Recent news and updates

Joint Committee on Finance Begins Public Hearings

The public hearing portion of the budget process began yesterday, April 4th, as the Joint Committee on Finance  heard many witnesses testify on issues ranging from residency requirements to education policy. According to WiscPolitics.com, yesterday’s speakers included Milwaukee Mayer Tom Barret and former senator Van Wanggard. The committee will meet again on Monday, April 8th at Lambeau Field in the Legends Club Room (10:00am-5:00pm), Wednesday, April 10th at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre in Lake Delton, WI (10:00am-5:00pm), and Thursday, April 18th at Baldwin-Woodville High School in Baldwin, WI (10:00am-5:00pm).

Wisconsin Celebrates its First UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and UW Colleges Day

Yesterday, April 4th, marked Wisconsin’s first UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and UW Colleges Day at the State Capital. Sponsored and organized by University Relations, the event intended to show legislators the innovation and research found within Wisconsin’s colleges, and the impact this research has on all of Wisconsin. A diverse array of exhibitions showcased all sorts of fields, ranging from the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology’s stuffed badger to Babcock Dairy Plant’s live demonstration of Master Cheesemaker Gary Grossen at work.

On the event, director of state relations Don Nelson explained, “Even though the capitol and campus are only separated by a distance of a mile, there can sometimes be a gulf of understanding. We hope events like this can be a good way to bridge that gap. We feel very strongly that the Legislature needs to understand, in a hands-on way, the value that UW-Madison brings to the state.” For more information on the UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and UW Colleges Day, check out http://www.news.wisc.edu/21646.

Joint Committee on Finance Sets Public Hearing Dates

The Joint Committee on Finance will begin public hearings on the Governor’s 2013-15 Biennial Budget (Assembly Bill 40) the week of April 8th, 2013. Led by Senate Chair Alberta Darling and Assembly Chair Joh Nygren, the committee will meet on Monday, April 8th at Lambeau Field in the Legends Club Room (10:00am-5:00pm), Wednesday, April 10th at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre in Lake Delton, WI (10:00am-5:00pm), and Thursday, April 18th at Baldwin-Woodville High School in Baldwin, WI (10:00am-5:00pm).

All hearings are open to the public.

State Building Commission to Consider Capital Budget

Wisconsin’s State Building Commission will be meeting next week to consider the 2015-15 Capital Budget. Building projects for UW-Madison will be discussed at the SBC’s Higher Education Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 19th. The full commission is scheduled to meet Thursday, March 21st, where the subcommittee’s recommendations will get a vote. After the SBC’s action, the capital budget will be forwarded to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance to be included in the 2013-2015 biennial state budget. The capital budget, as proposed by the Governor, is available at: http://www.doa.state.wi.us/category.asp?linkcatid=771&linkid=96&locid=4

Walker Reinvests in the University System

On February 20th, after several cycles of declining state funding support to Wisconsin’s public universities, Gov. Scott Walker proposed reinvesting in the university system for the 2013-15 biennium. The governor introduced his biennial budget which included the first net positive revenue for the University System in more than a decade.

The budget proposal includes many provisions that affect UW-Madison including:

  • $89 million in new funding to the UW System to preserve and expand access and quality. This funding would come in the form of a “block grant” that provides flexibility in how the funding is used.
  • $20 million in new funding for an Incentive Grant program for new initiatives that will boost the UW System’s workforce development efforts.
  • $3.75 million for the UW Carbone Cancer Center to support the creation of the Wisconsin Oncology Network of Imaging Excellence
  • $3 million for School of Medicine and Public Health programs geared toward increasing the number of physicians practicing in rural areas and inner city areas of the state.

The budget will dominate much of the legislative discussion as the bill works its way through the Joint Committee on Finance, and then eventually each house of the Legislature. It is generally expected that the budget process will be complete by the end of June.

Other policy issues working through the legislative process include: amending the public records law to allow custodians of public records to charge a fee for redacting sensitive information, and the UW-Madison’s Human Resources Design plan. As these and other issues arise in the Legislature, look for these updates within future University Relations newsletters.