Month: April 2017
Joint Finance Committee Removes Non-Fiscal Policy Items from Budget Proposal
The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee removed 83 non-fiscal policy items from Governor Walker’s budget proposal, including rules on faculty teaching load and freedom of expression on UW campuses. The committee chairs say the items should be considered as non-budget legislation by other committees.
Several additional provisions removed by the co-chairs relate to the University of Wisconsin System, including:
- allowing students to opt out of certain allocable fees
- requiring students to have work experience or an internship before graduation
- requiring campuses to outline a plan for three-year degrees
PROFS and ASPRO Forum on Self-Insurance
PROFS and ASPRO, the Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization, are partnering to sponsor a public forum on self-insurance at 4 pm, Thursday, April 13 in the Plenary Room of Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue.
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Group Insurance Board recommended a switch to self-insurance for all state employees beginning in 2018, and Governor Scott Walker has earmarked the projected savings to fund a pay plan for UW System employees and increase K-12 funding in the next biennium. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee must review the proposed changes before they go into effect, and most of the committee has publicly expressed deep concern over the plan.
So where does that leave the proposal? PROFS and ASPRO have assembled a panel of experts who will share their knowledge about self-insurance and state employee health plans and take questions from the audience, including:
- Will the Group Insurance Board reduce the number of eligible health plans even if self-insurance fails?
- How will the state replace the earmarked funds if self-insurance fails?
- How might a switch to self-insurance affect the state’s health insurance marketplace?
- Are the projected savings from a switch realistic?
- Justin Sydnor, UW-Madison School of Business Associate Professor, Risk and Insurance. Sydnor is an applied microeconomist specializing in behavioral economics. His interests include the study of risk aversion and insurance choices, discrimination, and issues surrounding self-control and commitment.
- Lisa Ellinger, Director of the Office of Strategic Health Policy, Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). Before joining ETF, Ellinger was the assistant director of the Wisconsin Health Project. She is also an alum of UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs.
- Peter Farrow, General Manager and CEO of Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire. Farrow is past president of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, an advocacy organization opposed to self-insurance. A graduate of Marquette University, he was previously Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Insurance in Wisconsin.
This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
April Board of Regents Meeting
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Platteville Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7. All meetings will be held in Ullsvik Hall, 30 South Hickory Street in Platteville. Livestream coverage of the full board portions of the meeting is available here.
Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:
The Education Committee will discuss several new degree programs at UW-Milwaukee and consider the four post-tenure review policies, including UW-Madison’s policy (below) approved by the Faculty Senate in March.
The Business and Finance Committee will review UW System’s annual financial report and consider several contractual agreements, including an Amazon pick-up point at UW-Madison.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider several campus design reports, including the construction of a new Southeast Recreational Facility at UW-Madison.
The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear an update from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and a report on industry partnerships from UW-Platteville Dean Wayne Weber.
The Audit Committee will discuss best practices letters to chancellors and the 2017 Progress Plan Audit Report.
The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday, UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields will speak on comprehensive universities as stewards of place in their communities. The regents will also discuss UW System accountability and 2020FWD reporting.
On Friday regents will hear from UW System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents President Regina Millner. The Board will also present the 2017 Teaching Excellence Awards.
Ray Cross Testimony to Joint Finance Committee
University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross spoke to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last Thursday, March 30.
Cross focused on four areas: affordability, accountability, compensation and infrastructure. His prepared remarks are below.