Rehiring Annuitants/WRS Retirement Age Bill Circulated

By John Forester | November 14, 2019

Representative Felzkowski and Senator Stroebel are circulating a bill that would allow retired public employees to return to a WRS-covered job for a three year period while still collecting their WRS annuities.  The bill would also increase the minimum retirement age for general classification employees from 55 to 59.5.  Under the bill, the retirement age change would impact current employees under the age of 40 on the bill’s effective date.

Numerous SAA members have already contacted the SAA with their concerns regarding the staff recruitment/retention implications of the retirement age provisions of the bill.  Please contact the SAA with any questions or concerns you may have about the bill.

See the bill here.

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SAA Members Testify on Tobacco 21

By John Forester | November 6, 2019

The following SAA members testified in support of Assembly Bill 422, the so-called Tobacco 21 bill at a public hearing today before the Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention.

Jim Karedes (Delavan-Darien) Testimony

Chris Medenwalt (Monroe) Testimony

Gregg Wieczorek (Arrowhead) Testimony

Hats off to these High School Principals for taking time out of their busy schedule to advocate on behalf of the students they serve.

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Priority Legislative Alert on Tobacco 21

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

The SAA is issuing a Priority Legislative Alert on Assembly Bill 422, the so-called Tobacco 21 legislation.

As we reported last week, AB 422 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6th in the North Hearing Room (2nd Floor North), State Capitol.  The SAA strongly supports the bill.

See the Public Hearing Notice here.

We urge SAA members to take action now!  For those interested in testifying at the public hearing, please contact the SAA so we can help coordinate and facilitate your testimony.  We also encourage all SAA members to contact your legislators and ask them to support AB 422.

In your communication, please consider using the talking points below as well as any of your own points about the importance of the bill based on your experiences and expertise.

Talking Points:

For your convenience in contacting your legislators, we have provided links to the Assembly Directory, the Senate Directory and Who Are My Legislators.

If you should have any questions, please email me or call me at (608) 242-1370.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Wisconsin’s 2019 NAEP Scores Hold Steady

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Wisconsin’s results on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, remained statistically unchanged, in a year when the nation saw significant declines on three out of four measures. At the same time, achievement gaps persist for Wisconsin.

For more information, see the DPI News release here.

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Assembly Education Committee Executive Session

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

Yesterday morning, the Assembly Education Committee recommended for passage several bills that the SAA has an interest in (see below).  Please note, no action was taken on AB 368, relating to declining enrollment relief.  The SAA continues to work with the authors to modify the bill to soften a potential first-year loss for some districts under the bill.

AB-368 School Revenue Adjustment (Quinn, Romaine) The school district revenue limit adjustment for declining enrollment and the prior year base revenue hold harmless adjustment. No action taken. SAA Neutral. 

AB-442 Categorical Aid (Felzkowski, Mary) Whole grade sharing categorical aid for school boards and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 13-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-441 Shared Services Aid (Felzkowski, Mary) A shared services aid program for school districts, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-456 Feasibility Study Grants (Kitchens, Joel) Grants for feasibility studies of school district consolidation or whole grade sharing and making an appropriation. Passage recommended, 13-0. SAA Support. 

AB-461 Equalization Aid (Hutton, Rob) The timing of equalization aid payments to school districts. Am. 1 adopted, 13-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 13-0. SAA Support.  

AB-531 ID Card Info (Stafsholt, Rob) Requiring that student identification cards include contact information for suicide prevention hotlines. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 12-0. SAA No Position. 

AB-528 Suicide Prevention Grants (Duchow, Cindi) Grants to support peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs in high schools, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Passage recommended, 13-0.  SAA Support.

AB-529 WISH Grant (Schraa, Michael) Grants to the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center and making an appropriation. Am. 1 adopted, 12-0.   Passage as amended recommended, 12-0. SAA Support.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

School Law Update: Wisconsin School District Nondiscrimination Obligations

By John Forester | October 30, 2019

From the Legal Side…

In its most recent School Law FYI, BoardmanClark  reminds Wisconsin School Districts of their nondiscrimination obligations.

