This Hour: Latest Wisconsin news, sports, business and entertainment
HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Proposal would require state offer HSAs
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Legislature's budget committee has approved creating a high-deductible health insurance plan with health savings accounts for government workers in Wisconsin.
The provision included in Gov. Scott Walker's budget was approved Tuesday by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee.
Before the new plan is created, an actuarial study must be completed to ensure creating the program does not increase overall health insurance costs.
The new health insurance option would be available for state and local government workers starting in 2015.
Contributions to health savings accounts are tax-free and the money can be tapped for health-related expenses by the employee.
They and high-deductible health insurance plans are viewed by some as ways to control the growth in health care costs by providing financial incentives for covered people to make cost-effective options.
Wis. GAB seeks absentee voting rule changes
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin election officials have decided to ask the Legislature to make a number of changes to Wisconsin's absentee voting regulations.
The state Government Accountability Board on Tuesday voted to recommend lawmakers allow all overseas voters to receive ballots electronically. Currently only military and oversea voters with no intent to return can obtain ballots electronically. The change would allow students and vacationers to obtain them electronically as well.
The board agreed to recommend lawmakers to set one common deadline for requesting an absentee ballot on the Thursday before the election. Currently deadlines vary for the general public, military voters and indefinitely confined voters.
The board also agreed to ask legislators to eliminate a requirement that all absentee voters get a U.S. citizen to sign the return envelope.
Kohler ordered to pay $9.6 million in patent suit
KOHLER, Wis. (AP) - The Kohler Co. has been ordered to pay $9.6 million to a marine engine and generator manufacturer in Massachusetts for infringing on 2 of its patents.
A jury in U.S. District Court in Boston found Kohler willfully infringed on patents owned by the Westerbeke Corp. which cover components that reduce exhaust emissions in its generators.
Kohler spokesman Todd Weber tells The Sheboygan Press the technology used in Westerbeke's generators is "well known and in the public domain."
Weber says the company will ask the court to modify the jury's verdict.
Court records say jurors found that Westerbeke was due royalties worth 13.5% of Kohler's gross sales on its marine generators.
Housing rebound continues in Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Housing sales in Wisconsin continue to rebound.
April brings a 22nd consecutive month of growth with sales up 9% compared to the month previous. The median price for existing homes rose 8%.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association president Michael Theo says the supply of homes has decreased and low mortgage rates have attracted more people to the market.
The Journal Sentinel says the median prices of homes sold in the state last month was $138,000, compared to $128,000 in April of last year. Through the first quarter of the year, sales in Wisconsin are up nearly 11%.
House leveled, family making their way home
ALTOONA, Wis. (AP) - Members of the Pederson family of northwestern Wisconsin say the silver lining in the explosion that destroyed their house is that they were far from home at the time of the devastating blast.
Brian and Jennifer Pederson and their three children were vacationing in Georgia when they learned their house near Altoona exploded into a pile of rubble Sunday. Five neighboring homes were also damaged by the blast - one extensively. Firefighters believe the explosion is related to the home's LP gas service, but they haven't determined what caused the gas to ignite.
Jennifer Pederson says she is grateful to her neighbors who have salvaged what they could from the debris, including stuffed animals and clothing. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram says the family expects to be back in Wisconsin Wednesday.
Wis. man killed by cops had mental-illness history
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Dane County authorities say the Madison man shot and killed by police last week after allegedly charging at them with a sword had a history of mental illness.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Elise Schaffer tells the Wisconsin State Journal the 43-year-old man had been taken to mental health facilities in 2004 and 2008 as part of court-ordered commitments.
Deputies had asked police Friday to help them evict Brent E. Brozek from his condominium following foreclosure.
Police spokesman Joel DeSpain says Brozek ultimately came outside and rushed at officers brandishing a large sword. DeSpain says a nonlethal beanbag round was ineffective, and that multiple officers opened fire.
Brozek's former boss says Brozek was fired from his job as a cab driver in January for alluding to executing a female passenger.
US DOJ to review flawed Milwaukee ATF sting
MILWAUKEE (AP) - The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into a flawed Milwaukee sting as part of a larger review into how agents handle certain sensitive cases.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz says he's concerned about how the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is being managed. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says Horowitz wrote to two Congress members saying his office will look into the agency's management.
The Milwaukee sting involved agents setting up a fake storefront to nab criminals selling guns and drugs. But agents lost guns and left behind sensitive documents, their store was burglarized and they refused to pay their rent.
Republican Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia have demanded that ATF release its internal report on the Milwaukee operation.
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