Legislative Update – May 28

The Assembly Education Committee will hold public hearings Thursday on the following bills.

  • Special Education Licensure (AB 194). This bill is almost identical to one that was circulated a couple of years back. This makes exceptions for particular license area, special education, which could open the door to more carving out of exceptions in specific licensing areas and lowers the standard for special education teachers, those teachers who serve Wisconsin’s most intellectually vulnerable population. Specifically, this bill allows the Department of Public Instruction to issue an initial license as a special education teacher to an individual who successfully completes a course in the teaching of reading and reading comprehension, provided the individual satisfies all other requirements for licensure by DPI. Current law requires, as a condition for receiving an initial license to teach in special education, that an individual passes an examination identical to the Foundations of Reading test.
  • Out-of-State Teacher License Reciprocity (AB 195). This would change the way a person who has been educated and licensed to teach out of state can become licensed to teach in the state of Wisconsin. This bill would continue to allow a person who is educated and licensed out of state to begin teaching in Wisconsin with a 1 Year License with Stipulations. After two successful semesters, that person would then be eligible for a License Based on Reciprocity. Furthermore, this bill would move the License Based on Reciprocity to a Tier II Provisional License. 
  • School Lunch Requirements (AB 84) This bill prohibits schools from “lunch shaming.” Under this bill, schools could not:
    • Publicly identify or stigmatize a pupil who is unable to pay for a quality meal or who has outstanding debt related to a quality meal.
    • Require a pupil who is unable to pay to do chores or other work not expected of a pupil who has the ability to pay.
    • Require a pupil to throw away that quality meal because the pupil is unable to pay for the quality meal or has outstanding debt related to a quality meal.
    • Communicate directly with a pupil concerning the pupil’s inability to pay for a quality meal or to pay outstanding debt related to a quality meal.
    • Require fees or costs charged by a collection agency retained by the governing body to collect outstanding debt related to a quality meal.

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy will hold a public hearing Thursday on the following bill:

  • Free state park admission for fourth graders (SB 212). This waives the fee for fourth grade students and their families on an annual vehicle admission state parks. A family would receive only one annual waiver, should they have more than one child.

Circulating for Co-Sponsorship

  • Threat to Use a Dangerous Weapon on School Property (LRB-2615 and LRB-2680). This bill creates a crime for intentionally conveying any threat or false information concerning an attempt to use a dangerous weapon 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 for the crime is guilty of a Class I felony. This bill passed the Assembly in 2016 but was not taken up by the Senate. The proposal is modeled on current laws regarding bomb scares, and would close a loophole that allows individuals who threaten to bring a dangerous weapon onto school grounds and injure or kill un-named people to escape meaningful judgement. The idea began several years ago after an incident in Barron County, and since then, similar incidents in Mequon, Menomonie, Oconomowoc and Watertown.