Welcome to the UW System Government Relations Newsletter. The UW System Office of Government Relations provides legislative and political updates that impact the University of Wisconsin System at the state and federal level.

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State Relations

Recap of Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection Hearing

The Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection held a public hearing last week and considered AB-382 relating to UW System resident undergraduate tuition and fees.

UW System provided written testimony on the bill, which is attached below. The committee also heard from several other entities opposed to the bill including UW-Madison, Badger Advocates, and students from UW-Milwaukee. A recording of the full hearing can be viewed via WisconsinEye.

No executive session vote has been scheduled at this time.

 

Recap of Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges Hearing

The Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges held an informational hearing last week on Critical Race Theory in higher education.

Individuals from UW System institutions providing testimony included:

  • Frank C. King, Jr., Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, UW-Platteville
  • Javier Tapia, Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies, UW-Milwaukee
  • John Zumbrunnen, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, UW-Madison

Testimony for each speaker is attached below.

Other invited speakers included:

  • Chris Rufo, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
  • Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Max Eden, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Following the informational hearing, the committee held a public hearing on a number of gubernatorial appointments, including student Regent Brianna Tucker.

A recording of the full hearing can be viewed via WisconsinEye.

Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities

The Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities will hold an executive session on Thursday, October 7, starting at 9:30 a.m. The Committee will vote on AB 204 relating to UW System housing and meal plan contracts, which now includes a substitute amendment. The amendment specifies that a student is only eligible for the prorated amount if the student is not permitted on campus or have access to services for more than 7 days. The amendment also specifies that a student who is not permitted on campus due to misconduct sanctions is not subject to the prorated contract value.

The Committee will also hold a public hearing immediately following the executive session which will include AB 515 relating to updates to the WI GI benefits and AB 413 regarding anti-racism and anti-sexism student instruction and training for employees at UW System and WTCS.

More information on both these hearings will follow in the coming week.

 

Assembly and Senate Begin Fall Legislative Session

Both the State Assembly and State Senate will be in session on Tuesday, September 28th. Follow the links to view the full calendars.

Federal Relations

Secretary Cardona Visit

As mentioned in our last edition, Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, visited Wisconsin early last week as part of his “Return to School Road Trip.”  During his visit, he spent time at UW-Madison visiting with students and hearing about the return to in person instruction.  You can see tweets from Secretary Cardona here and here and from Chancellor Blank on the visit here.   

 

Continuing Resolution and Government Funding Update

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution, which included funding for the government through December 3rd and suspending the debt ceiling until December 16, 2022.  However, as currently drafted, this legislation is unlikely to pass the Senate given Senate Republican concerns on the treatment of the debt limit.  At present, the situation remains fluid and additional legislation will be necessary to keep the government funded past the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30th

In the background of these efforts, Congressional leadership continues to work to craft a plan to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation efforts.  Over the weekend, the House Budget Committee marked up the reconciliation legislation, which you can view here.  The path forward for both bills remains fluid as well given ongoing conversations within and between the House and Senate Democratic caucuses. 

The government relations team remains engaged with our federal partners on these important issues, and we will be sure to share updates as appropriate on these matters.    

House/Senate Schedule

With government funding set to expire on September 30th, both the House and Senate will be in session.  You can access the House floor schedule as it is announced here and the Senate schedule as it is announced here.  These schedules will remain fluid throughout the duration of the week.