- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014
Wisconsin AG candidates clash on big issues

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - They both love motorcycles, earned law degrees in Madison and have spent years fighting crime in the courtroom, but those are about the only things Wisconsin’s two attorney general candidates have in common.

Republican Brad Schimel and Democrat Susan Happ have vastly different philosophies, promising a far more intense campaign leading up to the Nov. 4 election than the sleepy Democratic primary contest that wrapped up this week.

“This becomes a race between a mainstream Republican and a mainstream Democrat,” said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic state representative. “We’re not getting somebody to the right of the tea party and someone to the left of the liberals. The voters … will have to go to the second level and focus on the issues.”

Both Schimel and Happ agree that first-time drunken driving shouldn’t be a criminal offense - Wisconsin is the only state where a first-time offense is treated as a civil violation - but from there they’re sticking to their party positions on most of the big-ticket questions.

Happ says she wouldn’t defend a host of Republican-authored provisions that Van Hollen is currently fighting to preserve in federal court, including Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban and laws requiring abortion providers obtain hospital admitting privileges and voters show photo identification.

She supports background checks for private gun sales - currently checks are required only when purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer - and has said legalizing medicinal marijuana might make sense if it’s tightly regulated.

“I want to be a champion and defender of the people,” Happ said. “I want to defend their rights as well as their safety. I think the differences (with Schimel) are going to be real clear in that regard.”

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ME: 1 male victim in north shore suburb

FOX POINT, Wis. (AP) - The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office says it’s responding to a strip mall in a north shore Milwaukee suburb where one man is dead.

Broadcast reports from the scene say a fatal shooting took place at Innovative Optique in Audubon Court. The strip mall is on the border of Bayside and Fox Point.

No other details were immediately released.

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Elections agency rejects lawmakers’ request

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin’s top elections official has rejected an open records request filed by two Republicans who wanted information about how much investigators have been paid to look into alleged illegal campaign activity by Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign and other conservative groups.

Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy on Tuesday rejected the request saying state law did not allow him to release confidential investigatory records. The request was filed last month by state Sen. Tom Tiffany and state Rep. David Craig.

They have called for reforms at the agency that enforces campaign laws, saying the public should have more access to its investigatory records.

Last month Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen also said the GAB could not provide its investigatory records to auditors doing a review of the entire agency.

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Wisconsin unemployment ticks up to 5.8 percent

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin’s unemployment rate inched higher to 5.8 percent in July.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday that the rate increased slightly from 5.7 percent the month before. That is below the national rate of 6.2 percent.

The monthly report says there were 3,200 private sector jobs created in the state in July.

The growth was primarily reported in the service industry.

The numbers are based on a survey of roughly 3.5 percent of the state’s employers and subject to significant revisions.

More reliable numbers are released quarterly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they lag the monthly figures. The latest BLS release in June covered the calendar year 2013 and showed Wisconsin was 37th nationally in new job creation.

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