- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Supreme Court to hear arguments in record redaction case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The state Supreme Court will hear arguments this month on whether police can redact information gleaned from driver data from reports released to the public.

A federal appeals court ruled in 2012 that the village of Palatine, Illinois, violated the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by leaving a parking ticket on a resident’s car listing his personal information.

Police often use driver records to obtain information such as names, addresses and birthdates. Since the appellate ruling, dozens of Wisconsin departments have been redacting such personal information from reports to avoid violating the privacy act.

A judge ruled last year, though, that New Richmond didn’t have to redact police reports for the New Richmond News. The city has appealed.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Sept. 18.


Republican bills target Planned Parenthood federal funding

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - About $7.5 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin would be cut under two Republican-backed bills heard Wednesday by a state Assembly committee, measures that come as the Legislature also considers criminalizing research on aborted fetal tissue.

Supporters defended the measures as reasonable steps to prevent taxpayer money going to a group that provides abortions. But opponents said halting the funding would adversely affect the women’s health services, including cancer screenings and wellness checks, which Planned Parenthood also provides to about 60,000 men and women a year.

Gov. Scott Walker - who has been touting the fact he cut state funding to Planned Parenthood on the presidential campaign trail - has said he supports efforts to curtail federal funding as well.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has voiced his support for both bills and the fetal tissue research ban, saying they are likely to be debated this fall. Support is less clear in the Senate. Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has not said whether the bills will be debated. His spokeswoman Myranda Tanck said the bills will be discussed by Republicans in a closed caucus Sept. 16.

At least one Republican - Sen. Alberta Darling - has said she opposes the research ban on aborted fetal tissue because it would have a negative effect on work being done at the University of Wisconsin.

One of the bills heard Wednesday attempts to prevent Planned Parenthood from being eligible for federal Title X money allocated to the state of Wisconsin and is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services.

Planned Parenthood receives more than $3 million from that grant each year, and is the only recipient in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin bear season set to begin next week

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin’s bear hunting season is set to begin next week.

The season is slated to begin on Sept. 9 and run through Oct. 13. State Department of Natural Resources officials say they’ve issued a record 10,690 permits. The old record was 10,340 permits, set last year.

DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Dave McFarland says that the hunter success rate is typically about 44 percent, which should equate to about 4,700 bears killed.

Successful hunters for the first time will be required to submit a bear tooth to the DNR in lieu of registering their kills at registration stations. The agency plans to use the teeth to build models to help estimate the size of Wisconsin’s bear population.


Sheriff: Man shoots himself as police dragnet closes in

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - Authorities say a man shot himself as police closed in on him.

The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on its Facebook page Tuesday that deputies were helping search for a vehicle that had been involved in an incident in Clark County. The statement said the incident involved gunfire but didn’t elaborate.

Police located the vehicle between Athens and Edgar. The driver stopped the vehicle and ran into the woods. Deputies tracked him for an hour and finally found him in a semi-trailer. He refused orders to drop his gun and shot himself.

The sheriff’s department updated its page later Wednesday to say the man didn’t survive his wounds. A message The Associated Press left with the agency seeking more details wasn’t immediately returned.

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