WUWM News

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The 2018 governor's race continues to take shape.  Democrats are still entering -- or considering getting into -- the race.  And, Republican incumbent Scott Walker has officially launched his re-election bid.  For a look at where things stand today, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson checked in with JR Ross of wispolitics.com.

Ross says Democrats Tony Evers, Dana Wachs and Andy Gronik appear to be top-tier candidates at this stage of the game.

The biggest issues in the race will likely be Foxconn, Gov. Walker's jobs promise, transportation and education.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

A special commission representing Canada and the United States released a report Tuesday morning about efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

The group, called the International Joint Commission or IJC, has been around for over a century and is tasked with preventing conflicts between the two countries over shared waters.

The Great Lakes swallows up a lot of the commission’s attention.

John Moore/Getty Images

Milwaukee County is taking some big steps in its effort to combat opioid addiction. The county has received grants totaling more than $2.5 million to help boost two programs that help people addicted to opiates get back on their feet.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced the new grants at the Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa. He told the group that gathered that opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions. Abele says the number of deaths is staggering, and it dwarfs just about anything else in history.

Lily Merritt

There’s something new on Milwaukee’s food scene. This isn't your typical vending machine - spewing out candy bars and chips, instead it serves up from-scratch meals.

Farmer’s Fridge is the brainchild of Chicago-based entrepreneur Luke Saunders. Within the sleek machine is a collection of colorful salads and snacks. And, selections shift with the seasons.

Wisconsin could soon eliminate all clean air regulations not mandated by the federal government. On Tuesday, the Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations held a public hearing on legislation that would allow for those additional regulations to be removed. Lawmakers and the public were split over whether the change would be good for Wisconsin.

Erin Toner

Update:

Wisconsin's Elections Commission is beefing up its security measures in the wake of Russian hacking attempts in the 2016 presidential election. During a meeting in Madison Monday, the commission disclosed a draft of its plan to ensure all parties involved with elections are aware of proper security measures.

After months of waiting, the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention has released its plan to combat crime. The proposal looks to tackle violence as a public health issue. But not all city leaders are convinced the plan is moving Milwaukee in the right direction.

The city’s violence prevention plan is called the Blueprint for Peace. It was officially unveiled late last week.

Reggie Moore, the director of the Office of Violence Prevention, shared details of the proposal with aldermen on the Public Safety and Health Committee on Monday.

Alex Groth

Doctor video visits aren't new, but they are a growing form of treatment across the U.S. Aurora Health Care began treating patients via video six months ago.

Here's how it works: Patients log on to Aurora's platform and select an on-call provider. The doctor reviews a patient's health records before accepting the video call.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Problems at the state’s troubled youth prison, Lincoln Hills, continue to come to light. Complaints regarding inmate treatment have surfaced over the last two years while at the same time, reports have also surfaced about teens attacking guards. A federal probe of the facility continues.

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson broke with fellow Republican lawmakers last week.  He announced he would not vote for the tax package that many in the GOP are eager to approve.  This isn't the first time Johnson has separated himself from the pack. 

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wiscpolitics.com to share his thoughts on Johnson's actions, as part of this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Update, November 20: The Public Safety and Health Committee approved the resolution without debate at its Monday morning meeting.

Update: After this story aired, the City of Milwaukee Health Department contacted WUWM to share this information about the department's lead education efforts:

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Milwaukee community leaders are calling on Gov. Scott Walker to close the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities in northern Wisconsin. The state-run prisons have been plagued by accusations of abuse – from both inmates and guards.

Many inmates are from Milwaukee. It’s unclear whether the governor will comply with the request.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Some Democratic lawmakers are renewing a push to legalize medical marijuana. They say the move could keep people from using -- and perhaps becoming hooked on -- opioid painkillers. The fate of the proposal is uncertain, though, as long as Republicans control the Legislature.

Democratic state lawmakers trying to gain support to legalize medical marijuana held hearings in five cities this fall. Senator Jon Erpenbach and Representative Chris Taylor wanted to give the public a chance to share their thoughts about the proposal.

Marti Mikkelson

The huge Foxconn plant appears to be moving forward, now that Gov. Walker and company officials have signed a contract. There’s still a long way to go until groundbreaking, but some of Foxconn’s neighbors are already thinking about how the factory will impact their businesses.

Gov. Walker and Foxconn officials signed the contract in Racine last week, at a celebration with several hundred people. Walker, who's called the deal "transformational" for the state, touted its enormous potential.

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Mandatory minimum prison sentencing have been a hot topic as of late amongst Wisconsin lawmakers.

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