A proposal to eliminate a Department of Transportation rule prohibiting the purchase of a school bus previously titled and registered in another state if the bus is more than five years old had a public hearing before a Senate committee today in the State Capitol. Senate Bill 134, authored by state Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and state Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago), was heard by the Senate Transportation & Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon). Continue reading School Bus Purchasing Bill Gets Public Hearing
Since our last post on the topic, most of the bills have been introduced and referred to standing committees. For a brief description of each bill see that previous post or click on the bill links below to see the actual bill language. Each proposal but one has a Senate and Assembly bill listed. These are identical companion bills, a common tactic to allow for proposals to begin the legislative process in each house simultaneously.
Senate Bill 191/Assembly Bill 282 by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville, pictured) & Rep. David Murphy (R-Greenville) – Limitations on when operating referenda and debt issuance referenda may be called. Continue reading Update on School Referendum Restriction Package of Bills
In a State Capitol bill signing ceremony, Governor Scott Walker signed a raft of bills into law yesterday, including two education bills the WASB supported.
Assembly Bill 664, authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), prohibits the Department of Health Services (DHS) from requiring a mental health clinic or a licensed treatment professional to designate a school site as a clinic office in order to provide outpatient mental health services at the school. It also requires DHS to provide Medical Assistance reimbursement to licensed treatment professionals for mental health services provided at a school, to the extent federal law allows such reimbursement, regardless of whether the school site is designated as a clinic office and regardless of whether the licensed treatment professional is employed by, a contractor of, or affiliated with a clinic. State Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) also played a key role in developing this legislation. It is Act 294.
Assembly Bill 824, (pictured above) authored by Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), adjusts sparsity aid eligibility to allow the Crivitz and Spring Valley school districts to continue to receive sparsity aid payments this year, without reducing sparsity aid payments to any other qualifying district. This new law also permanently raises the current 725 pupil cap on school district membership for sparsity aid eligibility to 745 pupils, beginning in the 2016-17 school year. This legislation was also co-authored by Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) and Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). It is Act 305.
The governor also signed at least five other bills that will or will likely have an impact on schools, including: Continue reading Governor Signs Two WASB-Backed Education Bills
Assembly Bill 545 relating to requiring lifesaving skills instruction for pupils was approved by both houses of the legislature on Tuesday, February 16.
This bill, authored by Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), requires school boards to provide instruction in cardiopulmonary and cardiocerebral resuscitation in any health education course offered to pupils in grades 7 to 12 and to provide instruction about automated external defibrillators to pupils in grades 7 to 12, beginning in the 2017-18 school year. (Under current law, schools are required to offer instruction about cardiopulmonary and cardiocerebral resuscitation to pupils enrolled in high school grades.) The WASB was neutral on this bill.
Assembly Bill 664 relating to mental health services in schools was also approved by both houses of the legislature on Feb. 16.
This bill, authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), prohibits the Department of Health Services (DHS) from requiring a mental health clinic or a licensed treatment professional to designate a school site as a clinic office in order to provide outpatient mental health services at the school. WASB supports this bill.
Both bills head to Governor Scott Walker who is expected to sign them into law.
The Senate Elections & Local Government Committee held a public hearing on a proposal placing restrictions on referenda and other funding mechanisms Thursday (Jan. 14) at the state Capitol. The WASB Government Relations staff and WASB members were in attendance to testify.
Senate Bill 355 – Restrictions on referenda and other school funding mechanisms
Most of the attention went to this bill with most in attendance testifying in opposition to the bill including a strong presence from school board members and administrators. WASB would like to thank the following school board members for their advocacy:
- Duane Moseley, Montello (pictured)
- Doug Mering, Baraboo
Dan Rossmiller, WASB Government Relations Director, also testified in opposition to the bill. View the WASB testimony here.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
201 Southeast, State Capitol
Amongst other proposals (see full agenda) the committee will hear:
Senate Bill 355 by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) & Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) Relating to: limitations on borrowing by school districts and the use by school districts of resolutions and referenda to authorize bonding for capital projects or increase revenue limits and scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits.
WASB opposes this bill and encourages members to contact their legislators as well as committee members (see below). See Talking Points & Sample Materials Continue reading Alert: Senate Committee to Hear Referenda/Borrowing Restriction Bill
The below links include a sample board resolution as well as a sample letter to legislators to assist in your advocacy efforts relating to legislation (AB 481/SB 355) to place restrictions on school district referenda ballot dates and implement a 2 year moratorium on referenda (or any other mechanism related to borrowing or raising revenue) following a failed referendum.
We will keep you posted if these bills get scheduled for a public hearing in either house. Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), chair of the Assembly Education Committee, said on a panel at the WASB Legislative Advocacy Conference that while he personally has concerns with Assembly Bill 481, he would likely give it a public hearing. Senate Bill 355 is in the Senate Elections and Local Government Committee, chaired by state Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) who has given no indication yet whether his committee will hear the bill.