Legislative Update – March 1 – Governor to introduce school safety package

Walker to introduce a comprehensive package of legislation addressing school safety. The governor said he’s been in talks with legislators since last week, when Assembly Republicans passed a substitute amendment to a Democrat universal background check bill that instead narrowed the plan to offer grants to schools for armed officers. The Senate has yet to take it up. Walker declined to disclose details surrounding the legislation, but told reporters that he is opposed to a proposal touted by AG Brad Schimel that would train teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

“Most teachers aren’t interested in that,” he said. “We want something that’s going to help school districts across the board, so those are the things we’re focusing on.”

Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, told WisPolitics that he’d consider bringing the Assembly back into session for the legislation if it was crafted narrowly. Democrats quickly asked why the governor now wants action, after Republicans blocked many school safety proposals for the past seven years. Even last week, Senate Republicans rejected a plan to allow districts to exceed revenue limits for safety measures.

Walker talks school safety
Walker says no to arming teachers, could call special session
Walker looks for ideas other than arming teachers

Collective bargaining. In order to restore collective bargaining rights for all public employees, Democratic lawmakers have introduced AB 977, which repeals the exemption that allows only police and fire to collectively bargain and expands that right. Here’s the analysis:

Under this bill, all municipal employees may collectively bargain over wages, hours, and conditions of employment under the Municipal Employment Relations Act and all state employees may collectively bargain over wages, hours, and conditions of employment under the State Employment Labor Relations Act. This bill also permits University of Wisconsin System employees to collectively bargain over wages, hours, and conditions of employment similar to employees covered by SELRA. In addition, this bill permits employees of the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority and certain home care and child care providers to collectively bargain over wages, hours, and conditions of employment.

There is no companion bill in Senate at this time. It was introduced Monday afternoon, and was referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

Upcoming legislative meetings on school funding. The Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding has released its full schedule of public hearings. Invited speakers will be featured at each hearing, followed by public testimony limited to five minutes each. Additional details on several of the upcoming hearings will be released later. For assistance in developing your testimony, contact communications@weac.org.

Monday, March 5: 1:30 p.m., North Woods International School, N2541 Sablewood Rd., La Crosse. Invited testimony: Sparta Public School District, Onalaska School District, CESA 4.

Monday, March 26: 2-6 p.m., Foth, 2121 Innovation Court, De Pere. Invited testimony: Chamber of Commerce- Partners in Education, CESA 7.

  • Monday, April 9-Fennimore
  • Monday, April 23-Oshkosh
  • Monday, May 7– Tomahawk
  • Monday, May 21– Turtle Lake
  • Monday, June 4– Madison

Just introduced:
Special Education Teacher Requirements.
SB848 was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee. WEAC is monitoring the bill and cautions against relaxing standards for pathways to teacher licensure particularly in regard to our students with the greatest needs.

WEAC’s Legislative Agenda

Bills We’re Watching