By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State speech (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

Wisconsin Democratic leaders say Gov. Scott Walker painted a rosy picture that doesn’t reflect reality in his State of the State address.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling told reporters in a news conference following the speech Tuesday that Walker seems to have forgotten his first-term goal of creating 250,000 new jobs and has overseen five years of below-average jobs growth. She also criticized him for not acknowledging ongoing investigations into the state’s Lincoln Hills youth prison facility and King veteran home in his speech.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca issued a news release taking Walker to task for doing little to relieve student debt and cutting the University of Wisconsin system funding by $250 million. He also criticized Walker for what he called a “lagging” economy and poor roads.


5:05 p.m.

Republicans are praising Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State speech where he promised to cut University of Wisconsin undergraduate tuition and focus on workforce development.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, of Wauwatosa, says Walker’s speech Tuesday “reflects exactly what we’re seeing here in the state of Wisconsin.”

Walker touted the lowest unemployment rate in 15 years, job growth and tax cuts Republicans have enacted as signs that Wisconsin is “winning.”

Vukmir says “our message is resonating with the good people of Wisconsin.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he looks forward to working with Democrats “to build upon our successes and find long-term solutions to the issues facing our state.”


4:45 p.m.

University of Wisconsin leaders aren’t saying much yet about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut in-state undergraduate tuition.

Walker proposed a tuition cut in his State of the State speech on Tuesday. He did not say how much it would be, but his spokesman Tom Evenson says it will be paid for.

UW System President Ray Cross is applauding Walker for trying to keep college affordable, but did not comment specifically on the tuition cut plan.

University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank says she hopes Walker and the Legislature would fully fund the tuition cut and increase funding for the university in line with the $42 million that was requested.

Walker has not said how much funding he will propose for UW.


4:40 p.m.

Legislative leaders are praising Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut UW tuition for in-state undergraduate students.

But they also want to see more details.

Walker made the surprise announcement in his State of the State address Tuesday. He didn’t say how much he planned to cut tuition or how it would be paid for.

Budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren says he wants to weigh the idea against all of the other priorities in the budget. He says Walker’s office told him it would be paid for with general state revenue.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is more critical, saying he doesn’t want to “head down the Bernie Sanders route” of free college tuition.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says if Walker can pay for the cut, he’s all for it.


3:40 p.m.

In a break with tradition, first lady Tonette Walker is speaking during Gov. Scott Walker’s annual State of the State address.

Tonette Walker joined Walker Tuesday at the podium in front of the joint meeting of the state Senate and Assembly to discuss her work trying to prevent and reduce childhood trauma.

She has been working on the Fostering Futures initiative since Walker took office in 2011.

This isn’t the first time Walker has mixed things up during the State of the State. In his first speech six years ago, Green Bay Packers president Mike Murphy spoke via a video link just days before the Super Bowl.

In 2014 Walker invited workers to join him, but one of them was later revealed to be a sex offender and felon.


3:20 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is promising to cut tuition for all undergraduates in the University of Wisconsin System.

Walker made the promise Tuesday in his State of the State address. It comes after tuition has been frozen at UW for four years.

Walker says the budget he releases next month “will do more than just freeze tuition.” He says it will be cut, but he doesn’t give any details.

The UW Board of Regents voted to approve a plan to keep tuition flat next year and raise it no more than the rate of inflation after that if the Legislature allows it.

Walker has also promised to increase funding for the UW System after cutting it by $250 million in his last budget.


3:10 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says in his seventh State of the State address that Wisconsin is “winning” and that the future of the state is bright.

Walker said in the speech Tuesday that workforce development is his top priority for the next year “and beyond.” The focus is a shift for Walker, whose signature campaign promise in 2010 was to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in four years. He only got about halfway to that goal.

The speech comes as Walker is eying running for a third term. He is promising to spend more on K-12 schools and specifically help rural districts, but didn’t offer details.

Democrats say Walker is ignoring the biggest problems facing the state and his tenure as governor has been a failure.


11:30 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker plans to renew his promise to increase funding for public schools in his State of the State speech, while saying the future of Wisconsin is “bright.”

Walker released a series of excerpts from his speech Tuesday. He was to deliver it before a joint meeting of the Legislature.

While touting the state’s lowest unemployment in 15 years, Walker plans to saying workforce development will be his top priority for this year and beyond.

He says it’s a moral imperative for every child to have access to a great education, but it’s an economic imperative to grow the workforce.

Walker plans to say that “safety and maintenance” of the state’s transportation system is a priority. His plan for plugging a $1 billion transportation shortfall is to delay work on major expansion projects.


10:55 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker plans to say in his State of the State speech that his top priority in 2017 and beyond is workforce development.

Walker released excerpts from his speech Tuesday on Twitter hours before he was set to deliver the address during a joint meeting of the state Senate and Assembly.

He says “We went from a focus on ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ to talking about ‘workforce, workforce, workforce.’” Walker says “This is my top priority for 2017 - and beyond.”

Walker also plans to say that the question about whether the people of Wisconsin are better off now than six years ago when he and Republicans swept into power is “a resounding yes.”

Democrats have also taken to Twitter in a pre-rebuttal, saying Walker is ignoring the state’s biggest problems.


9:45 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says he thought about wearing sunglasses during his State of the State speech, but decided against it.

He also told The Associated Press on Tuesday he contemplated handing them out to all 132 state lawmakers, but said with a smile he was worried not all of them would put them on.

Republicans outnumber Democrats 84-48 in the Legislature, their largest majorities in decades.

Walker is delivering his annual State of the State speech on Tuesday afternoon at a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly. In a recent speech, he donned sunglasses to drive home his argument that “the future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.”

He’s repeated the line several times since and in Twitter messages previewing the speech included a smiling face emoji wearing sunglasses.


8:45 a.m.

First lady Tonette Walker will be speaking during Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State speech.

She was with the governor in the Assembly chamber, speaking at the podium during a practice run of the speech early Tuesday morning shortly after the building opened to the public. Walker stood behind her wearing a Green Bay Packers jacket.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson says the first lady will be talking about one of her initiatives during the speech delivered to a joint session of the Legislature. Walker is expected to spend much of the address talking about broad policy goals, including increasing workforce participation and fighting opioid abuse.

Walker’s seventh State of the State begins at 3 p.m. and is being broadcast live on public television and the WisconsinEye network and streamed online.


4 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is expected to focus his State of the State speech on efforts to get every person possible into Wisconsin’s workforce.

Walker is slated to deliver the speech on Tuesday afternoon before a joint meeting of the state Senate and Assembly. Walker has been saying that his focus this year will be on workforce development in Wisconsin, a theme that he’s expected to expand on in the State of the State.

Walker has been talking recently about enacting policies to help fill job vacancies around the state. He’s said those efforts extend to finding jobs for veterans, the disabled, people leaving prison and those kicking drug addictions.

Walker’s seventh State of the State is scheduled for 3 p.m. He will release the state budget next month.

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