Wisconsin Republican Senate leader floats tax cut idea

September 24, 2019

MADISON The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate who last week announced he is running for Congress is raising the possibility of cutting taxes next year.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in an interview broadcast Sunday on WISN-TV that he thinks the Legislature will be able to cut taxes next year. He says the Legislature could tap additional tax revenue the state is projected to collect.

Fitzgerald made the comments just days after he launched his bid for Congress in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, which includes conservative northern and western Milwaukee suburbs.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said in May when the projection for additional revenue was first made that most of it should be kept in reserves in case of an economic downturn.

$1 million Wisconsin election security grant program eyed

MADISON Wisconsin communities could apply for money to bolster election security under a $1.1 million grant program being proposed by the state agency in charge of elections.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission board was to vote Tuesday on approving the new grant program. It would be funded with federal money.

The move to create the grant program comes after the commission last month rejected the idea of buying scores of new loaner computers for local clerks using outdated systems open to cyberattacks.

Instead, all Wisconsin municipalities and counties could apply for up to $1,200 each to make security upgrades. The money could be used for such things as purchasing new computers, upgrading operating systems and paying for technical support.

Groups representing local election clerks support the program as Wisconsin tries to strengthen security ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Conservatives decry school district's gender identity policy

MADISON, Wis. A conservative group has asked a Madison School District to repeal a policy that prohibits staff from telling parents if their child is transitioning genders at school, unless they have that student's permission.

The guidance document went into effect last school year, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.

Rick Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said the policy instructs employees to deceive students' families.

"Whether there's any aspect of the policy that can remain in place, there might be," Esenberg said. "I'm not entirely sure that it is the school district's job to take positions on things called the gender-binary. But our concern here, the thing that we're concerned with as a legal organization, is the exclusion of the parents."

Sherie Hohs oversees the district's LGBT student support services. Hohs said outing students to families who may not accept their transition could have "devastating effects on their safety."

There will be times when we will follow that student's lead, Hohs said. "And if it's not the right time to involve family and because we want all students to feel safe and welcomed ... we're going to use their affirmed names and their pronouns, and we're going to get their consent on where those can be shared."

She said about 4% of Madison school students identified in a 2018 survey as transgender or nonbinary, or they rejected static gender identities altogether. People are nonbinary if their gender identity is not strictly male or female.

The guide also requires staff to communicate with family using the name and gender of a student in the district's information system. Students who are transitioning can change their names and genders in the system with a guardian's permission.

"Our students are coming out, and they're coming out earlier, and we're going to be there for them," Hohs said.


Associated Press