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.

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The Wisconsin National Guard's top commander recently agreed to resign after a scathing federal report found he violated laws in investigating sexual assault complaints. Gov. Tony Evers asked Major General Donald Dunbar to step down. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com if there could be more political fallout from the incident.

Althouse

Concerns about school safety rocked Wisconsin last week. In both Waukesha and Oshkosh, authorities shot and wounded a student who brought a weapon to school. Threats were made in a number of other school districts. The events prompted Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to call for more mental health services and more police officers in the schools. Republican leaders welcomed Evers' proposals — after rejecting his call last month for a special session to take up gun control measures.  

Marti Mikkelson

We haven’t heard much from former Republican Gov. Scott Walker since he narrowly lost to Democrat Tony Evers more than a year ago. But on Tuesday, Walker answered questions on a variety of topics in downtown Milwaukee.

Walker spoke to a small crowd of about 40 people at the Milwaukee Press Club luncheon. He updated the gathering on what he’s been doing these days, which includes leading a national effort for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee County continues to fight an opioid crisis. Overdose deaths peaked in 2017, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. But fatalities could be trending down — as the number recorded last year dropped more than 10%, to 302. In the hope that the numbers continue to decline, the Milwaukee Fire Department recently rolled out a unique approach to stemming the opioid crisis.

Results of the latest Marquette poll raised some eyebrows last week. It shows support for impeaching President Trump — and removing him from office — is slipping in Wisconsin. It also indicates that Trump holds a slight lead over the Democratic front-runners in the 2020 presidential race. Up until now, some national polls were showing at least three challengers beating Trump if the election were held today.

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com what he makes of the results.  

Matt Sullivan / Getty Images

Support for impeachment is declining in Wisconsin, according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday. The survey also shows Republican President Donald Trump leading the Democratic front-runners in the 2020 race. 

The poll of 801 registered voters was taken Nov. 13-17. It shows 40% of respondents support impeaching and removing President Trump from office, a drop from 44% in October.

Althouse

Last week saw a war of words at the State Capitol, at least on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' part. Evers apparently was still reeling from the Republican-led Senate's failure to confirm Brad Pfaff as state Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary. Evers reportedly told state workers that Republicans are "amoral and stupid" for essentially firing Pfaff.

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The Republican-controlled state Legislature last week essentially ignored Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' call for a special session to take up gun control measures, such as universal background checks and passage of a "red flag" law. 

In each house, only one or two GOP members came to the floor, called the session to order and then immediately adjourned it. Republican leaders say neither house had the votes to pass, but Evers says they did this at their own peril because now they have to explain their actions to voters.  

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Democrats at the State Capitol introduced yet another marijuana bill last week. This one would decriminalize possession of smaller amounts of the drug — 28 grams or less. Democrats say decriminalization would decrease racial disparities in the criminal justice system. 

Marti Mikkelson

Thursday is the deadline for people living in a massive homeless camp in downtown Milwaukee to leave, so the state can begin work on a stormwater runoff project. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) passed out notices a few weeks ago to campers in the "tent city" near 6th and Clybourn streets, telling them they have to vacate by the end of October. State and county officials have been working with different agencies and have vowed that everybody will get the services that they need. 

Althouse

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald joined the chorus of rebukes last week of President Trump's likening the impeachment probe to a lynching. Fitzgerald called lynching a "terrible word" and instead called the impeachment probe a "political witch hunt." 

Fitzgerald is running to replace Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who is retiring in 2020.  He's rarely criticized Trump.

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An increasing number of Midwestern states are legalizing marijuana in some form or another. Will Wisconsin do the same? State lawmakers have mixed opinions on the issue.

Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, has been a member of the state Assembly for six years — and that's about how long she's been working on a bill that would fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. While she's authored legislation three times, it's never gone anywhere in the Republican-controlled Legislature. But with neighboring states approving recreational cannabis, she feels like it's time to try again.

Marti Mikkelson

Updated on Oct. 21 at 12:40 p.m.

Strauss Brands is no longer looking to build a slaughterhouse at Century City, which is on Milwaukee's north side, the company's president and CEO announced Monday afternoon.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The unprecedented powers of the Wisconsin governor went under a microscope last week. The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear a case seeking to dramatically scale back the ability of governors to use partial budget vetoes to change the intent of the Legislature. 

Lauren Sigfusson

Where do you go when you're homeless and you're being forced to relocate from the shelter you found under a bridge? That's the dilemma that dozens of people who have been living in a homeless camp, or "tent city," in downtown Milwaukee are facing. 

