2017 - 2018
Legislative Update for Wisconsin Technical Colleges

February 27, 2018


Spring Session Report

Lawmakers are rushing to finish their floor session work prior to the start of the 2018 campaign season. A number of issues of interest to technical colleges are detailed in this report. The Assembly Speaker has stated publicly that his house is adjourned for 2018 following the conclusion of their work on February 22, although the fates of some high-profile items, including the Governor’s proposed child tax credit/sales tax holiday and a proposed new prison, are not yet resolved. It is anticipated that the Senate will conclude its session on March 20. Together the houses considered nearly 230 bills last week, including nearly $700 million in new spending.

Former Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) left her seat in late November to become the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) was named to replace Harsdorf as chair of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges. Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) was named to Harsdorf’s seat on Joint Finance. Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) was elected to the 10th Senate district seat.

The State Senate confirmed the Governor’s nomination of Dr. Rodney Pasch (formerly of Moraine Park) to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board on February 20, 2018.

Bills of Interest

  1. 2017 Act 81 (AB-164/SB-108) Barbering and Cosmetology Licensure
    The Act eliminates the authority of the Cosmetology Examining Board (“the Board”) and the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to impose continuing education requirements as a condition of license renewal for licensed barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, electrologists, and manicurists. In addition, the Act requires DSPS to send to each licensee, by electronic mail at the time notice of license renewal is given, a digest that describes changes to statutes and rules that affect the practice of barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, manicuring, or electrology. DSPS must also make the digest available on its Internet site. A license for barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, electrology, or manicuring may not be renewed unless the person certifies that he or she has reviewed the current digest. The Act retains the Board’s and DSPS’ authority to impose continuing education requirements on a licensee as a part of the disciplinary process to ensure competency.
  2. 2017 Act 82 (AB-167/SB-109) Practicing Barbering and Cosmetology
    Prior law required a person who owns a barbering or cosmetology establishment to employ at least one person as a manager who is a licensed barbering manager or licensed cosmetology manager. The legislation eliminates the barbering manager license and cosmetology manager license. Under the act, a person may practice barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, electrology, or manicuring outside of a licensed establishment under certain circumstances. In addition, the Cosmetology Examining Board must promulgate rules permitting the use of a chemical process in the practice of cosmetology, aesthetics, or manicuring outside of a licensed establishment. DSPS must promulgate rules permitting the use of a chemical process in the practice of barbering outside of a licensed establishment. Lastly, the Cosmetology Examining Board must promulgate rules permitting the practice of electrology outside of a licensed establishment.
    The legislation ultimately retained the instructor certificate under current law, except that the new law provides that an applicant pays a one-time certificate fee and that DSPS may not require renewal of the certificate. A person may only use a title that implies that he or she is a Wisconsin certified instructor if the person is certified as an instructor. A licensed barber, cosmetologist, aesthetician, electrologist, or manicurist may provide practical instruction, even if they are not certified as an instructor.
  3. AB-174/SB-120 Sales/Use Tax Exemption
    Last session, the Legislature unanimously passed 2015 Act 126, which made it easier for local governments and non-profits to make use of an existing sales tax exemption on building materials. These bills would extend that same process to the University of Wisconsin and Technical College System building projects. Under current law, materials purchased for construction by UW and the tech colleges are exempt from sales tax if purchased directly by the university or college. However, the sales tax does apply if materials are purchased directly by a contractor. This legislation would eliminate sales tax on materials that are purchased for use on a technical college or UW project. The Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues Committee passed the bill on May 3 on a 5-0 vote. The Assembly Ways and Means Committee passed the bill on June 1 on a 9-0 vote. However, neither house has taken up the bill for a floor vote.
  4. AB-192/SB-197 Tech Ed Incentive Grants
    This bill removes the per pupil limitation on career and technical education incentive grants that the Department of Workforce Development awards to school districts. Under current law, DWD must award a grant to a school district in the amount of $1,000 per pupil who, in the prior school year, obtained a high school diploma and successfully completed an industry-recognized certification program approved by DWD. Under the bill, DWD must award $1,000 for each certification program completed by a pupil. The bill would change the funding of the program from a sum certain to a sum sufficient. The bill had hearings in each house, but did not receive a vote.
