- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015
Baldwin blasts Walker at Wisconsin Democratic convention

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says Republican Gov. Scott Walker has compromised the life of Wisconsin residents to advance his own ambitions.

Baldwin blasted Walker on Friday night at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention. Baldwin said Walker has proposed devastating cuts in his budget and has restricted unions and women’s rights in the state.

Baldwin listed items that she said Wisconsin had valued before Walker was elected. Among them were the state’s natural resources, workers’ rights and abortion rights. Attendees loudly booed as she talked about Walker and his likely presidential campaign.

A Walker spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.

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UW regents add faculty tenure protections to system policies

MILWAUKEE (AP) - University of Wisconsin System regents voted unanimously Friday to add faculty tenure protections to its policies as legislators consider dropping those assurances from Wisconsin statutes.

“This resolution we are passing does what we can do,” Regent Mark Bradley said during a board meeting at UW-Milwaukee. “It doesn’t address what only the Legislature can address. What we’re doing is what we’re able to do, and that is to affect our policy.”

The vote sends a message that regents don’t believe they can change the course the Republican-controlled Legislature has set, so they are moving on to protect tenure and academic freedom through whatever means are within their control, the Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/1Qx6ZrEhttp://bit.ly/1Qx6ZrE ).

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee recently voted to remove tenure from state law as it debated a two-year budget. The committee also added language that gives the UW System and the regents more room to lay off or dismiss tenured faculty. The regents’ policy could not supersede anything in state law.

Tenure offers protection for academic freedom, grounded in a conviction that creating knowledge and expressing ideas should be free from intimidation or retaliation. Critics of the proposal say watering down tenure will hurt the ability of Wisconsin campuses to attract the best and brightest faculty.

The idea behind the GOP plan, first floated in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal, is to give the UW System more flexibility to run campuses as it sees fit and have broader ability to hire and fire faculty.

The plan says tenured faculty and indefinite-term staff could be laid off or terminated with proper notice “when deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection.” Currently, universities have to prove “just cause” as a disciplinary matter or a campus-wide financial emergency to take such a step.

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Delta Air Lines flight makes emergency landing in Green Bay

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A Delta Air Lines flight from Green Bay to Minneapolis had to make an emergency landing after an engine was damaged by an apparent bird strike shortly after takeoff.

Airport director Tom Miller says the Airbus A319 with 78 people on board safely returned to Green Bay just before 8 a.m. Friday.

Miller says recent rains have birds flocking to the airport despite efforts to scare them off. He expects less of a problem when dry conditions return.

It was one of two emergency landings at Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport on Friday. The other happened about 40 minutes earlier, when a cargo plane landed after one of its two engines failed about 40 miles south of Green Bay.

Miller says no one was injured in either incident.

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Walker would sign budget with no borrowing for roads

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker, who steadfastly opposes raising taxes or fees to pay for roads, would sign a state budget that includes no borrowing for highways and other transportation needs in Wisconsin, resulting in significant delays to ongoing and planned projects, his spokeswoman said Friday.

While that is not his preferred option, Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said if the Legislature decides to remove $1.3 billion in borrowing the governor proposed, Walker would sign it.

That’s a “pretty stark concept,” said Rep. John Nygren, co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos first publicly voiced the possibility of doing away with the borrowing on Wednesday, saying that would be an option since Walker refuses to consider raising the gas tax or vehicle registration fees. Vos offered the idea to Walker in a private meeting that day, which was also attended by Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

“When Speaker Vos floated the idea of the Legislature removing all bonding for transportation from the state budget, it was communicated that this would have a devastating impact on the transportation fund and transportation projects across the state as a ripple effect,” Patrick said in an email.

Without the $1.3 billion, every road project would likely be affected: from megaprojects like the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee, the Interstate 39/90 expansion from Madison south to Illinois, the I-94 expansion from Milwaukee south to Illinois, as well as other state highway work, bridge repairs and freight rail maintenance, according to information provided by Walker’s office.

Nygren, a Republican from Marinette and co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee, said he doesn’t want to delay roads projects because that will only put greater pressure on lawmakers in two years to figure out a way to deal with the pent-up demand.

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