Legislative Update – November 15

The Assembly was in session Tuesday, days after legislative leaders decided not to take up popular gun control measures in a special session. Representatives on Tuesday did engage in lengthy debate on whether the tree in the Capitol should be called a “holiday tree” or a “Christmas tree.” After a resolution supporting “Christmas tree,” Assembly speaker Robin Vos gaveled out for the long term, saying, “Merry Christmas.”

To contact your elected officials on any issue, use the “Find Your Legislators” link at www.weac.org/take-action. For more information to get even more involved, email Christina Brey, WEAC Public Affairs.

Bills We’re Watching
See all the bills we’re watching at www.weac.org/bills

  • Special Education Licensure (AB 194 / SB 183). This bill makes exceptions for particular license area, carving out exceptions in specific licensing areas and lowering the standard for special education teachers. This bill passed the Senate and Assembly and has been delivered to the governor.
  • Teacher Literacy Grants. (AB 595 / SB 555). Both versions of the bill were sent to the chambers’ education committees.
  • Teacher Prep Programs (AB 594 / SB 554). The Senate version was referred to the Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families, and the Assembly bill to the Assembly Education Committee.

Circulating for Co-Sponsorship

  • Election Inspectors (LRB-4765/1). Allowing a pupil enrolled in a home-based private educational program to serve as an election inspector.
  • Driver License Programs (LRB-4482/1). A package of bills includes this proposal, the Universal Driver Education Act, which would require the Department of Public Instruction to reimburse an educational institution – whether a school district, an operator of an independent charter school, or a private school participating in a parental choice program – that chooses to provide a driver education course to pupils who are at least 16 years of age and have at least a 2.3 grade point average.
  • Allowing retired public employees to return to the job, collect pensions (Read bill)Saukville Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel, who has opposed similar proposals in the past, is co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Mark Felzkowski that would make the allowances for limited windows. Here’s more:
    • The bill would raise the minimum retirement age to 59.5 for teachers, who can now retire at 55. Under the new proposal, retired public employees would be able to work up to 36 months while collecting their pensions. That change would impact workers under the age of 40 on the bill’s effective date. The proposed change to the minimum retirement age also wouldn’t apply to employees in protective services, including police officers, firefighters, most correctional officers and the state patrol. 
    • Republicans in the 2013-15 budget placed limits on so-called “double dipping” but amid a mounting teacher shortage, some GOP lawmakers have been revisiting the subject. Gov. Tony Evers’ budget included a provision that would’ve allowed districts to rehire retired teachers who are collecting their pensions. Under that provision, the rehired teachers couldn’t apply the new salaries to their pensions. But Republicans stripped that provision from the budget
    • WEAC is analyzing this proposed bill, which targets teachers and a primarily female workforce. The Employee Trust Funds reported the average retirement age for public employees outside of the protective services ranged from 60.1 in 2008 to 61.4 in 2018.