Wisconsin roundup: Fatal interstate crash victim identified; Walker: Trump interested in taking state's union limits national; and 11 more state news stories
MENOMONIE -- A Kentucky man killed in a western Wisconsin Interstate crash has been identified as 36-year-old Clint Huff of Franklin.
The State Patrol continues to investigate the mishap, which occurred Tuesday night on westbound Interstate 94 near Menomonie.
Troopers say Huff was driving a pickup truck with a trailer full of industrial fans when it jackknifed and hit a semitruck.
The semi driver, a 67-year-old suburban Chicago man, was not hurt.
Walker: Trump interested in taking state's union limits national
WAUWAUTOSA -- Gov. Scott Walker says the new Trump administration is interested in adopting Wisconsin's Act 10 public union limits nationally.
The Republican Walker said Wednesday in suburban Milwaukee that he talked with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House last Friday about applying "bits and pieces" of Wisconsin's bargaining and civil service limits at the federal level.
Walker said the state would offer its assistance if it can help the nation, and make the government "better stewards" of Wisconsinites' tax dollars.
State Assembly Democrat Melissa Sargent of Madison says taking Act 10 nationally would be an "unfortunate thing" for the country.
Most federal workers do not bargain for salaries and fringe benefits -- but they do negotiate workplace conditions like safety measures.
Harley execs to meet with Trump
MILWAUKEE -- Harley Davidson's top executives will meet with President Donald Trump Thursday in Washington.
That's after the White House canceled a presidential trip to Milwaukee, in which Trump was planning to discuss U.S. manufacturing.
CNN said a Harley Davidson plant was going to host Trump, but the company didn't want protesters tagging along. Harley denied the assertion, and it now says it looks forward to discussing with Trump the future of American manufacturing as a "company that values freedom and unity."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer says it was easiest to invite Harley execs to Washington, so Trump can discuss some of the things his administration has been doing.
Bills would send more teen carjackers to prison
MADISON -- Two GOP state lawmakers propose a series of bills to boost penalties for violent criminals, especially teen carjackers around Milwaukee.
Among other things, suburban Milwaukee Rep. Joe Sanfelippo and Sen. Leah Vukmir want to increase the numbers of criminals labeled as "serious juvenile offenders" who go to Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake which are being investigated by the federal government for alleged inmate abuses.
Sanfelippo tells the Journal Sentinel that punishing youth carjackers is a separate issue from abuses at Lincoln Hills -- and getting habitual offenders off the streets would make neighborhoods and residents safer.
Milwaukee Police arrested 80 young carjackers in the first 10 months of last year, more than in previous years while total carjackings in the city dropped 9 percent in 2016 to 464.
Assembly Democrat Evan Goyke of Milwaukee says he doubts the measures would improve public safety.
Beloit College student admits fabricating ethnic hate incident
BELOIT -- A Beloit College student who claimed to be the victim of an anti-Muslim incident now says he made the whole thing up.
Beloit Police have arrested the 20-year-old man for criminal damage, obstructing police and disorderly conduct. Rock County prosecutors are reviewing the case to decide what, if any, charges will be filed.
According to police, the student spray painted a swastika and ethnic slurs outside his dorm room Monday, which he first claimed that somebody else did.
Police say the man saw how Beloit students and staffers came together the week before, when an anti-Semitic message was slipped into another student's dorm room -- and the suspect reportedly wanted to create "similar attention."
Police: Woman was gunned down just outside her workplace
MILWAUKEE -- A woman murdered in Milwaukee was the apparent target of a robbery just outside her workplace.
Police said Wednesday that the victim was 53-year-old Karen Simek of Oconomowoc, a technologist for Garden Fresh Foods on Milwaukee's south side.
The company provides dips, deli salads and desserts to grocery stores. Simek was killed about six a.m. Tuesday, and police were still looking for a suspect at last word.
In a statement, Garden Fresh Foods chairman Tom Hughes said the company is "devastated and heartbroken" about the killing of Simek.
Phone scams top list of state's 2016 consumer complaints
MADISON -- Telephone scams are the biggest problem for Wisconsin consumers.
