A 3M Corp. plant in Wausau.(Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

A 2016 air pollution case against 3M Corp. represented the first time under Attorney General Brad Schimel the Justice Department allowed a company to make upgrades to a facility but avoid paying a financial penalty as part of the settlement.

Minnesota-based 3M agreed to make $665,000 in improvements at two facilities in Wausau for air pollution violations in 2014 and 2015, according to court records.

Unlike other major pollution cases, Schimel and his staff did not also seek forfeitures with 3M — a company that employs hundreds of workers at plants in Wausau, Menomonie, Cumberland and Prairie du Chien.

Former state Department of Natural Resources Secretary George Meyer and former Assistant Attorney General Tom Dawson were critical of the agency for relying solely on the use of a compliance tool known as a supplemental environmental project.

Supplemental environmental projects require a polluter to undertake projects that can demonstrate big reductions in pollution or reduce risks to public health.

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison).(Photo: Greg Anderson Photography)

Viagra, the popular blue pills to combat erectile dysfunction, are sold tax-free in Wisconsin.

But anyone buying feminine hygiene products must pay state sales tax.

Wisconsin Rep. Melissa Sargent thinks that's unfair.

"There is no other example of a product where men are taxed for something women are not taxed for. In this case, women are being penalized simply on the basis of being a woman," said Sargent, a Madison Democrat. "It's not a choice to be a person who menstruates."

Sargent is trying to repeal the state sales tax on tampons, pads and sanitary napkins and she's hoping to get it done through the budget bill now under consideration.

With every female in the state affected at some time in their lives — roughly for four decades — the costs add up. U.S. sales of feminine hygiene products are estimated at more than $3 billion this year. The Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau pegs the amount of sales taxes collected in the state on those items at $2.7 million annually.

Dan Zimmerman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in the first Gulf War and Iraq, is the new state secretary of veterans affairs.(Photo: Meg Jones/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - The new secretary of veterans affairs takes over a department facing controversy over care at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King and contentious relations with county veterans service officers.

Dan Zimmerman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, 51, is being praised for his transparency, improving communications with veterans organizations and county veterans service officers and for moving swiftly to reassign the commandant of the King home. The department has a $143 million budget and 1,300 employees, most of whom work at the state's three veterans homes in Chippewa Falls, King and Union Grove.

Under Zimmerman's predecessor John Scocos, who left in January, the Legislature launched an audit of the King home because of concerns over the quality of care and spending. Last year county veterans service officers and county administrators sharply criticized efforts to change the way block grants are doled out by the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

CLOSESkip in Skip x




The sweeping criminal probe is examining allegations of prisoner abuse, child neglect, sexual assault, intimidation of witnesses and victims, strangulation and tampering with public records.

Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma has been the subject of a federal investigation for more than two years.(Photo: Dan Young / Daily Herald Media)

MADISON – State officials last year planned to return a suspended psychologist to his job at Wisconsin’s troubled juvenile prison, but backed off after a prosecutor said he could be charged with falsifying records, state records show.

After learning of possible charges, the Department of Corrections kept psychologist Wilson Fowle on paid leave and began its own investigation of him. Six weeks later, Fowle retired and by the end of 2016 agreed to surrender his psychology license.

Prosecutors will not say whether they are still considering charges against Fowle for falsifying medical records, such as by claiming he had met with inmates on days he did not work.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).(Photo: Getty Images)

PolitiFact Wisconsin has done four fact checks on statements about the Republican plan to replace Obamacare.

The fate of the proposal, pushed hard by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, remained uncertain Friday afternoon, as the U.S. House of Representatives debated it.

Here's a look at the four statements by Wisconsin politicians, two by Republicans and two by Democrats, that we've rated:

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says the replacement would reduce subsidies that help lower-income people buy health insurance, but also "expand the entitlement" by giving subsidies to higher-income people "that Obamacare never helped." Our rating: True.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says that under the GOP plan, "$600 billion worth of tax breaks will go to the wealthiest in this country." Our rating: Half True.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, says the GOP plan would let insurance executives "personally make millions off your health care.