Legislative Update

Fall elections will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4. Polls will be open statewide from 7 am to 8 pm. Polling places in Madison are available here. Statewide polling information is here.

Photo identification is not necessary to vote as a result of last month’s United States Supreme Court ruling. Voters with proof of residence may register at the polls on Election Day. More information is available on the Government Accountability Board website.

In addition to the statewide constitutional offices, all members of the Assembly and 17 members of the Senate are on the ballot. Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Assembly, but Democrats hope to win control of the Senate by flipping three seats:

  • District 9 (Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan): Democrat Martha Laning and Republican Devin LeMahieu face off in this traditionally conservative area. This seat became open when Senator Joe Leibham ran for Congress.
  • District 17 (Southwestern Wisconsin): Democrat Pat Bomhack and Republican Howard Marklein are vying for this seat vacated by retiring Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).
  • District 19 (Fox Valley): Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber will face Republican Roger Roth in this race which became open after Senator Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) announced he would not run for reelection.

Assembly Republicans outlined their agenda for 2015 last month. With regard to the university, they say they would like to “(r)eform UW System schools to be responsive to Wisconsin job markets and economic needs . . . Resources should be focused on major study areas that are identified as needs for today’s economy and for the future of Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker and Mary Burke on Higher Education
Both candidates have spoken about higher education on the campaign trail and offer differing points of view:

  • Walker supports a two-year tuition freeze as a way to ensure affordability for students and their families. He also prefers keeping tuition low rather than increasing governmental aid programs.
  • Burke supports a tuition freeze when coupled with increased support for UW System. She also advocates for a larger income tax deduction for tuition and student loan refinancing programs.

Alumni for Wisconsin Event
Faculty are encouraged to attend the fall meeting of Alumni for Wisconsin, the advocacy group of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The group,will meet at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street on Saturday, November 15. The meeting will begin three hours before the kick-off of the Wisconsin-Nebraska football game, which has not yet been announced.

The chancellor will participate in the meeting, which comes on the heels of the gubernatorial election. The 2015-17 state budget will be the focus of the discussion. The meeting will be followed by a tailgate luncheon (reservation and fee required). More information is available here.