- Associated Press - Thursday, January 16, 2014
Email: Vinehout decides against Wis. governor run

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A union official’s email says state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout has decided against seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Wisconsin.

The email says Vinehout will announce her decision Friday.

Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews sent the email to union members Thursday. The email says Vinehout called to advise the union she will not run for governor.

Both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal obtained copies of the email.

Vinehout, of Alma, had been exploring a possible run until she broke her arm in a car crash last month.

That leaves former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive Mary Burke as the only likely Democrat to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November.

Phone calls and an email to Vinehout were not immediately returned Thursday night.

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Walker signs bill affecting Medicaid timing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill affecting the timing of Medicaid coverage for some Wisconsin residents.

Walker signed the bill Thursday, two days after the state Legislature passed it.

The bill relates to a three-month coverage delay Walker requested, and the Legislature approved, last month. That pushed back from January until April when 77,000 people just above the federal poverty line will lose Medicaid coverage. It also pushed back by three months when 83,000 childless adults will begin receiving Medicaid.

Under the bill, anyone who qualifies for the BadgerCare Medicaid program could receive it through March 31 if they apply before Feb. 1. After that, if the applicant is above the federal poverty limit, they will be directed to seek federally subsidized private coverage through the online exchange instead.

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Huge budget surplus sets off feeding frenzy

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - News that Wisconsin’s budget surplus is projected to top $977 million is setting off a feeding frenzy in the Capitol among lobbyists, special interest groups, and lawmakers.

Gov. Scott Walker is saying he wants to return the money to taxpayers in the form of property and income tax cuts.

But Democrats and liberal advocacy groups said Thursday the money should be used to help the middle class with programs that will put people back to work. There are also calls to increase spending on public schools and higher education and plug spending holes in the Medicaid program.

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis says “everybody and their cousins from other states” will be trying to get a piece of the money.

Walker is to release his tax cut plan Wednesday.

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Reward offered for info in Polk Co. hit-and-run

BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (AP) - Polk County authorities have announced a $5,000 cash reward for information leading to whoever struck and killed two men and then fled the scene.

The sheriff’s office on Thursday also provided a more detailed description of the vehicle involved in the Jan. 11 crash.

Authorities describe the vehicle as a black Ford F-150 pickup, between model year 1997 and 2003. The vehicle will have damage to the passenger side headlight assembly area.

Authorities say the victims - 41-year-old Richard Cobenais Jr., of rural Luck and 28-year-old Benjamin Juarez, of Frederic - were involved in a fight that had spilled out onto Highway E in the Round Lake Native American Community Saturday evening.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

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