October 27, 2015

Contact: Rep. Steineke: 608-266-2401

Assembly Passes Rep. Steineke’s Civil Service Reform Bill

AB 373 updates civil service laws to better reflect 21st century workplace


Madison –Assembly Majority Leader, Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), voted in favor of legislation to reform Wisconsin’s civil service system. Assembly Bill (AB) 373 implements best practices from the private sector by updating the state’s hiring process, instating merit-pay bonuses, defining “just cause” and streamlining the appeals process. 

“This bill is about getting the best and the brightest to work for the state,” said Rep. Steineke. “A high number of state employee retirements are expected in the near future, so we need to update state employment laws in order to attract, hire, and retain the best employees.” 

The legislation replaces the flawed civil service exam requirement with a competitive, resume-based system. Under the bill, the human resource services of state agencies would be centralized to help provide fairness and consistency.  In addition, the bill implements an annual performance review process while placing a high priority on employee job performance.  It also provides clear guidelines for employees as to what “just cause” would be for termination. 

“Safeguards against hiring or promoting based on political affiliation are currently in state statute, and remain unchanged after this bill becomes law,” continued Rep. Steineke. 

The Assembly approved the civil service reforms on a 57-35 vote. The bill will now be taken up by the state Senate. 

“This bill maintains the integrity of our state’s strong civil service protections,” concluded Rep. Steineke. “Since Governor La Follette approved Wisconsin’s civil service law in 1905, Wisconsin has had a long, proud history of attracting the best and the brightest to work for the people of our state. This bill isn’t looking to diminish this. Instead, with this legislation, we’re simply taking steps to keep pace with a changing workforce and updating our current law to meet the needs of a 21st century job market.”