15 search results for "fetal tissue"

Legislative Update

Progress on the state’s 2017-19 biennial budget is picking up as the Joint Committee on Finance is scheduled to meet today (Tuesday, September 5) to vote on the state’s transportation budget. Until a new budget passed, the state continues to spend according to the 2015-17 budget.

Since the budget was introduced in February, PROFS has been busy meeting with legislative leaders and lobbying for the best possible outcome for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty.

State Budget

In May, the Joint Finance Committee approved along party lines an omnibus motion containing several provisions relating to the university. Key points:

  • Extension of the current four-year tuition freeze for two additional years.
  • $26.3 million in outcomes-based funding. Regents will create metrics to measure progress toward goals.
  • $5 million for high-demand degree programs.
  • $3 million for the creation of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership at UW-Madison.
  • $10,000 for the review of policies related to academic freedom.
  • $980,000 for UW Hospital and Clinics Carbone Cancer Center.
  • $200,000 for the Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program.
  • $100,000 for UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
  • Creation of an engineering school at UW-Green Bay.
  • Language that bars the Board of Regents from adopting a policy that would require UW campus chancellors and vice chancellors and the UW System President to have tenure or hold a terminal degree in their field.
  • Expansion of tuition free-education programs for veterans and their families.

PROFS has deep concerns about policy items in the budget and has asked the co-chairs of the finance committee to remove language relating to the qualifications for UW System President and Chancellor candidates and amend the language that creates the Thompson Center on Public Leadership to eliminate the leadership board, allow for the creation of an advisory committee, and ensure, as is the case for all other UW-Madison centers, that the Thompson Center is subject to university governance.

Regent Administrative Hiring Workgroup

UW System Board of Regents President John Behling named members of the workgroup tasked with review of UW System Chancellor and other top administrative positions (see above). The group, which does not include a member from UW-Madison, will examine hiring practices and consider expanding the search process to include non-traditional candidates from outside academia. Behling told fellow Regents last month he would like UW System institutions to recruit non-academic candidates and “streamline” the hiring process for top administrative positions.

UW-Madison Faculty Polices and Procedures (FP&P) requires the Chancellor and Provost to hold a tenured faculty position. PROFS met with Regent Drew Petersen, chair of the workgroup, to share UW-Madison faculty concerns. Peterson told PROFS it is too late to add a UW-Madison faculty member to the workgroup but he welcomes input from an ad hoc UW-Madison committee and will work with PROFS on strategy related to working with legislators and the governor on this topic.

AB 299, relating to campus speech

This bill, which passed the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee on a partisan vote, requires the Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression for all campuses. Under this bill, university administrators would be required to punish students who disrupt campus speakers. The bill would also require campuses to remain neutral on public policy issues. PROFS is registered in opposition to the legislation. Our statement on the bill is here.

Campus Carry

Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Fetal Tissue

Republicans who control the legislature appear to be split on legislation relating to the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. Two different bills have been introduced, one that follows existing federal law forbidding the sale of fetal tissue, but not research that uses it, and one that bans research using fetal tissue from abortions performed after January 1, 2017 and imposes hefty fines on anyone who uses the material. PROFS has assembled a working group comprised of faculty and industry representatives to advise us on this issue.

Foxconn

In July, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and Governor Scott Walker announced Foxconn’s intention to build a liquid crystal display manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. Wisconsin would provide $3 billion in state incentives over 15 years to Foxconn. The plant could ultimately provide 13,000 Foxconn jobs and thousands of related jobs. Legislation authorizing a financial package passed the State Assembly August 17 and a State Senate vote is expected soon. Prior to the announcement, Chancellor Rebecca Blank met with leaders of Foxconn to discuss the advantages of locating such a facility near a major research institution like UW-Madison. Her statement on Foxconn is here.

Legislative Update

History 

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.

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.

Legislative Update

Capitol & ForwardUW System Tenure Policy Task Force
PROFS continues to actively follow the work of the UW System Tenure Policy Task Force. The Board of Regents meets Thursday, March 10 and will discuss recommendations of the Regent Education Committee. Board action on UW-Madison’s draft policy is not expected until April.

Wisconsin Legislature
Republican leadership has said the Assembly has adjourned for the session, but the Senate plans to meet again March 15. Both houses could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items:

  • Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research  PROFS is registered against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bills would criminalize the research and use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue. Action on the bills seems unlikely.
  • Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry  PROFS is registered against AB SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings. PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation.
  • Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance  PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), which would return university shared governance to state statutes.
  • Assembly Bill 898, Tenure  PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine). The proposal restores strong tenure language to state statutes.
  • College Affordability Package  The Governor announced a package of six bills that address college affordability last month. All six bills passed the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities and five of the six passed the Senate last week. The PROFS statement on the bills is here.
  • Senate Bill 276, Parking Revenue  Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It allows the university to spend parking revenue on campus safety and transportation programs. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.
  • Senate Bill 571, Sale of Agricultural Lands  Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It expands UW System Board of Regent authority over agricultural lands. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.

