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Wisconsin Weekly is a roundup of the week’s top stories from around the state by Wisconsin Watch and trusted news outlets. Access to some stories may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing, and sign up to get our free newsletters here

In this issue:

  • Milwaukee City Council approves 2% sales tax to stave off bankruptcy, service cuts
  • How billionaires court Wisconsin Republicans to pass legislation
  • Milwaukee Tool story draws attention in Congress
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects diversity, equity and inclusion training for lawyers

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Matthew DeFour

Statehouse Bureau Chief


Milwaukee council approves sales tax hike as part of plan to avoid bankruptcy

The Associated Press — July 11, 2023

Milwaukee agreed to raise a 2% sales tax as part of a deal between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature to provide more funding to municipalities and allow the state’s largest city to honor its pension commitments. The city was projected to become insolvent by 2025 if nothing was done.


Adam Gibbs, a visiting fellow of the Opportunity Solutions Project, the lobbying arm of the Foundation for Government Accountability, testifies at one of three separate April 12, 2023, committee hearings for bills that would restrict state benefits for unemployed and low income residents. He previously worked for several lawmakers, most recently as the communications director for state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg. (Screenshot via WisconsinEye)

Wisconsin billionaires quietly bankroll effort to shrink state’s social safety net

Wisconsin Watch — July 11, 2023

The Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability and its lobbying arm, the Opportunity Solutions Project, has courted Republican lawmakers across the country to enact more barriers to voting and accessing social programs. Reporter Jacob Resneck reports on how that works in Wisconsin.


Congress asks Milwaukee Tool for answers on human rights in China. Here are takeaways from a hearing Tuesday

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — July 11, 2023

A bipartisan congressional effort is underway to probe the production of Milwaukee Tool gloves using Chinese labor. Lawmakers cited Wisconsin Watch reporter Zhen Wang’s recent investigation into this issue saying, “We understand that Milwaukee Tool may have strongly worded policies against the use of forced labor … but the evidence in this case is very compelling.”


Madison, Wis., resident Brad Horn collects a water sample to test for PFAS in Madison, Wis., on Aug. 8, 2022. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

Proposed PFAS rule would cost companies estimated $1B; lacks limits and cleanup requirement

Kaiser Health News — July 12, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule requiring companies to report whether their products contain toxic “forever” chemicals, known as PFAS. The rule excludes pesticides, foods and food additives, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices, and accounts for only a tenth of the 12,000 types of PFAS chemicals.

Read previous PFAS coverage from Wisconsin Watch.

Groups argue Wisconsin regulators can’t make factory farms obtain preemptive pollution permits

The Associated Press — July 13, 2023

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, working with the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and Venture Dairy Cooperative, are challenging the state’s ability to require large farming operations to monitor groundwater pollution and draw up manure management plans.

Read previous groundwater coverage from Wisconsin Watch.


Wisconsin Supreme Court denies State Bar request to start DEI training

Wisconsin Examiner — July 14, 2023

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority denied a request from the Wisconsin State Bar to allow lawyers to use a diversity, equity, inclusion and access course as part of their continuing education requirement. Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote a concurring opinion in which she laid out the conservative case against DEI and said such courses would create a “goose-stepping brigade of attorneys.”

Read previous coverage from Wisconsin Watch: Who are the liberal and conservative members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court? 

Judge grants temporary restraining order in Mukwonago bathroom lawsuit

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — July 10, 2023

Wisconsin Examiner — July 14, 2023

A federal judge ruled in favor of an 11-year-old transgender student whose family challenged Mukwonago School District’s policy requiring students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender assigned at birth.

Do many NATO countries meet their pledge to spend 2% of their GDP on defense? (NO)
Did Gov. Tony Evers veto tax cuts for people earning over $36,000 per year? (YES)

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