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Friday, February 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 6.0° F  Fair
The Daily


Rent-to-own companies revive lobbying efforts in Wisconsin to pass disclosure requirements exemption

Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal to exempt rent-to-own companies from having to disclose interest rates to customers may end a long-fought battle for such businesses, who have spent close to $900,000 since 2003 lobbying state lawmakers on the issue. Rent-to-own companies are currently regulated as credit lending institutions, which Walker's measure seeks to change. >More
 Chicago Public Media reporter Linda Lutton discusses her role in producing This American Life's series on Harper High School and gun violence

Linda Lutton, an award-winning education reporter for Chicago Public Media station WBEZ and former Isthmus intern, was one of three reporters who produced two recent episodes for This American Life about Chicago's Harper High School. The two hours of interviews with students, teachers and administrators are as engrossing as they are rattling. Lutton and her colleagues spent the fall semester at Harper, attempting to capture stories about a school that lost eight students to gun violence last year with another 21 students shot. >More
 Public transit funding could take another hit in Gov. Walker's 2013-15 budget

Transportation advocates are concerned that one sentence buried in Gov. Scott Walker's 2013-15 budget will spell trouble for public transit systems across the state. The governor is recommending that, starting in mid-2014, funding for public transit come out of the general fund rather than the transportation fund. Gary Goyke, legislative director for the Wisconsin Urban and Rural Transit Association, says the shift will put public transit in "competition with all other needs in the general fund" and likely mean a loss of funding for urban transit systems. >More
 Three proposals for 800 block of East Washington Avenue to receive public hearing

Plans continue to move forward for development of the 800 block of Madison's East Washington Avenue, with three different proposals being heard by the 800 North Block Selection Committee last Thursday night. The proposals will receive a public hearing Tuesday, March 12. >More
 Wisconsin's concealed carry law shields identities of felons, abusers and fugitives

More than 4,000 applicants were denied a Wisconsin concealed carry license and more than 400 had their licenses revoked or suspended in the program's first 14 months, records show. These included dozens of felons, domestic abusers, illegal drug users and "fugitives from justice.' Who were these lawbreakers? The state's lips are sealed. >More
 Wisconsin Department of Administration takes a long time to respond to records requests, especially from journalists

What did Mike Huebsch, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, know about the circumstances under which a key DOA official abruptly resigned? That's what Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Jason Stein was wondering when he put in a request, under the state's open records law, for emails and text messages sent or received by Huebsch regarding deputy secretary Cindy Archer, around the time of her departure. >More
 Rep. Chris Taylor says her constituents did not want her to support even Democratic versions of the Wisconsin mining bill

Throughout Thursday's daylong debate on the Wisconsin mining bill (AB1/SB1), Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) was the only Democratic representative to vote against every alternative bill offered by lawmakers in her own party. "I'm grateful to my Democratic colleagues who made many efforts to make this irresponsible bill less harmful," said Taylor in a statement. >More
 Wisconsin Assembly bill would recognize an unviable fetus as a person in wrongful death lawsuits

State Rep. Andre Jacque (R-Green Bay) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) are looking for co-sponsors of a bill that would recognize an unviable fetus as a person and allow families to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for harm to a fetus from the moment of conception on. >More
 What happens when a Wisconsin government spokesperson is asked a tough question about her boss

I called the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Feb. 18 to confirm a tip I'd received that Dennis Smith, secretary of the department, was leaving Madison to return to Washington, D.C. The timing was interesting, given that Smith would soon be faced with overseeing proposed massive changes to BadgerCare because of Gov. Scott Walker's rejection of billions of dollars in Medicaid funding. >More
 Dane County Board proposes funding housing co-ops to ease affordable housing crunch

Brenda Konkel struck a nerve when she criticized local governments in last week's Isthmus for failing to act on the dismal affordable housing market. "The affordable housing picture is so bleak right now. There are waiting lists everywhere," Konkel told the paper. "I've never seen it so bad. And what's bugging me is the elected officials aren't responding to it." The quote bugged Dane County Supv. Carousel Andrea Bayrd, who has been working on affordable housing issues with a number of initiatives. >More
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