Could cheaper prescription medications for patients put the hurt on Wisconsin’s local pharmacies? A bill exempting prescription drugs from the state’s Unfair Sales Act, or “minimum markup” law passed the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare reform this week. La Crosse Democrat Jennifer Shilling voted for it, but worries what will happen to community pharmacies that aren’t located within “big box” stores. “We’ve had some cuts to the average wholesale price, we’ve done some things that were detrimental in the budget, regarding SeniorCare,” said Shilling. “This is just another nail in the coffin to them, that makes it very difficult in a profession they find very challenging.”
Archives for October 2009
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers says, despite Wisconsin’s strong outdoors heritage, too many school age kids aren’t spending enough time outdoors. Evers has asked the No Child Left Inside Coalition to develop an Environmental Literacy Plan for for Wisconsin’s pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade schools, paying special attention to creating more opportunities to get children outside.
Evers says that in addition to benefitting kids, there may be some money federal in it for the state. “If the No Child Left Inside legislation passes Congress, states that do have this type of . . . environmental education plan in place would be elegible for additional money.”
Schools would not be mandated to adopt any of the environmental education recommendations. The Department of Public Instruction also is in the process of hiring an environmental education consultant, which was approved through the 2009-11 state budget.
Wisconsinites continue to be killed by fires in which they could’ve had earlier warning. Between 2000 and 2006, 311 people in the state were killed in blazes in the home, according to a FEMA fire official.
“That’s still a significant number of people. Those were family members of someone and they’re still too high,” says Kelvin Cochran, Fire Administrator with USFA.
He cites numbers from the National Fire Protection Association, between 2003 and 2006 almost 2/3 of fire deaths in the US resulted in homes that either had no smoke alarms or had non-working alarms.
Cochran says it’s important to have working smoke detectors on every level of the home, near sleeping areas and to properly inspect them. They range in cost from $5 to $20 but Cochran says most fire departments will donate to families who cannot afford them.
Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation has purchased property in Beloit, in the midst of land designated for a casino to be built by another tribe.
Chippewa tribal spokesman Joe Hunt says it doesn’t stop the project being pursued by the tribe’s St. Croix and Bad River bands. Hunt says he hopes the two tribal councils can discuss how it will affect the casino plans. In a press release, the Ho Chunk Nation says they “have federally-recognized aboriginal ties to Beloit and the region, which is a critically important element of casino approval by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.” The Chippewa casino has been tied up in the court system, and oral arguments in a case against the federal government are expected November 13th.
WCLO’s Beth Wheelock contributed this report
The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama will be in Wisconsin on Wednesday, for a speech on education to be delivered in Madison.
The speech at J.C. Wright Middle School in Madison marks the President’s first trip to the Badger State since June, when Obama stopped in Green Bay to unveil his plans for overhauling the nation’s health care system, and his first Madison stop since the campaign.
According to the White House, Obama will meet with students, teachers and school officials and deliver remarks on strengthening America’s education system. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel with the President to Wisconsin. The speech will be by invitation only; the audience will be comprised primarily of students, teachers, parents and local officials.
Students who sign the Wisconsin Covenant could qualify for some extra money to help pay for college.
Students who get good grades and graduate high school would be able to apply for a $1,500 grant, under a plan announced by Governor Jim Doyle Friday. The grants come from the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation. [Read more…]
The chair of a committee named to consider the fate of state Representative Jeff Wood promises a deliberative process. While one member of the state Assembly was expelled during World War One, this marks the first time a Special Committee on Ethics and Standards of Conduct has been formed, under a rule first adopted in 1989. Committee chair, Rice Like Democrat Mary Hubler, says that rule spells out the process.
“All due process requires him to be able to have the opportunity to be at this committee,” says Hubler. “We will begin next Wednesday, but it will be some time, I think, before we get to the actual charges, and Representative Wood ever appearing before that committee.”
Following years of mayhem including riots, downtown Madison’s Halloween party is on its fourth year as a ticketed, city sponsored event
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says the modern version, Freakfest, has really changed in recent years.
“We have not had a serious incident at Freakfest for over four years,” says Mayor Dave.
With popular 90’s act, Third Eye Blind headlining, Cieslewicz says Freakfest is basically a music festival with costumes.
Although the State Street gathering is geared toward a college aged crowd. Mayor Dave expects the crowd to include more alum this year as it coincides with a Badger football home game.
At least 200 police officers will be on hand Saturday which 80 fewer than last year. The mayor says they actually started the scaling cops back in 2008, after the initial bump in security.
Legislation which requires consistency and accuracy when sex education is taught around the state received a public hearing at the Capitol on Thursday. Senate Education Committee member, Waunakee Democrat Jon Erpenbach, believes the measure is needed. “There is a real crisis in this state, when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases,” said Erpenbach. “So kids need to know about. I talk to my kids about it, but they need to hear it from someone other than me, and they need to hear it over and over again. That’s the only way they’re going to get this.”
There was plenty of opposition to the bill. Anne Franczyk of Milwaukee testified against the legislation. “The Bible says woe to those who lead little ones astray,” said Francyk. “It warns against teaching people into sexual immorality, and these comprehensive programs are in essence teaching kids how to engage in sexual immorality.” Franczyk said there’s too little focus on abstinence in the bill, which is known the Healthy Youth Act. One of the bill’s stated goals is a reduction in teen pregnancy and STDs, but Franzck said the legislation would undermine parental authority and local control. “It’s a very dangerous bill,” she said. [Read more…]
Wisconsin Senate Democrats have scrapped the idea of raising the state’s liquor tax to pay for a crackdown on drunk driving. Instead, they’re considering a higher fee to reinstate driver’s licenses after they’re suspended and revoked. A Senate committee endorsed a 50-cent tax hike on a bottle of booze. But Assembly leaders balked at the increase and it’s held up action on several drunk driving measures the Assembly unanimously passed a few weeks ago.
The Joint Finance Committee delayed the package this week because of the disagreement over the liquor tax. The panel will take it up again on Tuesday this time with a higher license reinstatement fee.
Senate Democrat Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa is not sure if all drivers would be subject to the increase, or just those convicted of OWI. Right now, it costs 60-dollars to reinstate a suspended or revoked license. Joe Volk of the Community Advocates group in Milwaukee said an increase would unfairly hurt the poor. Meanwhile, Sullivan says it will cost only half as much as expected to adopt the proposed drunk driving reforms. That’s because some people will avoid driving drunk so they won’t have to breathe into ignition interlocks to start their cars.
Among other things, the bill requires interlocks for all repeat offenders, and first-timers with blood alcohol levels of point-15 or higher. The bill also makes first-time OWI a criminal misdemeanor if kids are in the vehicle.