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Governor Scott Walker says he's open to incorporating some of the ideas from a Democratic-controlled mining committee into a bill the legislature considers this year.A mining panel chaired by Janesville Democratic Senator Tim Cullen met for hours on end in 2012, hearing testimony from geologists, environmentalists and mining industry representative including Walker administration consultant Tim Sullivan.  At the end, Senator Cullen unveiled a plan that would set a two-year permitting process for mines with a chance for pauses in between.Governor Walker says when the legislature reconvenes, it should still start with a Republican bill that already passed the powerful Joint Finance Committee last session.  But from there, Walker says he's open to changes."I'm not saying that should be the final version," Walker says. "I think what they could do is take some of the things that Senator Cullen's committee looked at.  Take some of the things that Tim Sullivan has talked about and the mining association and others have talked...

Two state lawmakers say they will try to pass legislation cracking down on drunk driving in the next session. Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling plan to introduce bills that would, among other things,require first-time offenders to appear in court, make a third conviction a felony, and establish mandatory minimum sentences for drunken drivers who cause injuries or death. Steve Riffel is the Public Safety Director for Sheboygan Falls and President of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association. He wouldn't comment specifically on the legislation because he hasn't seen language. But, Riffel says, there is room for improvement in state law. “I think getting people introduced into the system even at the first time level whether its a criminal offense or not a criminal offense but making it mandatory that they appear in court, mandatory that they go through an assesment," he says.  "Things like that certainly cannot hurt.Ott and Darling tried to pass similar legislation in the last session. That...

The recall election for the La Crosse City Council president has been set. Audrey Kader has served on the La Crosse City Council for almost 20 years. She represents a middle-class district close to downtown that includes Viterbo University.Although Kader ran unopposed in the last election, she may face some competition at the end of January. That’s when the City Council set her recall election.The Restore La Crosse Committee is driving the recall and has ties to the local Tea Party group. Member Greg Luce says they disagree with Kader's failed attempt to establish a city administrator and effort to change public comment rules at meetings.“She’s the most divisive woman in city politics," he says.  "She’s a part of group of micro-managing control freaks that need to be stopped.”Luce says the group may also try to recall other members of the City Council.Kader says she’s served her district well and she’ll defeat the recall one way or another.Challengers have until...

Despite what has been called a status quo election, the 113th Congress will bring with it generational changes and some history, including the first all-female delegation for a state, and the fewest number of military veterans since World War II. Here are some of the noteworthy newcomers.

Governor Scott Walker is downplaying his interest in running for president in 2016 even as he tells prominent Republicans that governors are best suited to hold the nation's highest office.  When national pundits name the likely Republican candidates for President in 2016, Walker makes some lists and not others.  But at a recent speech to a Republican audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, it was Walker who volunteered that presidents should be vice presidents or governors first."And it's why up until the 2008 election, the last member of Congress we had elected to the Presidency was 1960 with John F. Kennedy," he said.  "There've been plenty that tried throughout there, but I think in the end, Americans understand that more often than not, not just based on party, you're better off with someone who's been proven and tested as a chief executive."Walker's not the first to make this suggestion, but his circumstances are different than most.  His...

All Things Considered

President Obama's re-election wasn't the only noteworthy news of 2012. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Newsweek/Daily Beast correspondent Michael Tomasky about the biggest political stories of 2012.

Some of Wisconsin's rural counties have the most to gain under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report by a health care advocacy group.  The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families analyzed census data to break down how many Wisconsin residents are uninsured and where they're from.  The Council's Jon Peacock says that as a percentage of their total populations, five of the top six counties for uninsured residents were rural counties. "And I suppose that shouldn't really come as a huge surprise," he says.   "A lot of farmers have a heck of a time getting health insurance.  And a lot of other people in rural counties work for small businesses who are unable to offer affordable health insurance."The top county for uninsured adults below 400-percent of the federal poverty level was Clark County, where nearly 18-percent of residents are uninsured.  The only non-rural county in the top six was Milwaukee County, Wisconsin's urban center.The breakdown...

Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz recaps a whirlwind year in politics for the Badger State, which experienced a total of six statewide elections throughout the course of 2012.

Here and Now

UW-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee looks back on the year that was for Wisconsin politics and offers his predictions for 2013.

Wisconsin is one of 23 states being rewarded by the federal government for providing healthcare to low income kids. The state is receiving what could amount to a $32 million dollar bonus.

Several Democratic state lawmakers say they'll introduce bills that would ban assault rifles and so-called "maximum damage" bullets in Wisconsin to prevent shootings like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But Gov. Scott Walker says the state should focus on improving Wisconsin's mental health system.

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