Tag Archive for Legislation

Campus Speech Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Bill 299, dubbed the Campus Free Speech Act, passed the Assembly Wednesday, June 21 on a 61-36 vote. Republican Bob Gannon of West Bend joined the Democrats in opposing the bill. A statement of PROFS’ opposition to the bill is here.

Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), the bill’s main author, maintains the legislation is necessary to ensure all voices are heard on campus, citing incidents at Middlebury College and the University of California-Berkeley as evidence that free speech is stifled on college campuses.

PROFS lobbied against the bill, noting that in 2010 the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate adopted a policy (Faculty Document 2186) that protects speech on campus. In 2015, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents adopted a resolution affirming academic freedom, including free speech, on all UW campuses.

Under the amended bill (below), the Board of Regents would be required to adopt a policy that would apply to all UW System institutions and supersede any existing Regent or campus policies. The legislation also requires mandatory punishments for students violators and employee and new student training on free speech annually.

The bill now moves to the State Senate.

PROFS Statement on AB 299, Relating to Campus Speech

PROFS is registered against Assembly Bill 299, legislation that would require the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression on all two and four-year campuses. This new policy would supersede any previous Regent rules or individual campus policies.

The Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee is scheduled to vote on an amended version of AB 299 at 1:30 pm, Tuesday, May 30.

In 2010, the UW-Madison Faculty Senate amended its Faculty Policies and Procedures to  provide “principled protection for faculty engaged in speech pursuant to their official duties.” The amendment (below) also provided a definition of academic freedom.

 

Students Plan Day of Action in Opposition to Campus Carry

UW-Madison student leaders have planned a day of action on Thursday, December 15 to oppose allowing concealed carry weapons on campus. While a bill allowing campus carry died in committee last session, State Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) said at a campus forum last month that he intents to reintroduce the bill in 2017.

The group is also collecting signatures of students, faculty, staff and parents opposed to campus carry.

PROFS registered in opposition to campus carry last session and offered this statement on the legislation:

 

 

Legislative Update

state_capitol_dawn07_4080Tenure and Shared Governance

The Board of Regents met last month and approved three policies related to tenure, post-tenure review, and faculty layoffs. The meeting was contentious at times as the board rejected three faculty-supported amendments offered by Regent Tony Evers.

The language approved by the board was broad and intends to serve as an umbrella policy for individual campuses. The Regent Education Committee will consider UW-Madison’s faculty layoff policy (below), approved by the Faculty Senate in November, at its meeting in Green Bay later this week.

Wisconsin Legislature

Republican legislative leaders have said the legislature has concluded its regular 2015-16 session. The legislature is unlikely to meet again this spring, but could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions later this year. PROFS monitored and lobbied on the following bills this session:

Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research—Passed committee, never brought to the floor

PROFS registered against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts.

Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry—In Committee

PROFS registered against AB SB 363, legislation that would have 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.

Assembly Bill 485/Senate Bill 365, Bans Guns on College Campuses—In Committee

PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would ban guns on college campuses.

Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance—In Committee

PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would have returned university, shared governance to state statutes.

Assembly Bill 898, Tenure—In Committee

PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would have restored strong tenure language to state statutes.

College Affordability Package—Four bills signed into law

Governor Walker signed four of six bills into law last month. A 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.

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.

PROFS Statement on College Affordability Bills

The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a package of bills designed to improve college affordability. The bills were announced by Governor Scott Walker and quickly approved by the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee last month. The bills have widespread Republican support, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said lower-than-expected tax revenues may pare back funding for the proposals.

While PROFS is pleased the governor and legislative leaders are discussing college affordability we strongly believe renewing the state’s commitment to public higher education is the most effective way to keep college costs down.

Hesselbein and Berceau to Introduce Legislation Returning Shared Governance to State Statutes

PROFS President Judith Burstyn

PROFS President Judith Burstyn and PROFS Steering Committee member Dave Vanness

State Representatives Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) announced yesterday they intend to introduce legislation that would return strong shared governance to state statutes.

Shared governance for faculty, staff and students was changed from a participatory role to an advisory one in the most recent state budget. Hesselbein and Berceau have drafted legislation that uses the same statutory language that had been in place since 1973.

The proposed legislation states faculty “shall actively participate in institutional policy development” and gives faculty primary responsibility for personnel issues and academic and educational endeavors on campus.

PROFS President Judith Burstyn voiced support of the bill:

“Make no mistake about it. One of the reasons faculty stay at UW-Madison, despite pay well below out peers, is our strong history of shared governance.”

Hesselbein concurred:

“This simple step – to upgrade the faculty’s role from advisory to decision-making – will have a far-reaching effect on morale. It will give the University an important recruiting tool that was lost. It will build loyalty and improve the quality of decisions.”

PROFS statement on proposed legislation:

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.”

 

PROFS Statement on Concealed Carry on Campus

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department and University of Wisconsin System issued statements on concealed carry Tuesday:

UW-Madison Police Department Statement

Recent school shootings have elevated discussions across the country about gun safety, protecting the rights of citizens, and protecting the safety of our schools. This is a serious issue and there are many questions to consider.

The UW-Madison Police Department and the University of Wisconsin-Madison support existing state law, which appropriately balances individual rights with community safety. We oppose any legislation that would allow citizens to legally carry concealed weapons inside university buildings.  Current policies at UW-Madison allow concealed carry on university lands – but not in buildings.

To us, as law enforcement professionals at UWPD, the evidence does not support the idea that our campus would be safer if concealed firearms are allowed in our buildings. In states that allow concealed carry, these mass shooting tragedies have still occurred. According to 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) numbers, you are less likely to become a victim of a violent crime at UW-Madison – which currently does not allow concealed weapons in buildings – than you are in the state of Wisconsin as a whole.

Allowing concealed weapons inside a building like Camp Randall Stadium, filled with 80,000 people, creates a major security issue. The training required to obtain a concealed carry permit is minimal.

We urge our legislators not to change the existing law. Doing so would put the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests at risk.

UW System Statement

We take the safety of our campus communities very seriously and know that our legislative partners do as well. We have significant concerns and questions with this proposal and cannot currently support it. We are, however, actively engaged in a dialogue with the legislative authors, Regents, and campus police professionals to ensure our concerns are addressed.