MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers is
urging President Donald Trump to end his trade wars with
other countries because they're hurting Wisconsin farmers.
Evers, a Democrat, sent
Trump a letter Monday asking him to end the disputes. He
says Wisconsin farmers are suffering a "triple
whammy" of trade uncertainty, low commodity prices
and bad weather.
The state Democratic Party
held a news conference earlier Monday to criticize Trump
on the one-year anniversary of a tweet in which the
president called for a boycott of Harley-Davidson
Trump made the tweet after
the Milwaukee-based company it was moving production of
motorcycles sold in Europe to facilities outside the U.S.
Harley-Davidson blamed tariffs the European Union imposed
in retaliation for tariffs Trump imposed on a host of EU
Evers differ in response to shootings
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republicans who
continue to largely dismiss Democratic Gov. Tony Evers'
call to pass gun safety legislation introduced a series
of bills Tuesday designed to bolster mental health
services in the state, a move they said was not in
response to recent mass shootings.
Evers has called for the Republican-controlled
Legislature to pass universal background checks and a
"red flag" law that would establish a process to take
guns away from people determined to be a threat to
themselves or others. But Republican legislative leaders
have either dodged questions about whether they support
such ideas or refused to answer, instead emphasizing the
need to improve mental health services.
On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Tittl, chairman of the Assembly's
mental health committee, was the latest Republican to
refuse to answer questions about whether he supports a
universal background check. And he said a package of
mental health bills that he and other Republican
lawmakers and advocates unveiled was part of a
years-long push to improve mental health services and
not a response to the shootings this month in Texas and
Ohio that left 31 people dead.
Tittl noted that he first served on a legislative task
force on mental health in 2013.
"We have cared all along about mental health," Tittl
said. "This is not a reaction at all to any of the
shootings. This is basically a reaction to what we're
The bills would make grants available for mental health
centers and nonprofits across the state as a way to
ensure services are available; provide a $100,000 income
tax deduction for psychiatrists and double for those in
more rural, underserved areas to entice more of them to
work in Wisconsin; and update standards and practices
for psychologists. Those who spoke in support of the
measures at a Capitol news conference included a person
who said he's been battling mental illness for more than
25 years, the leader of the state Boys & Girls Clubs and
the head of a Painting Pathways Clubhouse that provides
mental health services.
Last week, Evers called Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to discuss
passing the "red flag" and universal background check
bills. Evers and Vos were scheduled to meet on
Wednesday, while a meeting with Fitzgerald had not yet
been scheduled, the governor's spokeswoman Melissa
Vos said last week that he hoped to find common ground
with Evers on mental health issues, which he called the
"real problem," and not taking away rights of gun
owners. Fitzgerald has not committed to taking any
action, but like Vos he has been skeptical of universal
background checks and "red flag" laws in the past.
Vos and Fitzgerald, appearing together at a forum
Tuesday, did not name the background check or "red flag"
bills as priorities for the remainder of the legislative
session. Vos repeated that he did not want to take away
Second Amendment rights. Instead, Vos said he wanted to
focus on topics that will bring Republicans and
Democrats together such as water quality, increasing
adoptions and suicide prevention. Fitzgerald said he
wants to work on criminal justice reform and issues
facing the state prison system.
But Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz
said lawmakers should do "anything possible" to combat
gun violence. He said Democrats will introduce those two
bills and were hoping for bipartisan support.
Republicans have been wary to talk about gun control
measures since the shootings. Last week, Republican Sen.
Jerry Petrowski dodged questions about whether he would
support universal background checks, saying he would
have to see the bill first. But Petrowski, like many
Republicans, said he thinks the emphasis should be on
mental health services.
Vos says Republicans want
veto-proof majority in Assembly
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republican
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to grow the GOP
majority to a veto-proof level following the 2020
Vos said at a forum Tuesday organized by Wisconsin
Manufacturers and Commerce that his goal is to grow the
number of Republicans from the current 63 to 67. That
would be enough to override vetoes by Democratic Gov.
Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz conceded that
Democrats will not be able to overtake the majority next
year. He blames Republican-drawn maps with giving them a
majority that Democrats can't break.
But Vos says it's the quality of candidates, not the
maps, that benefit Republicans.
In the Senate, Republicans hold a 19-14 majority and
Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he expects that to
hold or grow by one next year.