The SAA regularly receives these updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of BoardmanClark.

 

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

GOP Won’t Take Up Gun Legislation

By John Forester | October 23, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

The GOP’s top two Republicans yesterday continued to pour cold water on the guv’s call for a special session on guns.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters the Senate likely will adjourn the special session shortly after gaveling it in and said the chamber won’t vote on the two bills the guv is urging them to take up.

But Gov. Tony Evers fired back that the Juneau Republican’s response to his call for a special session was “abysmal.”

“He’s telling 80 percent of the people of Wisconsin he’s gonna be in charge and frankly walk out the door,” Evers told reporters in Green Bay today. “To stand up and say, ‘We’re going to gavel in and gavel out,’ that is not what the people of Wisconsin expect out of their legislative leaders.”

Still, Fitzgerald said there’s no point to even convening committee hearings on the universal background check and “red-flag” law bills the guv wants passed because they lack support in his caucus.

“The support is not there to tackle those two issues right now,” Fitzgerald said.

The guv called the special session for Nov. 7, though he can’t force the Legislature to vote on the bills. They do have to convene, however. But they can do that through a skeletal session, which involves just a handful of members.

The Senate plans to be on the floor in regular session Nov. 5, while the Assembly will be in Nov. 7.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said on 1130 AM that Evers has chosen to play politics by focusing on an issue that won’t pass the chamber instead of working with Republicans on issues such as suicide prevention.

He also dismissed results in the Marquette University Law School Poll that found overwhelming support for a red-flag law. He likened it to a wife thinking her husband was going to possibly get drunk that night and being able to go to a judge to have his car taken away before even being allowed a hearing.

Vos argued once the process was explained like that, the “vast majority” wouldn’t support it.

“We’re not going to sacrifice people’s constitutional rights because one politician in Madison listening to his very liberal constituents wants us to do that,” Vos said.

The wording of the August Marquette poll question was, “Would you support or oppose a law allowing the police to take guns away from people who have been found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others?” Eighty-one percent of registered voters said they supported such a proposal.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

SAA Testifies on Energy Efficiency Bill

By John Forester | October 23, 2019

SAA Executive Director John Forester testified yesterday in support of Senate Bill 494, relating to the school district revenue limit adjustment for energy efficiency projects.  The testimony was delivered at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  Hats off to those members that provided valuable input for the testimony.

Hats off as well to Bryce Bird, district administrator at Prairie du Chien, who also delivered outstanding testimony before the Committee.

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Tobacco 21 Bill to Receive Public Hearing

By John Forester | October 23, 2019

The Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention will hold a public hearing on Assembly Bill 422 (see below), the so-called Tobacco 21 legislation, at 10:00am on Wednesday, November 6th in the North Hearing Room, State Capitol.  The SAA strongly supports this legislation.  If you are interested in testifying, or if you have comments or questions about this bill, please contact the SAA.

AB-422 Raising Tobacco Age (Spiros, John) Raising the legal age for sale, purchase, and possession of cigarettes and nicotine and tobacco products, providing a legal age for sale, purchase, and possession of vapor products, and providing a penalty.

See the SAA, WASB, WiRSA news release here.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Evers Calls Special Session on Gun Violence

By John Forester | October 21, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers today issued an executive order calling a special session of the Legislature starting Nov. 7 to deal with guv violence.

Evers’ order calls on lawmakers to take up “red-flag” law legislation and a bill to create universal background checks.

While Evers can call the special session, he doesn’t have the power to force lawmakers to vote on the bills. GOP legislative leaders have indicated they don’t plan to take up the legislation.

“Since taking office in January, I have called on the Legislature to take action and pass commonsense gun safety reform time and time again,giving Republican leadership the opportunity to hear the people of our state and to do the right thing,” Evers said. “Today I am delivering on my promise to call a special session to address gun violence across our state and I’m calling on Republicans to work with Democrats to get this done.”

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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