Biden Signs Rail Deal to Avert ‘Catastrophe’

President Joe Biden signed a bill forcing a deal between several rail companies and a dozen rail unions to avert a Dec. 9 strike.

“With the signing of the Railway Labor Agreement, we not only spared this country a catastrophe,” Biden said after the signing. “We ensured rail workers will get a historic 24% wage increase, better conditions, and a cap on health care costs. And I won’t stop fighting for paid sick leave for all workers.”

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U.S. Senate Joins House in Enacting Rail Contracts to Avert Strike

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation to avert a nationwide railroad workers’ strike, but an Illinois congressman says the government should not be negotiating private sector labor deals.  

The legislation, which was approved by the U.S. House on Wednesday, enacts new contracts providing railroad workers with 24% pay increases over five years, immediate payouts averaging $11,000, and an extra day off.  

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Waukesha Christmas Parade Trial Judge Enters Race for Wisconsin Supreme Court

The judge who oversaw the Waukesha Christmas Parade trial is jumping into the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Judge Jennifer Dorow on Wednesday made the official announcement that she is running in the spring election.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Colorado Case Pitting Speech Rights Against Minority Groups’ Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments starting next week in what could be a landmark case centered on a Colorado small business owner’s free speech rights.

Lorie Smith, owner of graphic design company 303 Creative in Littleton, Colo., is challenging the state’s public-accommodation law, which she argues is compelling her speech. Smith wishes to create wedding websites only for straight couples, citing her religious beliefs.

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House Democrat Blasts Biden over ‘Fancy Dinner’ that Includes Maine Lobster

A U.S. House Democrat blasted President Joe Biden for his planned ritzy dinner with France’s leader Emmanuel Macron.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, called out Biden on Twitter, suggesting the president is a hypocrite for crushing the lobster industry with strict regulations while purchasing 200 lobsters from Maine for the state dinner with Macron.

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Wisconsin Law Firm Wants Worker Freedom for Lawyers in Wisconsin

The next legal fight over whether someone has to belong to a group in order to do their job may be coming for the courtroom itself.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on Monday asked the United State Supreme Court to once again take a look at mandatory membership in the state bar.

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Legislative Audit Finds Significant Waste in Two Wisconsin Coronavirus Grant Programs

No one really knows just how much of Wisconsin’s nearly $600 million in small business coronavirus grant money was wasted or given to scammers.

The Legislative Audit Bureau on Tuesday released a limited review of the “We’re All In” and “Wisconsin Tomorrow” programs, and confirmed that the state handed out money to ineligible businesses.

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Rep. Brandtjen: Military Ballot Voting Dropped over 80 Percent in 2022

There are new questions about the 2020 election after the latest numbers from the 2022 election.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Tuesday said this year’s military voting numbers show something happened between the two elections.

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U.S. Senate to Vote on ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ as Several Groups Question its Constitutionality

Several groups argue the Respect for Marriage Act (ROMA) currently before the U.S. Senate is unconstitutional, and if enacted, will eventually be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill, HR 8404, was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, on July 18 and passed by a vote of 267-157 the next day. The U.S. Senate took it up on November 14.

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Report: 41 Percent of Small Businesses Can’t Pay Rent in November

More than 40% of U.S. small business owners say they couldn’t pay rent on time or in full for the month of November, the highest this year.

The small business network group Alignable released the survey, which found that the hardship varies by industry. A notable 57% of beauty salons said they couldn’t make rent as well as 45% of gyms, 44% of retail and 44% of restaurants.

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Wisconsin Dips to 41st in the Nation for Hospital Safety

Wisconsin’s hospital safety standings with The Leapfrog Group dropped from 40th to 41st in the country over this past year.

The portion of Wisconsin hospitals that received an “A” grade decreased from 16.9 percent in spring 2022 to 11.9 percent in fall 2022.

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Farmers Can Expect High Interest Rates and Higher Costs Next Year

Farmers borrow short term money up front every year to pay for inputs and operating expenses. At harvest time when they sell their crops, they pay back their operating notes.

For the first time in 20 years, fast-rising interest rates have doubled the cost of short term operating notes, an impact a lot of farmers have never seen before.

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Wisconsin Drops in National Hospital Safety Ranking

Wisconsin’s hospital safety standings with The Leapfrog Group dropped from 40th to 41st in the country over this past year.

The portion of Wisconsin hospitals that received an “A” grade decreased from 16.9% in spring 2022 to 11.9% in fall 2022.

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Former Gov. Walker: Spring Election for Supreme Court Crucial to Wisconsin Reforms

There is already a focus on Wisconsin’s next election.

Former Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday said if liberals win the race for Supreme Court in Wisconsin, all of the state’s reforms from his time in office will be in danger.

