Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Wheeler News - Mid-Day State News #2 - 12/4/13

Wheeler News Service - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - Mid-Day State News #2

Editor on Duty: Thom Gerretsen (715) 389-2373
Story Contributions:
Wheeler Blog:

Here are the headlines:
The Wisconsin Assembly gains two new Republicans, before starting a debate on delaying major changes in Badger-Care...
The state's two largest daily newspapers report new concerns about Mary Burke's campaign for governor...
A new homicide charge has been filed against a Burlington woman accused in the drug overdose death of a Waterford man.

Here are the details:

The Wisconsin Assembly gained two new Republicans today.  Bob Kulp of Stratford and Jessie Rodriguez of Franklin were sworn in.  They took their seats in time to vote on Governor Scott Walker's request to delay major changes in the state's Badger-Care health program for three months.  Kulp replaces former G-O-P Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbotsford.  Rodriguez replaces Republican Mark Honadel of South Milwaukee.  Both former lawmakers resigned in September.  Their replacements will serve for 13 months, and will run for re-election in November.  The Assembly now has a 59-39 G-O-P majority.  Only one seat remains vacant.  A special election is set for December 17th to replace former Greendale Republican Jeff Stone.  Meanwhile, the Assembly began debating the governor's special session bill this morning.  It would delay the dropping of Badger-Care until March 31st for recipients above the poverty line -- and it would delay the end of the state's insurance plan for high-risk patients by the same three months.  Walker wants those people to have more time to sign-up for Obama-care, on a Web site that's just now getting fixed after two months of problems.  Assembly Republicans opened today's debate by blaming the Obama health law.  


Wisconsin's two largest daily newspapers are reporting concerns today about Democrat Mary Burke's campaign for governor.  The State Journal of Madison said her campaign Web site fails to mention that's she's a member of the Madison School Board -- and it downplays her other connections to her home city.  Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Burke's campaign hired a grass-roots organizing coordinator who was ticketed in Racine for picketing at a private home.  Paula Zellner was fined 271-dollars, after she was among 17 protesters cited for a loud demonstration at the home of conservative donor Fred Young almost two years ago.  The fund-raiser was for G-O-P Speaker Robin Vos.  The Burke campaign did not comment on Zellner's citation.  They did say the omission of Burke's Madison School Board service on her Web site was an oversight -- and they'll add a line about her board tenure that dates back to April of last year.  Burke has been critical about the Republican status quo in Madison, but Marquette pollster Charles Franklin said it makes no sense for Burke to downplay her biggest public service post.  For now, Burke is the only Democrat challenging Republican Governor Scott Walker next fall.  Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma is considering a bid as well.


A new homicide charge has been filed against a Racine County woman accused in the drug overdose death of a Waterford man.  37-year-old Kristie Fitzgerald of Burlington was already facing drug-and-bail jumping charges.  Yesterday, she appeared in court on a new charge of second-degree reckless homicide, plus another felony bail jumping count.  Prosecutors said 53-year-old David Buchholtz bought heroin, Oxy-contin, and Sub-oxone from Fitzgerald each week.  Buchholtz died in August from an overdose.  Court records indicate that Fitzgerald was in jail before a 50-thousand dollar bond was imposed for the newest counts.  A preliminary hearing in the case is set for a week from tomorrow.  Meanwhile, it appears that Fitzgerald arranged a plea deal on her other charges.  A plea hearing is set for January 13th on three earlier counts of distributing illegal drugs, plus two earlier charges of felony bail jumping.