Monthly Archives: February 2016

Governor Walker Announces New Regents

uw system logoGovernor Scott Walker announced the appointment of three new members to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents earlier this month. Tracey Klein, a Milwaukee attorney, and Bryan Steil, a Beloit attorney, will serve regular seven-year terms, while Lisa Erickson, a UW-River Falls journalism student, will serve a two-year term as non-traditional student regent.

Klein is a shareholder at the Milwaukee law firm of Reinhart Boerner Van Dueren where she chairs their health care practice. She is a member of the UW-Madison Political Science Department Board of Visitors, the Marquette University Law School Board of Visitors, and the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board of Directors. She is a graduate of UW-Madison and Marquette University Law School. The Capital Times reported she is a generous contributor to Governor Walker.

Steil is associate general counsel at Regal Beloit. He previously worked as a legislative assistant to Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville). He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Wisconsin Law School. His grandfather, George K. Steil, Sr., was a member of the Board of Regents from 1990 to 1997.

Erickson, of Osceola, is a former catering company owner. In addition to being a student, she writes a weekly food column and is a crisis pregnancy counselor.

PROFS Statement on College Affordability Bills

The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a package of bills designed to improve college affordability. The bills were announced by Governor Scott Walker and quickly approved by the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee last month. The bills have widespread Republican support, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said lower-than-expected tax revenues may pare back funding for the proposals.

While PROFS is pleased the governor and legislative leaders are discussing college affordability we strongly believe renewing the state’s commitment to public higher education is the most effective way to keep college costs down.

Spring Primary Tuesday

election dayThe Wisconsin spring primary election will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm statewide. Photo identification is required to vote.

UW-Madison professor Ken Mayer and others in the Political Science Department will study how voter identification rules affect the length of time it takes to cast a vote and work with local clerks to improve efficiency in future elections.

A primary election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is the only statewide race on the ballot. Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley faces challengers Joe Donald, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge and JoAnne Kloppenburg, State Court of Appeals Judge. Governor Scott Walker appointed Bradley to the court in October following the death of Justice David Prosser. The top two vote-getters will face off on Tuesday, April 5.

Updated: PROFS Forum on Self-Insurance

Governor Walker said in his State of the State address last month he would use savings from changes in state employee health insurance for increased funding for education. One option under consideration is switching from the current model of HMO’s to self-insurance.

The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board has begun the process to consider self-insurance and will vote Wednesday, February 17 on the language they will use for a request for proposals from companies that may help with self-insurance in the state.

In recent years two different consultants provided very different cost savings estimates to the board, and the board is hoping new information will help them decide whether or not to move ahead with self-insurance. Background information is available here.

PROFS will host a forum on self-insurance and what that means for state employees, including UW-Madison faculty. The forum will be held Tuesday, February 23 at 4 pm in the DeLuca Forum in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard Street. It is free and open to the public.

The panel includes UW-Madison School of Business professor Justin Sydnor; Lisa Ellinger, Director of Office of Strategic Health Policy with the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds; and Mike Bare, Research and Program Coordinator for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.

February Board of Regents Meeting – updated with correct location

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, February 4 and 5. Meetings will take place at Union South, 1308 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the full board meetings is here.

UW-Madison is the host of the meeting and several campus leaders will have the opportunity to address members of the board. Chancellor Rebecca Blank will update the board on the “All Ways Forward” campaign on Thursday afternoon, while Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell, and Interim Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charles Hoslet will speak to Regent committees Thursday morning.

The full board convenes at 1:15 pm Thursday with Chancellor Blank’s presentation. UW-Madison will also present its annual NCAA Division I Athletics Report. The board will meet in closed session to discuss several personnel issues, including compensation for UW-Madison football coaches.

The board continues its meeting Friday morning at 9 am with with reports from the Higher Educational Aids Board, the Hospital Authority Board, the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, and the Tuition-setting Policy Task Force.

The Education Committee will reconvene after the board adjourns to discuss the report of Tenure Policy Task Force. Documents to be discussed are below.

Tenure

Post-tenure Review

Faculty Layoff

Legislative Update

winter capitolUW System Tenure Policy Task Force

PROFS actively followed the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force, which concluded its work in December and released updated layoff and post-tenure review language in January. The Regent Education Committee will review the proposed language on February 5 and full board action is expected in March.

PROFS Forum on Self-insurance for State Employees

PROFS will host a public forum on the possibility of self-insurance for state employees later this month (details to come).  The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board has received conflicting reports on if self-insurance would save or cost the state millions of dollars and will vote February 17 vote on whether or not to issue a request for proposals on such a move.

Wisconsin Legislature

The Assembly and Senate are currently meeting in their last scheduled floor period of 2016, but could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:

  • Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research  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 research and use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a vote. PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.
  • Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry  PROFS is registered against AB 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 telling legislators in a statement 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.”
  • Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance  PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), which would return university shared governance to state statutes. PROFS worked with Hesselbein on the bill, and PROFS president Judith Burstyn spoke in favor of the proposal at a press conference announcing the legislation in December.
  • Tenure  Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) will introduce legislation restoring strong tenure language to state statutes. PROFS will register in favor of this proposal once the bill is introduced.
  • College Affordability Package  The Governor announced a package of six bills that address college affordability last month. All six bills passed the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities last week.