Minnesota Lawmakers Go Back To Work
(AP) Minnesota lawmakers are returning to St. Paul for the 2012 legislative session. The state House and Senate both convene at noon Tuesday. The sessions are expected to be short and mostly ceremonial. Gov. Mark Dayton is hosting lawmakers and their families at a reception in his office. This year's session is expected to run into sometime in April. Lawmakers will debate Dayton's proposal to boost job creation with a $775 million bonding bill. Several Republican-backed constitutional amendment proposals will get a look including a requirement for a photo ID to vote and for a legislative supermajority to raise taxes. The Minnesota Vikings' push for a public subsidy to build a new football stadium is also likely to draw the attention of lawmakers.
Home Sales Up And Down
(AP) Home sales in Wisconsin rose slightly last year. But, prices for those homes dropped about 6.5 percent. Real estate experts say the sale of distressed properties are weighing on the price of existing homes, and probably will continue to do so in the near future. Real estate agents sold about 51,500 houses last year in Wisconsin up about 120 homes from the previous year.
The median price was $132,000 down from $141,000 the year before. Wisconsin Realtors Association president Mike Theo says it continues to be a buyer's market with a large inventory of homes for sale.
Walker Still Raising Money
(AP) Gov. Scott Walker says he has $2.6 million on hand to fight an effort to recall him from office. Walker reported Monday that he had that much cash on hand as of Jan. 17, the end of the current period covered by the report. That is the same day that organizers of the effort to recall him say they submitted more than 1 million signatures to force an election. They also submitted petitions to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four other Republican state senators. Walker released a statement about his report, but the actual filing was not yet posted. He had until midnight to file it. Walker says he raised $12 million since Jan. 1, 2011. He raised $2.5 million in the last three weeks of the year.
Democrats Raising Money
AP- The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is reporting that it raised nearly $400,000 since Dec. 10. The party was a leader in the circulation of petitions to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker and five others. Reports the party planned to file Tuesday with election regulators show that it raised $394,000 in the final five weeks of the recall campaign which ended Jan. 17. Over that same period, the state Republican Party reported raising about $243,000. Recall organizers say they turned in 1.9 million signatures against Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four other Republican state senators. The process of verifying those signatures is ongoing.
Walker also plans on filing an update to his campaign fundraising since mid-December. His previous report showed he raised $5.1 million as of Dec. 10.
School Investigates Internal Drug Ring
(AP) Four more employees of the Antigo School District have been suspended following a drug investigation that resulted in criminal charges against the high school football coach. The school district released a statement Monday which said three of the four employees work at the high school and include a special education teacher, a learning disabilities teacher and the director of the aquatic center. The fourth employee is an elementary school gym teacher. All will be on paid leave. The principal of Antigo West and Pleasant View elementary schools was one of three people charged last week with a marijuana distribution business in Langlade County. Forty-seven-year-old John Lund is also the high school football coach. The Antigo Daily Journal reports Lund appeared in court Monday. He will return for a preliminary hearing Feb. 9. Lund's attorney, Hank Schultz, says he plans a vigorous defense. The Wausau Daily Herald says the district has already replaced the four suspended employees.