News – January 3, 2016

Grothman On Transportation Bill


1/3/16 – One of the things former Congressman Tom Petri called for was looking for a long term way to fund the nation’s transportation projects. His successor Congressman Glenn Grothman says the latest transportation bill will fund those needs for the next five years. Grothman says the current gas tax is a fair way to fund transportation needs. He says the gas tax is the more you ride you pay and heavier vehicles like trucks are paying more because they are doing more damage to the roads. Grothman says the gas tax seems to be fairer than alternative taxes.  But he says that doesn’t mean we might not have to reexamine the issue in the future. Grothman says if cars become more fuel efficient we may have to look at something five years from now.


Local Taxation For Road Repairs Has Bi-Partisan Support


1/3/16 – State lawmakers of both parties are getting behind a bill to let county voters decide whether to increase their local sales taxes to fix streets-and-highways. The Assembly Transportation Committee recently voted 14-to-nothing to let counties add a one-half percent sales tax for road repairs, with approval from the voters every four years. State gas tax revenues have been dropping, and Representative Dean Knudson says his bill would provide a boost to counties where voters support more road funding. But there’s been almost no interest for the measure in the Senate, where some say it goes against their total opposition to tax increases. Knudson tells the Wisconsin State Journal that lawmakers would not be voting for a tax hike, because county residents could choose to generate more local road money if they want it.


Law Change Requires Vehicle Sale Report To DMV In 30 Days


1/3/16 – Under a new state law that took effect January 1, people who sell their privately-owned vehicle to another private party need to report the sale to the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles within 30 days. Melissa Burkhart with the Wisconsin DMV says to help make the process as simple as possible, people can go to the official DMV website and use the new “Seller Notify” page. “You’ll be prompted to enter the seller information, the vehicle identification number, the buyer’s information, the date of sale, and the sale amount. It’s a simple online tool that allows the seller to report the sale, but also print a receipt, email a copy, or save a copy for your records. This is really aimed at protecting vehicle sellers.” While going online is the most convenient option, Burkhart says people can also report a private vehicle sale by mailing in the appropriate DMV form or by visiting a DMV service center. The new state law applies only to individual private sales—not transactions at a dealership.


Beaver Dam Police Detail Protocol For Traffic Stop


1/3/16 – The Beaver Dam Police Department has issues with drivers not knowing when to pull over during traffic stops.  During a recent discussion on WBEV’s Community Comment, outgoing Sergeant Jake Vosters said that officers like when drivers immediately stop once the squad car lights have been turned on.  He notes that the officer will go up to the car to inform the driver if they want them to pull forward to a different location.  The sergeant says that in some instances, the driver is not being stopped when they see lights behind them.  Rather the officer is responding to an emergency incident and needs the driver to pull over to help clear a path.  Vosters says that law enforcement tends to pick out a location for the stop blocks in advance.  When a driver continues to proceed forward, he notes that the officers are typically unaware of that person’s intentions.  Vosters says that the department hopes to see increased citizen cooperation as failure to do so could lead to delays in vital situations when traveling to an emergency response scene.


Bills Seek To Record Crimes In Schools


1/3/16 – State education officials would keep track of crimes in public schools, under a pair of proposed bills. G-O-P Senate President Mary Lazich of New Berlin and Franklin Representative Ken Skowronski are asking their colleagues to co-sponsor a measure to create a pilot program. It would keep records of crimes in one urban school district, a suburban system, and a rural district. Meanwhile, Assembly Republican John Jagler of Watertown has a bill requiring private schools with tax-funded voucher students to report criminal-and-safety incidents starting in the fall of 2017. An Assembly committee held a hearing on that measure last month.


Southeast Wisconsin See’s Ninth Month Of Manufacturing Decline


1/3/16 – The manufacturing economy is in its ninth straight month of declines in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois. That’s according to a survey of purchasing managers by Marquette University and the Milwaukee chapter of the Institute of Supply Chain Management. The seasonally-adjusted index for December is 48-point-five-three — an improvement from the November index of 45-point-three four. Anything below 50 reflects a decline, while anything above 50 signifies growth in the manufacturing market. Half of the companies surveyed expect conditions to stay about the same in the first six months of the New Year, while 42-percent expect things to get better.


Land Preservation At Wisconsin River Headwaters


1/3/16 – More nature land is being preserved at the headwaters of the Wisconsin River near the state’s border with Upper Michigan. Almost one-thousand-50 acres are being added to the state’s Forest Legacy program, thanks to new easements approved by the D-N-R near Land O’Lakes. The land includes two miles of pristine habitat along the Wisconsin River, where the Kirtland Warbler and other species will be protected. The entire parcel will be open to non-motorized public access, with new bike trails possible. Conservationist Joe Hovel and Land O’Lakes businessman Gary Goska provided 265-thousand dollars of land value toward the project — and the D-N-R’s Stewardship Fund covered the remaining 745-thousand.


Dodge County Land Conservation Still Offering Trees


1/3/16 – Trees and shrubs are still available as part of the Small Packet Tree sales program in Dodge County. The Land Conservation Department is offering several species of trees for sale for the 2016 planting season, including red and white Oak, White Cedar, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Sugar Maple, Fraser Fir and American Cranberry Bush. Trees and shrubs are sold in bundles of 25 for $25 per bundle. Officials say there are limited amounts of some species, so early orders are encouraged. Orders will be accepted through January 29. For more information contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department at 386-3660 or go to