State officials have ordered campers to vacate the area near 6th and Clybourn streets by the end of the October, so work on a stormwater runoff project can begin. The camp started with a few makeshift shelters a couple years ago but has grown to more than 60 tents.  

The Republican-controlled state Legislature got back into full swing last week, with lawmakers passing dozens of bills to kick off the fall session. One measure that drew a lot of attention: the state Assembly voted to make accommodations for Democratic Rep. Jimmy Anderson, who uses a wheelchair. Anderson would be able to phone in to meetings, instead of always having to appear in person. Anderson threatened to sue if the Assembly didn't help him.

pinchof

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is supporting President Trump in light of an impeachment inquiry from House Democrats. Johnson says he sees nothing wrong with Trump asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his son. And Johnson says it's "perfectly appropriate" for American law enforcement agencies to enlist the help of other countries.  

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com what he makes of Johnson's steadfast support of the president.

Althouse

House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Republican President Donald Trump — after a whistleblower claimed that Trump asked the new Ukrainian leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Two of Wisconsin's Democratic members of Congress, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan, fully support impeachment. But a third member, Ron Kind of La Crosse, stopped short of saying Trump should be impeached.

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com why Kind is taking a cautious approach.  

maayan silver

Lawmakers at the State Capitol introduced a bill last week that would legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.  Two of the authors are Democrats but one is a Republican — state Sen. Patrick Testin of Stevens Point. 

GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he's open to legalizing medical marijuana.  But Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said "no" for years and rejected the idea again last week.  

KENOSHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

A Wisconsin man has been formally charged with manufacturing thousands of vaping cartridges laced with THC oil and selling them.

Prosecutors say the man ran a massive illegal operation out of his home in Kenosha County.

READ: Wisconsin Man Accused Of Making Illegal Vaping Cartridges

Tyler Huffhines is charged with maintaining a drug house and three counts of possession with intent to deliver THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

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A standoff persists between Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and Republican members of the Joint Finance committee. Kaul said last week he would not join a multi-state settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for its role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic. He says he'll continue to pursue Wisconsin's case against the company, which is now filing for bankruptcy.

Katie Wheeler / Flickr

Longtime Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner says he won't seek reelection in 2020.  He's been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for about 40 years and says it's time to pass the torch to somebody else.  

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

How far would you go to get your favorite band to come play in your town? For Milwaukee radio personality Tim 'The Rock 'N' Roll Animal' it involved going out on a ledge.  

That ledge-endary sit sticks out in Mike Crowley's mind, so he wrote to Bubbler Talk to learn more about it:

"How long did WQFM DJ Tim 'The Rock 'N' Roll Animal' camp outside of the studio in order to entice The Who to play Milwaukee in 1982?"

Mike, the answer is: two weeks. Now let's tell the story.

Maayan Silver

Republican Congressman Sean Duffy announced last week that he is stepping down from the job. Duffy represents northern Wisconsin and says his last day will be Sept. 23. He says he wants to spend more time with his family, especially since discovering his baby will be born next month with a heart condition.

Marti Mikkelson

The field of candidates for Milwaukee Mayor got a little more crowded Tuesday, as Democratic state Sen. Lena Taylor threw her hat into the ring. That brings the number of declared candidates to three. Taylor’s bid sets up a potential challenge against long-time Mayor Tom Barrett.

katie wheeler/flickr

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers doubled down on talk of gun control last week. He called Republican concerns over bills that he is pushing "BS," and said he may call the Legislature into special session to take up the measures.

One measure Evers is thinking about proposing would require universal background checks on gun purchases in Wisconsin, and the other would establish a so-called red flag law.  

Tomasz Zajda, Adobe Stock

You may see more casinos popping up in Illinois in the next year or two. Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed legislation allowing a massive expansion of gambling in the state. It includes new casino developments in Waukegan and Rockford, just over the Wisconsin border. At least one Native American tribe in Wisconsin has put in a bid to develop a casino in Illinois.

UBJSP / stock.adobe.com

Mass shootings in Texas and Ohio drew a response again last week at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill requiring universal background checks for most gun purchases. 

Republicans who control the Legislature have repeatedly opposed such calls. Could this case be any different? WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross in this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

Marti Mikkelson

About 200 people packed into the Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee Thursday night to give input on the 2020 city budget. Mayor Tom Barrett told the crowd the spending plan for next year poses some unique challenges.

He says 83% of the resources in 2020 will go to the police, public works and fire departments. Departments like libraries, neighborhoods and health will make up less than 10%.

maayan silver

Talk of gun control surfaced in the State Capitol last week after mass shootings occurred in Texas and Ohio. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a bill that would require universal background checks for gun purchases. He also called for a "red flag" law to make it easier to remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.  

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