ICYMI: Vos hopes 70 mph speed limit is ‘a reality soon’

Part 34 of 34 in the series Week in Review

By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Count Assembly Speaker Robin Vos among those gunning for a higher speed limit on some of Wisconsin’s roads.

“Increasing the speed limit will benefit tourism by helping people get across the state more quickly, from the Dells to the northwoods to Lambeau Field,” said Vos, R-Rochester. “Likewise it’ll help businesses by more swiftly moving goods from creators to consumers.”

NEED FOR SPEED: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos supports a recent proposal to increase the state’s top speed limit from 65 to 70 mph.

Rep. Paul Tittl, R-Manitowoc, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would increase the speed limit on the state’s freeways and expressways and interstate highways from 65 mph to 70 mph – with some discretion still given to the state Department of Transportation to designate a lower speed limit in places where there are safety concerns.

“It’s about finding time with your families,” Tittl said. “It’s about allowing the people who are working, allowing them to get home faster, to spend more time with their families.”

Tittl’s proposal comes just one day after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a higher speed limit there into law.

“We hope to make it a reality soon, right here in Wisconsin,” Vos said.

Vouchers expansion pushes forward

The Department of Public Instruction has notified the parents of the 500 children who have first dibs for school choice vouchers.

Now, those parents have five business days to accept or decline the offer.

If any vouchers are declined, DPI will notify the next parents on the list until all the seats are filled.

According to DPI, other factors in the lottery may delay finalizing the first year of school choice expansion until October.

If the process lasts into October as DPI projects, some private schools might miss out on some of this year’s voucher payments.

The statewide expansion is moving forward just as Gov. Scott Walker said charter and voucher schools should be graded the same as other public schools, according to a Wisconsin Public Radio report.

Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and state Rep. Steve Kestell, R-Elkhart Lake, are sponsoring a bill to do just that.

Assembly majority leader steps down

Rep. Scott Suder, the Assembly’s majority leader, is leaving the Legislature to take a job in the Walker administration.

Suder will be the new Public Service Commission’s division administrator for Water Compliance and Consumer Affairs.

Hoping to replace Suder as majority leader are Rep. Dean Knudson and Speaker pro tem Bill Kramer, according to WPR.

Walker made another administrative appointment this week, tapping Nancy Hernandez to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Board. Hernandez is the president of ABRAZO, a multicultural marketing firm.

Audit questions DHS management of sex offenders program

The Department of Health Services may be paying for supervising the re-entry of sex offenders into communities while doing too little to ensure there are written policies in place, a newly released Legislative Audit Bureau report says.

That audit, released Thursday, found:

  • Supervised release costs increased by 33 percent from 2009-10 to 2011-12 — from $2.1 million to $2.8 million.
  • DHS contracts with firms to find housing for sex offenders. Thirteen of 28 rental leases were for homes those firms bought specifically to rent to DHS to house the offenders. In some cases, DHS is paying rents high enough to allow those firms to recoup the entire purchase price of the house, and then some, within a couple of years.
  • DHS lacks specific, written policies in a number of areas, including guidelines for finding housing for the sex offenders and for determining how frequently an individual can be bused to an activity.

“The report illustrates the auditors understanding and appreciation of a very complex and difficult process, and we find the recommendations in the report to be both thoughtful and creative,” DHS Deputy Secretary Kevin Moore said.

Contact Kirsten Adshead at [email protected]

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