Legislative Update: November 6

The Assembly has announced it will take up a series of suicide prevention bills on Thursday, November 7, along with a vote on:

  • Parental Choice Program (SB-495 / AB-554). This would make minor changes to deadlines for statewide private voucher school applications. This includes accepting applications from the first weekday in February and end on the third Thursday in April, instead of stipulating February 1 to April 20, and report the number of applicants to the DPI by the first weekday in May, instead of May. Additionally, the bill would change language for the Milwaukee, Racine and statewide voucher programs to require an annual “notice” from an accrediting entity, rather than a “letter.” 
  • Suicide Prevention Grants (SB 498 / AB 525). This bill requires the Department of Public Instruction to establish a competitive grant program to award grants up to $1,000 (with renewals for up to three additional years) to support peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs in public, private, and tribal high schools. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Committee on Health. 
  • Student identification cards. (SB 496). Requires elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational entities to include suicide prevention information on student identification cards beginning in 2020.  Referred to the Senate Education Committee.
  • Competitive grants for prevention programs in high schools (AB 528). Appropriates $250,000 per year to DPI for distribution in the form of competitive grants. Grants may be up to $1,000 per school and may be renewed up to three times.
  • WISH Grants (AB 529). Requires DPI annually award a grant to CESA to support the work of the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center, funded with $70,000 this year and $200,000 the next.
  • Suicide Prevention Grants (AB-530). Grants for suicide prevention programming.

The Senate met Tuesday to take up several appointments and bills, including:

  • Governor’s Veto Powers (SB 482). This constitutional amendment would limit the governor’s partial veto powers. The resolution would have to pass both houses in two terms, then pass a statewide referendum, before taking effect.
  •  Youth Apprenticeship Program (SB-072). This bill would require certain occupational areas to be included in the youth apprenticeship program.
  • Parental Choice Program (SB-495 / AB-554). This would make minor changes to deadlines for statewide private voucher school applications. This includes accepting applications from the first weekday in February and end on the third Thursday in April, instead of stipulating February 1 to April 20, and report the number of applicants to the DPI by the first weekday in May, instead of May. Additionally, the bill would change language for the Milwaukee, Racine and statewide voucher programs to require an annual “notice” from an accrediting entity, rather than a “letter.” The Assembly Education Committee has held a public hearing on the bill.
  • Special Education Licensure (AB 194 / SB 183). This bill makes exceptions for particular license area, which could open the doors 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. This bill has already passed the Assembly.

Cursive Writing Mandate: The Assembly Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), has scheduled a public hearing to take testimony on Assembly Bill 459, incorporating cursive writing into the state model English language arts standards and requiring cursive writing instruction in elementary grades. The hearing is set for Wednesday, November 6, at 1:00 p.m. in the 225 Northwest of the State Capitol.