- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Wisconsin board bans employees from global warming work

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin board has banned its employees from working on global warming issues on state time in what’s become a bitter feud between a Republican board member and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson’s daughter.

The three-member Board of Commissioners of Public Lands voted 2-1 on Tuesday to institute the ban on its nine employees, with the lone Democrat on the board casting the dissenting vote.

Republican State Treasurer Matt Adamcyzk proposed the ban, saying he’s upset that the board’s executive secretary, Tia Nelson, worked on global warming issues on board time years ago. He said the topic has nothing to do with the board’s mission of generating investment dollars for public school libraries and providing loans for municipal and school projects.

“We just did a simple resolution that board employees aren’t to be working on global warming. I don’t think that’s a stretch,” Adamcyzk said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Nelson is the daughter of former Wisconsin Gov. Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat known for his staunch conservationism and his efforts to found Earth Day. Former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle tapped Tia Nelson to serve as co-chair of his global warming task force in 2007 while she was working at the BCPL. The task force wrapped up its work in 2008.

Nelson declined comment Wednesday, saying the board has forbidden her from talking about anything linked to global warming.

She told Adamcyk during Tuesday’s meeting that none of the previous commissioners had a problem with her serving on the task force and she didn’t think serving at a governor’s request would be objectionable, according to audio recordings of the proceedings.

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Walker signs bill protecting victims of cyberbullying

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that will allow state judges to issue restraining orders against anyone who uses technology to harass a Wisconsin resident from anywhere in the country.

Current state law allows Wisconsin judges to issue restraining orders only against harassers and stalkers who reside within the state.

Walker signed the bill into law on Wednesday. The bill’s authors, Sen. Van Wangaard, a Republican from Racine, and Rep. Amy Loudenback, a Republican from Clinton, issued a statement saying the law would provide Wisconsin residents additional protection against cyberbullying and harassment.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court chief justice sues over amendment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to try and hold on to her leadership spot after voters approved a constitutional amendment that was likely to result in her demotion.

For the past 126 years the chief justice position has gone to the most senior member of the Supreme Court. Since 1996, that has been Abrahamson. But the amendment approved by voters on Tuesday would instead allow the seven justices to decide who should be chief.

The liberal Abrahamson was expected to be voted out by the four-justice conservative majority.

Abrahamson, 81, argued in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Madison that the change should not be applied until after her current term ends in four years or if she leaves before then.

To have the selection process change immediately would shorten the 10-year term of office to which Abrahamson was elected as chief justice, she argued, and would therefore violate her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection rights.

She also is asking for a temporary restraining order to block the other six justices on the court from taking any action to remove her as chief justice.

The chief justice selection amendment doesn’t take effect until after the election’s results are certified by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board. That is expected to happen at the board’s April 29 meeting.

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Wisconsin joins lawsuit over EPA’s carbon emissions rules

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The state of Wisconsin has joined a federal lawsuit challenging new limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Wednesday granted the state’s request filed last month to join 13 other states in the lawsuit brought last year by Murray Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest coal companies.

Gov. Scott Walker, a supporter of the lawsuit, has said that the limits would be devastating for Wisconsin manufacturers.

The EPA wants Wisconsin to lower its emissions by 34 percent by 2030. Walker said in a letter to the EPA that could cost as much as $13 billion and raise electricity rates by 29 percent.

Conservationists say the EPA’s plan represents the most important step yet in combating climate change

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