  5. AB-432/SB-341 Nurse Aid Instruction
    This bill conforms state law for instructional programs for nurse aides to the federal law requirements for Medicare and Medicaid. Specifically, the bill prohibits the Department of Health Services from requiring an instructional program to exceed the federal required minimum total training hours or minimum hours of supervised practical training, which is clinical experience, specified in the federal regulation. The current federal regulation requires no less than 75 hours of training with at least 16 of those hours being supervised practical training.
    The Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee passed the bill on October 18th, on a vote of 5-2. The full Assembly passed the bill on November 2nd, on a vote of 62-32 and awaits action by the Senate.
  6. AB-559/SB-407 College Credit Transfers
    This bill requires the Board of Regents of the UW System to establish policies for the transfer of credits earned by a high school pupil enrolled in a course at a UW System institution or at an educational institution outside the UW System. If the credits are not transferable under the policies, the board must permit the individual to take an examination to determine the individual's competency in the subject area of the course. The bill requires the board to award 
equivalent credits to an individual who earns a passing score on the examination. The full Senate passed the bill on October 31, and the Assembly concurred on January 23.
  7. AB-598 Eligibility for Certain Loan Assistance Programs
    The bill would make physicians and dentists who agree to practice in free or charitable clinics eligible to participate in an educational loan assistance program administered by the Office of Rural Health, under the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. The bill makes similar changes to an educational loan assistance program for other health care professionals administered by the Office of Rural Health, including physician assistants, nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and dental hygienists. The bill passed the Assembly on February 21, 2018, and awaits action by the Senate.
  8. AB-756 Grants to Technical Colleges for Nurse Aide Training
    This bill requires the Technical College System Board to make grants to technical college district boards in areas with nurse aide shortages to expand access to nurse aide training, and appropriates $500,000 annually for this purpose. The bill was introduced on December 19 but was not taken up.
  9. AB-777/SB-729 Foster Care Tuition Remissions
    This bill requires the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and technical college system district boards to grant tuition remissions to students who were in foster care or other placements out of their parent's home. Both the Board of Regents and technical college district boards may not grant the remissions after a student is awarded the diploma or degree for the program in which he or she is enrolled, or attains the age of 25 years, whichever occurs first. In addition, the bill prohibits a student from receiving a remission from either the Board of Regents or a technical college district board for more than a total of 12 semesters or sessions. Remissions are granted after deducting any federal aid awarded, not including student loans. The bill also makes an appropriation to the Higher Educational Aids Board to reimburse the Board of Regents and technical college district boards for remissions granted under the bill. If the appropriation is not sufficient to make full reimbursement, HEAB must prorate the reimbursements. An annual appropriation of $410,000 GPR is provided under the bill to reimburse UW and technical colleges for fees remitted. The District Boards Association worked with the authors and ultimately supported the bill. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on February 13 and awaits action by the Senate.
  10. AB-805/SB-677 Dual Enrollment and Early College Credit Program
    This bill would exclude certain college-level courses offered to high school pupils enrolled in a public school from the Early College Credit Program. The bill as amended provides that a course that satisfies all of the following requirements is not a course under the ECCP: (1) The course is offered to pupils under an agreement between a school board or private school governing board and the chancellor of one of the four-year institutions of the University of Wisconsin System or private, nonprofit postsecondary institution before, on, or after the effective date of the bill; (2) instruction in the course takes place in a school building in the school district or a school district facility; (3) the teacher who provides instruction in the course is employed by the school district or private school and has been certified or approved to teach the course by the participating University of Wisconsin System institution or private, nonprofit postsecondary institution. (The District Boards Association opposed the Early College Credit Program for WTCS dual enrollment programs, and successfully worked to exclude the WTCS from the ECCP during the 2017-19 budget.) The Assembly passed the bill as amended on February 13, 2018 and the Senate concurred on February 20, 2018.
