The State Building Commission recommends approval of Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan to spend $1.5 billion on capital projects. The most expensive project, at $197 million, is the replacement of the Department of Transportation's Hill Farms State Office Building on Madison's west side. Several UW System projects are also included.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that state Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) is proposing legislation that would fine school employees $200 for failing to report bullying incidents.
Joseph Awe, 42, is released from the Oregon Correctional Center after serving almost three years for an arson conviction resulting from a 2006 fire at his bar, J.J.'s Pub in Harrisville. A judge overturned the conviction, arguing the prosecution used flawed science and could never determine how the blaze started. The state can still retry him, and Awe faces a civil lawsuit. "I just want to be with my family, and I want a bath," Awe tells the State Journal, which ran a series of articles in 2011 that helped overturn his conviction.
The National Review reports that Gov. Walker has hired Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, to collaborate on a book. A columnist for The Washington Post, Thiessen has written several columns praising the governor. He's also written a book justifying torture.
The State Journal reports that donations to the state's endangered resources program are at a 10-year low. The biggest conduit for contributions - the wolf license plate - has dropped from $633,000 in 1999 to $335,000 in the last fiscal year.
State Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) threatens to revoke $250,000 in state funding for a Lac du Flambeau tribal cultural center because Chippewa bands have drastically raised their walleye take.
Republicans on the state's budget committee question the Department of Natural Resource's program of buying land for conservation purposes and suggest putting the brakes on it. "When times are tough, do we take a time-out?" Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) asks.
The State Journal reports that Madison may temporarily close an east-side well because contaminants from nearby Madison-Kipp industrial site may be leaking into it. "If you run the well you tend to draw water from that direction toward the well," Madison Water Utility's general manager, Tom Heikkinen, tells the paper. "We want to minimize that."
The DNR announces that there will not be an elk hunt this year. Twenty-five elk were reintroduced to the state in 1995, but there needs to be at least 200 before they can be hunted. Last year, the department estimated the population at 180.
Compiled, in part, from local media.