Legislative Bulletin, March 17, 2010
Nation Wears Green to Honor AFSCME
Millions of people across the country wore the color green today to honor hard working AFSCME represented public employees. Many gathered in taverns, offering toasts of green-colored beer to recognize everything that public employees do for them and their communities. The outpouring of support was quite inspiring for any who witnessed it, and reportedly even brought a tear to President Gerald McEntee’s eyes.
“Truth in Contracting” Bill Gains Momentum in the wake of AFSCME Lobby Day
Since our AFSCME Lobby Day took place on March 3, another version of the “Truth in Contracting” bill was introduced in the state Assembly, and was on the agenda of the Assembly Labor Committee on March 10. AB 792. Offered by Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson) the bill is an identical companion to SB 447, which has been shepherded by state Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). SB 447 is in the Joint Committee on Finance. AB 792 is likely to be voted on by the Assembly Labor Committee next week. AFSCME is working feverishly with Sen. Lassa to fine-tune both bills to address concerns that state agencies officials have recently identified, and we are working to address those concerns without compromising the goal of the legislation.
Positive Hearing on Legislation to Prohibit the Sale of Milwaukee Water Works
Another highlight of AFSCME’s Lobby Day was the positive hearing on AB 475, the bill that would ban the sale or lease of the Milwaukee Water Works. At the hearing, concern was raised that the bill violates the principle of local control, but when AFSCME Council 48 Executive Director pointed out that the Milwaukee Water Works provides water not only to city residents but residents of some 18 suburban communities, legislators on the committee seemed to grasp the danger of privatizing this vital utility. AFSCME is pushing for a vote on the bill.
In a related development, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail plans to hold a public hearing March 23 on another, different Milwaukee Water Works bill, Senate Bill 369. This bill differs from AB 475 in that it does not outright ban the sale or lease of the Milwaukee Water Works. Current law allows the sale or lease of any utility, subject to approval by the state Public Service Commission. SB 369 would add approval of the state senate as a condition of sale or lease of the utility.
Hunting measure opposed by AFSCME-represented Conservation Wardens moves on to Assembly
Senate Bill 222, which proposes changes to state law relating to uncased weapons and allowing hunters to avoid tagging and attending deer after the kill, was approved by the state Senate and is now before the Assembly Committee on Fish and Wildlife. A public hearing on SB 222 will be held on Wednesday, March 31. AFSCME opposes SB 222, which puts the safety of hunters, law enforcement and the public at risk. We are asking members to contact Assembly representatives to voice their opposition to SB 222.
For more information, contact the AFSCME lobbyists at 608-836-6666.