Senate Set to Vote on Several Bills Affecting K-12 Education Tomorrow

The state Senate and Assembly are set to be on the floor again this week and next week. This is the last scheduled floor period during calendar 2017.  Once it concludes, neither house will meet again until January.

Although the floor session is scheduled to begin on Oct. 31 and run until Nov. 9, neither house will meet on every available day during the floor session.

The state Senate is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The state Assembly will be in session on Thursday, Nov. 2, and Thursday, Nov. 9.  Assembly members have also been told to keep Tuesday, Nov. 7, open for a potential session day.

Three remaining floorperiods are scheduled, each of them two weeks long, in January, February and March.  However, there is talk of wrapping up the 2017-18 legislative session early in 2018 so that, among other things, legislators can focus on their districts in preparation for November’s election.

Legislative committees have been working at a faster pace over the last few weeks as they try to get bills ready in order to get them onto the respective calendars of each house for floor action.

With uncertainty over what will happen after the start of the new year and neither the Senate or Assembly expected to meet more than a handful of times in the remainder of calendar 2017, lawmakers are focused in getting their bills in the queue for the few session days left of 2017.   Once the new year begins every bill gets a little tougher to pass and 2018 looks like it will be no exception.

Among the bills on tomorrow’s Senate calendar are:

Senate Bill 236 Competitive Bidding Threshold (Sen. Stroebel) This bill would require school districts to utilize statutory competitive, sealed bidding provisions when awarding school construction contracts and increase the dollar thresholds above which counties and municipalities must follow competitive bidding when awarding public works contracts.  (WASB Opposes) [See previous post.]

Senate Bill 253 Prohibiting Aiding and Abetting Child Sexual Abuse (Sen. Olsen)  This bill provides that it is immoral conduct, punishable by license revocation, for a DPI licensee to assist a school employee, contractor, or agent to obtain a new job in a school or with a local education agency if the licensee knows, or has a reasonable suspicion to believe, that the person committed a sex offense against a student or a minor.  The bill also prohibits a school board (or operator of a charter school, or governing body of a private school) from helping a school employee, contractor, or agent obtain a new job in a school or with a local education agency if the entity knows, or has a reasonable suspicion to believe, that the person committed a sex offense against a student or a minor.  It is not immoral conduct to transmit administrative personnel files, nor to assist someone after the information that forms the basis of the knowledge or reasonable suspicion of a sex offense has been properly reported to law enforcement, if law enforcement closed any resulting case or investigation without a conviction.  (WASB Supports)

Senate Bill 301 Summer School and Interim Session Classes (Sen. Olsen) This bill expands the types of online classes offered as summer classes or interim session classes to high school pupils and to pupils in grades 7 and 8 that qualify for state aid.  Under the bill, classes the school board determines fulfill a graduation requirement in health education or that count toward the number of credits the school board requires for graduation in any combination of vocational education, foreign languages, fine arts, and other courses would be aidable. (WASB Supports) The WASB worked with the Sun Prairie School District and lawmakers to develop this bill.

Senate Bill 382 School Employee Tuberculosis Screening (Sen. Olsen). This bill would provide school districts with flexibility by allowing the physical examinations used to screen school district employees for tuberculosis to be performed by a range of medical practitioners beyond licensed physicians, including a doctor of osteopathy, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse prescriber (practitioner). The bill substitutes a provision that the physical exam must include completion of a screening questionnaire for TB for the current provision specifying a chest X-ray or a tuberculin test, either of which is costly and intrusive.  (WASB Supports) The WASB worked with the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses and lawmakers to develop this bill.

Assembly Bill 280 Financial Literacy in Schools (Rep. Krug) Incorporating financial literacy into the curriculum of public schools. This bill directs each school board to adopt academic standards for financial literacy and incorporate instruction in financial literacy into the curriculum in grades kindergarten to 12. (WASB Neutral) The WASB worked with the author to reduce the impact of this bill .

Other K-12 Education Bills on Tuesday’s Senate Calendar:

Assembly Bill 250 Alternative Education Grants (Assembly Education Committee) Alternative education grants. (WASB Monitoring, No Position)

Assembly Bill 251 DPI Grant Programs (Assembly Education Committee) Modifying rules related to various grant programs administered by the Department of Instruction. (WASB Monitoring, No Position)

Assembly Bill 266 Technical Excellence Scholarship Program (Rep. Krug) This bill makes changes to the eligibility requirements for the Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarship Program.   (WASB Monitoring, No Position)

Senate Bill 407 College Credit Transfers (Sen. Feyen) Transfer policies for college credit earned by high school pupils. This bill requires the UW System Board of Regents to establish policies for the transfer of credits earned by a high school pupil enrolled in a course at a UW System institution or at an educational institution outside the UW System.  If the credits are not transferable under the policies, the board must permit the individual to take an examination to determine the individual’s competency in the subject area of the course. (WASB Monitoring, No Position)

Senate Bill 420 Child Labor Permits (Sen. Marklein) Child labor permits. This bill specifies that a minor of any age may be employed in a family business, including by a grandparent, without obtaining a minor’s work permit. (WASB Monitoring, No Position)