The University of Wisconsin System Tenure Task Force is meeting today at 2 pm in Room 1820 Van Hise Hall. The task force will discuss UW-Madison’s draft policies and updated draft recommendations of UW System policies on faculty layoffs and post-tenure review (below).
The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board met Tuesday and discussed a report (below) recommending self-insurance for state employees beginning in 2018. The board is scheduled to meet and vote on the recommendation on February 17.
Currently state employees can choose from 18 insurers, and state employees comprise 14 percent of the state’s health insurance market. Under self-insurance, the state would pay for benefits directly and assume risk. A private insurer would likely be hired to manage the program for the state.
Segal Consulting maintains a switch to self-insurance could save the state $42 million. A preliminary report from Segal in March suggested savings of $50-70 million, while a 2012 Deloitte report noted self-insurance could save the state $20 million but had the potential to cost as much as $100 million.
The Assembly passed a bill Monday that would require Joint Finance Committee approval of any self-insurance contract. A spokesperson for Governor Scott Walker told the Associated Press the governor would likely sign the proposal. Committee co-chair Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) said the committee will work with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to determine how self-insurance may impact the state’s insurance market after the oversight bill is signed into law.
The Group Insurance Board approved several changes to state employee health plans earlier this year in an effort to cut costs to the state. Much of the savings will be realized through new deductibles and doubled out-of-pocket expenses for workers.
WI Group Insurance Board Segal Report
The Legislature finishes its current floor period Thursday, November 5 and will not meet again in regular session until January 12. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:
Limits on Scientific Research, Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts.
If passed, the bills would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a floor vote.
PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.
Campus Concealed Carry, Senate Bill 363, PROFS is registered against SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings.
PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation saying last month that “we believe that making it easier for people to carry firearms and bring them onto university property would make it more dangerous for the faculty, staff and student of the University of Wisconsin.”
UW System Tenure Policy Task Force PROFS continues to follow the action of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force, which met in Madison on October 22 to discuss proposed language on faculty layoffs and post-tenure review. PROFS has a long history of lobbying for strong tenure and met with Regents Millner and Behling earlier this year to reiterate support for tenure protections that meet full AAUP standards.
GOP Legislative Priorities Republican legislative leaders have identified several priorities, including:
- Civil service reform: legislation passed, but does not include UW employees.
- Government Accountability Board overhaul: proposed legislation would eliminate the non-partisan GAB and replace it with two commissions—one on elections, the other on ethics, campaign finance and lobbying.
- John Doe investigations: legislation passed prohibiting the use of John Doe probes when investigating misconduct in public office.
- Campaign finance changes: proposed legislation would make it harder to learn the background of individual contributors and allow unions and corporations to donate unlimited amounts to political parties and legislative campaign committees.