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Legislative Update

Gov. Evers signs into law legislation that requires students to complete a half credit of personal financial literacy for graduation

Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 109 into law today as 2023 Wisconsin Act 60, which requires students to complete a half credit of personal financial literacy in order to graduate high school. AB 109 was originally introduced by Rep. Dallman (R-Green Lake) and Sen. Ballweg (R-Markesan) back in March. The WASB was registered as neutral on this bill based on improvements made from the previous session’s version of this legislation (which we opposed). The bill previously passed both the Assembly and Senate by votes of 95-1 and 29-4 respectively. Below is the release from the governor’s office on the bill signing: read more…

Governor Evers will deliver State of the State Address on Tuesday, January 23rd

Governor Tony Evers (pictured) has announced that he will be delivering the State of the State address on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers. Each year the Governor gives this address to the Wisconsin Legislature in order to highlight challenges facing the state and his policy initiatives for the upcoming year. The address will be streamed on WisEye, and will also be available via cable. Channels and/or web-links are still forthcoming. read more…

Assembly Education Committee to hold a public hearing on several K-12 education bills and take executive action on a tribal relations package

Next week Tuesday (December 5th), the Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) is set to convene in order to hold a public hearing on several bills impacting Wisconsin public schools. Topics to be covered in the public hearing include provisional teaching licenses for paraprofessionals currently working in school districts, removing liability protection from personnel in a school district that possesses “obscene materials”, sexual misconduct towards a student by a school employee or volunteer, and full-time open enrollment acceptance for children of teachers working in a district outside their resident school district.

Prior to the hearing, the committee will also hold an executive session to vote on a tribal relations package that they previously received public testimony on in late October. If the committee votes to pass the package as is, the bills will move to the full chamber for a vote. The Senate has taken no reciprocal action on their version of the package. For a view of the committee’s full agenda and more information on these bills, please see below. read more…

Bill requiring boards to develop a parental notification system for library materials checked out by children will receive a public hearing

Tomorrow (November 28th), the Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families will hold a public hearing on SB 597, authored by Sen. Romaine Quinn (R- Cameron) and Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R- Oconomowoc). This bill requires school boards to develop and implement a policy for notifying parents/guardians of children under 16 of each material checked out by their child at school libraries. It also would require boards to issue an annual notification to parents/guardians if it will allow students in the district to access materials through BadgerLink, an electronic collection on library resources.

SB 597 was introduced back at the end of October, along with a partner bill, SB 598, that establishes similar standards for public libraries outside school districts. It has since picked up the support of numerous GOP legislators. Democratic members of the legislature are expected to oppose this measure, and have introduced alternative legislation that promotes privacy and access to information. Read the full bill text below. read more…

Bill requiring school boards to use competitive bidding and award contracts to the lowest bidder, is introduced in the Senate

Today, Senate Bill 688 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville). This bill would require that school boards solicit bids and award a public works contract to the lowest bidder if the the estimated cost of a contract exceeds $150,000 and the contract is for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or for the furnishing of supplies or materials. The bill was circulated for co-sponsorship back in late-October, and since then several GOP legislators have signed on. After being formally introduced today, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government chaired by Sen. Cory Tomczyk who is signed onto the bill.
Strategically, the bill also increases the threshold that triggers competitive bidding requirements for other local governments which groups that represent counties, towns, cities and villages will support. We will be monitoring this bill and will let you know if/when it is scheduled for a public hearing. This bill has been proposed in previous sessions and the WASB and other public education groups have opposed the measure on local control grounds.

For the full bill text read below: read more…

Capitol Watch: Senate and Assembly took floor action yesterday on several K-12 education focused bills

The Wisconsin Legislature took action this week on a number of bills focused on K-12 education. The Senate yesterday voted to approve SB 241, relating to a school psychologist loan program. The bill will now move to Assembly, where the Assembly Education Committee already voted to recommend their version of the bill for passage. In the other chamber, the Assembly voted to pass several more K-12 focused bills, including AB 223, relating to maintaining opioid antagonist in schools, and AB 575, relating to a DPI mental health training program. The Senate has not taken any previous action on either of these bills, however according to Senate rules a committee does not need to approve a bill for the full chamber to consider it.

In addition to their individual action, both the Senate and Assembly voted to pass SB 267, relating to a recovery high school grant program. The bill now moves to the governors desk for his signature. Read below for more information on these bills. read more…

Assembly committee to hold hearing on “Parental Bill of Rights”, a legal standard for the rights of parents in their child’s education

Tomorrow, the Assembly Committee on Family Law, chaired by Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield), will hold a public hearing on AB-510, a parental bill of rights that would codify certain legal rights that parents would have over their child’s education, medical care, and religion. The bill would give parents the right to review instructional materials and curriculum, be notified of “controversial topics” and disciplinary actions, and have the ability to opt their child out of certain instruction and medical practices. It also would require school boards to set up a process to receive and review submitted complaints of parental rights violations and allow parents to bring civil action against a governmental body that violates these rights. The bill was put forward for cosponsorship by Representative Rob Wittke (R-Racine) and Senator Van Wanggard (R-Racine) back in September and has since picked up the support of numerous GOP legislators.

A full list of the proposed rights and provisions is provided below. read more…

State Capitol this week: Legislature to take action on several bills that will impact K-12 education

The Wisconsin Legislature is set to take action this week on a number of bills that would impact K-12 education. The Assembly Committee on Education will hold an executive session on Wednesday, November 8th. The committee will hold a vote on three bills that they received public testimony on last week. Also this week, the Senate and Assembly will be holding floor sessions on Tuesday, November 7th at 11:00am and 1:00pm respectively. The Assembly will be voting on two bills focused on eliminating certain race-based programs and considerations from higher education institutions. Both bills contain provisions that would have consequences for K-12 public schools. The Senate will be voting on SB 333, which is designed to close a loophole in current Wisconsin law that neglected to regulate certain sexual crimes between school personnel and students.

Read below for the Education committee, Assembly, and Senate’s agendas, as well as more information on each of these bills. read more…

Assembly education committee hold hearing on several bills this Wednesday, Nov. 1st

The Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), has announced they will take action on a number of bills this coming Wednesday, November 1st. The committee is set to hold a public hearing on three bills on topics such as: a grant program for recovery high schools; allowing schools to hold and maintain an opioid antagonist; and a DPI mental health training program.

The committee will also hold an executive session on a bill that would establish a loan program for students studying school psychology. They held a public hearing on this bill last week. See below to view the agendas for the committee’s upcoming meeting. read more…

Assembly Education Committee announces an upcoming hearing and executive action on several bills, including Tribal relations package

The Assembly Committee on Education chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) has announced they will be holding a public hearing at the Capitol on Thursday, October 26th. The committee is slated to hear a number of bills related to Tribal relations and education in the state. The committee will also hear bills on teaching licensure, a grant program for school psychologists, and indoor air quality inspections.

Prior to the start of the public hearing, the committee will also take executive action on a bill that would allow school boards to employ district administrators that do not hold a DPI license, AB 342. The committee previously held a public hearing on this bill on Thursday, September 28th. See the WASB’s previous blog post for information on AB 342’s public hearing. read more…

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