- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Wisconsin Assembly majority leader loses post

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Assembly unanimously voted to remove the majority leader from his post Tuesday amid allegations that he groped one woman and verbally abused another during a trip to Washington last week.

State Rep. Bill Kramer, who had held the Assembly’s second-most powerful position since September, wasn’t at the meeting. He checked himself into a treatment facility Saturday for an unspecified reason and hasn’t commented publicly about the allegations.

Kramer’s chief of staff, Cameron Sholty, didn’t immediately respond to email or phone messages seeking comment about the vote.

Republicans, who hold a 60-39 majority in the Assembly, met behind closed doors for about 90 minutes before opening the meeting to take the vote. Only the two lawmakers who made the motion to remove Kramer and who seconded it spoke.

“We just cannot condone that kind of activity,” said state Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Cascade.

The ballot was secret, but it was announced that the vote to remove him was unanimous. Kramer became majority leader in September and was first elected to the Assembly in 2006.

Republicans later elected state Rep. Pat Strachota to replace Kramer as majority leader for the remainder of the year. Strachota becomes the first female majority leader in state history, but she will hold the office for less than nine months. Both she and Rep. Mary Williams, who challenged her, are retiring at the end of the year and a new leader will be elected in January.

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Wisconsin Senate passes governor’s tax cuts

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Republicans moved closer to making Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to use the state’s surplus to cover $504 million in tax cuts reality Tuesday, pushing the measure through the state Senate despite Democrats’ complaints the proposal is just a token election-year ploy.

The bill now heads to a final vote in the state Assembly. That chamber has already passed the measure but must agree with changes the Legislature’s budget committee made to win a key senator’s vote. Assembly Republicans have scheduled a vote for March 18. Passage is all but certain. The bill would then go to Walker.

“The hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin know how to spend their money better than politicians in Madison do,” Walker said in a statement. “I look forward to the Assembly’s vote and to signing this property and income tax relief into law.”

Senate Republicans praised themselves as debate on the bill began, saying they led Wisconsin out of the recession and improved the state’s finances enough to enable the governor to make the cuts.

“This is a great day for taxpayers,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said as debate began on the measure. “Many of us should be able to go home and talk to our constituents and say ‘I think I’ve been a good steward of the state’s finances.’”

Minority Democrats countered that the package is really just a campaign gimmick.

“In the end it’s not really going to help anybody except maybe the governor in a campaign commercial,” Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said. “Middle-class people need a break. They’re not going to get it with this.”

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Phillips mayor wants police chief fired

PHILLIPS, Wis. (AP) - The mayor of a north central Wisconsin city has filed a complaint against the police chief.

WSAW-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1ibdnJqhttps://bit.ly/1ibdnJq ) Phillips Mayor Charles Peterson is accusing Chief David Sonntag of intentionally falsifying legal documents in 2012 and illegally pulling over a citizen in 2013. He wants the chief to be suspended and then, after a review, fired.

Sonntag, who has been chief for nine years, told the station he has been advised not to comment. The mayor tells The Associated Press that city officials also have been asked not to comment.

The complaint, filed Feb. 18, is being reviewed by the police review committee. They have brought in an attorney from Madison to help with the investigation.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 11.

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Information from: WSAW-TV, https://www.wsaw.comhttps://www.wsaw.com

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Man convicted of killing wife accused of stalking

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An 81-year-old Madison man convicted of killing his wife in 1990 now faces more charges.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1fFBNJfhttps://bit.ly/1fFBNJf ) Habib Amim was charged Tuesday with stalking an ex-girlfriend who broke up with him about seven years ago after learning about his past.

Habib Amim, of Madison, had pleaded no contest in 1990 to second-degree murder for the beating death of his 44-year-old wife, Bonnie Amim, at their apartment.

Amim was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Under the parole system at the time, served about 12 years before he was paroled in 2002. His sentence was completed in October 2008.

Amim is accused of allegedly driving past his ex-girlfriend’s home repeatedly and following her in his car.

Amim was jailed on $10,000 bail after appearing in court Monday.

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