Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
Group criticizes Marquette for honoring Paul Ryan at fundraiser: Jesse Garza of the Journal Sentinel writes: "Marquette University is drawing criticism from a Christian social justice group after presenting an award Thursday to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. Faithful America, a national organization that claims approximately 280,000 members, said by presenting Ryan with the Les Aspin Center 2014 Public Service Award, the university is trading on the Republican's popularity with the superwealthy to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. The organization said Ryan's proposed budget 'slashes lifelines to the poor and middle class in ways that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have previously condemned as immoral.' Faithful America has started an online petition demanding the university donate proceeds from the event to the poor." Read more.
Employers still shifting health benefit costs to workers, report finds: Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel reports: "The number of health plans with out-of-pocket limits of more than $5,000 increased to 32% last year, up from 20% in 2012, as more employers continued to shift costs to employees, according to a report released Thursday by Zywave, a company that develops software for insurance brokers. The report is based on the company's database that includes almost 50,000 employers and 70,000 health plans. The increase in health plans with high out-of-pocket expenses could indicate that employers are moving to the caps set by the Affordable Care Act, said Michelle Jackson, product director for Wauwatosa-based Zywave. The caps, which went into effect this year, limit out-of-pocket expenses to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families for this year." Read more.
Ruling’s breadth hints that more campaign finance dominoes may fall: Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports: "The sweeping language and logic of Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision on campaign finance may imperil other legal restrictions on money in politics. The 5-to-4 decision, which struck down overall limits on contributions by individuals to candidates and parties, was the latest in a series of campaign finance decisions from the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that took an expansive view of First Amendment rights and a narrow one of political corruption. According to experts in election law, there is no reason to think that the march toward deregulating election spending will stop with the ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. For now, federal law bars corporations from making contributions to candidates, though they can spend what they like independently to support or oppose candidates. Contributions from individuals to candidates are capped at $2,600 per election. Individual contributions to political parties are capped, too. Public financing of elections is allowed. All of those limits may be vulnerable under the reasoning of the McCutcheon and Citizens United decisions, as well as the 'soft money' ban, which limits individual contributions to political parties even if the money is to be spent on activities unrelated to federal elections." Read more.
Food prices in Wisconsin remain relatively stable: The Associated Press reports: "Food prices in Wisconsin have remained relatively stable, although items such as meat, milk and eggs are a little more expensive. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau calculated the average cost for 16 food items through the end of March. The total was up 0.3 percent from March 2013. The bureau's survey says the 16 items collectively cost $50.04. That's 13 cents more than last year, and less than the national average of $53.27. The price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs in Wisconsin rose 21 percent over the past year. Milk prices rose 13 cents to $3.74, and a pound of ground chuck costs 6 cents more. But those increases were offset by lower prices for items including white bread, orange juice and bagged salad."
Mississippi governor signs religious freedom bill into law: Emily Wagster Pettus of Talking Points Memo reports: "Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that supporters say will assure unfettered practice of religion without government interference but that opponents worry could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. The bill, called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, will become law July 1. It also will add 'In God We Trust' to the state seal. An early version of the bill, considered weeks ago, was similar to one Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed after business groups said it could hurt that state's economy. Supporters say the final Mississippi bill bears little resemblance to the failed Arizona measure." Read more.