Friday, December 15th

State

Themis at Sunset(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Funding legal services to the poor is a constant challenge, so for Legal Action Wisconsin a recent financial windfall from a pair of class-action lawsuits it wasn't even involved in arrived this week like early Christmas gifts.

"We're just happy recipients," said Dan Pifer, executive director at Legal Action Wisconsin, which picks up nearly $175,000.    

"It's hugely helpful because they are unrestricted funds that allow us to deliver a broad array of services to those in need," Pifer said.

"It provides a tremendous cushion," especially when President Donald Trump has called for the elimination of all funding for the Legal Services Corp., a key source of Legal Action's budget.

RELATED: Lawyers, advocates for the poor rally to save Legal Services Corp. from Trump budget cut

RELATED: In Milwaukee's wave of eviction lawsuits, these volunteer lawyers give tenants unexpected help

The money resulted from a little-known wrinkle of class-action litigation called the cy pres award.

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U.S. Navy veteran Jonathan Glen Brewer prepares to give a blood sample drawn by LeAnne Pomeroy Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis. The blood and health surveys filled out by veteran volunteers is for a landmark gene-mapping project. The Million Veteran Program is collecting blood and information from veterans across the nation for research into illnesses that could lead to breakthroughs in treatment and cures. Researchers plan to use the samples to study diseases such as diabetes, cancer and military-related illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder.(Photo: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

Almost two decades ago Jonathan Brewer stuck out his hand and recited an oath to join America's military. 

On Thursday, Brewer again extended his hand, this time to donate enough blood to fill a tiny vial, about two tablespoons. In a way, Brewer is continuing to protect and defend. This time, he's helping his fellow veterans.

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The state Ethics Commission has decided that its six-member board can continue to make donations to partisan candidates.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON – The Legislature’s top two leaders are calling for the resignations of the heads of the state’s ethics and elections commissions in response to an investigation of the leak of secret material.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) sent separate letters Thursday to the heads of the two commissions saying they should step down.

“You have lost the confidence of our caucuses to be an impartial administrator,” they wrote.

The letters were sent to Michael Haas, the administrator of the Elections Commission, and Brian Bell, the administrator of the Ethics Commission.

The Democratic chairman of the Elections Commission, Mark Thomsen, rejected the idea of having Haas leave.

"After I learned late last night about Mr. Vos and Mr.

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U.S. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee is among Democratic members of Congress who will try to make various political points through their guests at President Donald Trump's speech.(Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

It's unclear what will be in the final version of the tax reform bill that the U.S. House and Senate may get next week.

But U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) has strong feels about the original version that passed the House.

The House tax plan, she says, "would provide permanent tax cuts for individuals who are multi-millionaires and billionaires," but "all middle-class families will eventually face a tax increase, since tax relief for them expires."

PolitiFact Wisconsin finds she's partly right.

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The state Ethics Commission has decided that its six-member board can continue to make donations to partisan candidates.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON – The Legislature’s top two leaders are calling for the resignations of the heads of the state’s ethics and elections commissions in response to an investigation of the leak of secret material.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) sent separate letters Thursday to the heads of the two commissions saying they should step down.

“You have lost the confidence of our caucuses to be an impartial administrator,” they wrote.

The letters were sent to Michael Haas, the administrator of the Elections Commission, and Brian Bell, the administrator of the Ethics Commission.

The Democratic chairman of the Elections Commission, Mark Thomsen, rejected the idea of having Haas leave, telling the Wisconsin State Journal he would not accept his resignation and calling the request from legislators “partisan game-playing.