Legislative Update

The Legislature is expected to wrap up the 2018 session this month and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills. More information on PROFS lobbying effort is here:

“Mark Cook Bills” to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, Assembly Bill 758 and Senate Bill 671

Directed by faculty experts, PROFS worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce legislation related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. The faculty group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), identified the need to change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest. AB 758 has passed the Assembly and PROFS is hopeful it will be scheduled for a Senate vote later this month.

Bill Limiting University of Wisconsin OB/GYN Training, Assembly Bill 206

PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July the bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.

Bills Restoring Tenure and Shared Governance to State Statute, Assembly Bills 991 & 993 and Senate Bills 823 & 824

PROFS is registered in support of legislation that would restore statutory language relating to tenure and shared governance to state statues. These provisions were removed as part of the 2015-17 state budget.

Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Assembly Bills 83 & 549 and Senate Bills 422 & 423

PROFS is carefully monitoring two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research and is registered against Senate Bill 423. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.

Bills Eliminating Certain Reporting Requirements, Changes to UW-Madison Health Sciences Start Date, Assembly Bill 932 and Senate Bill 790

PROFS is registered in support of this legislation that would eliminate several duplicative reports and allow graduate health science classes to start before September 1.

Shared Governance Forum

PROFS is planning a campus forum on shared governance – what it is, how it works on a flagship campus that is part of a system, and why it leads to best business practices. A date and more details to come soon.

Federal Relations

PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Legislative Representative Jack O’Meara will participate in the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s UW-Madison Day in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 14. They will also meet with members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation during their time in on Capitol Hill.


Governor Walker Announces Regent Appointments

Last week, Governor Scott Walker announced three appointments to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. The governor reappointed Regent Gerald Whitburn to a second seven-year term and named Cris Peterson to a seven-year term and Jason Plante to the remainder of former Regent Margaret Farrow’s seven-year term, ending in 2020. Farrow announced her immediate retirement from the board in December.

Whitburn, former CEO of Church Mutual Insurance Company, also served as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and as Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services under Governor Tommy Thompson. Whitburn holds degrees from UW-Oshkosh and UW-Madison.

Peterson, a Grantsburg dairy farmer, has received several agricultural awards including 1997 Farm Woman of the Year and 2004 World Dairy Expo Woman of the Year. She served as a student regent while at the University of Minnesota, where she received a degree in education. She replaces outgoing Regent Tim Higgins of Appleton.

Plante, a UW-Eau Claire graduate, is Vice President of Market & Johnson, a general contracting/construction management company in Eau Claire.

Nominees must be approved by the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and full Senate. A public committee hearing on the appointments will be held at 2 pm this afternoon in Room 300 Southeast in the State Capitol.

PROFS Registers in Favor of Senate Bills 823 and 824

PROFS registered in favor of two recently introduced Senate bills. Senate Bill 823 restores tenure to state statutes and Senate Bill 824 restores university shared governance to state statutes. Both provisions had been in state law but were removed in 2015 as part of Act 55, the 2015-17 biennial budget. State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) and State Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) are lead authors of the legislation (below).

La Follette School Seminar on WRS

PROFS is pleased to cosponsor a seminar on the Wisconsin Retirement System with the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Gary Gates, former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds will provide a history of WRS and share why it remains one of the strongest pension systems in the country. In 2016, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided an in-depth look at Gates and the pension system he crafted.

The seminar is at 12:30 pm, Wednesday, February 21 in Union South and is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

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