Budget panel approves stiffened conceal-carry bill; former Minong boat dealer sentenced, more state newsLegislation that would allow Wisconsin citizens who have passed a firearms safety course to carry a concealed weapon was approved Thursday by Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee. Also, so-called "zombie" protestors in Madison were criticized when they joined another cause to which they weren't invited.
MADISON -- A majority of Joint Finance committee members voted Thursday to advance a bill which would permit Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons if they've obtained a permit and completed required training. The 12-4 vote followed strict party lines.
Permits would be issued by law enforcement to residents aged 21 or over who have no felony convictions, pass a background check and complete an approved training class.
The legislation approved is more strict than some gun advocates had wanted. Under the so-called "constitutional carry" permitted in four states, gun owners would be allowed to carry weapons without permits or training.
Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states have outright bans on carrying concealed weapons, and gun rights advocates have long tried to overturn Wisconsin's ban.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that permits would cost about $50 and be good for five years. To obtain one, people would have to offer proof they have passed a course on firearms training, firearms safety or hunter safety.
The names of those who hold permits would not be a public record.
People with permits from other states could carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin as long as their home state also required training and background checks.
Former Minong boat dealer sentenced
MADISON -- A former northwestern Wisconsin boat dealer has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for a trio of fraudulent schemes.
Leonard Kolschowsky, 68, pleaded guilty in late March for making false statements on a loan application for boats allegedly sold. He admitted causing almost a $1 million in losses connected with the loan application and other acts of fraud starting in 2000.
Prosecutors said it included defrauding financial backers of his Boat Depot business in Minong – and hiding property belonging to creditors in a bankruptcy scheme.
Officials said Kolschowsky was in the process of negotiating a plea deal in 2003, but he fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution. He was arrested in Brazil almost three-and-a-half years ago.
Federal Judge William Conley of Madison said Kolschowsky not only delayed justice by fleeing, but he left business partners quote, “holding the bag” for their losses.
'Zombie' protestors spurned by other groups
MADISON -- Some of the 12 people arrested for a silent demonstration in a legislator’s office yesterday also protested the governor at an event for the Special Olympics.
Matt Guidry of the United Council of UW Students confirmed the link today but he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his group had nothing to do with the demonstration in Madison where the governor was celebrating the law enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Guidry said protesting Walker at yesterday’s Special Olympics event quote, “doesn’t make us look good.” But it was apparently a different story when the 12 zombie demonstrators were hauled out of Assembly Republican Robin Vos’s office after refusing orders to leave.
Guidry called that event a “die-in.” He said it was meant to protest the law that makes Wisconsin voters show photo ID’s at the polls and the Joint Finance Committee’s decision to scrap federal funds to expand rural Internet services.
Special Olympics’ spokeswoman Rachel Grant told the Journal Sentinel her group was nervous when the demonstrators first arrived but she said they were peaceful, and things turned out for the best.
Janet Ramsey of the state’s largest employees union said such protests don’t help groups like hers, as they rally against proposed limits on their collective bargaining. Ramsey said the zombie protestors were just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.
Parents of youngsters with disabilities rallied at the State Capitol Thursday morning against new limits on services which keep disabled people working.
Those limits are part of a budget measure by Republican Governor Scott Walker to freeze enrollments in Family-Care and other programs aimed at helping the elderly and disabled. The parents say waiting lists would grow – and their kids would not be able to make proper transitions from high school to work. Some called the proposed limits immoral.
Walker said it would help the state get rid of its current budget deficit without building up a new shortfall for the following budget, like other governors have done in the past.
Both houses of the Legislature are expected to take up the budget next week. The Assembly will take up discussion Tuesday.