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(AP) State Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers is pressing the Assembly to pass a bill that would freeze school voucher expansion. The state budget Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed last summer laid out new qualifying criteria for vouchers based on a city's size, poverty levels and per-pupil spending. The new standards made districts across Milwaukee County as well as in the city of Racine eligible. Voucher opponents fear the language could qualify schools around the state. The state Senate passed a bill in October limiting voucher participation to schools in the program when the measure takes effect. Walker has said he supports the legislation. But a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, a Horicon Republican, says Fitzgerald doesn't know if he has enough votes to pass it.
(AP) University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler says TCF Bank stadium would be ``quite adequate'' as a temporary home for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings could use the university's football stadium for up to three years if the NFL team decides to renovate and continue using the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
To host the Vikings, the Gophers would have to add seats and heat the outdoors field. University officials have said licensing and alcohol-usage policies would be negotiated, and Kaler says the university would have to work out other issues. Kaler says there would be traffic, public safety and parking concerns, but all of them would ``ultimately addressable.'' Kaler said it's still unclear how much it would cost for the university to host the Vikings.
(AP) Republican lawmakers want their constituents to decide whether a photo ID is needed at the election polls. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer and Sen. Scott Newman are proposing a constitutional amendment that would require voters to produce a photo ID. If the proposal passes the Republican-controlled House and Senate, the question would be put to voters on the November ballot. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill with a photo ID requirement last May. Dayton would have no way of blocking or changing a proposed constitutional amendment. Opponents of a photo ID requirement could disenfranchise some voters.
Of the metro areas in Wisconsin, La Crosse still has the second lowest unemployment rate. That comes from the monthly employment report released today by the state. The numbers from December show that, while metro La Crosse saw a slight uptick in unemployment rate from the month before, its 5.1 percent jobless rate is just behind that of Madison at 4.7 percent. La Crosse county also has the second lowest county unemployment rate in the state at 4.9 percent. Right behind Dane County at 4.4 percent.
The sign wars aren't over in La Crosse. An advisory referendum seeking input on billboards won't appear on the ballot in the spring. But the city's sign committee is still hatching out new rules for signs. From the sign company, Olympus Media, Mary Niemeyer says she really doesn't mind that process. Better than the referendum idea, she says
The city council this week failed to override Mayor Matt Harter vetoes on the billboard referendum and another measure related to council size.