JFC Agency Briefings - Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
The JFC heard from the Department of Administration (DOA), the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), the Elections Commission, the Supreme Court and other courts, the Department of Corrections (DOC), and the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS)
- Note: Because one of the main functions of DOA is to help the Governor create and implement the budget, their briefing covered almost all of the big topics in the budget.
- Committee members raised concerns about the Governor’s plan to move all state employees to a self-insurance plan.
- Committee members raised concerns about the Governor’s plan to limit his K-12 aid only to school districts who complied with the Act 10 mandate that requires employees to pay 12% of their health insurance costs.
- The ETF briefing also centered on the self-insurance plan.
- Members expressed serious doubts about the savings of the plan as well as the belief that moving to self-insurance is the only way to save the state money.
- Questions were raised about how premiums might go up, patients might not be able to keep their same providers, and quality of coverage might go down.
- 22 of their 32 staff positions are federally funded but that grant is running out. The Governor’s budget funds only 16 of those positions.
- Commission members urged the JFC to fund the remaining six positions and warned that they would not be able continue their operations at the same level without them.
- One proposal for the DOC would eliminate the state Parole Commission and replace it with a parole director appointed by the Governor. Committee members raised concerns about one person having that authority.
- DOC originally asked for $40 million to for 3,686 contract beds for an influx of repeat drunk drivers. The Governor’s budget lowered that number to $17.3 million (2,086 beds). Committee members questioned whether that amount would be sufficient.
- Chief Justice Patience Roggensack urged the JFC not to transfer the Judicial Commission to the Supreme Court, because it would create potential conflicts of interest for the independent watchdog commission.
- She also opposed the Governor’s budget proposal to eliminate the Judicial Council, which advises the three branches of government on court issues.
- The Secretary spoke about changes to certain state licenses and the consolidation of certain regulatory boards.