Legislative Update

PROFS, a non-profit membership organization representing UW-Madison faculty, monitors legislation and lobbies the governor, members of the legislature, and members of Congress. PROFS has a long history of effectiveness – PROFS led the fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year and successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Recent activities at the state level are below.

2019-21 Biennial Budget

While Governor Walker instructed agency heads to prepare budgets with zero increases, the Board of Regents recently approved a request for a $107.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium:

  • $82.5 million to be directed to meet outcomes-based goals set by the Republican legislature, including student success, workforce development and operational efficiencies.
  • $25 million to be directed to improve access in high-demand fields in science, math, technology, engineering, health care and business.

The Regents also approved a $1.9 billion capital budget request, including $90 million to expand UW-Madison’s Veterinary Medicine building.

UW System’s budget request did not include a pay plan for faculty and staff. UW System President Ray Cross said he would ask Regents in December to approve a plan equal to twice the rate of inflation.

The state budget process is lengthy and begins early next year when the governor introduces his budget proposal. The Joint Finance Committee and both houses of the state legislature must then approve the plan before it is returned to the governor for his vetoes and final approval.

PROFS will actively monitor and participate in the state budget, meeting with key legislators and leaders from UW-Madison and UW System.

Tuition Freeze

Earlier this summer, both candidates for governor – current Governor Scott Walker (Republican) and Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers (Democrat) – said they support an additional two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition, lengthening the current freeze to eight years.

Fall Elections

All Wisconsin Assembly seats and 17 seats in the Senate are on the ballot in November. Republicans hold comfortable margins in both houses, but some pundits believe the Senate could flip parties. A split legislature would have an impact on the upcoming state budget process and could slow Republican legislative efforts such as a proposed ban on fetal tissue research and campus carry.

 

June Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Milwaukee Thursday and Friday, June 7 and 8. All meetings will be held in the UW-Milwaukee Union, 2200 Kenwood Boulevard. Livestream coverage of the full board portions of the meeting is here.

The Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

The Education Committee will consider approval of several new degree programs and creation of new colleges at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Whitewater. The committee will also hear reports on UW Colleges tenure transfer and legislative approval of the UW System outcomes-based funding model.

The Business and Finance and Audit Committees will meet jointly to discuss information security.

The Business and Finance Committee will consider several contractual agreements and hear several reports, including an update on the title and compensation study.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider approval of several building projects, including a renovation project in Bascom Hall. The committee will also hear reports on leasing agreements, the 2019-21 capital budget and State Building Commission actions.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will host two discussions — one on UW-Milwaukee’s innovation and entrepreneurship efforts and one on student internships.

The Audit Committee will hear several reports and consider approval of the 2019 Audit Plan Review.

The full board meets at 1 pm. Newly-appointed Regent Cris Peterson will be introduced and Regent Emeritus Margaret Farrow will be recognized for her service on the board. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will provide an update on the move of UW-Extension unites to UW-Madison. The board will also discuss employee personnel files and reference checks before moving in to closed session to discuss several disciplinary, legal, and personnel issues.

The full board continues its meeting Friday. Agenda items include reports from UW System President Ray Cross and UW System Board of Regents President John Behling, approval of committee action, the presentation of 2018 teaching awards, and the election of Regent officers.

Reminder: Shared Governance Forum

PROFS, along with several campus cosponsors, is hosting a public forum on shared governance at 3 pm, Thursday, May 3 in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall (poster below).

Our panel:

  • Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, former General Secretary AAUP
  • David Maxwell, Drake University President Emeritus, Association of Governing Boards Senior Consultant
  • Regina Millner, University of Wisconsin System Regent, Board President Emeritus
  • Thomas Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis

Karen HerzogMilwaukee Journal Sentinel higher education reporter, will moderate.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The La Follette School of Public Affairs, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, WISCAPE (Wisconsin Center on the Advancement of Postsecondary Education) and ASPRO (Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization) are cosponsors.

Shared Governance Forum

PROFS is pleased to sponsor a public forum on shared governance at 3 pm, Thursday, May 3 in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building.

Public higher education has faced enormous challenges in recent years — massive funding cuts, declining student enrollment, shifting perception on the value of a degree. Many legislative leaders have called for the University of Wisconsin System, and UW-Madison in particular, to operate more like a business, often citing shared governance as a major impediment to institutional efficiency.

Our panel of nationally known experts will guide our discussion.

  • Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, former General Secretary AAUP
  • David Maxwell, Drake University President Emeritus, Association of Governing Boards Senior Consultant
  • Regina Millner, University of Wisconsin System Regent, Board President Emeritus
  • Thomas Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis

Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel higher education reporter, will moderate.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

April Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, April 5 and 6. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

The Audit and Business and Finance Committees will meet jointly in closed session to discuss information security audit findings.

The Audit Committee will discuss several reports, including the FY2018 Audit Plan Progress Report and recently issued audit reports.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss several building projects including three at UW-Madison — the Chemistry Building, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, and Meat Science and Muscle Biology Lab.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear several reports, including updates on UW-Madison’s Posse Program and WiSys, and a presentation on UW System’s economic impact in the state.

The Business and Finance Committee will hear several reports and consider a request for an exemption from board policy on large unendowed gifts from UW-Madison.

The Education Committee will consider several new degree programs and approval of UW-Parkside Policies and Procedures relating to Faculty Layoff and Termination. Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, Provost at the University of Maryland-College Park, will deliver a talk on UTeach, a university-based teacher prep program working to increase the number of qualified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers in the United States.

The full board meets at 1 pm Thursday. Two newly-appointed Regents will be introduced, Jason Plante and Cris Peterson, while Gerald Whitburn begins his second term. The Board will also hear updates on UW System restructuring and possible changes at UW-Stevens Point before going into closed session.

On Friday, the board will hear reports from UW System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents President John Behling. UW-Green Bay will present its annual Division I Athletics report.

The Board will also present the 2018 Academic Staff Excellence Awards to Jaclyn Esqueda (UW-Platteville), Karen Mittelstadt (UW-Madison), and the Lake Superior Research Institute (UW-Superior).

 

 

Legislative Update

The Legislature concluded its regular session work in March, passing several items key to Governor Scott Walker’s re-election agenda including a school safety passage, an overhaul of the juvenile corrections system, and a one-day sales tax holiday and $100 per child tax credit. The Legislature did not take action on the following:

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

PROFS worked with faculty experts to develop bipartisan legislation that would change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest. AB 758 passed the Assembly, but was not scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

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

PROFS registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. This bill died in committee.

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

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

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

PROFS registered agains SB 423, and monitored additional bills that would have limited the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. SB 422 received a public hearing but was never scheduled for a floor vote, the remaining bills died in committee.

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

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

Federal Relations

PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Legislative Representative Jack O’Meara traveled to Washington, DC last month as part of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s UW-Madison Day. They met with members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation including Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressmen Mark Pocan and Glenn Grothman, and staff from the offices of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson.

 

 

 

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