Legislative Update and Action Alerts – May 25

Current WEAC Action Alerts

Tell your legislators to make public school funding a priority in the budget

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Ask your senator to protect the WRS

Legislative Update

The Joint Finance Committee has the UW on its mind today, as it sorts out whether to support the governor’s budget proposal for a 5 percent tuition cut or hold steady at a continuation of a tuition freeze. The panel delayed voting Tuesday on the issue. The JFC is also taking up the governor’s proposal to adopt a performance-based funding model at the UW System, looking to add $42.5 million that campuses would split based on how they perform on certain criteria.

Wisconsin Democrats are pressing the budget panel to restore UW funding and fund two years of free college education through the Fund the Freeze campaign, which calls on legislators to restore $210 million to the UW System budget in each of the next two budgets to pay for an ongoing freeze of UW tuition and fund two years of free college education. The JFC last week rejected a Democratic proposal to make technical colleges tuition-free, with the JFC co-chair saying, “Free college? News flash for you: Bernie Sanders lost. We don’t just get things for free in this country. We work for them.”

Transportation is still a big question mark in the budget deliberations, and the governor held a news conference today on the topic.

More Legislative Updates:

  • Referendum Restrictions. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday for one of six bills introduced to limit school boards from using referendums to provide for their students. SB 187 would require a school board to include specific financial information in a resolution and in the referendum question to exceed the school district’s revenue limit by issuing debt. That includes the total amount of debt to be issued, the total amount of interest and related debt service costs to be incurred, and the sum of the principal, interest, and related debt service costs. The practice of using an operational referendum to issue debt is small, but the move would result in a complicated ballot question.
  • Guns in elementary, middle and high schools. SB-169 and companion bill AB-247 would allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, background check, or training (also lowering the minimum age and opening the door for guns in schools). A Senate committee hearing is scheduled May 31.
  • Military Service & WRS. AB-62 would add military service as credible service under the WRS. An amendment was offered this week requiring participating employers to contribute an additional percentage of earnings to reflect the shared cost of granting creditable military service.
  • Career and Technical Education Grants. SB-127, relating to career and technical education incentive grants, had a public hearing by the Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues. The companion bill is AB-192.
  • Penalties for making school gun threats. SB-82 and companion bill AB-111 would make it a crime to intentionally convey any threat or false information concerning an attempt to use a firearm to injure or kill a person on school property, on transportation provided by a school, or at an event sanctioned by a school. A person who is convicted of the crime would be guilty of a Class I felony.

Coming Up:

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