Month: August 2016

Legislative Update


The 2015-17 biennial budget process was difficult – UW System received a $250 million budget cut along with a two-year extension of a tuition freeze. PROFS played a key role in one budget bright spot: funding for the much-needed Chemistry Building project. In prior budget cycles, 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. Looking ahead:

2017-19 Biennial Budget

While Governor Walker instructed all agency heads to prepare budgets with zero increases, the Board of Regents approved a $42.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium. The increase will largely go toward initiatives to develop the state’s workforce and improve its economy, a plan called 2020FWD. The governor has also said he might consider performance-based funding increases for UW. Criteria for such an increase might include graduation and post-graduation employment rates.

FWD2020 highlights:

  • $26.1 million for the educational pipeline, with a focus on addressing the state’s workforce needs and increasing the student pipeline.
  • $6 million to improve the university experience, with a focus on creating graduates who are creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
  • $6.4 million for business and community mobilization, with a focus on bringing together the university, businesses and the greater community.
  • $4 million for operational excellence, with a focus on improvements in targeted performance areas. The budget process is lengthy, beginning with formal introduction early next year and final passage most likely in late June. PROFS will be involved throughout the entire process and communicate regularly with faculty.

Tuition Freeze

Earlier this summer, Governor Walker said he supported an additional one or two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition, lengthening the current freeze to six years.

Regent Action on Tenure, Shared Governance and Post-Tenure Review

Last year, PROFS regularly communicated with the chair and members of the Regent Tenure Policy Task Force as they developed new tenure policies. We will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of UW-Madison faculty as the Regents work to approve a post-tenure review policy this fall.

Fall Elections

All Wisconsin Assembly seats and 16 seats on the Senate are on the ballot in November. Republicans hold comfortable margins in both houses, but some pundits believe the Senate could flip parties if a Democratic presidential landslide occurs. 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.

August Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Madison’s Gordon Event Center on Thursday, August 18. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is here.

Committee work begins at 8:15 am and the full board meets at 11:15 am. All regents will discuss UW System’s strategic framework (2020FWD) and the 2017-19 operating and capital budget requests.

UW System is proposing a $42.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium. The increase will largely go toward initiatives to develop the state’s workforce and improve the its economy. Governor Walker told all state department heads to submit budget requests with no new funding for 2017-19, but he also said he would consider performance-based funding increases for UW. Criteria for such an increase might include graduation and post-graduation employment rates.

The Education Committee will discuss several new degree programs and hear updates on the post-tenure review policy and math placement test cutoff scores.

The Business and Finance Committee will hear several reports and review three contractual agreements.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on the Career Connect Web Portal and an update on UW-Madison’s research efforts.

The Audit Committee will review fiscal 2017 audit plan progress and several reports. The committee will also discuss the Three Lines of Defense Model is a simple and common sense approach for risk oversight.

2020FWD.pdf by Michelle Felber on Scribd



Walker: Budget Increase Tied to Performance Measures

Speaking in his weekly radio address, Governor Scott Walker reiterated his intention to freeze UW System tuition for two more years and said he will tie any increases for UW System in the 2017-19 state budget to performance measures such as number of graduates and graduate employment rates.

A transcript of the address is here.

Fall Primary Tomorrow

election dayVoters throughout Wisconsin may vote in fall primary elections from 7 am until 8 pm tomorrow, Tuesday, August 9.

Information on registration and voting in Wisconsin is available here.

The July 29 court ruling that struck down much of Wisconsin’s voter identification law does not affect this election. Voter identification will be required to cast a ballot tomorrow.

Many legislative races in the state are uncontested, but several Assembly races in Dane County are contested:

• 47th Assembly District: Three candidates are vying to replace Robb Kahl (D-Monona): Jimmy Anderson, a Fitchburg attorney and drunk driving victims rights advocate; Julia Arata-Fratta, a Fitchburg accountant and city council member; and Tony Hartmann, a Fitchburg business owner and city council member.

• 78th Assembly District: First-term incumbent Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) is facing challenger Jacob Wischmeier, a hotel manager from Madison. Wischmeier is running as a self-described Bernie Sanders Democrat who has said he would be the most outspoken member of the legislature if elected.

• 80th Assembly District: Long-time Representative Sondy Pope (D-Mount Horeb) is facing challenger Luke Joseph, a materials handler from Oregon. Joseph supports constitutional carry, the right to carry weapons without a permit or mandatory training, and opposes the use of fetal tissue in scientific research

The winners of these primaries will almost certainly be elected in November because there are no Republicans candidates on the ballot for these districts.

ETA: Jimmy Anderson (47th AD), Lisa Subeck (78th AD) and Sondy Pope (80th AD) won their primaries.