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University of Wisconsin System Closing Richland Campus, Just 60 Students Enrolled

by Benjamin Yount   The University of Wisconsin is all but closing one of its smallest campuses. UW President Jay Rothman said in a letter Tuesday the UW-Platteville will end all in-person classes at its Richland campus. Rothman ordered Platteville’s chancellor to end the degree program at the Richland campus…

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Higher Prices Hit the Holiday Season as Black Friday Approaches

Americans will pay higher prices for a range of goods and services for the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday shopping this year, and it looks like things may only get worse as we draw nearer to Christmas.

Those driving for the holidays and of course those preparing the Thanksgiving meal will pay the price this year. Federal inflation data from the Commerce Department shows energy costs have risen 17.6% in the past year, and overall food costs increased 10.9% in the same time.

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Wisconsin Republican Budget Chiefs Insist Latest Surplus Numbers Don’t Give Governor ‘Blank Check’

The Republicans who will write Wisconsin’s next state budget say Gov. Tony Evers shouldn’t get excited about the latest surplus numbers.

The Department of Administration on Monday said Wisconsin’s budget surplus could top $6.6 billion by the time the current state budget ends in June.

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San Francisco Launches Guaranteed Income Program for Transgender Community

San Francisco city officials announced Wednesday they would launch a new guaranteed income program for the city’s transgender community.

The program, dubbed the Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT), will provide 55, low-income transgender city residents with $1,200 each month for up to 18 months. The pilot program is the first of its kind for trans individuals in the city, though San Francisco has launched several other programs in recent years.

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Texas Group Sues Biden Administration over Climate Agenda

The Texas Public Policy Foundation filed lawsuits against three federal agencies accusing them of failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about their involvement with implementing the Biden administration’s climate policies in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden accepted the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of the United States. He later announced his administration would set a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) number, pledging an “economywide target of reducing America’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent.”

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Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Boot Election Integrity Firebrand from Party Caucus

The Republican caucus in Wisconsin’s State Assembly has voted to ban election integrity watchdog Rep. Janel Brandtjen from attending party meetings.

The caucus sent Brandtjen a letter, dated Nov. 11 and signed chair Rep. Rob Summerfield, to explain the decision. It did not, however, specify any specific issue the caucus took with the legislator.

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Abbott Expanding Operation Lone Star in Effort to Secure Southern Border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expanding Operation Lone Star in an effort to further secure the state’s southern border with Mexico.

Abbott, who has been critical of President Joe Biden’s open border policies, sent a letter to Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and Texas Military Department Adjutant General Thomas Suelzer in which he said, “Until Congress acts or the Biden Administration does its constitutionally required job, Texas Guardsmen and Troopers must bear the burden of securing the border.”

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Milwaukee Democrats Oppose State Plan to Widen I-94

There is a growing chorus of Milwaukee Democrats who say the state is missing the mark by expanding I-94 instead of focusing on buses and bicycles.

The Department of Transportation on Friday announced plans to widen I-94 between 70th Street and 16th Street in Milwaukee. That includes the lanes around American Family Field. The ultimate goal is to add new lanes, going from the current six lanes up to eight lanes.

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Biden Pulls Back on Pledge to Codify Roe v. Wade

President Joe Biden raised eyebrows Monday telling reporters that he expects no progress on the abortion issue in the second half of his term.

“I don’t think they can expect much of anything other than we’re going to maintain our positions,” Biden said when asked by a reporter what Congress would do on abortion following the midterms. “I’m not going to get into more questions. I shouldn’t even answer your question.”

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Texas AG Paxton Investigating Zuckerberg-Funded Nonprofit for Alleged Partisan Electioneering Efforts in 2020

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a Civil Investigative Demand to the Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL) as part of an investigation his office launched to determine whether it “solicited donations under the pretext of protecting voters from Covid-19 while instead using the funds to support partisan electioneering efforts or election oversight roles normally left to state and local officials.”

CTCL, a self-described non-partisan nonprofit organization, according to the bios posted on its own website and other records, “is led by individuals with distinctly partisan backgrounds,” the AG’s office says. CTCL’s founder and executive director, for example, Tiana Epps-Johnson, was among a group of inaugural Obama Foundation Fellows who previously was the Election Administration director for a progressive grassroots organization, the New Organizing Institute. She also worked on the Voting Rights Project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

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IG Reports ‘Historic’ COVID Unemployment Funds Lost, Congress Investigates

Reports indicate as much as $400 billion in COVID-19 unemployment relief were likely lost to waste and fraudsters. Lawmakers want answers.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor demanding documents and information related to the unemployment fraud.

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League of Wisconsin Municipalities Says Tax Hike Votes Show Need for More State Money

The people who lobby for local governments in Wisconsin are once again talking about more state money.

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities on Thursday said the wave of local tax referendum questions show the need for funding “reform.”

