide whether to hold a trial that could lead to a conviction, even after Trump’s term expires this week and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

In this week’s Capitol Notes, Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of where Wisconsin’s two senators, Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin, stand on this issue.

Courtesy of Kim Wilde Corben

For the kickoff of our new season of Bubbler Talk, I thought I would tackle a question from our listener Erin Christie.

“Can you do an appreciation segment on the prevalence of basement bars in Milwaukee?”

Ah, the basement bar. Raised in the Milwaukee area, I remember them well.

Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to impeach Republican President Donald Trump for the second time during his term.

The vote was 232-197, with Wisconsin’s delegation voting along party lines.

The articles of impeachment charge Trump with inciting a riot inside the U.S. Capitol, in which five people died.

Several members of Wisconsin’s delegation spoke during the debate, including Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Milwaukee.

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll introduce articles of impeachment this week against Republican President Donald Trump, for encouraging his supporters to conduct a “big” and “wild” protest at the US Capitol.

It grew into a riot, which ultimately resulted in five deaths.


The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday passed a doomed COVID-19 response bill that Senate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers oppose, and there’s no sign of an agreement on a plan to combat the virus that has killed more than 5,000 people in the state.

Evers and Assembly Democrats have their own proposals that Republicans do not support. The Legislature hasn't passed anything related to the pandemic since April, and recent talks between Evers and Republican leaders failed to result in a deal.


Wisconsin Republicans moved ahead Tuesday with a fast-tracked coronavirus response bill that is opposed by Democrats and appears likely to be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers.


In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, we look ahead to the political stories that will likely top the headlines in 2021. 

Ann Althouse / Flickr

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, we’re going to look back at the top political stories of 2020. One of the biggest stories was the impact of the coronavirus, and how elected officials responded.

Here in Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and health officials declared a state of emergency at the outset, which resulted in a couple of stay-at-home orders, as well as mandates for masks and capacity limits on businesses. Several lawsuits ensued from Republican lawmakers and political groups.

Southworks /

Updated Dec. 23 10:05 a.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that his administration has partnered with a medical testing company to provide at-home COVID-19 tests for free if a requestor lacks health insurance coverage as the state set a new record high in deaths tied to the disease.


Newly elected Republican state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu says he wants to pass a bill early next year that would allow clerks to begin counting absentee ballots before Election Day.

LeMahieu tried to get a bill to this effect passed earlier this year.  It had bipartisan support but failed because some Republican lawmakers opposed it. 

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross of, if he thinks such a bill would pass this time.

UW Health

Nearly 200 health care workers in Wisconsin had received the COVID-19 vaccination as of Wednesday, a number that was expected to grow rapidly in the coming days as the state receives more shipments of the vaccine seen as critical to helping turn the tide of the pandemic.


The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday rejected the federal COPS grant that would have provided the city with 30 additional police officers. 

The vote was 9-6 to pass up the $10 million grant.

Groups, such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee, North Side Rising and others, protested the funding before the vote, calling it “a step back from the steady movements to defund the police ... and a slap in the face to a community that has decided we do not need more officers.”


The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision Monday on whether the Nov. 3 election was conducted illegally in Milwaukee and Dane counties, as President Donald Trump has claimed.

President-elect Joe Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes but Trump is seeking to throw out thousands of ballots in the two counties, which could result in a victory for him here.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Saturday and would need to issue a ruling by noon Monday, when Wisconsin electors are scheduled to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for Biden.

Eric Allix Rogers / flickr

Milwaukee County is going to make another attempt to raise the local sales tax to pay for services. County Executive David Crowley says he and partners plan to ask the Republican-controlled legislature to approve a binding referendum asking local voters to increase the sales tax by 1%.

The county would use the extra revenue for mental health services, as well as COVID-19 and property tax relief.