Senate Approves Budget 19-14, No Changes to Assembly Version

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 17, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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According to the Wispolitics Budget Blog, the State Senate approved the 2011-13 biennial budget on a 19-14 party line vote at about 10 p.m. last night. There were no successful attempts to amend the budget; therefore, the Assembly version stands....

June 3 Letter from UW Officials on Joint Finance Actions

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 10, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The following letter was widely distributed throughout the UW System last Friday, June 3: Dear UW System Colleagues,Late Friday, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) completed its work on the proposed 2011-13 biennial budget bill, including provisions related to the University of Wisconsin System. Keeping with the budget proposal submitted by Governor Walker, the committee approved a $250-million reduction in state taxpayer support for UW System over the next two years. Legislators offered many significant amendments to the bill, preserving our unified UW System and offering many long-sought administrative flexibilities to all UW institutions.Here is a brief summary of the JFC amendments:http://www.wisconsin.edu/wip/docs/Summary-of-JFC-Action.pdfHere is the official public statement we issued after the committee vote:http://www.wisconsin.edu/news/2011/r110603.htmPeople from around the state (including many of you) spoke up in support of preserving a unified UW System that includes UW-Madison, and Legislators listened. UW Regents, Chancellors, and other state leaders argued convincingly in favor of new administrative...

Compromise on WiscNet Seemed Close, But Telcos Push Back

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Tuesday's public statements by legislative leadership, such as those reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and hours of negotiation on WiscNet and the UW's federal broadband grant have not yet resulted in compromise budget bill language. Despite several Republican lawmakers requesting that WiscNet and the broadband grant be allowed to continue, lobbying by the Wisconsin State Telecommunications is apparently creating doubt for legislative leadership about the best way to proceed.Our sources state that the NTIA and FCC rankings referenced by WSTA are mainly residential connections; they also reference speeds of at least 3Mbps. The UW's broadband project would expand fiber to not-for-profit and public sector entities and provide speeds of 1,000Mpbs at significantly lower prices than those currently available through BadgerNet. While BadgerNet pricing will likely become less expensive through pending renegotiation of those contracts, the UW project would have a return on investment of less than 5 years. WLA stands by...

K-12 School Mandate Relief Bill Fails in Committee, Preserves Common School Fund Purpose

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, June 09, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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On Thursday, June 9, Assembly Bill 130, failed to pass committee by a vote of 5-6. Referred to by its supporters as a K-12 "mandate relief" bill, it would have, among other changes, removed the 25 percent limit on computer purchases with Common School Fund (CSF) proceeds. Current law requires schools districts to spend the CSF proceeds on materials and instructional resources for the library, except that up to 25% can be spent on school library computers and related software. One concern expressed by school librarians and others was that some districts would appropriate too much for computers and other hardware at the expense of educational content for those devices.Voting against the bill: Representatives Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater), Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton), Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), and Fred Clark (D-Baraboo). Reports are that there was significant discussion about the Common School Fund provision, with Representative Dean Knudson...

WLA Letter to Legislators About WiscNet

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on Thursday, June 09, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Your response to WLA's legislative alert has been tremendous. In addition to getting the word out to library supporters, WLA has also sent this letter to all legislators and Governor Walker, outlining our support for WiscNet and broadband expansion. A similar letter has been sent to several newspapers; we encourage you to add your own story (e.g., how much would Internet cost for your organization if WiscNet goes away?) and contact your local paper with this information.On Friday, June 3, the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance passed Motion 489 that would eliminate WiscNet as a department or office within the UW-Madison Department of Information Technology and eliminate $1.4 million in funding for WiscNet for 2012-13. The motion would also require the UW to return federal grant money that has already been awarded for a broadband expansion project, apparently because of concerns that that this project competes with BadgerNet.We respectfully ask...