JFC Agency Briefings - Thursday
- The Chairman of the PSC discussed the Governor’s plan to expand broadband service to rural areas that currently do not have access to high speed internet.
- Committee members also discussed the Governor’s proposed elimination of the Stray Voltage Program, which helps farmers protect their animals from any stray voltage which may be on their property.
- Committee members raised a number of concerns about the DNR including environmental polluters not having to pay fines because the DNR was understaffed and unable to enforce rules.
- Members also discussed the issue of permits for high capacity wells.
- Members also questioned the Department’s decision to remove references to climate change from their website.
- In addition, members pushed the DNR to maintain their magazine.
- The President of the Tech Colleges discussed the Governor’s plans to increase funding to tech colleges, increase Wisconsin Grants to students, and expand credit transfer between the tech college system and the UW System.
- At the same time, the president asked committee members to make several changes to the Governor’s budget.
- Eliminate the proposed changes to the outcomes-based funding formula.
- Eliminate the tech college tuition freeze.
- The System president expressed support for the funding increases for the UW system but argued that the proposed 5% tuition cut would be better spent on need-based financial aid.
- The committee also discussed the fact that many system building projects were denied or delayed as part of the Governor's capital budget. Members expressed concern that delaying these projects will ultimately increase their costs.
- State Superintendent Tony Evers spoke to the JFC about his concerns that over half a billion dollars in new school funding will only be given to school districts that require their staff to pay 12% toward their health care costs (part of Act 10).
- Majority and minority members of the committee said they have heard from school districts who expressed confusion about whether or not they would be considered in compliance with the requirement.
Also testifying late Thursday night was the DWD, the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Labor and Industry Review Board.