Legislative Bulletin, November 4, 2009
A Call to Action: Future of Milwaukee County Parks to be discussed Nov. 12 at State Capitol
A bill that would authorize the Milwaukee County Board to impose a sales tax of up to 0.5% to be used for parks, recreation and culture has been scheduled for a hearing Thursday, November 12. AFSCME strongly supports the bill, AB 504, which was offered by Reps. Christine Sinicki and Jon Richards and Sen. Lena Taylor. The Assembly Ways and Means Committee is sponsoring the hearing, which takes place in room 300 NE of the Capitol starting at 11:00 a.m.
The future of Milwaukee County’s once-strong parks system is in serious jeopardy, due to the chronic underfunding of the parks system and the lack of attention by the county executive. This bill is critical to creating a dedicated funding source to keep the parks system strong. Last November, Milwaukee County voters approved a referendum to impose the 0.5% sales tax. This bill is in keeping with the wishes of the voters. Wisconsin all across Wisconsin should contact their legislators to ask them to support this critical bill. It will take the support of more than just the Milwaukee area legislators to get this bill passed. We need AFSCME members to show support for this legislation. Please call your legislators!
Bill aims to allow certain public employees to bargain for Protective Occupation Status:
AFSCME members to take action now
Rep. Joe Parisi (D-Madison) is circulating a bill that would make protective occupation participant status a mandatory subject of bargaining. AFSCME has worked on this issue for more than two decades, and we believe this approach has the best chance of making it through the Legislature. The bill has no number yet but we urge all AFSCME members to contact their Assembly representative and Senator to ask them to (a) sign on as a sponsor of the bill and (b) ask that the bill receive a public hearing as soon as possible.
When calling your legislator, you can refer to this proposal as “LRB 3372/3” which is the number it was assigned by Legislative Reference Bureau, the official bill-drafting agency of the Legislature.
Fall Legislative Floor Period Winding Down – Lots of Activity to Monitor
This week lawmakers are working feverishly on the mechanics of getting bills to become law: they’ve been holding committee hearings, working on fine-tuning bills with amendments, and scheduling “floor” votes on bills that have gone through the committee review process.
This week alone, committees held votes on the “impartial justice” bill, which is slated for action in the full Assembly on Thursday, November 5. That day the Senate is geared up to vote on the bill to change how the DNR Secretary is selected as well. On the docket are a number of bills that don’t directly affect AFSCME members, but which we keep a close eye on because the politics on any legislation always has the potential to spill over into our world.
One thorny area of concern to AFSCME is that both the Senate and Assembly are scheduled to vote November 5 on legislation (AB 462 and SB 331) that affects who can (and cannot) become child care providers, based on whether or not they have felony records. The overreaching bills would prevent someone with modest run-ins with the law that might have occurred many years ago from serving as a child care provider. We are attempting to bring some reason to lawmakers who are under pressure to fix the state’s child care subsidy program to give people who have cleaned up their act a chance to work in the child care arena. We also are working to prevent overly harsh penalties that some lawmakers want to impose on child care licensers and regulators who may fail to properly notify authorities of suspicion of fraud.
A word on the legislative timetable
Lawmakers may be called into “special session” sometime within the next few weeks by Governor Doyle to deal with some specific topic areas. Otherwise, after this week, legislators have few weeks left in the 2009-2010 legislative session. The dates they are expected to be in regular session are:
January 19-28, 2010
February 16-March 4, 2010
April 13-22, 2010
Of course, between those time frames committee will hold public hearings on bills that are being advanced, and they (as well as your AFSCME lobbyists) will be working steadily on legislation. We will notify you via these legislative reports or emails generated from our new AFSCME Wisconsin website on issues of concern to members.
For more information, contact us at 608-836-6666.