October 5, 2015

Wisconsin GOP House members react to Boehner’s departure

Republican members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation are reacting to the news that House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is leaving Congress at the end of October. None of the members from Wisconsin are indicating any interest in the leadership post once Boehner departs.

First District Representative Paul Ryan of Janesville said in a statement that Boehner is “a great leader of the Republican Party and the House of Representatives,” and called his decision to leave “an act of pure selflessness.” Ryan is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and was the Republican candidate for vice-president in 2012.

Eighth District Representative Reid Ribble of Sherwood indicated surprise at Boehner’s announcement on Friday. “I was really surprised by it,” Ribble said. “I was with the speaker yesterday afternoon in his office. He did not mention this or even allude to it.”

Ribble said Boehner’s comments on his decision to leave were “gracious and dignified.”

“In a contentious political atmosphere where it’s nearly impossible to achieve anything, he has done an exceptional job building relationships, bridging gaps, and passing meaningful and necessary legislation,” said 5th District Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. “I wish him all the best as he turns his full attention to a far more important role, grandpa.” said 7th District Representative Sean Duffy.

Representative Ribble said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Majority Leader, appears the most likely successor to Boehner. “I think Kevin McCarthy would make an excellent Speaker,” Boehner said.

Favre humbled by fan response

QB Brett Favre - Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

QB Brett Favre – Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

GREEN BAY – Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told reporters Saturday that s much as his enshrinement to the team’s Hall of Fame means to him, the news of his ceremony selling out in 90 minutes touched him even more.

“I was absolutely in awe when I got word that it sold out in an hour and a half,” Favre said during a news conference prior to his induction banquet. “It says a lot about the whole situation. If there were ever any doubts prior to tickets going on sale, there are not anymore.

“I am more honored by that than by the Hall of Fame induction itself,” Favre said.

Favre, who was called the greatest player to ever play for the team by former Packers President Bob Harlan and Hall of Fame General Manager Ron Wolf, diffused most of the credit to his former teammates, coaches, and front office support.

“I don’t really have a message in the speech,” Favre continued, noting that while he has prepared remarks he will likely not use them. “There are so many people within this building that people don’t know…that are very important to me and are essential to me being before you right now.”

Carpenter wants Milwaukee hearing on Bucks plan

An artist's concept of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

An artist’s concept of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

State lawmakers are holding a hearing at the Capitol today on a proposal to have taxpayers help fund part of a new downtown Milwaukee arena for the Bucks NBA team. The fact that the meeting is taking place in Madison, not Milwaukee, is not sitting well with at least one Milwaukee lawmaker though.

The hearing was called late last week and will only feature testimony from invited speakers. State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) says, for a plan that could greatly impact taxpayers in Milwaukee, residents of the city should be getting more of a chance to weigh in on the proposal. “I don’t see anything wrong in coming to the voters,” argues the Milwaukee Democrat.

The plan, which the state Senate could vote on this week, would have taxpayers covering about half the cost of the proposed $500 million facility. Most of the public dollars would come from residents of southeastern Wisconsin.

GOP leaders have indicated they may need some votes from Democrats to pass the plan in the Senate. Currently, Carpenter says he has no intention of voting for the funding proposal. “Right now the plan stinks,” he says. “If they think they’re gonna gain votes by trying to force it down our throats…they have another thing coming.”

A message seeking comment from the co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, which is holding the hearing, was not immediately returned.

Brewers host Mets

The Milwaukee Brewers will observe a moment of silence tonight for former outfielder Darryl Hamilton, who was shot and killed in a Houston suburb over the weekend.

Milwaukee enters Tuesday’s game with the second-worst record in baseball (25-46), only in front of Philadelphia (25-47) by one-half game.

Tuesday night, Milwaukee will send Mike Fiers (3-7, 4.50 ERA) to the mound to face New York’s Jonathan Niese (3-7, 4.21 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10.

Lawmakers holding hearing on Wisconsin 20 week abortion ban

File photo: WRN

File photo: WRN

A fast-moving bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy is up for a hearing today at the Wisconsin Capitol.

The Assembly and Senate health committees are holding a joint hearing on the measure, which backers say they hope to pass before lawmakers take up the state budget later this month.

Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), a sponsor of the measure, has argued the law is needed to protect fetuses from being exposed to the pain of abortion, which she claims they feel at 20 weeks into a pregnancy. Opponents of the bill and several members of the medical community have said science does not support that claim.

The bill does not include an exception for rape or incest, but does provide one for cases where the life of the mother is at risk. Governor Scott Walker on Monday said he would sign the bill with or without those provisions.