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Jennifer Shilling says she had in mind something more job-related. The La Crosse democratic state rep says that's what she expected in the legislative special session that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker called shortly after getting sworn in this month. That's why she's not a big fan of one of the first measures passed in the session: a tax credit for health savings accounts. Shilling says, the measure comes with a fiscal estimate of $48 million for the state. She wonders what parts of government will have to be cut to pay for the new tax credit. No ideas from Republicans on that one yet, she says. Walker signs the HSA bill and tort reform legislation into law today. His first bill signings as governor.
No teeth yet to enforce it, but a state law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in single and double family homes goes into effect on February first. From the La Crosse fire department, Lieutenant Craig Snyder says he often sees the detectors in homes right now. Plenty of times though, says Snyder, those detectors are old and ineffective or there just aren't enough of them. Although the CO mandate is set to go into effect next week, Snyder says, right now, there's no penalty that's scheduled to accompany the law.
Next step in the La Crosse mayor's ethics investigation: The penalty phase. Last week, the city's ethics board found mayor Matt Harter had, in fact, used his position to try and gain special privileges for his family's garbage hauling business through meetings with the county solid waste director. Although not required to do so, the board recommended no punishment for the mayor, saying that the mayor will go through enough public reprimand after the release of the findings of the investigation. Coming up, the city council's judiciary and administration will decide if a penalty hearing is needed. If so, a hearing would be held in front of the city council. It's the council that will determine punishment. Could mean removal from office.
For the second time in three years, organizers of the Deke Slayton Airfest have decided to take a summer off.
The aviation festival was planned for this May at the La Crosse Airport, but Airfest spokesman Ron Schmal says their plans have to take a back seat to runway construction.
The weekend chosen for the Airfest this year was the only weekend that the Blue Angels squad was available to come to La Crosse in 2011. The Airfest also was called off in 2009, partly because a precision flying team could not be booked for the festival.
Yes, he violated part of the city's ethics code. No, he shouldn't be punished for it. That's the conclusion of La Crosse's ethics board in response to a complaint filed against mayor Matt Harter. The board says there's clear and convincing evidence that the Mayor tried to use his position to help benefit his family's business, Harter's Quick Clean-up. That evidence, the board says, comes from two meetings with the county's solid waste director, the last one with Harter's father. The ethics board says it was that last meeting that was their primary evidence that he crossed ethical lines. Although the board is not required to propose punishment, members say the public ridicule and scrutiny Harter has faced so far should be considered punishment enough. The board does, however, recommend that Harter maybe take some classes on ethics.