February Legislative Update

This legislative update was shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate y. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. Guests are welcome to attend meetings, which are held in Room 272 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive.

The Wisconsin Legislature has been busy with committee hearings and floor sessions, and Governor Tony Evers is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address on February 15. Evers and members of the Legislature will make a final legislative push over the next several weeks before turning their attention the November elections.

Fall Elections

Democratic Governor Tony Evers is running for re-election, but Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has instead joined a crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge two-term Republican Senator Ron Johnson. The Republican race for the gubernatorial nomination heated up last week when Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson announced his candidacy, challenging former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch for the Republican nomination.


PROFS is actively lobbying on and monitoring several pieces of legislation:

  • Assembly Bill 195/Senate Bill 323   PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit transgender women from participating in UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System intercollegiate, intramural, and club sports. AB 195 passed the Assembly but failed passage 2-3 in a Senate committee. However, it could still be scheduled for vote in the Senate floor this session. Our statement on this legislation is on the PROFS website.
  • Assembly Bill 413/Senate Bill 409  PROFS is registered against these bills that essentially ban instruction on systemic racism at UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System. Last week, the Committee on Colleges & Universities recommended passage of the bill along party lines, 10-4. PROFS’ statement in opposition to the bill is on our website. PROFS was also registered against similar legislation targeting K-12 public schools which was vetoed by Gov. Evers last Friday. PROFS is also registered against legislation that targets training for state and local government employees (AB 414/SB 410).
  • Assembly Bill 568/Senate Bill 557  PROFS is registered in favor of these bills that expand the type of revenue the university currently is allowed to invest to generate additional returns. Both bills passed unanimously in committee but neither have been scheduled for a floor vote.
  • Assembly Bill 639/Senate Bill 602  PROFS is registered in favor of this legislation. The bill will provide funding $180,000 in funding in each of the next two years for UW-Madison’s Missing-in-Action Recovery Project. SB 602 passed in committee but has not been scheduled for a floor vote.
  • Assembly Bill 775/Senate Bill 728  PROFS registered in favor of this bipartisan legislation that provides $1 million to plan and design a new engineering building at UW-Madison. Gov. Evers signed this bill into law late last month.

UW System Presidential Search and UW-Madison Chancellor Search

The UW System Board of Regents named Milwaukee attorney Jay Rothman as UW System President. Rothman, Chair and CEO of Foley & Lardner, will begin in June. He is a graduate of Marquette University and Harvard Law School. The UW-Madison Chancellor Search Committee released a position description last month and is accepting nominations until March 11. The committee hopes to announce finalists for the position in April.