The state Senate adjourned for the 2015-16 session following a late-night on the floor Tuesday (March 15). Earlier, the state Assembly adjourned for the session on Feb. 18.
In order to become law, bills must pass both houses of the Legislature in identical form, and then be signed by the governor.
Among the bills affecting K-12 education that were not passed by both houses in identical form, and are thus officially dead for this session, are:
- Assembly Bill 481/Senate Bill 355 , which would have imposed restrictions on the scheduling of school referendums and the use of certain types of borrowing by school districts. Under those bills, unless a school board experiences a natural disaster or fire, it could only schedule a referendum vote at a spring or general election. If a referendum vote fails or if school district electors block a borrowing attempt, the district would be prohibited from trying again for at least a year. The WASB opposed these bills. (See previous post.)
Continue reading State Senate Adjourns for 2016 Without Acting on Some High-Profile Education Bills
The Senate Education Committee today postponed a vote on Assembly Bill 517, which would impose a statewide mandate on high schools to report certain crime-related incidents to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). State Sen. Luther Olsen, chairman of the committee, announced the vote had been “postponed” in response to concerns from the WASB and others.
The WASB had previously provided a memo to committee members detailing our concerns.
The WASB opposes this bill. The bill, in its present form, places the responsibility for reporting these incidents on school officials rather than law enforcement agencies which have these statistics and provides no additional funding for school districts to cover the additional costs and responsibilities the bill mandates. Continue reading Senate Education Committee Vote Postponed on Crime Reporting Mandate Bill
Although the Wisconsin State Assembly stands adjourned until January 2017, the state Senate continues its work, aiming toward a March 15 adjournment. On that date, the Senate will have the opportunity to give final consideration (i.e., vote) on many of the more than 160 bills the Assembly passed last week. Without Senate concurrence those bills will die.
To that end, several Senate committees will be busy leading up to the March 15 floor session including the Senate Education Committee, which has scheduled a public hearing and executive session (committee vote) on March 3 on a number of Assembly bills affecting K-12 education.
Bills that will receive a public hearing include: Continue reading Education Committee to Take Up Crime Reporting Mandate Among Other Bills on March 3
The state Assembly has concurred in a bill (Senate Bill 492) that sets up and provides limited funding for a voluntary one-year crime reporting pilot program that is designed to operate in one urban, one suburban and one rural school district. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this week, now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. It is authored by Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin).
A school district that chooses to participate in the pilot program would have to report its aggregate data on crimes and other incidents to DPI twice: once halfway through the school year and once at the end of the school year. Incidents that must be reported include those involving bullying or harassment. Continue reading Assembly Sends Crime Reporting Pilot Program Bill to the Governor’s Desk
The state Assembly and Senate yesterday (Feb. 16) passed competing bills relating to having schools track and report crimes and other incidents that occur in schools, on school transportation and at school-sponsored events.
Whether either or both of the bills will make it to the governor’s desk is unclear at this point.
The Assembly version (Assembly Bill 517) authored by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) is the more encompassing of the two. As amended on the Assembly floor by a substitute amendment to that bill and a simple amendment to the substitute, the bill requires both public and voucher high schools to collect and report to the DPI statistics on the incidents of certain crimes or ordinance violations that meet all the following: occur on Mondays through Fridays between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 p.m.; occur on property owned or leased by the governing body of the school or on pupil transportation either provided by or contracted for by the school; are reported to law enforcement and for which, as a result of the incident, a charge was filed or a citation was issued. Continue reading Senate, Assembly Pass Dueling Crime Reporting Bills
The state Assembly plans to meet on Tuesday and Thursday this week and then adjourn for the session. The Senate plans to continue meeting until the middle of March. The floor period schedule the Legislature passed at the beginning of the session calls for the 2015-16 session to end April 7. Leaders in both houses have decided to end the session earlier than scheduled. Before adjourning the Assembly plans to take up a number of K-12 education related bills.
The following bills are on the proposed Assembly calendar for Tuesday, February 16:
AB-751 Special Needs Scholarship Program (Jagler, John (R)) This bill makes technical changes to the special needs scholarship program created in the 2015-17 state budget (Act 55). The WASB is neutral on this bill but strongly opposes Assembly Amendment 3 which would reduce the revenue limit authority of the 142 public school districts that currently have resident pupils participating in the statewide and Racine voucher programs by $14.2 million annually. This revenue limit authority protects the affected school districts against the loss of state aid that follows resident pupils to the voucher school.
AB-517 School Crime Reporting (Jagler, John (R)) This bill requires high schools to report the numbers of specified crimes and other incidents that occur on school property, on school transportation, and at school sanctioned events and granting rule−making authority. While we are sympathetic to the author’s intent, the WASB has opposed this bill, in part, because it will impose new unfunded costs and responsibilities on school districts. (The future of this bill in the Senate is unclear at present.) Continue reading Assembly to Vote on Several Education Bills This Week Before Adjourning
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by state Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), will hold a public hearing today (Jan. 21) on two bills dealing with schools collecting and reporting crime-related data:
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Senate Bill 492 Relating to: a student safety incident tracking pilot program for school districts and making an appropriation.
By Senators Lazich, Darling, Gudex and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Skowronski, Nerison, R. Brooks and Allen.
WASB is neutral on this bill but we prefer the approach of a voluntary pilot program to a statewide mandate. View our testimony here. Continue reading Senate Committee to Hear Bills on Crime Reporting