November 25, 2014

Push for Obamacare enrollment

openenrollMonday saw a push for Obamacare enrollment in Madison and Dane County, with the deadline approaching for people to sign up or shop for a new plan at Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin – who while serving in the U.S. House helped to write the Affordable Care Act – said Obamacare has been a success in Wisconsin, with 139,000 people signed up as of May of this year.

“This time we did something different with the website. First off, we made sure it worked,” joked U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, refering to the well-documented problems with the federal website. “It is faster, it is simpler, it is more intuitive.”

Oma Vic McMurray, a family daycare provider in Madison, shared her Obamacare story. “The Affordable Care Act isn’t just improving my access to health care. It has made my life much more humane,” she said.

With the second year of sign ups for the Affordable Care Act underway, Wisconsin residents who don’t have insurance are being urged to take advantage of the federal marketplace. Even if already signed last year, you can go onto  to shop for a better plan this year. The deadline is December 15th.

Wisconsin opening weekend deer hunt numbers down

Numbers were down significantly for the opening weekend of deer hunting in Wisconsin. Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says 90,281 deer were registered in Wisconsin during the opening weekend of the nine-day season, compared to last year’s of about 110,000.

Conditions varied widely around the state, but were far from ideal across much of central and west Central Wisconsin. “A lot of that country saw rain and fog. Not trying to make excuses, but there are things that influence people’s’ ability to see deer.”

And in the north, where the DNR is trying to rebuild the herd, there were no doe tags issued this year. Nearly 1500 deer were registered by hunters selected to participate in the pilot program for an electronic registration system that will be available to all hunters in 2015. It was a safe weekend – there were no reports of injuries.

Baldwin says House can still act on immigration

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says the House can still act on immigration reform – if chooses to. The Wisconsin Democrat said President Barack Obama acted on the issue because House Republicans chose not to.

“Today marks the 512th day since the U.S. Senate passed, on a bipartisan basis, comprehensive immigration reform, and so any cry of ‘not enough time’ strikes me as disingenuous,” Baldwin said.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan told the Washington Post that House Republicans only needed a few more weeks. “We’ve gone to the president and said, ‘Give us time to do immigration reform, to work on the issue this year. We want to get this done.’ And this is the reaction he has to that? He had two years with a super-majority of his own party, and he didn’t lift a finger. And now he won’t give us a few weeks?”

“We still have some days left before the end of the year, and I would certainly urge the House of Representatives to act,” Baldwin said. “These are prioritizations that the president has announced. But the only real solution – as he said – is for Congress to step up. It’s time for the House to act.”

U.S. Senate confirms Pamela Pepper as U.S. district judge for Eastern District of Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators are both pleased by the appointment of Judge Pamela Pepper as U.S. Federal District Judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Pepper, of Milwaukee, was confirmed Thursday by the Senate to replace Charles Clevert.

The 50-year-old Pepper was appointed by President Obama in May, one of three candidates recommended by a state selection panel headed by Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin. She was a federal prosecutor and a private defense lawyer before becoming a federal bankruptcy judge in 2005. She’ll soon leave her post as Milwaukee’s chief bankruptcy judge.

Johnson said Pepper’s intellectual curiosity and adherence to the rule of law would serve the people of Wisconsin’s eastern district well. Baldwin said Pepper will be an “outstanding judge.” She was among 20 judicial nominees that Democrats were trying to confirm before the current session ends next month. Had she not been approved by then, Pepper would have had to go through the complete confirmation process again.

‘Almost incomprehensible’ – Kenosha man charged in 11 month-old child’s death

Russell Rose (Photo: Kenosha Police)

Russell Rose (Photo: Kenosha Police)

Bond has been set at a million dollars for a Kenosha man accused of the violent murder of his 11 month-old daughter on Tuesday. The accused, 34 year-old Russell Rose, allegedly told police that he killed the child to “rid her of the evil inside her” and to “destroy what he created.”

At Rose’s initial appearance Thursday, Court Commissioner Jon Mason called the shear brutality of the crime almost incomprehensible. “The descriptions of the injuries suffered by the child . . . presents an overwhelming case of brutality and cruelness by this defendant, if these allegations are true,” Mason said.

Rose is accused of slamming his daughter, Serenity, to the ground several times during an altercation with the child’s mother, as well as choking and punching the woman and kicking her down a flight of stairs. After a neighbor confronted him, Rose is accused of setting a fire in his apartment. He suffered burns in the fire. Lampy remains hospitalized.

“It never ceases to amaze me, in my years of doing this business, mans inhumanity to man,” said Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf. “The whole community is suffering with the family.”