WisconsinWeekly: Chronic wasting disease continues spread across Wisconsin

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State’s management of fatal deer disease criticized

Of note: This week we highlight a story by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Rich Kremer, with assistance from WCIJ, exploring the impact of state policies that allow commercial deer and elk facilities to remain open after a positive test for chronic wasting disease. In May, Gov. Scott Walker declared “aggressive new actions” against the contagious, always fatal disease. But in the ensuing months, lawmakers and agency officials muted that response. Kremer found facilities allowed to stay open after a positive CWD test saw even more infected animals. “The existence of CWD in these facilities constitutes a clear, persistent and likely escalating risk to the integrity of the wild deer on the other side of the fence,” a top CWD expert told Kremer.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Dee and Andy Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Dee is the managing editor and Andy is the executive director.

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CWD spreads on deer and elk farms as Wisconsin’s control efforts stumble

Wisconsin Public Radio / WCIJ — November 25, 2018

As state rules governing deer and elk farms have relaxed, chronic wasting disease is on the rise. Meanwhile, the state faces stiff opposition to new requirements aiming to curb the spread. Owners of deer farms argue proposed enhanced fencing requirements are not guaranteed to be effective and could put them out of business. But critics say the profits are not worth the risk to wild deer and elk populations. Scientists do not yet know if the disease can be transmitted to people. Previously from WCIJ: Prions — in plants? New concern for chronic wasting disease

Deal to pass farm bill scraps House GOP plan for new food stamp work requirements

Washington Post — November 29, 2018

Following months of impasse, the Senate has reached bipartisan agreement on a farm bill by eliminating House Republicans’ controversial proposal for new work requirements for food stamp recipients. House Republicans quickly expressed opposition to the deal, including Rep. Mark Walker, R-North Carolina, who tweeted that “House conservatives, the President, and the vast majority of Americans support policies that encourage work and help lift people out of poverty.” Previously from WCIJ: Wisconsin to force parents to work for FoodShare, despite doubts about effectiveness

Proud Boys founder distancing himself from ‘extremist’ organization

NBC News — November 21, 2018

Gavin McInnes is leaving the Proud Boys, the so-called “Western chauvinist” group he founded, saying he was advised to do so in order to keep several members out of jail after they were arrested in an October brawl. The concern stems from revelations that the FBI has labeled the group an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” a warning to local law enforcement of the group’s recruitment efforts and potential to escalate violence at rallies and campus events. Previously from WCIJ: Controversial Proud Boys embrace ‘Western values,’ reject feminism and political correctness

Outside groups spent record $61 million in 2018 midterms

Wisconsin State Journal — November 29, 2018

Former WCIJ intern Riley Vetterkind reports on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s findings that outside groups spent more on Wisconsin’s 2018 midterm than on the two previous midterms combined. The spike in spending follows a 2015 change to the state’s campaign finance system that critics say allows more secrecy in spending. Previously from WCIJ: Secret cash aided politicians who rewrote Wisconsin law to block claims of lead-poisoned children

State Senate Leader signals lame-duck session on fast track, says it could happen Tuesday

Wisconsin State Journal — November 29, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Wisconsin State Journal that a lame-duck legislative session could begin as soon as Tuesday. Lawmakers may consider scaling back the governor’s powers, moving the date of Wisconsin’s next primary election and a subsidy package to help paper company Kimberly-Clark retain jobs. Democratic Senate Leader Jennifer Shilling called the session a bid “to undermine Governor-elect (Tony) Evers before he takes the oath of office.” Previously from WCIJ: After Gov. Scott Walker took office, bills moved faster through the Wisconsin Legislature

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