Legislative Update – May 26

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

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Legislative Update

Lawmakers are thinking about scrapping the secretive budget maneuver that they used to drastically limit public access to government documents two years ago, and to enact a barrage of anti-worker policies four years back.

Higher Ed Funding

  • Tuition Freeze. Joint Finance Committee rejected the governor’s proposal to cut tuition and instead opted for continuing the freeze for the next two years for in-state undergrads. The guv had proposed keeping the freeze for the next year and then cutting tuition by 5 percent in 2018-19 while backfilling that with $35 million in general purpose revenue. But the Joint Finance co-chairs told reporters today the committee’s motion on UW will instead keep the tuition freeze for the next two years.  Beyond losing the $35 million Walker had earmarked to pay for the 5 percent tuition cut, the overall impact of the omnibus motion would be a reduction of $6.8 million in GPR vs. what the guv proposed.
  • Performance-based funding. The committee did go along with a proposal to bring performance-based funding to UW, though in a significantly different way. The guv had proposed adding $42.5 million to the UW System that campuses would split based on how they perform on certain criteria. He also had laid out specific metrics to measure performance, though UW officials said the regents should decide the specifics. The JFC set four of the state’s priorities and will let UW officials decide how to measure them.
  • Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. The JFC supported providing $1.5 million annually to the proposed Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, which opponents are calling a far-right think tank, and supporters are calling a balance to liberal university biases.
  • UW Leadership. The JFC backed a measure to prohibit regents from only considering those with tenure or holding terminal degrees for appointments as the UW System president and chancellor and vice chancellor at UW institutions.
  • Green Bay Engineering School. The JFC recommended authorizing the creation of an engineering school at UW-Green Bay.
  • Oshkosh Foundation. The JFC backed prohibiting the regents from transferring funds to the UW-Oshkosh Foundation unless first approved by JFC.

Medicaid

JFC green lights Walker’s plan to drug test Medicaid, food stamp recipients
JFC approves Walker’s plan to drug test some Medicaid recipients

Coming Up:

  • Wednesday, May 31: 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.
  • Wednesday, May 31: The Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions will hold a public hearing on AB 280, requiring public schools to incorporate financial literacy into their curriculum.

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