State officials say telemarketing calls topped the list of people's complaints to the consumer protection bureau in 2016 -- and many callers tried to steal money with things like false threats about unpaid taxes, or requests to give personal data to potential identity thieves.
The state received 3,700 complaints about those scams last year, 45 percent more than the year before and three times as many as the Number two problem from 2016, landlord/tenant disputes.
Other telecommunications' disputes were third on the state's Top Ten list of consumer complaints -- and identity thefts were fourth, down 48 percent due mainly to fewer tax filing scams.
Home improvement was fifth followed by inaccurate gas pumps, car repairs and sales, faulty computer equipment and warranty disputes.
GOP to get private law firms to help defend their redistricting
MADISON -- Republican leadership panels in the state Legislature are expected to hire two private law firms Thursday to try and preserve their controversial redistricting from 2011.
A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald would not identify the two firms, or how much taxpayers might have to shell out.
She said the attorneys would try to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a November ruling that the 6-year-old Assembly and Senate district lines were unconstitutional and went too far to favor the GOP.
The state Justice Department is representing the Elections Commission in an appeal of that ruling from a panel of three Wisconsin federal judges -- and the legislative majority says the private firms will give lawmakers a say.
Wisconsin congressional offices jammed with calls, complaints
WASHINGTON, DC -- We've been hearing for a while that it's hard to get through to members of Congress due to all the public response to the start of Donald Trump's presidency.
Now, Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore says Wisconsin Senate Republican Ron Johnson has turned off his Washington office phones in what she calls a "disturbing/ongoing trend." She tweeted her assertion, and Johnson responded with a photo of him looking extremely concerned on the phone as he wrote, "Hey, Wisconsin. Our team is busy taking your calls and voicemails."
Moore spokesman Eric Harris says his boss is not making a partisan dig. But he reminds people that Moore cannot handle issues from those outside her House district, and she's been getting more requests to do so.
Wisconsin renews rebate deal for heroin antidote
MADISON -- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says the state has renewed a deal that provides public entities with rebates on an opioid overdose antidote.
Schimel said Wednesday that he has renewed an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals that calls for the company to continue to provide a $6 rebate for each Amphastar naloxone syringe public entities purchase through Feb. 1, 2018.
Naloxone is often branded as Narcan. It can be administered as a nasal spray or injection and can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill in 2013 that permits first responders and paramedics to administer naloxone if they've received the proper training.
Board could decide next week on self insurance for state workers
MADISON -- A state board is expected to decide next Tuesday whether to have the government run its own health insurance plans for 250,000 public employees and family members.
The Employee Trust Funds agency has provided more information about seven options, two of which would adopt self-insurance with the help of one to seven vendors.
Three plans would continue full outside coverage with six to 16 vendors, fewer than the 17 private HMOs the state now uses. Two other plans would have a mixture of self and outside coverage.
Consultants say self-insurance could save millions while giving the state more control of its benefits. But there could also be a risk for larger medical claims and higher administrative costs.
The Group Insurance Board will consider the options on the same day Gov. Scott Walker gives his next state budget proposal to the Legislature.
Milwaukee woman charged in 2-year-old son's death
MILWAUKEE-- A Milwaukee woman is facing charges after her 2-year-old son died of a suspected drug overdose last week.
Martis Dickerson was charged Tuesday with second-degree reckless endangerment in the death of James Vessell. Police found several bottles of prescription medications at the scene and several pills on the floor. An autopsy later revealed a possible pill fragment in the boy's stomach.
One million dollar Powerball ticket expires Thursday
MADISON -- The winner of a $1 million Powerball prize from last summer only has one more day to cash it in. Unless the person threw it away, he or she can claim the prize by bringing the ticket to the Wisconsin Lottery headquarters in Madison by 4 p.m. Thursday, or mail it with a postmark no later than tomorrow.
State law gives lottery winners 180 days to cash in their prizes. If nobody claims the Aug. 6 Powerball prize, the $1 million will be used to provide property tax relief for Wisconsin homeowners.
The winning ticket was bought at Aberg Avenue Mobil in Madison.