More Money Going Out The Door
(AP) A new partnership between the state treasurer's office and the Department of Veterans Affairs is putting unclaimed property in the hands of its rightful owners. That's how the state was able to locate David Coss, a veteran from Wisconsin Rapids. Coss is a thousand dollars richer. And, in a tough economy, Coss says the extra cash is really nice. He and his wife plan to use the money to visit the veterans' memorials in Washington. The state has $411 million in unclaimed property. State treasurer Kurt Schuller says his office has been able to locate about 4,500 veterans in Wisconsin who have unclaimed property. Some of the claims may be pocket change. But, others are life changing. Schuller says he hand-delivered $750,000 to an elderly couple in Wauwatosa.
Braun's Back....Here Come The Brewers
(AP) National League MVP Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension has been overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das. The decision was announced Thursday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. An outfielder for Milwaukee, Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, and ESPN revealed the positive test in December. No reasoning was given for Thursday's decision. ``Today the arbitration panel announced its decision, by a 2-1 vote, to sustain Ryan Braun's grievance challenging his 50-game suspension by the commissioner's office,'' a statement from the players' association.
Latest Vikings Stadium Proposals
(AP) Several Republican state lawmakers are proposing a Vikings stadium plan that would drastically reduce the size of the taxpayer contribution. Sen. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes says Thursday his bill would have the state contribute $300 million from sales taxes on stadium-related purchases including tickets, concessions and parking. That's less than half the $600 million to $700 million taxpayer share under discussion in recent stadium negotiations. Vikings owners would have to make up the difference on a roughly $1 billion stadium. A Vikings spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Chamberlain's bill eliminates the state's business property tax which he says would make it easier for the Vikings to get private support for the project. He says he's trying to find a plan that can pass the Legislature.
Minnesota Lawmakers Look Through Maps
(AP) Minnesota state lawmakers are just starting to sort through options after the release this week of new state political boundaries. The redistricting maps released by a court panel Tuesday paired up 48 House and Senate incumbents. Those lawmakers are now deciding if they will run against a fellow incumbent, move to a new district or retire from the Legislature.
A few lawmakers are facing off. In southwest Minneapolis, Democratic representatives Frank Hornstein and Marion Greene say they'll run against each other in a primary. Greene says they're friends but neither wants to quit. In the Bemidji area, Republican Rep. Larry Howes and DFL Rep. John Persell will face off. A number of other paired lawmakers say they are still considering their options.
Redistricting Maps Go On Trial
(AP) After two days of delays, a federal trial is set to begin in Milwaukee in a case involving the state's latest election maps. The maps show which voters are in which voting districts. The district boundaries are adjusted every 10 years to reflect updated U.S. Census numbers. Republican lawmakers drew up the latest maps in strict secrecy last year and passed them in a GOP-led Legislature. Democrats have challenged the GOP-friendly maps for shifting the districts for hundreds of thousands of voters without a good reason. An immigrant-rights group has also sued, alleging that the boundaries divide Latino blocs, weakening their voting power. They're suing the state Government Accountability Board to prevent it from implementing the new maps. The trial starts Thursday morning. It's expected to wrap up late Friday.