- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Walker to talk about taking on Washington at Eureka College

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Scott Walker plans to talk about “wreaking havoc” on Washington D.C. with a Thursday speech at the alma mater of former President Ronald Reagan.

Walker’s presidential campaign on Tuesday released excerpts of his speech to be delivered at Eureka College in Illinois.

Walker is also expected to release weekly “day one” promises that describe action he would plan to take on his first day as president. Walker has already said he will end the Iranian arms deal and propose repealing and replacing the federal health care law on his first day in office.

The speech and weekly release of “day one” promises comes as Walker is trying to regain ground after being among the top tier of Republican candidates, only to see his standing drop in recent polls.


Vos says he’s not pursuing open records changes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Tuesday that lawmakers will not be pursuing changes to the state’s open records law this session, despite a request from his office to have a bill drafted setting different standards for the Legislature.

The request to treat the Legislature differently than all other state and local governmental bodies came three weeks after Vos and other lawmakers retreated from their proposal in July to gut the open records law after a loud bipartisan outcry.

Vos said that the bill drafting request submitted July 23 was done so there could be a starting point for discussions by a yet-to-be-formed study committee. The bill was to include his original ideas for changing the law, which morphed over time, he said.

What Republicans on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee approved on July 2 would have changed the open records law to keep secret nearly everything state and local government officials create, including drafts of legislation and staff communications.

But following a backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as media outlets and open government advocates, lawmakers relented and removed the changes before the budget was approved and signed into law.

Vos joined with other legislative leaders and Gov. Scott Walker, now a GOP presidential candidate, in saying they wanted to convene a committee to study possible changes to the open records law and report back.

But that committee has not yet been formed or met. And just three weeks after the original open records changes were proposed and pulled back, Vos requested that a bill be drafted allowing the Legislature to set its own record retention policy by rule.


Wisconsin lawmaker readies quartet of anti-heroin measures

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Republican lawmaker whose daughter has struggled with a heroin addiction announced Tuesday he plans to introduce another round of legislation focusing on opiate prescriptions that can lead to heroin abuse.

Rep. John Nygren of Marinette spearheaded seven bills designed to curtail heroin abuse and help addicts recover last session. He told reporters during a news conference Tuesday he has four more bills ready to go. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, Dr. Tim Westlake, vice chairman of the state Medical Examining Board and a member of the state’s controlled substance board, and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel all stood with Nygren in a show of support.

Nygren said the new bills are designed to attack the root of the problem - addictions to opiate prescriptions that pave the path to heroin.

“As we said last session, there were no silver bullets contained in those seven pieces of legislation,” Nygren said. “We knew that we had more that needed to be done.”

The new legislation would require anyone who dispenses opiates to enter the prescriptions in a statewide tracking database within 24 hours rather than the seven days currently allowed under state law. Doctors would be required to check the database before prescribing opiates. Nygren said those moves could help identify addicts and doctors who are overprescribing.

Police who discover an opiate prescription at the scene of an overdose would have to enter the prescription in the database and notify the prescribing physician of the incident.

The package also would create registries for pain and methadone clinics. Nygren said little is known about how such clinics operate.


Feds: 183k Wisconsinites insured through health exchanges

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s administration says about 183,700 people were enrolled in health care insurance plans obtained through marketplace exchanges as of June 30.

According to U.S. Department of Health Services data released Tuesday, 183,682 people had coverage. Of those, 164,541, or nearly 90 percent, were receiving tax credits to help offset their premium costs. The average monthly credit was $312.

The majority of Wisconsin enrollees were enrolled in the silver level of coverage, which pays on average 70 percent of a consumer’s costs. The next largest group of enrollees had the bronze level of coverage, which pays on average 60 percent of costs.

DHS reports a total of 9.9 million people were enrolled in plans obtained through the exchanges as of June 30, with nearly 84 percent receiving tax credits.

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