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

It appears the Republican-controlled state Legislature is unwilling to enact tougher gun laws this year — even in light of a mass shooting that left six employees dead at Molson Coors Brewery in Milwaukee. Just hours before the shootings, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers re-stated his commitment to adopting stricter legislation. At the same time, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald voiced his opposition.

City of Milwaukee

Milwaukee city leaders continue to look for enterprises to locate in the struggling Century City Business Park on the north side. That’s after Strauss Brands of Franklin dropped its plans last October to locate a slaughterhouse on the site. Neighbors objected, saying they feared deplorable conditions at the plant. Strauss said the operation would have eventually created 500 jobs.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature has passed a $250 million income tax cut and has sent the bill to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Republicans want to pay for the tax cut via a projected $600 million budget surplus. 

But, Evers wants to pour some of the money into public schools and lowering property taxes. He's also left the door open for a compromise with the GOP, meaning some money would go toward an income tax cut and some would go to the public schools. Or, he could veto the income tax cut outright.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

An unexpected hot-button issue came up before the state Senate Wednesday: whether to keep the bars in Wisconsin open until 4:00 a.m. during the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. The convention, scheduled for July 13-16, is expected to bring 50,000 visitors to the city.

An Assembly committee passed a bill last week that would extend tavern hours during the event. While the Senate rejected the plan Wednesday, the issue isn’t over yet.

The Republican-controlled state Assembly has passed a slew of tough-on-crime bills. One would allow extended supervision to be revoked, for someone who commits a felony while on release. Another would expand the list of crimes that could land a child in a youth prison.  

Republicans say the bills are necessary in order to keep communities safe. But Democrats have blasted the plan, arguing that many states instead have taken steps to reduce the prison population.  And, it's likely that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will veto the measures.  

Althouse

Students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations would be punished under a bill the Wisconsin Assembly passed on Tuesday. It now goes to the state Senate. Under the measure, students who disrupt speeches on UW System and technical college campuses twice would be suspended. Third-time offenders would be expelled.

Gov. Tony Evers wants the Republican-controlled Legislature to spend a chunk of a state budget surplus on the public schools. He's calling for a special session on the topic to begin this week. Republican leaders immediately dismissed the idea, saying they want to put surplus money toward a tax cut instead. Evers says the GOP could do both — cut taxes and spend more on schools.

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of wispolitics.com tells WUWM's Marti Mikkelson that it's hard to say how this will play out.   

ChiccoDodiFC / stock.adobe.com

Updated Feb. 5, 2020, at 5:06 p.m. CT

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed a Republican-authored bill Wednesday that imposes new restrictions on firefighting foam to curb pollution from PFAS chemicals.  

The bill prohibits the use of foam containing intentionally added PFAS except in emergency fire situations. Firefighters will have to train with foam or other substances that don't contain the chemicals.

Republican Vice President Mike Pence apparently went where no other sitting Vice President has gone — he held a rally inside the Wisconsin State Capitol last week. He touted private school voucher programs as an alternative to public education at the rally. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared with him.  

President Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of wispolitics.com tells WUWM's Marti Mikkelson there are several reasons why Pence chose the liberal stronghold of Madison to bring his message.

Althouse

Gov. Tony Evers is calling lawmakers into special session to pass a package of bills designed to help struggling farmers and rural communities. The idea drew mixed reviews from Republican leaders after the Democratic governor announced it in his State of the State address. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he's "all ears" on the plan and seems open to a special session. But, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appears wary, saying Evers has ignored rural Wisconsin until now. 

EMILY HAMER / WISCONSIN CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is urging lawmakers to work together to address the state’s farm crisis. In his annual State of the State address Wednesday night, the Democrat said struggling farmers need help now. So he called for a special session to begin next week.

pinchof

The voter purge case took some more turns last week. An Ozaukee County judge again ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to immediately drop more than 200,000 names from the voter rolls. It's suspected that those voters may have moved and haven't re-registered. Then, an appeals court sided with the commission and again put the purge on hold while lawsuits continue. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided not to take the case for the time being.

White House / United States Senate / White House

The first Marquette Law School poll of the 2020 election year was released Wednesday. It shows the needle hasn’t moved much in terms of Wisconsin voters' views on impeachment, support for President Trump and the Democratic presidential field. It was, however, the first poll taken since the Iran conflict and voters had plenty to say about that.

Prostock-studio / stock.adobe.com

Wisconsin is seeing a pretty severe flu season. State health officials say more than 600 people have been hospitalized since October, and 15 have died, including a child. Flu seasons typically span from October to May.

Tom Haupt keeps track of influenza cases for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. He says hospitalizations increased dramatically over the holidays, and the numbers so far are higher than the state has seen in the previous five seasons. Haupt says one thing is different this year: younger people are being hit harder.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republican and Democratic leaders met at the State Capitol last week to place names on the state presidential primary ballot. Democrats approved 14 names for the April 7 election. They include Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. But GOP officials submitted and approved only one name — that of President Donald Trump, even though other Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring.  

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com about the decision in this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

Pages