Here are some of the bills and proposals we’re watching:
Reaching Higher for Higher Education Legislative Package
The Reaching Higher for Higher Education legislative package will help ensure our technical colleges and public universities are affordable and accessible to everyone. By investing in need-based financial aid for Wisconsin technical college and UW System students, funding current and future tuition freezes, and expanding the tuition promise to all of the UW System, we can support students by ensuring higher education is affordable and accessible while also providing the resources to ensure they can graduate on time.
Three bill drafts are particularly applicable to the Wisconsin Technical College System:
- State Aid to Technical Colleges (LRB 0919): Fully funds the Wisconsin Technical College System’s 2023-25 budget request by increasing state aid to technical colleges and district boards by $49 million.
- Student Financial Aid (LRB 0920): Increases need-based financial aid for UW System and technical college students by increasing Wisconsin Higher Education Aid Board’s biennial appropriation for Wisconsin Grants for UW students by $22,518,700 in fiscal year 2024-2025 and for technical college students by $8,357,700 in fiscal year 2024-2025. The additional funding will ensure HEAB is prepared for an influx of eligible students when the FAFSA Simplification Act of 2019 goes into effect on July 1, 2024.
- Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Higher Education (LRB 0922): Creates a 19-member Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Higher Education composed of UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System faculty, staff, students, legislators, and higher education and workforce development experts to study and facilitate a discussion about a public agenda for higher education in Wisconsin and develop partnerships between the two systems.
Governor’s Special Session Plan
Governor Evers has sent a formal letter to Sen. Feyen asking that the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technical Colleges hold a public hearing on his Special Session bill. In response, Feyen said he plans to treat the bill as he would any bill and is currently waiting for a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo “on the financial impacts of the proposal.”
- The governor’s plan would increase general aid to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) with an additional more than $40 million over the biennium to support the more than 270,000 students that enroll at a technical college each year.
- The plan would also increase funding by $17.3 million over the biennium for the Wisconsin Grants program, which provides college students with need-based financial aid. Funding for Wisconsin Grants would be dispersed as follows:
- More than $9.4 million for the UW System;
- More than $4.3 million for private, nonprofit colleges;
- More than $3.5 million for the WTCS; and
- $73,500 for Tribal Colleges.
Workers First Package
This series of bills is designed to improve the lives of Wisconsin workers. This package would:
- Reinstate collective bargaining for public employees so that Wisconsin workers can have a say in their wages, hours, and conditions of employment;
- Make it easier for Wisconsin workers to organize together;
- Prevent wage discrimination against women and other protected classes;
- Allow local governments to have more of a say on matters of the minimum wage and family medical leave.
Here are details of bills included in the package:
- Bargaining over Wages, Hours, and Conditions of Employment for Public Employees (LRB 4276) Memo
- Prevailing Wage (LRB 239) Memo
- Allowing the Enactment of Family and Medical Leave (LRB 721) Memo
- Local Minimum Wage Ordinances (LRB 734) Memo
- Project Labor Agreements & Public Contracts (LRB 3228) Memo
- Covenants Not to Compete in Employment Contracts (LRB 3971) Memo
- Repealing Wisconsin’s “Right-to-Work” Law (No LBR) Memo
See all of our education advocacy updates here.