- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015
Wisconsin governor announces deal for new $500M Bucks arena

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Taxpayers would pick up half the cost of a new $500 million arena for the Milwaukee Bucks under a financial deal that would rely on current and former team owners for the rest, Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday.

Walker, a likely presidential candidate, has argued for months that it will cost the state more in lost income-tax revenue if the NBA moves the team from Milwaukee than it will to pay for a new downtown arena.

Standing behind a podium with a sign that read, “Cheaper to Keep Them,” he announced the long-awaited deal surrounded by Republican legislative leaders, along with the Democratic leaders of the city and Milwaukee County.

“The price of doing nothing is not zero. It’s $419 million,” Walker said, one of repeated references to the estimated lost revenue and growth over 20 years if the team moves. “It’s not just a good deal. It’s a really bad deal if we don’t do anything.”

Walker, team officials, state lawmakers, Milwaukee’s Democratic mayor and the Milwaukee County executive have been negotiating behind closed doors for weeks.

The plan Walker spelled out includes $250 million already committed by the Bucks’ current and former owners. The other half will come from taxpayers, a contribution capped at $250 million, with the team bearing any responsibility for cost overruns. The taxpayer cost would grow to an estimated $400 million over 20 years with interest.

“This is a much better deal than most other projects like it around the country,” state Sen. Alberta Darling, the co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, said before the news conference.

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Investigation: Wisconsin officer couldn’t have used stun gun

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A white Wisconsin officer who fatally shot an unarmed biracial man couldn’t have used a stun gun during the encounter under his department’s policy, according to internal police investigatory reports released Thursday.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval had announced Wednesday that the investigation showed Officer Matt Kenny didn’t violate any department policy in the death of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, and that Kenny would be returning to duty but didn’t release any details. The Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the state’s largest police union, released the nearly 80 pages of documents from the investigation on Thursday. The police department released the documents later in the day.

Protesters have questioned why Kenny shot Robinson when he could have used a stun gun. The investigation concluded that Kenny was carrying a stun gun and was trained in how to use it. But department policy requires officers who enter residences alone in dangerous situations to clear the buildings using a handgun or rifle so they can use deadly force if needed, the report said.

Kenny told investigators he wished he could have used non-lethal force to subdue Robinson, but he couldn’t access any other weapons because Robinson was punching him and forcing him down a narrow stairwell, the reports said. If he had been on flat ground, Kenny said, he would have backpedaled to create space, drawn his baton and hit Robinson in the knee.

“It just was no way to retreat effectively,” Kenny told a state Justice Department agent, according to the reports. “There was no way to access any other use of force option, ah, because I was falling backwards.”

Kenny shot Robinson in an apartment building stairwell on March 6. Kenny was responding to calls that Robinson was running in traffic and had assaulted two people on the street. Witnesses told police later that Robinson was high on hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The officer arrived at the apartment building and found the door had been forced open, according to the reports. He heard swearing and thought he heard the sounds of a struggle in an upstairs apartment. Fearing Robinson was attacking someone there, he began climbing the stairs with his Glock pistol drawn.

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Pedestrian struck and killed by school bus

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Authorities say a 69-year-old man was struck and killed by a school bus on a highway ramp in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies were called Thursday morning to a southbound ramp of Interstate 41. The sheriff’s office says a bus had struck and killed a pedestrian and the dog he was walking.

Paul Illemann of Milwaukee died at the scene. The driver and the 12 children on the bus were not hurt.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is inspecting the bus. The sheriff’s office is investigating the crash and death. The school was providing a psychologist to speak with the children.

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Wisconsin lawmakers advance 20-week abortion ban bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A fast-tracked Wisconsin bill that would ban non-emergency abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy advanced through a Senate committee Thursday, but its prospects remain unclear in the Assembly.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services approved the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing it.

Under the proposal, doctors who perform an abortion after 20 weeks in non-emergency situations could be charged with a felony and subject to $10,000 in fines or 3½ years in prison. As written, the bill doesn’t provide exceptions for pregnancies conceived from sexual assault or incest.

Committee chairwoman Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, refused to add a last-minute amendment from Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, that would have prioritized a mother’s care over that of a fetus in an emergency situation. Erpenbach said bill’s co-author, Senate President Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, was trying to rush the bill through the Capitol, with unexpected consequences.

“This legislation is all about treating the fetus first, period. That’s it,” Erpenbach said. “The Senate president has been hell-bent on rushing this to the point that she doesn’t know what it is.”

Vukmir said the state’s existing abortion statute gave sufficient description on treating a mother and a fetus in an emergency situation before she called a vote.

While bill’s supporters and some doctors contend fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says evidence suggests that’s not possible until the third trimester begins at 27 weeks.

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