Month: September 2014

Regent Committee Meeting Thursday

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regent Committee on Research, Economic Development, and Innovation will meet in Madison at 1 pm on Thursday, October 2. The meeting is in advance of the regularly scheduled full board meeting on October 9 and 10 in Stevens Point.

The committee will review its history and mission and discuss collaboration with business partners. An overview of how UW System impacts Wisconsin’s economy is also on the agenda.

The meeting will be held in Room 1820 Van Hise Hall and is open to the public.

Voter ID Update

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reinstated Wisconsin’s voter ID law (2011 Wisconsin Act 23), which had been on hold since first signed into law in 2011. The three member judicial panel found that recent changes made by the state to ease the process to obtain a free photo ID made the law acceptable.

The ruling means that all voters must show a valid form of photo identification in order to cast a ballot:

  • Wisconsin driver’s license
  • Wisconsin photo identification
  • University of Wisconsin voter identification
  • United States passport
  • United States military identification
  • Federally-recognized tribal identification

UW-Madison will begin issuing voter identification cards at the Wiscard office in Union South next week. The new ID is for voting purposes only and does not replace the Wiscard. More information is here. UW System’s student voting guide is here.

Voters may obtain a Wisconsin photo identification card at their local Department of Motor Vehicles office, and may apply to receive an approved identification card even if they lack the appropriate documents. DMV has said they will to process requests for identification without documentation in about 7 business days. More information is here.

Voters who vote absentee must show photo identification if voting in person or separately mail a photocopy of photo identification.

Opponents of the law have asked the full ten-member appeals court to reverse the law and suspend voter ID until a decision is rendered. They argue the application process is cumbersome and may take too long for voters to receive an approved ID. In addition, several thousand absentee ballots have been mailed without instructions about voter ID, complicating an election process already underway.

PROFS registered against AB 7, legislation that became the state’s voter ID law in 2011.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UW Business Partnerships Could Help State’s Economy

The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lauds Chancellor Rebecca Blank for her efforts to foster collaboration between UW-Madison and industry in an effort to improve the state’s economy.

“UW prepares thousands of young people each year for a world that is changing before their very eyes as global competition forces U.S. companies to be smarter and leaner. Those are major challenges for a state such as Wisconsin, which is still so dependent on manufacturing and old-line industries. Good for Blank for recognizing the central role UW can play.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank visited the Milwaukee area last week, speaking to the Wisconsin Innovation Network about the role research plays in driving economic growth, visiting longtime research partner GE Medical, and touring UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences

The full editorial is here.

Governor Walker Reaffirms Support of Tuition Freeze

Governor Scott Walker visited four University of Wisconsin System campuses last week, touting his support for a two-year tuition freeze. Speaking to students in Green Bay, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Racine, Walker said if elected he would support an additional two-year tuition freeze. Tuition was frozen in 2013 after UW System was found to have about $1 billion in reserve.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that an extended tuition freeze would have a detrimental impact on his campus:

“Another two-year tuition freeze would certainly have a major impact on the finances of UW-Eau Claire. We are already anticipating an additional cut of at least $3 million in the coming year to address the current tuition freeze.”

In Green Bay, Walker told students that he supported affordability over additional financial aid to students:

“We know it’s not just about providing more financial assistance, it’s about providing a great price for a UW education that’s low to begin with.”

At UW-Madison, tuition revenue funds approximately one-quarter of the cost-to-continue. UW System is currently working with the Department of Administration on an estimate of cost-to-continue as part of the state biennial budget process.

State Budget Shortfall Projection Rises to Almost $2 Billion

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced in a memo to legislators the projected state budget shortfall, or structural deficit, for 2015-17 has risen to $1.77 billion. The LFB projected a deficit of $642 million in May. The revised figures are the result of lower state tax collections and global economic projections.

LFB 2015-17 deficit memo

LFB 2015-17 deficit memo, page 2