Legislative Priorities for 2012-13 Session

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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WLA's lobbyist, Tony Driessen, DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC, Madison, recently shared an item from the Wheeler Report, a legislative news source. The Wheeler Report approached members of the Wisconsin State Assembly. The State Representatives were asked what topics and issues would be their focuses during the upcoming 2-year, 2013-14, legislative session. You can find the complete list of issues here, and Tony notes that the top priorities include: education funding and reforms (K-12 and tech colleges/higher ed) worker training and the skills gap broadband upgrades for rural Wisconsin making higher ed more affordable alternative teacher licensing funding of at-risk students expanding school choice funding for rural schools   Clearly, Driessen says, the next legislative session in Wisconsin will be an active one for education and skills training issues. In addition, the legislative priorities of the State Superintendent of Education, Tony Evers, will also be important to keep in mind as...
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Study of WRS Released: Governor Says No Significant Changes Planned

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Monday, July 02, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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A study of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), requested by the state legislature and released June 30, recommended no changes to the system, echoing the Pew Center on the States recent report finding the WRS among the best-managed state pension systems in the nation. In its most recent session, the state legislature passed 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, requiring a study of the WRS structure and benefits by the the Secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds, the Secretary of the Department of Administration and Director of the Office of State Employment Relations.  Act 32 required the study to address: 1) establishing a defined contribution plan as an option for participating employees; and 2) permitting employees to not make employee required contributions, and limiting retirement benefits for employees who do not make employee required contributions to a money purchase annuity. Findings and recommendations were due to Governor Walker and the Joint...
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Vote in Today's Primary Election

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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For the first time since the 1940's, Wisconsin's partisan primary election is being held in August and not in September.  This report provides a brief overview of the key races to be decided today.  Don't forget to cast your ballot! In addition to choosing the Republican nominee for the United States Senate (to succeed Sen. Herb Kohl), voters will choose the Democratic nominee for the US House of Representatives in the 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Tammy Baldwin's open seat) and decide if US Rep. Tom Petri (6th Congressional District) will receive the Republican nomination for another term in office. The four Republican candidates for the US Senate are former Governor Tommy Thompson, former US Rep. Mark Neumann, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, and political newcomer Eric Hovde.  While there are four Democrats running in the 2nd Congressional District only State Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys (both of Madison) have run vigorous campaigns. There...
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Your Feedback on WLA's Legislative Agenda is Needed

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Friday, July 06, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Your ideas and input are welcome as the Library Development and Legislation Committee (LD&L) is undertaking a review and update of our state legislative agenda. You can find a copy of this online at: http://wla.wisconsinlibraries.org/legislative/state-legislative-agenda At our meeting in August, LD&L will adopt a legislative agenda and forward it to the WLA Board for adoption. A few things about this document: The agenda is somewhat general and comprehensive -- rather than a list of specific issues to be addressed, it works as a collection of position statements and principles Thus the agenda does not frequently get significant modifications This gives us the flexibility and context to address specific issues as they arise If you are aware of items that need to be added or modified, and significant issues to be addressed, please contact me or another committee member before Aug. 1.  Thanks, --Terry Dawson, Chair, WLA Library Development and Legislation Committee,...
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Lay Groundwork Now: Get to Know Legislators, Candidates for Public Office

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Tuesday, July 03, 2012 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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It may be summer, and the legislature may not be in session, but fall elections are right around the corner, to be followed by an important and difficult state budget discussion in the spring.  That means that right now it's time to lay some groundwork, and take advantage of opportunities. The Library Development and Legislation Committee would like to encourage all supporters to consider taking several steps: Pay attention to, and become familiar with, legislative candidates, races and issues Library supporters should find a means to contact and build relationships with all candidates for fall elections Tell your library's story Learn their concerns Get to know one another Show up at candidate forums, and plan some key questions you might ask For public libraries, get legislators to summer library programs, get them to read to kids, and have them attend end-of-summer wrap-up programs – possibly escorted by a library board member...
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