March 29, 2017
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Wells Fargo to pay $110 million to settle fake account suit

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $110 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over up to 2 million accounts its employees opened for customers without getting their permission, the bank announced today.

It's the first private settlement that Wells has reached since the company paid $185 million to federal and California authorities late last year. Authorities said bank employees, driven by high-pressure sales tactics, opened the bank and credit card accounts without customer authorization.

Prisons chief OK with erasing parole commission

The leader of Wisconsin's prison system is telling the Legislature's budget committee that he supports having one person decide who gets out on parole rather than a commission.

The Joint Finance Committee questioned Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher on Tuesday about changes Gov. Scott Walker wants to make to the agency through the 2017-19 state budget. One of the provisions in the budget calls for eliminating the state Parole Commission and replacing it with a parole director Walker would appoint.

Republican Sen. Leah Vukmir told Litscher that she was concerned about one person making parole decisions. Litscher said he personally doesn't have a problem with that.

Wife of French presidential candidate faces charges

The wife of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is facing preliminary charges over well-paid parliamentary jobs that investigators suspect she never performed.

Fillon himself had already been charged in the case, which has deeply damaged the conservative candidate's chances for the two-round election April 23 and May 7. He is suspected of embezzlement and other charges.

Assembly poised to take up cheese bill

The state Assembly is set to take up a bill next week that would make cheese Wisconsin's official dairy product.

The Assembly is tentatively scheduled to take up the bill during an April 4 floor session.

Milk has been the state's official beverage since 1987 and the dairy cow its domestic animal since 1971. But cheese hasn't been honored with an official designation yet, even though the state produces the most cheese in the country at 11 billion pounds per year.

Walker pushing his plans to move more off state Medicaid

Gov. Scott Walker is asking the Trump administration to approve his plans to move more single adults off state BadgerCare Medicaid coverage and into the workforce. The failure of Republicans in U.S. House to replace the federal Affordable Care Act sheds greater light on Walker's proposal for Wisconsin.

The governor is again rejecting federal money to provide health care to more Wisconsinites and moving ahead with his plans that include screening childless BadgerCare recipients for drugs. If approved it would affect tens of thousands of recipients in Wisconsin.

Today's forecast: Partly sunny

Partly sunny with a high of 47 degrees and a low of 34.

Up to the minute forecast

Company: Oil in pipeline under Missouri River reservoir

The Dakota Access pipeline developer said today that it has placed oil in the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and that it's preparing to put the pipeline into service.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a brief court filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The announcement marks a significant development in the long battle over the project that will move North Dakota oil 2,000 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

Wisconsin lawmakers target adults who host underage drinkers

Adults who let teenagers drink in their homes would be breaking the law under a proposal two Republican Wisconsin lawmakers are circulating.

The bill would address what Rep. Andre Jacque and Sen. Van Wanggaard call the "social host" loophole in current state law, which prohibits people who are old enough to drink from allowing people who aren't 21 to drink alcohol in "premises" owned or controlled by the person who is of legal drinking age. An appeals court last year narrowly interpreted "premises" to refer only to licensed establishments such as liquor stores or bars.

Committee OKs eliminating child work permits in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's 16- and 17-year-olds would no longer need parental consent to work under a Republican bill that the Legislature's finance committee approved Monday.

Wisconsin law requires minors to get work permits. A child must pay $10 and provide a parent's written consent to obtain a permit. The bill would eliminate the permit requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds, erasing the need for parental consent.

Michigan, Flint to replace 18,000 lead-tainted water lines

Michigan and the city of Flint have agreed to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit over lead-contaminated water in the troubled city.

A court filing today said Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money. The state said it will pay $87 million and keep another $10 million in reserve if necessary.

Crash leads to power outage

A traffic crash has left more than 800 customers without power near Washington Park.

Traffic has been blocked at the intersection of 45th Street and 39th Avenue while crews handle the scene.

Today's forecast: Rain and drizzle

Rain and drizzle late this afternoon. High: 48; low: 37.

Up to the minute forecast

State eyes safety network changes

MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin officials are working to determine how to improve the statewide emergency communications network and who will pay for it.

The Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications allows public safety agencies to communicate with one another across the state, and sometimes coverage can be spotty, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The state hired a consultant last year to examine networks in surrounding states and provide recommendations for maintaining Wisconsin's system.

"What we don't have right now is a good plan for when the equipment on WISCOM reaches end of life," said Josh Ripp, a program manager for the network at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. "We don't have an idea of how we're going to pay for the replacement equipment to put in that place."

The system went live on 80 state-owned towers in 2012 and has grown to include nearly 120 sites. Each Wisconsin county or community that provided the infrastructure for a network site also pays for tower maintenance.

