PROFS has been working hard for the best possible budget for UW-Madison faculty since late last year. Governor Tony Evers introduced his budget proposal in February, but Republican legislative leaders rejected the plan and began anew in the Joint Finance Committee.
The Joint Finance Committee voted on the UW System portion of the budget late last month. The committee approved, along party lines, lifting the 8-year tuition freeze, which was not in Evers’ budget, and increasing UW System funding by $8.25 million, a fraction of the $192 million increase the governor proposed. The increase in funding is earmarked for specific programs, including $5 million for the Freshwater Collaborative, $2 million for UW-Extension county co-op agents, and $250,000 for a Nelson Institute collaborative program with the Department of Defense.
The Joint Finance Committee also voted to provide funding for pay increases for all state employees, including UW-Madison faculty and staff, of 2 percent in each of the next two years. PROFS urged the committee to adopt a robust pay plan for the university before the committee met earlier this month, noting that strong faculty salaries are crucial for recruitment and retention and allow UW-Madison to remain competitive among our peers.
The Republican-led Joint Finance Committee concluded its work on June 17. The Assembly will vote on the bill on Tuesday, June 29, with the Senate vote likely to follow on Wednesday, June 30. The bill will then go to the governor for his signature, partial veto, or full veto. The fiscal year begins July 1, and the current spending levels contained in the 2019-21 budget will be in place until Governor Evers takes action. Should the governor veto the entire budget, the current spending plan continues through June 2023 or until another 2021-23 biennial budget is passed by the Legislature.
PROFS is also following and taking positions on a number of bills and proposals:
Assembly Bill 177/Senate Bill 209 PROFS registered against these bills that limit the use of drop boxes for returning absentee ballots.
Assembly Bill 192/Senate Bill 203 PROFS registered against these bills that place new restrictions on absentee ballots.
Assembly Bill 201/Senate Bill 204 PROFS registered against these bills that make it harder to use absentee ballots and register to vote electronically.
PROFS is strongly opposed to legislation that makes voting more difficult for faculty, staff, and students. Our statement is here.
Assembly Bill 77/Senate Bill 80 PROFS is registered in favor of these bills, which provide $1 million for state specialists who provide certain UW-Extension services. Public testimony in favor of this legislation is Similar funding was added to the state budget by the Joint Finance Committee.
Assembly Bill 195/Senate Bill 323 PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit transgender women from participating in UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System intercollegiate, intramural, and club sports. Our statement on this legislation is .
Assembly Bill 347/Senate Bill 375 PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System from requiring testing for, or vaccination against, COVID-19.
Assembly Bill 362/Senate Bill 359 PROFS registered in favor of these bills that restore previous shared governance language to state statutes.
Assembly Bill 363/Senate Bill 360 PROFS registered in favor of these bills that restore previous tenure language to state statutes.
Assembly Bill 370/Senate Bill 260 PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit UW System and UW Hospital and Clinics from, while in the scope of their employment, performing or assisting the performance of an abortion. This legislation could jeopardize the accreditation of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program.
LRB-3355 PROFS will oppose this legislation that bans instruction on systemic racism (referred to in the media as Critical Race Theory) at UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System when introduced.