Legislative Update – September 14 – Assembly passes budget

Assembly passes budget, onto Senate now

The State Assembly passed the budget Wednesday, which now goes to the Senate on Friday. Take this opportunity to contact your senators about the education issues that are important to you on WEAC’s Take Action Page.

To see key components of the budget bill, go to www.weac.org/budget.

The budget passed 57-39. Opposing the measure were all Democrats and Republicans Scott Allen (Waukesha), Janel Brandtjen (Menomonee Falls), Bob Gannon (West Bend), Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake) and Joe Sanfelippo (New Berlin). Insiders say the Senate doesn’t yet have the votes to pass the budget, with major sticking points around transportation, increased spending and several K-12 issues that are still being sought including increasing voucher income eligibility to 300 percent of the federal poverty level instead of the current bump to 220 percent; including even more referendum restrictions to allow school boards to rescind previously passed referendums and excluding the amount levied through referendum from shared costs in the equalization aid formula; and making the repeal of the energy efficiency exemption effective in the first year of the budget.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has made the Comparative Summary of Budget Recommendations – Governor and Joint Finance Committee available (Agency Listings) – if you’d like to see how far the budget has come from the governor’s original proposal back in February to now.

Senate passes $3 billion Foxconn bill
The Senate on Tuesday approved the $3 billion Foxconn bill, 20-13, with GOP Sen. Robert Cowles opposing it and Dem Bob Wirch voting for the proposal. The bill included an amendment that maintains the appeals court’s role in any lawsuits filed over decisions related to the economic development zone where the Foxconn project is located. However, the appeals process is sped up.

Coming up in the Legislature
The Senate Education Committee will hold public hearings Thursday on bills relating to professional development in character education (SB 329), tuberculosis screening for school employees (SB 382) and changing the payment schedules for public, voucher and independently run charter schools (SB 383).

Career & Tech Ed Grants
The Assembly Committee on Workforce Development met Tuesday on  AB 192 (companion bill SB 127), relating to career and technical education incentive grants. This bill removes the per pupil limitation on career and technical education incentive grants that the Department of Workforce Development awards to school districts. Under current law, DWD must award a grant to a school district in the amount of $1,000 per pupil who, in the prior school year, obtained a high school diploma and successfully completed an industry-recognized certification program approved by DWD. Under the bill, DWD must award $1,000 for each certification program completed by a pupil.  

WEAC continues to monitor legislative activity and the impact on educators and working families. Look for our updates and encourage your colleagues to sign up for them as well. Direct your questions to communications@weac.org.