LaToya Dennis

News Reporter

LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

LaToya holds both a Bachelor's degree and a Masters degree in journalism from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dennis is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

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It appears the plan the state Senate will consider on Tuesday would scrap prevailing wages in local communities but maintain them for state projects.

Wisconsin's prevailing wage law has been on the books since the early 1930s. It requires companies that contract with the state or local governments to pay their employees the prevailing wage for that community. Every year, the Dept. of Workforce Development sets the wage by surveying companies about how much they're paying their workers.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Flickr.com/pinchof

GOP leaders stood side-by-side on Wednesday to announce they had broken their impasse. It involved whether the state should help fund a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, whether Wisconsin should change its prevailing wage law, and how much the state should borrow to pay for transportation projects.

Republican leaders have decided to take two of those three items out of the proposed state budget. It could move forward Thursday.  

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks

After weeks of back and forth, GOP leaders on Wednesday announced a budget deal.

Three issues had been the cause for an impasse—a new Bucks arena in Milwaukee, prevailing wage legislation and transportation borrowing.

Republicans now say that the state’s budget committee will vote on including $500 million in bonding for transportation projects, with the possibility of another $350 million if Joint Finance deem the projects necessary. Some projects, including the north leg of the Zoo Interchange reconstruction, will be put on hold.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

One of Wisconsin’s legislative leaders seems to want to shake his Republican colleagues into action. The Legislature has been at an impasse for weeks over the state budget. 

Michelle Maternowski

Starting Wednesday, Milwaukee will begin a new strategy to end chronic homelessness. The program is called Housing First. 

It simply offers chronically homeless people a place to live. The federal government defines them as individuals who’ve gone without housing for a year straight, or multiple times over three years. Milwaukee has counted about 200 such people.

The city and county will work to move people into permanent housing first, and then help them begin to confront the root causes of why they were chronically homeless.

Same sex marriage is now legal in every state across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court made it so on Friday. In Wisconsin, due to court decisions, same-sex marriage has been the lay of the land for nearly a year. 

The courts overturned the ban state voters had approved. While reaction to today’s decision is mixed – Gov. Walker called it a ‘grave mistake’, we caught up with several local people directly affected.

Bill Hurtubise-Palmer and his partner have been together for nine years, and on April 25, they made it official.

Waukesha is one step closer in its quest to obtain Lake Michigan water.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin DNR gave preliminary approval to the city’s plan. Waukesha’s underground source of water is dwindling and increasingly contaminated with radium, an element linked to cancer. So the city is under a federal order to take action. The final decision about getting water from Lake Michigan does not rest with the DNR.

Photos.com

Some state employees are one step closer to receiving pay increases for the 2015-2017 fiscal year while others could bring home less money. The states Joint Committee on Employment Relations voted on two different provision on Tuesday now on their way to the legislature.

Under the plan, state troopers would see a 3 percent raise during both the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. Gregory Gracz is director of the Office of State Employee Relations. He says the hope is that the raise would reduce turnover within the organization.

The Milwaukee branch of the NAACP is calling for the federal government to investigate the way in which Milwaukee Police Officers treat African Americans. The group is calling for a “patterns and practice” investigation – and more.

college.library, flickr

The battle over Wisconsin’s tenure law will soon be waged in the state Assembly and Senate. Gov. Walker proposed eliminating the law in the budget he handed legislators. 

The Republican majority on the Joint Finance Committee agreed and will soon send its plan to the full Legislature. Tenure is the longstanding practice of offering job protection to university professors. Wisconsin is the only state where tenure is written into law.

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