Wisconsin’s rate of lead poisoning worse than Flint, Michigan’s

Flint, Michigan, the city known for its contaminated water crisis, has something in common with Wisconsin — childhood lead poisoning. According to Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee, the proportion of children with elevated blood lead levels among Wisconsin’s children has risen close to those of Flint. The Observatory verified this claim.


Sen. Ron Johnson wants troops at the Mexican border. Do we need them?

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson supports President Donald Trump’s move to add troops to the southern border with Mexico to intercept unauthorized immigrants and drugs. Johnson cited a shortage of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. The Observatory finds his claim that the Border Patrol does suffer from attrition Verified, but finds his claim about the need for more agents Unobservable.

Mostly True

Mayor’s claim about gun violence may be off, but stats still alarming

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin claimed, “The latest statistics demonstrated that if there is a firearm available, it is 17 times more likely to be used either for suicide or for assaulting a friend, relative an acquaintance than it is to be used in fending off an intruder.” The Observatory rates his claim as Mostly True.

Mostly True

Will some money generated by Foxconn leave Wisconsin?

Gov. Scott Walker announces a deal in July 2017 with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to build an LCD manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. At far left is Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn. Matt Flynn, one of Walker’s Democratic challengers for governor, says some of the state’s multi-billion taxpayer investment will flow to out-of-state companies. We check his claim.


Did Gov. Scott Walker add $638 million more in K-12 spending to the current budget?

“Our governor cut $1.6B from education … now is putting back $638 million. That’s not progress, it’s an insult,” Mahlon Mitchell, Democratic candidate for governor and president of the state firefighters union, said in a tweet. In examining Mitchell’s claims, the Observatory found it is true that the current budget contains about $638 million more in K-12 spending compared to the previous year. But it is not 100 percent accurate to claim that Walker cut education spending by $1.6 billion in his first two-year budget.


Did Milwaukee’s old residency rule lead to lower quality city workers?

Republican state senator and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir posted on Facebook on March 6 that the residency rule in Milwaukee “prevented highly qualified teachers, police officers and firefighters from opting to work in the city” and that “removing these barriers helps Milwaukee retain and attract many valuable workers who were once discouraged by the residency rule.” The Observatory found this claim Unobservable.