government

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Wisconsin could make billions of dollars if the state started charging tolls for drivers to use its interstate highways. That’s according to a recent study.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has appointed a new transportation secretary as he gears up for a budget battle over how to pay for roads.

Walker announced Tuesday that he has appointed Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross to serve as secretary of the Department of Transportation. Ross replaces Mark Gottlieb, who plans to resign effective Jan. 6.

Walker's announcement didn't offer any explanation for Gottlieb's resignation. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email to The Associated Press that Gottlieb plans to retire.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Repeat drunken drivers will face tougher penalties in Wisconsin starting with the new year.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in April that makes a fourth drunken driving offense a felony regardless of when it's committed. Currently a fourth offense is a felony only if committed within five years of a third offense.

The law also increases the maximum sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from three years to five. Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses will increase from five years to seven and a half.

Flickr user Beverly & Pack and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley / "Taps, Bugle, Army, Military Funeral, Arlington National Cemetery" (CC v 2.0)

Illinois students in grades six through twelve will be able to get excused absences from school for playing Taps at military funerals starting next month. 

Republican Rep. Donald Moffitt says it can be hard for military families to find trumpet players to perform Taps.

“The pool of Taps players isn't real big,” Moffitt said. “If they feel that it would be more meaningful to have a live playing of taps, this definitely would increase the potential of [having] someone available.” 

Flickr user Eric E Castro / "The Tampon Fairy" (CC V 2.0)

Illinois consumers will no longer pay sales taxes on feminine hygiene products starting next year.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, sponsored the legislation.

“These are products that women need," she said, "and these things were being taxed at luxury tax rates and they shouldn't be taxed at all.”

Bush said she also is concerned that women are being charged more for some products and services than men.

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