Redistricting Goes To Court
(AP) Lawyers in a federal case over the legality of Wisconsin's election maps have dropped several of their claims, leaving two issues on the table. The trial entered its second and final day Friday in Milwaukee. Democrats and an immigrant-rights group are suing to prevent the state elections board from conducting elections based on the new maps. The plaintiffs dropped several allegations, including a claim that Assembly districts had been drawn inappropriately in predominantly black neighborhoods. A panel of three judges is considering two remaining issues. One is whether the maps deprived Latinos of their constitutional rights, and the other is whether some 300,000 Wisconsin voters were needlessly moved into and out of districts, delaying when they could vote in a Senate election.
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.
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.
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.