NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Friday, May 19, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Wisconsin Senate and Assembly Republicans are at odds over a key ingredient of a proposal long sought after by local governments, first responders and others that would significantly boost state aid to pay for essential services.

The Assembly passed a wide-ranging bill Wednesday, following months of closed-door negotiations, that would increase aid at least 15% for all local governments in the state and give Milwaukee city and county the ability to raise additional revenues if voters approve higher sales taxes. Milwaukee city and county leaders oppose that provision, which appears to also be a sticking point between Assembly and Senate Republicans.

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said Thursday that the Senate will likely remove that provision, and make other unspecified changes, when it votes on the bill, likely in early June.

The Senate and Assembly must approve the same bill before it would go to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who on Wednesday said he was confident that a bipartisan compromise could be reached.

But Vos told The Associated Press that the Assembly would not pass a bill that does away with the vote requirement for Milwaukee.

“That could unfortunately kill the bill and all of our good work,” Vos said. “Requiring voter approval for enacting a new tax, which was included in the original Evers proposal, should not be all that controversial.”

Vos said on Wednesday he was “done negotiating” on the bill.

The bill would increase funding to counties, cities, towns and villages by $261 million — at least a 15% increase for everyone — over the next two years, but that could only be spent on police and fire protection, emergency medical services, emergency response communications, public works and transportation. The city and county of Milwaukee would see a 10% increase, but could ask voters for more.

Under the bill, Milwaukee could levy a 2% sales tax, and Milwaukee County could add 0.375% sales tax to its current 0.5% sales tax.

—WI Associated Press

As Republican state lawmakers consider limiting future University of Wisconsin System tuition increases for residents, UW officials say most campuses cannot meet ongoing expenses with current revenues.

The UW System Board of Regents raised tuition for undergraduates from Wisconsin by around 5 percent in March. It was the first such increase in a decade, following a tuition freeze first passed by GOP lawmakers that went into effect in 2013.

During a public hearing Thursday, before the Assembly’s Committee on Consumer Protection, State Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, and State Sen. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, testified on their bill to limit future tuition and student fee increases to the rate of inflation.

Murphy said there should be guardrails protecting students and families from future spikes. He pointed to examples where regents approved significant tuition hikes following previous freezes in 1967 and 1999. Data from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows tuition increased by 33 percent between the 2006-2007 academic year and the 2012-2013 academic year.

“So, if people tell you that this can’t happen, it most certainly can,” Murphy said.

Jacque said the bill would provide predictability for students by preventing the UW System from being able “to balance the budget on the backs of students.”

Committee member Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, D-Milwaukee, asked Murphy and Jacque if they knew why UW raised tuition by so much.

“I don’t want to get political with this,” Murphy said. “In one of these periods, (former Democratic) Gov. Doyle cut the (UW) budget $250 million. I don’t want to go there, because (former Republican Gov.) Scott Walker cut the budget $250 million also.”

That second cut came in 2015, when tuition was frozen. That forced UW campuses to spend down tuition reserves and cut staff to make up the difference.

UW System Vice President for University Relations Jeff Buhrandt and UW System Vice President for Finance and Administration Sean Nelson testified against the proposed cap on tuition and fees.

Burhrandt said, excluding UW-Madison, state universities have reduced their workforces by around 900 positions over the past 10 years.

“Our comprehensive campuses and UW-Milwaukee have made significant cuts to keep under these fiscal constraints,” Buhrandt said.

—WI Public Radio

Republicans are putting their money with their mouth is when it comes to holding President Joe Biden and his Cabinet accountable. On Thursday morning, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) announced that she was filing articles of impeachment against the president, but he’s not the only one. She’s also filed impeachment articles against FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and U.S. Attorney Matthew, as part of what she is calling Impeachment Week.

During her press conference, the congresswoman referred to the Biden administration as “America last” and argued that it “has been working since January 20, 2021, to systemically destroy this country,” specifically when it comes to how his handling of illegal immigration.

“Joe Biden has deliberately compromised our national security by refusing to enforce immigration laws to secure our border, allowed approximately 6 million illegals from over 170 countries to invade our country, deprived border patrol of the necessary resources and policies sufficient to protect our country,” MTG explained. “And his administration has willfully refused to maintain operational control, as required by the law.”

She went on mention concerns with fentanyl, which she acknowledged was “the number one killer between the ages of 18 and 45 to overwhelmingly flood into our country and kill around 300 Americans, every single day.” She also referenced how his administration “has lost complete contact with approximately 85,000 unaccompanied illegal alien children and his policies have forced tens of thousands of illegal children into slave labor,” wondering, “Where are these kids?”


An illegal immigrant has now been accused of raping a teenage girl in Prattville, Alabama. This comes after the man was released into the United States at the southern border by President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), per Breitbart.

The man, Grevi Geovani Rivera Zavala, is a native of Honduras, and has recently been arrested and charged with first-degree rape of a teenage girl. As a result, the illegal immigrant will be placed in jail in Autauga County, according to court documents.

A court deposition drew out the details of the horrific event, stating that Zavala had forced the victim into a bathroom stall in a restaurant located on Cobbs Ford Road. It was then that he held her down and raped her, per WSFA 12.

District Attorney CJ Robinson suggested that the teenage victim did not know Zavala leading up to the attack – that it was a random attack. However, Zavala had a criminal record in Honduras, according to a statement made by Robinson. Zavala was apparently detained at the Texas border in 2021, using a different name, but he was later fingerprinted and released into the US.

Robinson said: “This rape never should have happened.”

