Legislative Update – March 19

The Assembly Education Committee has set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday on the governor’s proposals to provide more guards and safety equipment in schools (No companion bills are yet in the Senate). The special session bills, AB 1- 6, differ from the package of bills recommended by WEAC in notable ways. Read more about WEAC’s recommendations here and compare them with the actual bill / legislative memo language below. Then, urge your legislators to support the proposals that will make the most difference by preventing violence – instead of placing more armed guards in our classrooms.


The Governor’s Plan WEAC’s Plan
Establishes an Office of School Safety Establishes a state School Safety Center
Creates School Safety Grant Program Restores revenue limit adjustment for safety
Requires mandatory reporting of threats Expands aid to hire school mental health staff
Requires prompt parent notification of bullying Increases community-school mental health grants
Adds more requirements for school plans Expands mental health screenings, interventions
Changes rules on security camera footage Provides aid for prevention programs
Requires safety plan reviews every three years
Keeps school safety information confidential

 Guns in School. The Private School Carry Act was introduced as AB 1026. The bill would allow anyone with a concealed-carry license to carry that gun on school grounds, and, if the school board passes a policy, those guns could be concealed-carried into buildings. Under the proposal, if a school district doesn’t allow it and someone forgets they have a gun strapped to their ankle or other part of their body, the penalty is decreased to a forfeiture (which isn’t really a crime), instead of the current felony. The bill was sent to the Assembly Committee on State Affairs. There currently is no companion bill in the Senate.


The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding meets today in La Crosse, hearing invited testimony from Sparta Public School District, Onalaska Public School District, and CESA 4.

On Tuesday, the Senate will take up bills to overhaul court procedures and to create new tax credits for Kimberly-Clark to try to save 600 jobs in the Fox Valley, as well as the Senate version of the governor’s child tax credit that doesn’t include the sales tax holiday the Assembly added to the proposal.

These education-related bills are also on the schedule:

Supplemental aid for school districts with a large area. AB 477 / SB-685 provides supplemental aid for school districts with a large area.

Availability of state practice testsSB536 /AB488 requires the Department of Public Instruction to make available, upon request, practice examinations or sample items related to knowledge and concept examinations required to be administered under state law. Under current law, DPI must allow a person to view a knowledge and concepts examination if the person submits a written request within 90 days after the examination is administered. The bill also repeals the chapter of the administrative code that DPI promulgated to implement current law.

Apprenticeship programWI AB 745 WI SB 628 allows a high school senior to begin an apprenticeship program during the student’s senior year of high school. Under current law, any individual 16 years of age or over may enter into an apprentice contract whereby the individual is to receive from his or her employer, in consideration for the individual’s services, instruction in any trade, craft, or business. That instruction must include a minimum number of hours of related classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Usurp local control on workplace standards. SB 634 / AB 748. The bill preempts a local municipality from enacting a local living wage, fair scheduling standard, and a host of other measures that would improve the lives of working people.

UW Merit Scholarships related to environmental programs at Stevens Point campus. The Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight will vote on AB 804 /SB 700, which would change the formula for distributing merit scholarships to students at UW-Stevens Point for environmental programs. Instead of using current criteria, the Board of Regents would be required to provide $300,000 annually for merit scholarships in this area.

Grants to schools for public safety trainingAB 872 creates an incentive grant program for school districts that provide training for certain public safety occupations and provides completion awards for students who complete those programs.