Legislative Update – March 13

Legislative/Budget Overview

Joint Finance hearings set, Legislative Fiscal Bureau releases budget summary

The tentative dates and locations for the Joint Finance Committee budget hearings were announced this week, along with Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the governor’s budget. See the dates and more.

This week also saw movement on plans to nix project labor agreements, the office of state treasurer and Wisconsin’s September 1 school start date. The governor is still expressing confidence that his school funding plan will clear the Legislature, increasing per pupil funding for public schools – but outside of the revenue caps and less than what voucher students will receive. Read more on that in the March 6 update.

The Week in Review

March 9

  • Minimum Hours of Instruction. A bill to create a pilot program under which certain school districts would not be required to provide a minimum number of hours of direct pupil instruction (Senate Bill 105) was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee. The pilot would operate in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, allowing a school board in CESA 6 to opt out, depending on certain criteria.
  • School Start Date. A bill repealing a state mandate that schools start after September 1 (Senate Bill 96) was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.
  • Project Labor Agreements. Local governments could no longer require contractors to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects such the Milwaukee Bucks arena, under a bill approved by the state Assembly Thursday. Read more.
  • Eliminate State Treasurer Office. Voters will decide in the April 2018 election whether they want to amend the state constitution to scrap the office, which has been stripped of nearly all responsibilities and powers. The Assembly voted 68-31 on Wednesday to approve the proposal, with GOP Reps. Joan Ballweg and Kathleen Bernier joining Dems in opposing. The Senate passed the bill earlier with Republican Sens. Sheila Harsdorf and Dale Kapenga opposing. Current State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk campaigned on position’s elimination. Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor would replace the treasurer on the Board of Commissioners on Public Lands. Read more.
  • The governor shut down the idea that MPS should be sole charter school authorizer, a concept raised by the MPS Superintendent at a forum earlier in the week. During an event at Oakfield High School in Fond du Lac County Thursday, Walker said he was “very confident” that lawmakers would approve K-12 funding increases in the state budget.

March 8

  • The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released analysis of the governor’s budget in advance of legislative work to revise it. Read the full analysis and see the recommendations.                              
  • The Assembly Local Government Committee held a hearing on a bill regarding government meeting publication (AB-70), which would allow school boards and other bodies to publish minutes online, instead of in an official newspaper.
  • Several minor adjustments, at the request of the DPI, were taken up at a hearing of the Joint Review of Administrative Rules Committee, including adjustments to technical language for the special needs scholarship program and emergency teacher licensure.

March 7

  • A fiscal estimate was received on the information technology block grant program, the broadband expansion grant program, and moves to waive certain fees and appraisals, and make appropriations. Broadband grants and the TEACH program are components of this bill.

March 6

The Week Ahead in the Legislature

Wednesday, March 15

  • The Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would change child labor permits (SB-11 and companion bill AB-25). The bill makes it easier for businesses to use child labor without sign off by parents. Find out more and take action.

Tuesday, March 21

  • The Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee will hold a hearing on AB-123 Broadband Expansion. The information technology block grant program, the broadband expansion grant program, waiving certain fees and appraisals, and making appropriations.

Upcoming Listening Sessions/Public Hearings

March 16, Wauwatosa
Dale Kooyenga Town Hall Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W North Ave., Wauwatosa.

March 21, Brookfield

Leah Vukmir, Dale Kooyenga, Robert Hutton Listening Session, 6-7:30 p.m., Brookfield Public Safety Building, 2100 N. Calhoun Rd., Brookfield. 

March 23, Green Bay
Urban Revitalization Committee Public Hearings, 1-5 p.m., The committee will hear testimony from invited speakers and the general public, and will accept unlimited written testimony at the hearings and testimony sent directly to the chairman’s office.

Don’t see something in the wrap-up? Looking for more information? Contact Christina Brey.