—The Post Millennial

An eight-year-old migrant girl suffered a “medical emergency” and died at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Texas. This is the second death of a migrant child while in the Biden administration’s custody this month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced on Wednesday that an eight-year-old girl suffered what is described as a “medical emergency” while in Border Patrol custody with her family in Harlingen, Texas. Border Patrol officials called an ambulance which transported her to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to a written statement released by CBP on May 17.

This is the second death of a migrant child in the custody of the Biden administration in one week. On May 10, a 17-year-old Honduran boy died in his sleep while in the custody of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services facility in Safety Harbor, Florida, Breitbart Texas reported.

—Breitbart News

At least 16,183 people say they’ve developed tinnitus after receiving a COVID-19 shot.

Reports were filed with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database. But considering only between 1 percent and 10 percent of adverse reactions are ever reported to VAERS, the actual number is likely much higher.

Tinnitus causes a perception of sound in the ear without an external source. While the sound is often described as “ringing in the ears,” it can also be a whistling, buzzing, hissing, clicking, swooshing, or roaring sensation. In rare cases, it can even sound like music. An estimated 10 percent to 25 percent of adults, as well as children, suffer from tinnitus of varying degrees.

Of the approximately 25 million Americans who live with tinnitus, 5 million have chronic tinnitus that’s burdensome while 2 million describe the condition as debilitating.

—The Epoch Times

A growing number of older adults say they can’t afford their prescription medications, a study published Thursday in JAMA Network Open found.

About 1 in 5 adults ages 65 and up either skipped, delayed, took less medication than was prescribed, or took someone else’s medication last year because of concerns about cost, according to the study.

“That was pretty surprising,” said lead study author Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. A study published in the journal Medical Care found that in 2016 about 1 in 7 older adults were not taking their medication as prescribed because of cost.

“So a pretty big jump,” Dusetzina said.

The study’s findings were based on a national survey taken by more than 2,000 older adults from June 2022 through September 2022.

Dusetzina attributed the increase to rising inflation and prescription drug costs, which are notoriously high compared to other countries of similar size and wealth.

The study may not reflect the experience of younger individuals, she said, although other studies have shown they also struggle to pay for certain medications, like insulin.

More than 8% of respondents said they went without basic needs — like gas and groceries — to afford their medication, while 4.8% of respondents said they went into debt to get their medication.

—NBC News

Former NFL Quarterback Brett Favre weighed in on the debate over transgender individuals competing in athletic competitions during an appearance on the Jason Whitlock show Tuesday.

Favre, a Super Bowl champion, made the comments as the debate over transgender-identified biological males competing in female sports competitions rages on. Several males have made national headlines for taking top honors from female athletes.

“To think that a young man who identifies as a girl, I don’t understand, but just hear me out, can go into a girl’s bathroom and use the restroom with girls and for us to think that’s ok, I think is wrong. That’s just a small example,” Favre said.

“I just think some things we’re allowing in this country are beyond belief.”

—The Daily Caller


The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government heard critically important testimony from multiple FBI whistleblowers yesterday. These men are heroes and patriots.

One of the most egregious abuses that the whistleblowers exposed is how the FBI, under pressure from the Biden White House, was inflating domestic terrorism cases. Consider this example:

• Two buses with 140 people traveled from the Boston area to Washington, D.C., to participate in legally protected rallies on January 6th.

• But because two people from that group later entered the Capitol Building, the FBI’s Washington Field office ordered the FBI’s Boston office to launch domestic terrorism investigations on all of the remaining 138 people.

• Thus, two cases of “domestic terrorism” suddenly turned into 140 cases.

This “process” was repeated by other FBI field offices, so that one event in Washington, D.C., on January 6th, suddenly turned into hundreds of “domestic terrorism” investigations all over the country.

Of course, the “lamestream” media will likely ignore this testimony, proving yet again that we do not have a free and independent press. Our media is little more than the state propaganda arm of the Biden/Harris regime.

The opening statement of the ranking Democrat, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), was very revealing. It not only set the stage for the antics of her leftist colleagues, it also exposed the mindset of the left and why this very committee even exists at all. She said:

“This hearing is evidence that MAGA Republicans are a threat to the rule of law in America… This is defund the police on steroids.”

She also attacked the witnesses as “threats to our national security, who out of malice or ignorance, put partisan agenda above their oath to protect this country and its national security.”

This is how the left now views conservatives — as threats to democracy, threats to America, as “domestic terrorists” who must be rooted out.

Whether you’re a parent at a school board meeting, a pro-life activist. a conservative Catholic attending mass or a dedicated public servant — You (and your values) are enemies of the neo-Marxist state and you must be crushed.

I have made this point before, but it bears repeating again: The real threat to democracy and to our constitutional Republic is not a few yahoos trespassing in Nancy Pelosi’s office or the business of Congress being delayed a few hours.

Don’t misunderstand me: What happened inside the Capitol Building on January 6th was terrible. It never should have happened. And anyone who assaulted a police officer and destroyed public property should be prosecuted.

But that’s nothing compared to what the American people suffered through during the riots of 2020.

Dozens of Americans were killed. Businesses and livelihoods were destroyed. Courthouses and churches were firebombed. Police stations were burned to the ground. The White House was attacked and scores of Secret Service agents were injured.

The left celebrated that violence. The media called it “mostly peaceful.”

No, the real threat to our Republic is the corruption of federal law enforcement and the arrogant abuse of power that House Republicans are now exposing.

—Gary Bauer

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1884 The Ringling brothers opened a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and by the early 20th century had transformed it into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the leading American circus.

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