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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Joint Finance Committee
Last week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) acted on the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) portions of the budget. The committee combined HEAB and WTCS into one motion which was passed on a party-line vote. Below is a summary:
Provided funding for Information Technology Modernization and Information Technology Personnel. The motion provides $640,000 in 23-24 and $654,900 in 24-25, along with 1.5 personnel. You can read more about the IT Modernization in LFB Paper #481.
The motion did not include any increase (or decrease) in funding for the Wisconsin Grant or the Nurse Educators program. Therefore, funding levels will remain the same.
The committee had previously removed language that would have removed the $3,150 Wisconsin Grant statutory cap. This was removed in the JFC’s first motion that removed policy items from the budget.
Provided $3M increase in General Aid in 23-24 and $6.2M increase in 24-25. Additionally, provided $1M annual for workforce advancement training grants, and one-time funding in 23-24 to support open educational resources. You can find more information about these items in the WTCS LFB Papers #860-863.
JFC also acted on the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) budget last week. The Committee passed a motion increasing funding for Local Youth Apprenticeship Grants for $3M in 23-24 and $4M in 24-25 and Career and Technical Education Incentive Grants at $1.5 in each year of the biennium.
AD 24 Special Election
There will be no primary for 24th Assembly District special election. Only one Democrat and one Republican filed by the deadline. With only two people registering and officially turning in nomination papers, it eliminates the need for a June 20 primary. The special election will be July 18.
Candidates that turned in nomination papers are:
- Paul Melotik, Ozaukee County Supervisor, has registered to run as a Republican.
- Bob Tatterson, retired engineer, has registered to run as a Democrat.
The district was previously held by former Representative Dan Knodl who resigned from the seat this spring after winning a special election for the 8th Senate District.
Joint Finance Committee
The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will hold an executive session on the 2023-25 biennial budget on Thursday, June 1, 2023, starting at 1:00 p.m. The Committee will act on the following sections of the budget:
- Public Service Commission
- Appropriation Obligation Bonds
- Building Commission
- Building Program
UWS’ capital building projects are included on the agenda.
The session will be broadcast live via WisconsinEye.
Title IX Rulemaking Update
Late last week, the Department of Education announced that they were updating the Spring Unified Agenda to show an October 2023 release of the Title IX rules, as opposed to the initially expected release in yet this May. The department received more than 240,000 public comments on the Title IX rule and over 150,000 comments on the Title IX and athletics rule, and as such, they continue to review all public comments.
If interested, you can read the Department’s blog post announcing this updated release schedule here. As detailed in the release, “you can access the July 2022 NPRM here, view submitted comments here and find a fact sheet about the July 2022 NPRM here. You can access the Athletics NPRM here, view submitted comments here, and find a fact sheet about the Athletics NPRM here.”
Debt Limit Status Update
Over the holiday weekend, Congressional leaders and President Biden reached a deal on legislation to raise the debt limit. The Fiscal Responsibility Act is expected to be considered in the House and Senate this week, in advance of the June 5th X Date on the debt limit. Among several provisions, the bill includes a suspension of the debt ceiling through January 2025 and various spending caps. The bill – as drafted – also includes a provision to prohibit further pauses on the extension of federal student loan payment suspensions sixty days after June 30, 2023. As you’ll recall, these pauses began as part of the Department of Education’s response to the covid-19 pandemic.
If interested, you can view the bill text here and more from the Speaker of the House here and the President here.
House/Senate Floor Schedule
The House and Senate are scheduled to be in session this week. The schedule for the House can be found here as it is announced for the House and here as it is announced for the Senate. These schedules will remain fluid given the need to pass a debt limit deal this week.