Morning Headlines - Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Biden Administration Mulls Public Health Emergency Declaration On Abortion

The Biden administration is weighing a plan to declare a public health emergency that would free up resources to help people access abortions.

Both abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers have urged the Department of Health and Human Services and President Biden to take such a step in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which they say has created a "full-scale reproductive health crisis" across the U.S.

The lawmakers argued that such a move would allow the administration to help support states that protect abortion, deploy Public Health Services Corps teams and give the government "the ability to accelerate access to new medications authorized for abortion."

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Biden Intends To End Covid-19 And Public Health Emergencies On May 11

President Joe Biden intends to end the Covid-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11, the White House said Monday.

The White House, in a statement of administration policy announcing opposition to two Republican measures to end the emergencies, said the national emergency and public health emergency authorities declared in response to the pandemic would each be extended one final time to May 11.

“This wind down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the (public health emergency),” the statement said.

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If ‘Independent’ Were A Party, It Could Dominate American Politics

If the nation’s political independents somehow formed a party, polls suggest, they could dominate American politics.

Two-fifths of Americans identified as independent in 2022, far more than stood with either party, according to Gallup. As a political identity, “independent” has polled better than Democrat or Republican since 2009.

It wasn’t always so. Going back to the era of former President Reagan, voters have generally identified as Democrat, Republican or independent in roughly equal measure. Independents pulled ahead in the Clinton ‘90s, faded in the Bush ‘00s, then surged anew after the election of former President Obama in 2008.

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Eight Million Americans Earning More Than $100,000-A-Year Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

Almost two thirds of Americans now say they are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a new survey has found - with nearly five percent of those struggling earning over $100,000 a year.

As inflation continues to bite - the Consumer Price Index for December showed that, over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 6.5 percent, before seasonal adjustment - the numbers of those feeling the pinch continue to rise.

Of 4,000 people surveyed by industry publication Pymnts.com and LendingClub, between December 8-23, a total of 64 percent said they were living paycheck-to-paycheck.

That means 166 million Americans are unable to save any money at all at the end of the month.

And of those 166 million, 8 million - almost 5 percent - were earning more than $100,000 a year. The total figure represents a 9 percent increase from last year.

The average American earns $58,260 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

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‘Laverne & Shirley’ Actress Cindy Williams Dies At 75

Cindy Williams, the actress known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. She was 75.

According to a statement from family spokesperson Liza Cranis, Williams “passed away peacefully after a short illness on Wednesday, January 25th in Los Angeles.”

“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” Williams’ children Emily Hudson and Zachary Hudson said in a statement, obtained by ABC News. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”

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Wisconsin Headlines

Vos Not Insisting On Flat Tax As Part Of GOP Budget

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he won’t insist on including a flat income tax as part of a Republican budget proposal.

“(A flat tax) would be my preference, but I understand Gov. Evers has concerns with that,” Vos said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “But the most important thing for us to do, we have to make big efforts toward reducing our tax burden. Flat tax would be ideal. If we can’t get to ideal, there are other ways to get there.”

Gov. Tony Evers has signaled a veto of a flat tax plan.

Vos also indicated movement on negotiations to increase the amount of money the state sends to municipalities through shared revenue and the possibility of backing a dedicated sales tax for Milwaukee.

“I think it’s possible,” Vos said. “As I look at the real problem, the mistakes that have been made are so gargantuan, it’s almost impossible to solve without some new revenue.”

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AG Kaul, Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Debunk Human Trafficking Myths

In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (WAHTTF) are debunking myths about human trafficking.

“Human trafficking impacts communities across the state and country, and it’s important for people to know the facts,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “By sharing information about human trafficking, we hope to raise awareness about this appalling crime.”

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As The Shift To Clean Energy Ramps Up, Wisconsin's Top Utility Regulator Says Energy Efficiency Is Key

With the state at a pivotal moment in its clean energy future, the head of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission said the state needs to better tout the value provided by Wisconsin’s energy efficiency program.

At a renewable energy summit last week, PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq said lawmakers and business groups need to "flip the script" on Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program. She took issue with them referring to increased funding for the program as nothing more than an energy tax. The roughly $100 million program works with residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

"We can't allow that narrative to continue. We have got to flip the script, and we have to do it now because energy efficiency has got to continue to play a pivotal role…as part of this transition," Valcq said.

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Solar For Good Program Enables Energy Savings For Wisconsin Schools, Nonprofits

At this point, Cal Couillard thought he would be well on his way to spending down the philanthropic fund he created as the inventor of precision rollers.

Instead, Couillard Solar Foundation is growing as its unique model helps Wisconsin schools and nonprofits benefit from solar despite policy barriers.

The Wisconsin business leader created the solar foundation in 2017. Its flagship program, Solar for Good, started offering grants that year to help nonprofits and municipal organizations buy solar panels. Since 2019, it's provided solar panels instead of cash, allowing it to purchase equipment in bulk and bring down the cost. The program is administered by Renew Wisconsin.

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The High-Stakes Race In Wisconsin That Could Impact Abortion Rights — And 2024

A race for a Supreme Court seat in Wisconsin could determine the future of abortion rights in a state likely to play a crucial role in the 2024 presidential election.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has a 4-3 conservative majority, but conservative Justice Patience Roggensack is opting not to seek another term, evenly splitting the court along ideological lines. Voters will head to the polls for a February primary, which will determine which two justices from a group of two conservative candidates and two liberal candidates will move on to the April general election.

Whoever wins that state Supreme Court seat is likely to weigh in on a consequential lawsuit over a contested 1849 abortion law, which offers no exceptions except for the life of the pregnant person, and the outcome of which could have major implications for one of the country’s few remaining swing states.

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Last Update: Jan 31, 2023 6:34 am CST

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