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Wisconsin state news briefs: Republican legislative leaders consider splitting budget into 2 bills, and more state news stories

MADISON -- Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he and the leader of the Wisconsin Senate are frustrated with the governor's refusal to negotiate on the state budget. That’s why those legislative leaders are considering the idea of splitting the Wisconsin budget into two bills.  One would deal with spending items and the other with policy items backed by Republicans. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could use his partial veto powers to rewrite the spending bill, but he would be forced to either sign or veto the entire policy bill.

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Dane County judge allows wrongful death lawsuit to move forward

MADISON -- The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a Sun Prairie firefighter will be allowed to move forward.  

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie L. Bailey-Rihn denied a motion for dismissal Monday. Fire Captain Cory Barr died in an explosion in downtown Sun Prairie July 10. His widow is suing four companies which were involved in the construction project which led to the explosion.  

Two other Sun Prairie firefighters have filed personal injury lawsuits.

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Assembly Speaker: Bill is solution looking for a problem

MADISON -- Republican legislative leaders say it's already easy to register to vote in Wisconsin.  They oppose a bill introduced by Democrats Monday which would allow for automatic voter registration when a person applies for a driver's license or state I.D.  

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the bill is a "solution looking for a problem." Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed the idea as part of his two-year budget plan. The Joint Finance Committee removed it from the budget earlier this month.

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Monroe replaces aging tornado warning sirens

MONROE -- City officials in Monroe say their 50-year-old tornado warning sirens will be replaced by Thursday. A new siren will be erected north of Highway 11 to cover a recently-developed area, including the industrial park.  

The new Federal Signal sirens will reportedly include substantial updates. As soon as they are in place, the new warning sirens will be tested.

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Republican lawmakers want to intervene in federal lawsuit

MILWAUKEE -- Republican lawmakers say they don't trust Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul to represent their interests in court.  

Two unions have filed federal lawsuits challenging the law passed in 2011 known as Act 10. It stripped almost all public workers in Wisconsin of their collective bargaining rights. Kaul is named as the defendant because he is responsible for enforcing state laws.  

Republicans say they will ask the court to let them intervene so they can defend the law.

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Woman arrested after making threats at a Madison middle school

MADISON  -- Madison police arrested a 35-year-old woman for making threats of violence in the office of a middle school.  

The woman tried to enter the school Monday morning, but she wasn't allowed on the property due to past disturbances. Witnesses say she threatened to "shoot up" the school, start it on fire, or drive her car into the front doors. She denied making the threats but was arrested for disorderly conduct and unlawful trespass. Her name hasn't been released.

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Poplar man accused of being high when he caused fatal hit-and-run

EAGLE RIVER -- A 19-year-old Poplar man faces three felony charges in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Vilas County which happened last January.  

Prosecutors say Tyler Metz was high on drugs. Paramedics found white pills and meth in a box of cigarettes in the car Metz was driving. The medical services worker tells authorities Metz asked him to throw the box away.  

The accident killed 59-year-old Timothy Boss and critically injured his daughter.

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Paramedic pleads not guilty to charges he showed up at training session drunk

WAUKESHA -- An Elm Grove paramedic could face up to nine months in prison if he is found guilty of showing up drunk for a training session while carrying a loaded gun.  Fifty-eight-year-old Jeffrey Munson reported his car had been stolen that day in March when surveillance video showed it never left the parking lot. A test found Munson's blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit. He is charged with possessing a gun while intoxicated.  Munson entered a guilty plea during a Monday appearance in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

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Dressbarn closing 650 stores nationwide

MAHWEH, N,J. -- Ascena Retail Group says it is closing 650 of its Dressbarn women's clothing stores nationwide. Company leaders say they've made the decision to begin winding down the struggling retail business.

The official store closing dates will be announced in the coming weeks, but nothing is official right now. Dressbarn has 10 locations in Wisconsin.

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Racism declared ‘public health crisis’ in Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele signed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution builds on county efforts to advance racial equity practices and change systems and institutions that affect community health.

County Board member Supreme Moore Omokunde called the resolution a positive step.

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Man drops baby while trying to run away from Madison police

MADISON -- Madison police say a man trying to run away from officers last week dropped a baby who was strapped into a car seat. The man's name hasn't been released.

Officers were trying to arrest him for allegedly pointing a gun at a woman. The victim says she had recently moved out of her home, but he broke in Friday. She and the baby both escaped injuries. The man now faces several charges.

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Sen. Johnson: Joe Biden is biggest threat to Trump re-election

OSHKOSH -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson tells Wisconsin Republicans that Joe Biden is the greatest threat to a Trump re-election campaign in this state.

The Wisconsin Republican calls Biden a "nice and likable guy," but he thinks he is wrong on the issues. Johnson says the former vice president is positioned to do well in Wisconsin, partly due to his name recognition.

He made his comments Saturday during the annual Republican state party convention in Oshkosh.

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Firefighters statewide lend a hand in Appleton

APPLETON -- While Appleton firefighters take off work to attend memorials for slain colleague Mitch Lundgaard, the city needs fire protection. In response firefighters from throughout Wisconsin have converged on Appleton to help out.

Matt Powers is a Madison firefighter who is going up with four other firefighters to provide assistance. He says all five of them at one point or another spent time as firefighters in Appleton. Lundgaard was shot and killed while responding to a call last week.

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Governor's office, Republicans spar over sexism accusations

OSHKOSH -- A spokesperson for Gov. Tony Evers says Republicans in the Legislature aren't willing to work with women. That accusation came after leaders of the Assembly and Senate told party members at the annual state convention Evers had no "point person" they could discuss issues with.  

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald calls the sexism claim "asinine," pointing out that the most powerful senator on the Joint Finance Committee is a woman. Fitzgerald says the governor's team would know that if it was engaged in budget negotiations.  

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says his communications director and policy director are both women.

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Woman charged with assaulting Milwaukee bus driver

MILWAUKEE -- A 23-year-old woman is accused of attacking a Milwaukee County Transit System bus driver. Charges were filed Saturday against Betty Roberts.

Witnesses tell police Roberts refused to pay the bus fare last Wednesday afternoon. When the driver confronted her, she allegedly became both verbally and physically abusive.  

The driver suffered minor injuries when Roberts climbed over the security shield and stabbed him.  She is charged with battery to a public transit operator while using a dangerous weapon.

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Shooting victim says 2 men confronted, shot him

REESEVILLE  -- The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says a 26-year-old gunshot victim is expected to survive. His name hasn't been released, but he is reported to be in stable condition at UW Hospital in Madison.  

The victim says two men confronted him last Thursday night in Reeseville, shot him, then ran away. Officials with the sheriff's office say they are looking for the shooters and they hope somebody will step forward with information on the case.

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Madison police investigate early Sunday incident near UW campus

MADISON -- Madison police are trying to find out more about an incident near the University of Wisconsin campus early Sunday morning.  

A 911 caller reported a shooting at about 1:15 a.m.  When officers responded, they found a woman who had been beaten. Several other people had suffered minor injuries, but nobody had been wounded.

Police say they did find a building in that neighborhood was hit by a bullet. Investigators think two groups of people were fighting.