Legislative Update – May 5

Wisconsin Retirement System. A fiscal estimate was received on a bill that WEAC is closely watching because it would raise the early retirement age for educators from 55 to 60 and change the calculation for final average earning. WEAC first notified members about Senate Bill 190 in our April 24 Update, and continues to monitor its reception in the Legislature. Note that the bill targets changes to individuals who first become participating employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System, not those currently in the system, so that two different benefit levels would be created for professionals doing the same work. See the bill history.

Wisconsin and the Every Student Succeeds Act. A bill that would prohibit the DPI from submitting its ESSA plan to the feds without first responding to any objections filed by members of the Senate or Assembly education committees was amended in the Assembly to also apply to other state plans required under federal law to be submitted by state agencies. AB 233 has no Senate sponsors and Senate Ed Chair Luther Olsen has said he won’t hold hearing. See the bill history here. Read the draft Wisconsin ESSA plan.

Transportation Plan. Assembly Republicans have brought forward their transportation plan, which includes a broader overhaul of the state’s tax structure. The plan includes adding the state’s 5 percent sales tax to gasoline sales, cutting the excise tax on fuel, paring back minimum markup and moving toward a flat income tax. Read more from WisPolitics. And this from the Journal Sentinel. Meanwhile, Legislative Dems are asking GOP leaders for a joint transportation finance committee to take up the issue of roads.

School Start. The governor says he’s confident school won’t start before September 1, noting that the tourism industry depends on the restriction. He predicted a bill to allow school boards to decide for themselves on start dates won’t pass the Legislature. Read more.

Prevailing Wage. The governor is voicing support for a prevailing wage ban that’s working its way through the Legislature. The Senate could take up the bill next week. Read more.

Reducing the size of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. The Joint Finance Committee met in executive session to discuss decreasing the WERC from three members to one. Read more.

Assembly Education Committee. The Assembly Education Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 18, on the following topics:

  • Chapter PI 25 – Children at Risk Plan and Program
  • Chapter PI 41 – Accommodation of Religious Beliefs
  • Chapter PI 47 – Equivalency Process for Educator Effectiveness
  • Chapter PI 9 – Pupil Nondiscrimination
  • Chapter PI 10 – Supplemental Aid for School Districts with a Large Area
  • Chapter PI 2 – School District Boundary Appeals
  • Chapter PI 28 – Test Access
  • Chapter PI 23 – Esea Intradistrict Safe School Transfer Options
  • Chapter PI 14 – School Finance
  • Chapter PI 43 – Education Reform, Information Presentation on Humanoid Robots for the treatment of Autism

See a run-down of the bills in the committee right now, as well as contact information for committee members so you can reach out over Teacher Appreciation Week and let them know how you feel about the various proposals.

Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarship Program. A fiscal estimate is available for AB-266, relating to eligibility for this program. View Bill History

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