July 5, 2015

Governor signs bill restricting GPS tracking

Sen. Jerry Petrowski (WRN photo)

Sen. Jerry Petrowski (WRN photo)

Using a GPS device to track someone’s whereabouts or their vehicle without consent would be against the law, under legislation signed into law by Governor Scott Walker this week. The legislation from state Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) is intended to provide more protections for victims from stalking and harassment.

Petrowski says the increasing ease of access to tracking technology prompted action to protect and empower victims of stalking so that they can end this invasion of their privacy. “This just puts some precautionary language in there to protect people, because it could be for stalking, it could be for a variety of things, and to make it punishable if you are putting a GPS device on somebody’s car without their knowledge.”

There are several exceptions for law enforcement and for parents keeping track of their minor children, as well as for businesses to keep track of vehicles they own that are used by employees. Police can still get a court order and businesses can install GPS devices on their own fleet of vehicles.

Petrowski says the law had to catch up with technology to help protect people’s privacy. “I think because technology has just grown through the years, that this is really something that was needed to mainly protect the privacy of people that have a car.”

The GPS law covers all devices used to track people without their knowledge, including cell phones.


Poll: Walker’s lead in Iowa shrinks

Gov. Scott Walker addresses an NRA convention in Tennessee.

Gov. Scott Walker

A new poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker holding on to a slim lead over a rapidly growing field of Republican presidential candidates, all of which are essentially tied for second.

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in June, Walker had support from 18 percent of likely Iowa Caucus goers. That’s down from 21 percent in May and 25 percent in February of this year. Poll assistant director Peter Brown notes that Walker still has the highest favorable rating among the likely candidates, and added that a lot of Iowa Caucus-goers who say they are not voting for Walker still like him.

Brown said that Walker has “strong” favorability ratings, but with 16 candidates vying for attention — it’s just “simple math” that support is shifting. “Walker is losing votes…because there are so many candidates that people are moving a little bit to Joe, a little bit to Tom, a little bit to Harry over here.”

Donald Trump and Jeb Bush are bunched in a group of six candidates vying for second place in Iowa, although both Trump and Bush have the highest unfavorable ratings in the poll.

Governor Walker has made multiple visits to Iowa this year as he considers a presidential run. He’s expected to formally announce his bid for the Republican nomination later this month.

Pat Curtis with Radio Iowa contributed this report.

Kenosha homeowner hogties suspected burglar

A Kenosha homeowner hopes the young man he hogtied and sat on until police arrived will get the help he needs after being charged with burglary.

Jerry Grover, who is the head wrestling Coach at Bradford High School, used a garden hose to tie up 22-year old Philip Tabili Junior. The criminal complaint says Grover was in his basement and heard a noise outside a window. He went upstairs and found someone hanging halfway inside a bedroom window. Grover told police he smashed a vase over the man’s head, pushed him out of the window, and then tied him up in the backyard.

Tabili is due back in court on July 1st.


Lawmakers look to close ‘loophole’ in Wisconsin drunk driving laws

Ignition interlock device (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Ignition interlock device (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

A pair of state lawmakers are hoping to address what they say is a loophole in state law on requiring some drunk driving offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicle.

The devices require a driver to breathe into a tube to prove they are sober before the vehicle will start. While a judge can order them installed on a convicted OWI offenders’ vehicle, state Rep. Dave Heaton (R-Wausau) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) says the law currently only allows someone caught driving a vehicle owned by someone else that does not have an ignition interlock device to be given a traffic citation.

Wanggaard and Heaton are introducing a bill that would try to address that loophole by creating special drivers’ licenses with “Ignition Interlock Restrictions.”

Heaton says the current law allows drunk drivers to re-offend by using somebody else’s vehicle — and the new license status would require them to use interlocks all the time, no matter which vehicles they drive. If they don’t, they would face criminal penalties for violating court orders.

Heaton says a variety of police, medical, and anti-drunk driving groups have come out in favor of the measure. He expects it to go through the committee process this summer, with action possible this fall.


Packers legend Bart Starr participating in stem cell trial


Bart Starr

The family of Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr say he’s taking part in a clinical trial using stem cells as he recovers from two strokes and a heart attack.

According to the family, Starr returned home Friday from the first of two treatments.

“While we welcome everyone’s interest and support of Bart’s health, at this time, we’d like to allow him a chance to fully participate in the clinical trial and let the results, if any, to speak for themselves,” a statement released through the Packers organization reads. “At an appropriate time in the future, our family looks forward to sharing the details of Bart’s participation in this most important clinical exploration of what role stem cells may play in the treatment of stroke.”

The statement goes on to thank fans for their love, prayers and support. The 81-year-old former Packers quarterback and coach suffered the strokes and heart attack last September.