April 16, 2014

Walker stops short of committing to full second term

walkerreportersGovernor Scott Walker doesn’t appear to be committing to serve his full term if reelected. In Madison on Wednesday, the Republican governor was asked whether he’ll commit to serving his full four-year term if he’s reelected this November.

“I’m committed to run for governor again. I ran four years ago because ultimately I saw that this state wasn’t headed in the right direction,” Walker said following remarks to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

AUDIO: Governor Scott Walker :45

Walker is mentioned as potential candidate for president in 2016. “Between now and November 4th I’m going to talk about what I plan on doing in the next term, and stay focused on that” said Walker, who formally launched his campaign for reelection this week. “I love being governor, and I’m committed to being a good governor going forward.”

Walker faces Democrat Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state commerce secretary, in November.


Governor signs CBD bill

Cannabidiol, or CBD, comes from the marijuana plant. It is touted as a breakthrough treatment for kids suffering seizure disorders, and now it’s legal in Wisconsin.

While the oil comes from the same plant that produces pot, the extract has no hallucinogenic properties of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The legislation (AB-726) was introduced by Representative Robb Kahl (D-Monona) and Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) and received bipartisan support. The bill passed the Assembly last month on a voice vote and was later concurred by the Senate.

The efficacy of Cannabidiol as a medical treatment received a significant boost last year, when neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta reversed his position on medical marijuana and documented the medical benefits of marijuana in his documentary, “WEED.”

Governor Scott Walker signed55 bills into law today in private ceremonies at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Dying with dignity

Governor Walker proclaims today, April 16, Healthcare Decisions Day in Wisconsin.

It’s about dying with dignity, explains Attorney Ben Adams, who is an adviser to the State Bar Elder Law Section. “As Ben Franklin famously said, ‘The only two certain things in life are death and taxes.’ So that’s why April 16th was selected to be National Healthcare Decisions Day,” he says, “So that you can file your taxes on the 15th and then think about the end-of-life decisions that you might want made on the 16th, and plan for that.”

All individuals older than 18 are being urged to complete an advance directive, which documents their preferences about issues surrounding end-of-life decisions, including deciding to accept or refuse medical treatment, and whether to be an organ and tissue donor.

“If you don’t appoint a decision maker,” Adams explains, “someone that you feel confident will know what your values are and will be able to advocate for you if you can no longer make decisions, then who is going to make those decisions?”

Many folks feel their spouse can make their decision on their behalf, though that’s not the case in Wisconsin. Arguably, it would be easier just to die peacefully in one’s sleep, but that’s unlikely. Adams explains approximately 80 percent of people die from a lengthy illness, many of whom don’t have a health care directive.

AUDIO: The case of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo in Florida made national news in the right-to-die battle several years ago. :47

According to Adams, an estimated 80 percent of Wisconsin residents have not completed an advance directive. If you want your wishes to be met at the end of your life, it’s important to have both the documents and the conversation with family and agents.

A consumer guide can be downloaded at no charge for just one week on the State Bar’s website, starting today. Keep those documents in multiple locations — with your family, agent, medical system. If you’ve got a health issue, you might want to keep copy of your directive in your glove compartment or briefcase. Also, he says, some software allows you to make wallet-sized information to keep in your purse or wallet.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:29

Burke responds to Walker campaign launch

Governor Scott Walker launched his reelection campaign on Tuesday, and his Democratic opponent says she can do better. With the Republican incumbent falling well short of his original pledge to create 250,000 new jobs, former commerce secretary and Trek bicycle executive Mary Burke said the state is falling behind.

“Wisconsin we know is 35th in job creation in the U.S., and out of 10 midwestern states we’re ninth,” Burke said. “Worse yet is we’re near the bottom in terms of new business startups.” Burke said Walker’s “game plan has failed,” and she’ll improve access to capital investment to help existing businesses grow, and provide support for small businesses.

She said she’ll also deliver a less partisan message than Walker. “It does not have to be the type of partisan, divisive environment that Governor Walker has created,” she said. “The people of Wisconsin believe that we do our best work when we come together, and that’s the type of governor I’m going to be.”

Burke said she’s the only one in the race with actual business experience – pointing out that Walker has been a career politician.


Congressman Petri makes it official

Tom Petri (Photo: WHBY)

Tom Petri (Photo: WHBY)

A long time Wisconsin Congressman has formally announced he will not seek reelection this fall.

U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) made it official Monday, during a town hall meeting in Neenah, that he’s stepping down after more than three decades representing parts of eastern Wisconsin is the state’s 6th Congressional District. Petri said “sooner or later, you either are booted out, die, or retire and I figure 35 years is a pretty good start…no time is perfect, but this is a pretty good time.”

Petri’s office revealed last Friday that the longtime lawmaker was going to retire at the end of his current term. The news came with Petri facing at least one primary challenge from state Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), who announced a run earlier this month. State Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) announced over the weekend that he’s entering the race. State Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) is also considering running for the seat.

Petri would not say if the challenges from within his own party played a role in his decision, noting that “any decision to retire involves a hundred and one different considerations. There was no particular one thing that was worth singling out over others.”