Monthlong trek ends at Lambeau

GREEN BAY (AP) - A man using a wheelchair finished a 170-mile journey from southern Wisconsin to Lambeau Field.

Dennis Schulze, 55, arrived Saturday at the Green Bay stadium, accompanied by a crowd of about 40 people including families and law enforcement. Instead of using a wheelchair, Schulze put on a prosthetic leg and walked the last mile to honor those who cannot walk.

Schulze got to meet Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and briefly stand on the famous field.

Schulze started his trip from Janesville in February. The Beloit native lost his right leg five years ago in a truck crash. He now makes wheelchair travels for charity and says his journey to Lambeau is not the last of his travels.

Slain detective, other victims remembered

ROTHSCHILD (AP) - The police detective killed in a string of shootings that left three others dead and the suspect injured is being remembered as a friend who would help another person in an instant.

Jason Weiland, 40, was a detective for the Everest Metro Police Department. He died Wednesday when he was shot in the line of duty. Some of his friends told the Wausau Daily Herald that they remember him as funny, sensitive and tough.

Nengmy Vang, 45, is accused of launching a rampage that spanned three northern Wisconsin towns on Wednesday, killing his wife's divorce attorney, two people at the bank where his wife worked, and Weiland.

After allegedly killing three people at two different locations, Vang barricaded himself in his Weston apartment, fatally shooting Weiland as Weiland was setting up a perimeter.

A candlelight vigil for all four of the victims is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at Kennedy Park in Weston.

Today's forecast: Wet

Not as cool today with rain and drizzle. High 55, low 44.

Up to the minute forecast

Voters to field 65 public school referendums

MADISON (AP) - The push by Wisconsin public schools to ask for more money from local property taxpayers isn't stopping, with 65 referendums going before voters in the spring election.

That comes after 122 were approved in 2016, the continuation of a trend that began three or four years ago as schools struggled to make ends meet under state-imposed spending limits, budget tightening and changing student populations with a growing range of needs.

Around 80 percent of school referendums passed last year and voters approved $1.35 billion in new borrowing, the largest amount in two decades when adjusted for inflation, according to data from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

About half the districts will ask voters on April 4 to authorize new debt while the other half want permission to exceed revenue caps, which limit spending to meet property taxes and state aid.

Four-vehicle crash in Somers

Emergency crews were called about 4 p.m. for a four-vehicle crash in the 10600 block of Burlington Road.

Louisiana officer convicted of manslaughter in boy's death

A Louisiana law enforcement officer was convicted today on a lesser charge of manslaughter in a shooting that killed a 6-year-old autistic boy, a gruesome encounter captured on tape by another officer's body camera.

Jurors found Derrick Stafford guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges, multiple news outlets reported. He had faced charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the case.

Walker expresses disappointment with inaction on health bill

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expressing disappointment with the failure of the Republican health care bill in Congress.

Walker said in his statement that "Obamacare was broken from the beginning and every day it has not been fixed is disappointing." Walker earlier today urged the House to take action on replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

Wisconsin makes legal arguments in redistricting appeal

Wisconsin's Republican attorney general is telling the U.S. Supreme Court that a ruling striking down GOP-drawn legislative boundaries in the state as unconstitutional gerrymandering is "unprecedented."

Attorney General Brad Schimel presented the state's legal arguments in a court filing in the case today. Schimel had notified the court of his intent to appeal last month, but did not make any arguments then.

Trump, GOP leaders pull health care bill in humiliating loss

In a humiliating setback, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders pulled their "Obamacare" repeal bill off the House floor today after it became clear the measure would fail badly.

It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House Republicans vote on the legislation today, threatening to leave "Obamacare" in place and move on to other issues if the vote failed. The bill was withdrawn minutes before the vote was to occur.

Hawaii judge who blocked travel ban target of threats

The FBI says authorities are aware that the federal judge in Hawaii who ruled against President Donald Trump's travel ban has received threatening messages.

FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst said Thursday the agency is aware of reports of threatening messages against U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson and is prepared to help if necessary.

Watson blocked the federal government from enforcing its ban on new visas for people from six mostly Muslim countries and its suspension of the nation's refugee program. He issued his ruling last week hours before the travel ban was to go into effect.

Bathroom bill thrusts Montana into national LGBT debate

Montana's chief economic development warned Thursday of dire economic consequences if lawmakers entangle the state in a national debate over bathrooms and transgender people.

A conservative group seeking to preserve traditional family values is pushing the Legislature to let voters decide whether people should only use the bathroom or locker room that matches their biological sex.

Both sides sought to persuade lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, with one side arguing in favor of limits by asserting privacy and safety concern and opponents dismayed about being forced to redefine their gender identity.

Today's forecast: A shower

Mostly cloudy and warmer with a shower. High: 68; low: 39.

Up to the minute forecast

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