- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015
Wisconsin lawmakers advance new rules for food stamp users

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin lawmakers advanced a set of bills Wednesday that would require food stamp users to buy healthy food and mandate drug screening for state job training program applicants and some unemployment benefit claimants.

An Assembly committee on public benefit reform approved the bills almost on party lines Wednesday, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against. Rep. Adam Neylon, a Pewaukee Republican, also voted against the measures.

The approval clears the way for the full Assembly to vote on the measures next week. But prospects for the bill that would restrict food options for food stamp users remain murky in the Senate, which didn’t take up a similar proposal last session.

The Republican bill would require food stamp recipients to use at least two-thirds of their monthly benefits to purchase nutritional foods such as beef, chicken and fresh produce. Users would be barred from buying crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish.

“We certainly want to make sure our poor people are reaching for the right food mix,” Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a Menomonee Republican said at the hearing Wednesday. “Let’s create incentives to look a little harder in the grocery store to look not just for what’s easy, but for what’s nutritional.”

The federal government funds food stamp benefits. If approved, legislators would need a waiver to impose limitations. No state has received such a waiver.

Rep. Lisa Subeck, a Madison Democrat, said at the hearing the measure overstepped the state government’s boundaries.


Lawmakers advance drug testing for workers, aid recipients

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin legislative committee has advanced two Republican bills that would establish drug testing for public benefit recipients.

The Assembly’s public benefits reform committee approved the bills Wednesday almost on party lines. The measures passed on 8-6 votes with Republicans voting in favor. Rep. Adam Neylon, a Pewaukee Republican, voted against the measures.

The bills would require applicants for state job training programs such as Wisconsin Works and certain applicants for unemployment benefits to answer questionnaires screening for drug abuse. Based on the answers, applicants could be forced to undergo tests and enter state-sponsored treatment to retain their eligibility.

Minority Democrats on the committee prepared two dozen amendments to the bills. None was approved.

The bills now move to the full Assembly where they will be debated next week.


Wisconsin gunman’s girlfriend: He suffered from depression

MENASHA, Wis. (AP) - An eastern Wisconsin man who randomly shot and killed three people and wounded another before taking his own life was irrational and suffered from depression, his girlfriend said.

Police say Haylie Peterson and Sergio Valencia del Toro argued Sunday evening, a couple of hours before he headed to the Fox Cities Trestle Trail bridge and fatally shot Jon Stoffel, his 11-year-old daughter, Olivia, and Adam Bentdahl.

Stoffel’s wife, Erin, was wounded in the shooting and is hospitalized in serious condition.

Valencia del Toro then turned the gun on himself and died at a hospital Sunday night.

In autopsy results released Wednesday, police said Jon Stoffel was shot seven times, Olivia three times and her mother three times. Bentdahl was shot once.

Peterson, 24, said she had expressed concern to Valencia del Toro about his depression that evening, but that she then went out, leaving him at the house they shared in Menasha, so they could both cool off.

“I left because we agreed we both needed time to process our emotions,” she told Post-Crescent Media Tuesday (https://post.cr/1E89hHWhttps://post.cr/1E89hHW ).


La Crosse teen accused of firing stray bullet in man’s death

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) - A 17-year-old from La Crosse is being accused of firing a bullet that struck and killed a Rusk County man while shooting at coyotes in March.

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (https://bit.ly/1c9aJCvhttps://bit.ly/1c9aJCv ) reports the teen faces four felony charges, including second-degree reckless homicide and second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

Officials say 60-year-old Patrick McFarlane died after being hit by a bullet near his Glen Flora home. Court records say McFarlane was shoveling snow before he was shot.

According to court records, the teen shot at coyotes from the road and later told authorities he knew it was illegal to do so.

Authorities are also accusing the teen’s father of lying to police about where and in which direction his son fired shots.


Information from: Leader-Telegram, https://www.leadertelegram.com/https://www.leadertelegram.com/

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