PROFS Forum on Self-insurance for State Employees
The Group Insurance Board met last month and voted to issue a request for proposals on self-insurance for state employees. PROFS hosted a forum featuring three insurance experts the following week. Video here.

Legislative Update

winter capitolUW System Tenure Policy Task Force

PROFS actively followed the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force, which concluded its work in December and released updated layoff and post-tenure review language in January. The Regent Education Committee will review the proposed language on February 5 and full board action is expected in March.

PROFS Forum on Self-insurance for State Employees

PROFS will host a public forum on the possibility of self-insurance for state employees later this month (details to come).  The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board has received conflicting reports on if self-insurance would save or cost the state millions of dollars and will vote February 17 vote on whether or not to issue a request for proposals on such a move.

Wisconsin Legislature

The Assembly and Senate are currently meeting in their last scheduled floor period of 2016, but could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:

  • Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research  PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bills would criminalize the research and use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a vote. PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.
  • Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry  PROFS is registered against AB SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings. PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation telling legislators in a statement that “we believe that making it easier for people to carry firearms and bring them onto university property would make it more dangerous for the faculty, staff and student of the University of Wisconsin.”
  • Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance  PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), which would return university shared governance to state statutes. PROFS worked with Hesselbein on the bill, and PROFS president Judith Burstyn spoke in favor of the proposal at a press conference announcing the legislation in December.
  • Tenure  Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) will introduce legislation restoring strong tenure language to state statutes. PROFS will register in favor of this proposal once the bill is introduced.
  • College Affordability Package  The Governor announced a package of six bills that address college affordability last month. All six bills passed the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities last week.

Legislative Update

Capitol & ForwardUW System Tenure Policy Task Force

PROFS continues to actively follow the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force and lobby for the best possible result. PROFS met with Regent Vice President and task force chair John Behling In late November to discuss the University Committee’s proposed changes to the task force draft recommendations and share information on existing post-tenure review practices. The task force will meet again on December 23 and is expected to forward recommendations to the Regent Education Committee for action in February. Full Board of Regent action is expected in March.

Possible Health Insurance Changes

The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board recently discussed a report recommending a change to self-insurance for state employees. The report’s author, Segal Consulting, maintains the switch could save the state $42 million, but in 2012 a different consultant found the change could cost the state $100 million. The board is scheduled to meet and vote on the recommendation in February. The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee must also approve any change.

Currently state employees can choose from 18 insurers, and state employees comprise 14 percent of the state’s health insurance market. Under self-insurance, the state would pay for benefits directly and assume risk. A private insurer would likely be hired to manage the program for the state.

Wisconsin Legislature

The Legislature finished its regular floor period on November 7 and held a one-day extraordinary session on November 16. While legislators are not expected to meet again in a floor period until January 12, committees continue to meet and hold executive sessions. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:

Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research

PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bills would criminalize the research and use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a floor vote. PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry

PROFS is registered against AB 480 and SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings. PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation telling legislators in a statement that “we believe that making it easier for people to carry firearms and bring them onto university property would make it more dangerous for the faculty, staff and student of the University of Wisconsin.”

 

Legislative Update

BascHill_cap_autumn06_3425The Legislature finishes its current floor period Thursday, November 5 and will not meet again in regular session until January 12. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:

Limits on Scientific Research, Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts.

If passed, the bills would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a floor vote.

PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

Campus Concealed Carry, Senate Bill 363, PROFS is registered against SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings.

PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation saying last month that “we believe that making it easier for people to carry firearms and bring them onto university property would make it more dangerous for the faculty, staff and student of the University of Wisconsin.”

UW System Tenure Policy Task Force PROFS continues to follow the action of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force, which met in Madison on October 22 to discuss proposed language on faculty layoffs and post-tenure review. PROFS has a long history of lobbying for strong tenure and met with Regents Millner and Behling earlier this year to reiterate support for tenure protections that meet full AAUP standards.

GOP Legislative Priorities Republican legislative leaders have identified several priorities, including:

  • Civil service reform: legislation passed, but does not include UW employees.
  • Government Accountability Board overhaul: proposed legislation would eliminate the non-partisan GAB and replace it with two commissions—one on elections, the other on ethics, campaign finance and lobbying.
  • John Doe investigations: legislation passed prohibiting the use of John Doe probes when investigating misconduct in public office.
  • Campaign finance changes: proposed legislation would make it harder to learn the background of individual contributors and allow unions and corporations to donate unlimited amounts to political parties and legislative campaign committees.

September Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will host the UW System Board of Regents today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, September 10 and 11. All meetings take place in the James R. Connor University Center, 228 Wyman Mall.

Regent committees meet Thursday morning, while the full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Livestream coverage of the full board meeting is available here.

