Tag Archive for legislature

Legislative Update

The Legislature is in the final weeks of the 2018 session and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could that could seriously affect UW-Madison:

  • “Mark Cook Bills” to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, Assembly Bill 758 and Senate Bill 671  Directed by faculty experts, PROFS worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce legislation related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. The faculty group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), identified the need to change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest. Both bills have passed through committee and PROFS expects them to be scheduled for a floor vote sometime this month.
  • Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Assembly Bills 83 & 549 and Senate Bills 422 & 423  PROFS is carefully monitoring two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research and is registered against Senate Bill 423. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
  • Bill Limiting University of Wisconsin OB/GYN Training, Assembly Bill 206  PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July the bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
  • 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.

Wisconsin Retirement System Seminar

PROFS is cosponsoring a La Follette School of Public Affairs seminar on the history of the Wisconsin Retirement System at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, February 21 in Union South. Wisconsin’s pension system is regarded as one of the best, and Gary Gates, the first secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds, will explain how the system was created and why Wisconsin has not experienced shortfalls like many other states.

Spring Primary

The Wisconsin Spring Primary is Tuesday, February 20. The only statewide race on the ballot is for Wisconsin Supreme Court where three candidates are vying for two spots on the April 3 general election ballot. More information on voting in Wisconsin is here.

Federal Relations

PROFS Steering Committee member Judith Burstyn recently met with Congressman Mark Pocan as a member of his Higher Education Advisory Group. Pocan gave the group an update on Congressional action related to higher-education policy and federally funded research.

PROFS Encourages JCOER to Approve UW-Madison Pay Plan

PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Chair Anja Wanner sent a letter yesterday to State Representative Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton), co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), encouraging them to schedule a meeting to approve UW-Madison’s proposed faculty and staff pay plan.

Last week, UW-Madison announced a 4 percent pay plan for faculty staff to be given in two installments — 2 percent in July 2018 and 2 percent in January 2019 — but the funding for the plan must first be approved by JCOER.

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.

 

UW-Madison Budget in Brief

UW-Madison recently released the 2016-17 Budget in Brief, a publication designed to help people, including legislators and other government officials, better understand the university’s budget.

As we get closer to the 2017-19 state budget process, PROFS encourages faculty and others to take a look and become more familiar with UW-Madison budget details.

UW-Madison State Budget Forum

UW-Madison hosted a campus forum on the state budget and its impact on the university on  September 14. The discussion covered the university’s budget landscape and how it has changed over time, the impact of budget cuts, the UW System 2017-19 budget request, and how alumni and friends of the university are being engaged.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW System Board of Regents President Regina Millner, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller, and Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charles Hoslet were panelists.

These slides were used during the forum:

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.