PROFS is lobbying for what’s known as the Smart Furlough proposal, which would exempt state and university employees who are paid with federal and state funds from the state-imposed furloughs.
During the state budget debate earlier this year, State Representative Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) first proposed Smart Furlough as a budget amendment. PROFS drafted a statement of support that was distributed to members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus and talked with Assembly leadership about the amendment.
Unfortunately, the amendment was not adopted when the governor made it clear he wanted furloughs to apply to all state and university employees, regardless of the source of the income.
PROFS has not given up on Smart Furlough. Neither has Rep. Roys, who contacted us after the budget debate to say she was planning to introduce Smart Furlough as a separate piece of legislation.
PROFS met with Roys to discuss strategy and offer suggestions. Specifically, we suggested that, because many employees have already been taking their flexible furlough time, agencies, including the university, should be allowed to implement Smart Furlough starting in the second year of the biennium.
On November 5, Roys, along with 30 co-sponsors, introduced Smart Furlough as separate legislation. It’s Assembly Bill 551, and it includes the PROFS-suggested flexibility that will allow agencies to implement the plan next year. To view AB 551, go to: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/AB-551.pdf.
AB 551 has been referred to the Assembly Labor Committee. A public hearing is expected soon, and PROFS is preparing testimony. To see the PROFS letter to
Rep. Roys in support of Smart Furlough, click here: http://preview.profs.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Roys-letter.pdf.
PROFS encourages faculty to contact legislators to express support for AB 551. To determine who your legislators are, go to: http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx.