- Associated Press - Friday, April 10, 2015
Judge denies Abrahamson request to block amendment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday denied Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s request for a temporary restraining order blocking a constitutional amendment that likely would lead to her demotion.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson said Abrahamson does not face the risk of irreparable injury since the constitutional amendment she’s seeking to block won’t take effect until at least April 29.

Abrahamson filed the request Wednesday, one day after voters approved the amendment. It gives the seven justices on the Supreme Court the power to choose the chief justice, ending the 126-year practice of having it go to the most senior member.

Abrahamson, one of two liberal justices on the court, was expected to be voted out by the four-justice conservative majority.

Abrahamson, who has been chief justice since 1996, sued less than 24 hours after polls closed, saying that the amendment should not take effect until her term ends in four years. She also asked the judge to block the other six justices on the court from moving forward with implementation.

Peterson ruled that Abrahamson did not show why he should take the extraordinary step of blocking the law before he hears from the defendants. Peterson also noted that the vote to approve the amendment won’t be certified by state election officials until April 29, negating the need for emergency action now.

However, he did allow for Abrahamson to renew her motion “if new evidence shows the need for it.”


Gov. Scott Walker heads to Europe on trade mission

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker heads to Europe this week on a trade mission featuring private meetings with business and government representatives in Germany, France and Spain, as he ramps up for a likely bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

The most high-profile event on Walker’s itinerary comes Tuesday when he’s slated to deliver a 15-minute speech titled “Opportunities for bilateral trade and investment” at the Hannover Messe trade show in Germany. That is the world’s largest industrial fair, Walker’s office said in the documents detailing the trip.

Walker’s only other event that’s open to reporters is a meeting with representatives from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases to discuss possible collaborations on fighting such deadly ailments as ALS, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Richard Moss of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is also participating.

Walker’s itinerary does not include any meetings with the leaders of the three countries he is visiting, but he also did not announce in advance his get-together with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street during a February trade mission.

That trip to Great Britain, which was viewed as a way for Walker to bolster his foreign policy resume, cost taxpayers just over $138,000, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced Thursday. That was $6,000 less than the agency expected.

No staff from Walker’s political committee is traveling with him on the weeklong trade mission beginning Friday. The trip was organized by WEDC and had been in the works since November, when Walker was re-elected to a second term, his office said.

Walker is ending his participation in the trade mission early so he can attend a political event in New Hampshire on April 17 and April 18 with other likely Republican presidential candidates.


West Allis police investigating shooting that killed man

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) - Authorities are searching for at least one suspect in a shooting that left a man dead and a woman injured just outside of Milwaukee.

The doubling shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in an alley in a West Allis neighborhood. Police were called after the woman involved in the shooting was able to seek help at a nearby home.

The responding officers found a man dead at the scene. The woman was taken to a local hospital, where her condition wasn’t immediately known as of Thursday night.

Police say it’s unclear what caused the shooting. An investigation is ongoing.

The names of the victims haven’t been released by authorities.


Vos says GOP support mixed on Walker’s DNR board proposal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to remove powers of the Department of Natural Resources board is getting a mixed reception from Republican lawmakers.

Vos said Thursday that Assembly Republicans talked about the proposal as they are beginning to discuss elements of Walker’s budget. He says the idea to make the seven-member board advisory only got a “mixed reception.”

Walker’s budget calls for transforming the board into an advisory panel, ending its ability to set policy for the DNR. That would allow the governor to control the agency directly through Secretary Cathy Stepp, a Walker appointee, with no checks or balances.

The proposal has been widely criticized by current board members, Democrats and environmental groups that work closely with the DNR.

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