The Education Committee will discuss possible changes to the mission statement of UW-Extension that would allow UW-Extension to award credit-bearing certificates, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business and management. The request and supporting materials are here:

The Business and Finance CommitteeCapital Planning and Budget CommitteeResearch, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee, and Audit Committee also meet Thursday morning.

The full board will discuss a new accountability dashboard Thursday afternoon. The dashboard allows users to view accountability measures for UW System and individual campuses on the following topics:

  • Access (enrollment)
  • Progress & Completion (graduation and retention rates)
  • Cost & Efficiency (time to degree)
  • Undergraduate Experience
  • Faculty & Staff (workload, turnover)
  • Economic Development (research funding, STEM degrees)

The full board continues its meeting Friday. Items of note on the agenda:

Updates from Board President Regina Millner on the Tenure Policy and Tuition-setting Policy Task Forces and a discussion of recent legislation on research involving fetal tissue. A resolution on fetal tissue legislation is possible.

Chancellor Cathy Sandeen will discuss budget reductions at UW Colleges and provide an update on the Flex Option degree program.

Legislative Update

PROFS welcomes faculty back to campus as the new semester begins. For those unfamiliar, PROFS is a non-profit membership organization that represents UW-Madison faculty to the Wisconsin Legislature and Congress.

We are proud of our past achievements. During the most recent budget process, PROFS played a key role in securing $86 million in state-supported bonding for the UW-Madison Chemistry Building Project.

In 2011, PROFS led the successful fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year. Before that, PROFS successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Recent activities at the state level are listed below.

2015-17 Biennial Budget

PROFS met with more than two dozen legislators and staff throughout the budget process, lobbying for decreased cuts in state funding and the preservation of strong tenure and shared governance for faculty. While the final budget was still much worse than the faculty would have liked, it did include $50 million more for the UW System than the governor had proposed and the attacks on tenure and shared governance, while harsh, were not as punitive as some key legislators wanted them to be.

PROFS took strong stands on these harmful actions. Please see previous posts for statements on budget cuts, tenure, and shared governance. Going forward, PROFS is closely following the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force and making the case that tenure policy at UW-Madison must meet the standards of the AAUP and peer institutions.

Assembly Bill 305, Limits on Scientific Research

PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony (below) against AB 305, a proposal that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bill would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years.

PROFS will continue to vigorously oppose the proposal, which has far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will meet in executive session to vote on the bill on Wednesday, September 9.

Possible Merger of UW Colleges and the Wisconsin Technical College System

PROFS is deeply concerned about the private discussion among Assembly Republicans on the possible realignment of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension and the Wisconsin Technical College System. PROFS shared its concerns in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester):

“The faculty at UW-Madison urge you and other legislative leaders to reconsider this strategy and instead create a transparent and inclusive process for any review of public higher education in the state”

“UW-Madison faculty welcome an open and consultative discussion on the future of higher education in Wisconsin. We hope to be “at the table,” along with many other stakeholders across the state, as this discussion continues.”

PROFS is funded entirely by faculty contributions. Please consider joining PROFS if you are not a member.

PROFS Opposes Bill That Limits Scientific Research on Campus

stem_cell_cultures2_01PROFS has officially registered against Assembly Bill 305. The bill, introduced by Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere), would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. A public hearing on the bill will be held at 10 am today, Tuesday, August 11, in Room 225 Northwest, State Capitol.

The proposal is the same as one opposed by PROFS in 2011. If passed, AB 305 would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes stem cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years.

“PROFS has consistently opposed legislation that limits potentially life-saving research on campus,” said Judith Burstyn, PROFS president. “UW-Madison is an international leader in stem cell research, and this legislation could bring that research to a devastating halt.”

Robert Golden, dean of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the legislation has far-reaching consequences:

“This proposed law only will ensure that promising lines of research will be shut down in Wisconsin. It will cut off work in our state on diseases that cripple and kill children and adults . . .  Some of our best researchers and private companies may be forced to leave Wisconsin in order to continue their work without criminal penalties, and this will have an absolutely chilling effect on the creation of new biotech companies in our state.”

Federal law allows for the use of fetal tissue research, and all research on this campus meets federal guidelines. UW officials believe as many as 100 researchers could be affected by the proposal.

Cures for Tomorrow, an non-partisan advocacy group, released a video (below) in 2013 in opposition to the legislation, noting that the “legislation would criminalize the current development of cures and treatments for the following conditions and diseases: spontaneous pregnancy loss and recurrent miscarriages; Down’s syndrome; infertility; maternal diseases of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, and other such conditions which limit human fertility and reproductive success, and prevent couples from having healthy babies; cancer treatments for diseases like childhood leukemia; improved transplant outcomes; new and more effective vaccines for flu, tuberculosis or typhoid fever or against multi drug resistance bacteria (so called “flesh eating” bacteria); and heart attacks and sudden cardiac death.”