Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Summary of Final State Legislative Actions

Last week, the State Legislature concluded its regular 2009-2010 session.  The following list of  bills slated to become law are of  particular interest to UW System institutions, faculty, and students:


Bills already signed into law:


AB 2 American Jobs Act: Requires all contractual services purchased with state taxpayer dollars by state executive branch agencies to be performed within the United States, unless those contractual services cannot be obtained in the United States. This bill was amended to exclude federal and gift money in response to UW System procurement relating to research. Signed by the Governor as 2009 Wisconsin Act 136.


AB 770 Rural Healthcare Access Act: Creates a rural physician residency assistance program and physician, dentist, and health care provider loan assistance programs. This legislation provides funding to support rural residency training and rotations, and loan assistance programs for physicians who practice in State's rural areas. Signed by the Governor as 2009 Wisconsin Act 190.


SB 371 Longitudinal Data System of Student Data: Related to Federal "Race to the Top" funding it directs the UW System, the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities to enter into a written agreement. UW System position: SUPPORT. Signed by the Governor as 2009 Wisconsin Act 59.


Others awaiting the Governor's signature


AB 496 - Prohibiting Electronic Text Messaging while driving: prohibits a person from driving any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message and creates a penalty.  Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 121 – Career Conversations Program: Requires the Center on Education and Work (CEW) at the UW-Madison School of Education to establish a "Career Conversations" pilot program for students enrolled in grades 7 to 12. UW System position: SUPPORT. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 407Academic Excellence Higher Education Scholarships: Permits a high school senior with the next highest grade point, but not less than 3.800 or the equivalent, to be certified as an alternate and to receive a scholarship. UW System position: SUPPORT. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 409 Wisconsin C.O.R.E. Jobs Act: A comprehensive economic development package. C.O.R.E. stands for "Connecting Opportunity, Research and Entrepreneurism." The UW System supported several of its higher education provisions, including:

  • the creation of a business plan competition program for comprehensive campuses to help make entrepreneurial expertise available to students statewide;
  • the development of an emerging technology center at the UW-La Crosse;
  • funding of the Wisconsin Small Company Advancement Program at WiSys that would provide grants for intellectual property management services; and
  • a postsecondary education tax credit for businesses that pay tuition for certain employees.

UW System position: SUPPORT. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 431 Diploma Mills: Prohibits any school from using the term "college" or "university" in its name unless the school provides an educational program for which it awards an associate or higher degree and the school has accreditation recognized by the U.S secretary of education.  UW System position: SUPPORT. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 514  - UW-Milwaukee Building Projects: Adds three UW-Milwaukee building projects to the 2010-11 authorized state building program. The UW System Board of Regents previously endorsed these projects. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 523 – Unfair Labor Practices in Collective Bargaining:  Expands the State Employment Labor Relations Act (SELRA) and makes it an unfair labor practice for employers to discourage state employees from exercising their rights to bargain collectively. This bill was amended to clarify that the bill does not interfere with a faculty member's right of academic freedom. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 585Political and Religious Discrimination This bill prohibits discrimination against an employee who declines to attend an employer−sponsored meeting or to participate in any communication with the employer or with an agent, representative, or designee of the employer, the primary purpose of which is to communicate opinions about religious or political matters. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB 616 The High Performance Green Building Bill:  Its provisions include requiring new state, municipal, and school buildings (including renovations and leasehold) to be LEED certified and also requires the state upgrade 15% of the gross squire footage of existing state buildings to LEED standards.  Awaiting Governor's signature.


Confirmations and Resolutions


UW System Regent Confirmations – Eleven appointments/reappointments to the UW System Board of Regents were confirmed by the Senate during the 2009-10 Legislative session.  (The term expiration year is noted in parenthesis.)

Mark Bradley (2017)

Danae Davis  (2011)

John Drew (2014)

Mike Falbo (2015)

Ed ManyDeeds (2017)

Kevin Opgenorth (2010)

Chuck Pruitt (2016)

Jose Vasquez (2016)

David Walsh (2015)

Aaron Wingad (2011)

Betty Womack (2014)


SJR 66 - Undergraduate Research Day Proclamation:  Proclaims May 5, 2010, as Undergraduate Research Day and commends University of Wisconsin System students, faculty, and staff.  Undergraduate Research Day is observed annually in conjunction with Posters in the Rotunda: A Celebration of Undergraduate Research.