Voting bill collapses, Democrats unable to change filibuster

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting legislation that Democrats and civil rights leaders say is vital to protecting democracy collapsed late Wednesday when two senators refused to join their own party in changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster after a raw, emotional debate.

Legislators OK new contract for state troopers

A legislative committee has signed off on a new two-year contract for Wisconsin's state troopers. The Joint Committee on Employment Relations approved the deal unanimously Wednesday with no discussion. The contract provides a 2% across-the-board wage increase in each of the two years, with lump sump payments equal to a 2% increase for hours worked dating back to Jan. 5, 2020. Each step along the troopers' pay progression scale would increase by an average of 4.3%, with a lump sum payment for hours worked dating back to June 6, 2021. The deal is still subject to approval from the full Senate and Assembly and Gov. Tony Evers would have to sign it before it can take effect.

Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs competing redistricting maps

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on Wednesday weighed which map they should order enacted to set political boundaries for the next decade in the battleground state, with competing partisan interests arguing why theirs was the best option.

Gableman subpoenas immigrant group for election records

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera Action headed to court Wednesday to try to block a subpoena issued by the former state Supreme Court justice who Republicans hired to investigate the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic Senate candidate files election lawsuits

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate filed two lawsuits Tuesday alleged that Wisconsin election officials aren’t keeping all ballots secret and are not properly vetting voting machines.

Department of Financial Institutions announces new deputy secretary

MADISON, Wis. -- The Department of Financial Institutions has a new deputy secretary. Patti Epstein assumed the position on Monday, DFI Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins announced Tuesday. She previously served as an administrator of the DFI’s Division of Corporate and Consumer Services.…

Republican plan would lower age to carry concealed weapon

Republican state lawmakers are pushing a plan that would lower the minimum age to legally carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin. Currently, a Wisconsin resident needs to be 21 before they can apply for a concealed carry permit. The GOP-backed bill would lower it to 18. The measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Shae Sortwell says 18-year-olds have the right to vote or go to war so they should also have the right to carry a concealed weapon. While gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, support the plan, opponents include the city of Milwaukee, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort.

Wisconsin judge rules against absentee ballot drop boxes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge on Thursday sided with conservatives, ruling that absentee ballot drop boxes cannot be located anywhere other than at offices of local clerks and that no one other than the voter may return such a ballot.

GOP leader McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 1/6 panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection requested an interview and records from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, as it continues to seek first-hand details from members of Congress on former President Donald Trump’s actions on the day hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the 2020 election.

Wisconsin election commissioners balk at GOP data request

Members of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission balked at a massive request for voter data and other information by six Republican state lawmakers, but did not order that the request be denied. Instead, the commission said Tuesday that the lawmakers should be told how much it would cost, how long it would take, and what information can’t be provided. The request by Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen and five others came last month. They have been leading voices in questioning President Joe Biden’s election win in Wisconsin. Commission chair Ann Jacobs says the request is “absolutely insane.”

Tommy Thompson won't rule out run for governor

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Tommy Thompson, who was elected four times as Wisconsin governor and is wrapping up a sting as interim University of Wisconsin System president, said Tuesday that he's not ruling out another run for governor.

GOPs advance bill to count prior COVID infection as immunity

Republican lawmakers are advancing a bill that would require employers to count a prior COVID-19 infection as an alternative to vaccination and testing. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the measure came up for a public hearing Tuesday. Republican lawmakers and bill supporters spent most of the hearing testifying about how they consider natural immunity to be at least as effective as being vaccinated. No one spoke against the bill, but several Wisconsin medical groups oppose it. They argue vaccination is the best way to protect against COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers almost certainly would veto the bill if it reaches his desk. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court denies Vos request to stop deposition over records

A Wisconsin judge has denied a request from Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to delay him sitting for a deposition with attorneys for a liberal watchdog group seeking records related to the GOP-ordered investigation into the 2020 election. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn on Tuesday denied an attempt by Vos and his staff attorney, Steve Fawcett, to delay the depositions set for Wednesday. She had ordered Vos and Fawcett to sit for the depositions last week. The ruling comes in a case brought by watchdog group American Oversight over records it is seeking related to the investigation Vos ordered into the 2020 presidential election. 

La Follette preparing for another run for secretary of state

Wisconsin’s longtime secretary of state, Democrat Doug La Follette, says he is preparing to run for reelection to the office he was first elected to in 1974 and that he’s held since 1983. The 81-year-old La Follette told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was motivated to keep the largely powerless office in Democratic control to prevent the GOP-controlled Legislature from transferring powers to run elections to the secretary of state if a Republican would win. Republican Rep. Amy Loudenbeck is running for secretary of state and wants to empower the office to serve as a check on the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.