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Economics Professor: Interest Rates Likely Will Continue to Rise into 2023, Lead to Job Losses

While high rates of inflation have hit the entire nation hard, some regions have experienced it more intensely.

WalletHub reported Thursday that the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, metropolitan statistical area has experienced the 16th highest rise in inflation, based on two Consumer Price Index metrics: latest month versus two months prior and latest month versus one year ago. The metrics received equal weight in the report.

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Robin Vos Looks to Compromise with Governor on Abortion, School Choice, Tax Cuts

The top Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly says he’s willing to work on “solutions” with Gov. Tony Evers. 

Speaker Robin Vos on Thursday said he sees Republicans offering the governor compromises on abortion, school choice and taxes. 

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Wisconsin Republican Johnson Wins Re-Election to U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has eked out a reelection victory over former Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes by 1 percentage point.

Johnson earned 50.5% of the vote, compared to Barnes’ 49.5%. Johnson declared victory on Wednesday but at noon, The Associated Press was among those yet to call it; CBS and NBC were among those projected Johnson the winner.

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Planned Parenthood Revenue Trending Up as Taxpayer Funding Increases

Planned Parenthood’s revenues increased 16% nationwide over the past four years as private contributions and government reimbursements and grants have risen.

The reproductive care organization’s total revenues increased from $1.46 billion in 2016-17 to $1.71 billion in 2020-21, according to its annual report that was recently released.

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Reince Priebus: Wisconsin Races Not as Close as They Seem

The slivers of information that Reince Priebus is seeing in Wisconsin has him expecting Republicans to win up and down the ballot.

Priebus, who used to lead both the Wisconsin Republican Party and the RNC, told Jay Weber on News Talk 1130 WISN Monday that data collected by both organizations show independent and undecided voters breaking for Republicans.

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King County Court in Washington Blocks Albertsons $4B Dividend Payment

King County Superior Court Commissioner Henry Judson approved a motion granting a temporary restraining order blocking Albertsons from making a $4 billion dividend payment to investors as part of a planned nearly $25 billion merger with the Kroger Company.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued on Tuesday to stop the payment – which was scheduled for Nov. 7 – while Albertsons’ merger with Kroger is under review. In the lawsuit, Ferguson claims the payout could jeopardize the grocery giant’s ability to do business and imperil jobs.

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Feds Pay Nearly $1.2 Million to Study If Racism Causes Poor Sleep

The National Institutes of Health has issued more than a million dollars via taxpayer-funded medical research grants to find evidence that racism is to blame for poor sleep in minority communities.

The funding was appropriated to Dr. Alexander Tsai, an associate professor at Harvard University who is conducting the research through Massachusetts General Hospital, where he works as a psychiatrist.

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Polls Find Key Races Too Close to Call

United States Capitol

Election day comes Tuesday, putting a range of major issues up for grabs as both parties battle for control of the House, Senate and gubernatorial races around the country.

The latest polling shows a tight but favorable electoral landscape for Republicans. FiveThirtyEight’s analysis and compilation of generic polls found voters overall prefer that Republicans control Congress by 1.2 percent.

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Claiming ‘Democracy Under Attack,’ Biden Administration Looks to Make It Harder to Oust Unions

The day after President Joe Biden claimed “American democracy is under attack,” his administration took action to make it more difficult for employees to vote on whether or not they want to join a union.

At a Democrat Party campaign event on Wednesday, Biden said democracy is under attack by the “MAGA Republican Party,” referring to those who support former President Donald Trump.

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Border Patrol Union Tells ACLU ‘Go to Hell,’ Urges Votes for Pro-Border Defense Candidates

After another clash with foreign nationals illegally entering the U.S., the union representing Border Patrol agents is urging Americans to vote on Nov. 8 for candidates who will defend them, the rule of law, and the southern border.

On Monday, mostly single male Venezuelans, Mexicans and Hondurans crossed the Rio Grande River and attempted to illegally enter the U.S. near El Paso, Texas, and allegedly assaulted Border Patrol agents demanding to be let into the country.

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Wisconsin Republican Boss: More Poll Watchers Are Watching Fewer Absentee Ballots

Early voting has begun in Wisconsin, and so has the Republican election watch.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow said Thursday that the party has increased its focus on both poll workers and poll watchers to make sure that there are eyeballs watching to vote count this year.

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Nearly Two Open Jobs for Every Unemployed Worker, Data Shows

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new employment data which showed there are nearly two open jobs for every unemployed worker in the U.S.

The federal data showed the number of job openings rose to 10.7 million in September, up about 437,000 from the previous month after a significant decrease in August.

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Republicans Sue over Green Bay Early Voting Observers

There’s a lawsuit in Green Bay that accuses the city’s election boss of not allowing poll watchers to actually watch people vote.

The Republican National Committee filed the lawsuit Tuesday. It claims that Green Bay Clerk Celestine Jeffreys is partially blocking election observers.

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