  11. AB-808/SB-682 Apprenticeship Scholarships
    This bill creates a grant program under which the Technical College System Board may award grants of up to $1,000 to technical college students who have undertaken an apprenticeship program in conjunction with their course of instruction at the technical college. These grants may be awarded only to assist students in paying materials expenses associated with the apprenticeship program, including costs of purchasing tools, clothing, equipment, and supplies. Assembly Amendment 2 increased funding for the program to $100,000 GPR annually, which will supplement the privately funded Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. program known as “Tools of the Trade.” The District Boards Association worked with the author to draft this legislation and supports the bill. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on February 20, 2018, and it awaits action by the Senate.
  12. AB-851/SB-711 Grants for High School Dual Enrollment Teacher Credentials
    As originally introduced, this bill required the Office of Educational Opportunity in the University of Wisconsin System to award grants to school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program, to support dual enrollment programs taught in high schools. The bill defines “dual enrollment programs” as programs or courses of study designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to gain credits in both high school and a UW System school or technical college. Under the bill, grants are awarded to assist high school teachers in meeting the qualifications necessary to teach dual enrollment courses. No grants may be awarded after June 30, 2022.
    As amended, the program is no longer housed under the UW System, and will instead be administered by the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB). HEAB would award grants directly to school districts for both UW and WTCS dual enrollment programs. The bill appropriates $500,000 GPR annually for the program, beginning in 2018-19. It is the position of the District Boards Association that institutions of higher education that provide dual credit opportunities should have direct input into how grant dollars are prioritized. Nevertheless, the DBA supports the bill as amended and appreciates the bill authors’ ongoing support for dual enrollment. The Senate passed the bill unanimously on February 20, 2018. The Assembly concurred, by a vote of 92 to 1, on February 22, 2018.
  13. SB-735 Repeal the Manufacturing Tax Credit and Provide Grants for Two-Year College Tuition
    This bill creates a grant program to cover resident tuition and fees at technical colleges and two-year University of Wisconsin System schools. The bill also eliminates the manufacturing tax credit. The bill creates the Freedom to Learn Program, administered by the Higher Educational Aids Board, to provide grants to resident students enrolled in technical colleges or two-year UW System schools (eligible postsecondary institutions) who have completed the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount of the grant is the amount of the student's tuition and fees, minus the amount of other grants and scholarships awarded to the student to cover tuition and fees. A recipient of an initial grant may renew the grant in the following academic year if the recipient has maintained enrollment and a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 and again enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution in the following academic year and completes the FAFSA. HEAB must establish requirements for community service by grant recipients, and a grant may not be renewed unless the grant recipient has satisfied these community service requirements. After a student has met all requirements for an associate degree or diploma in the student's program, the student is no longer eligible for the grant. Under the bill, HEAB must submit to the legislature certain reports relating to the program. Under current law, a person may claim a tax credit based on the person's qualified production activities income derived from manufacturing or agriculture in this state. The bill provides that, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, a person may not claim the tax credit for income that is derived from manufacturing. This bill has not received a committee hearing.
  14. AB-872/SB-746 Career and Technical Education Incentive Grants
    This bill creates an incentive grant program for school districts that provide training for certain public safety occupations and provides completion awards for students who complete those programs. Under current law, the Department of Workforce Development must award career and technical education (CTE) incentive grants to school districts in the amount of $1,000 per student who, in the prior school year, obtained a high school diploma and successfully completed an industry-recognized certification program approved by DWD. Currently, DWD approves programs that are designed to mitigate workforce shortages in an industry or occupation that DWD identifies as facing workforce shortages or shortages of adequately trained entry-level workers.
    The bill requires DWD to also approve industry-recognized certification programs that are designed to prepare individuals for occupations as fire fighters, emergency medical responders, or emergency medical services practitioners (public safety occupation training program). Under the bill, DWD must award all of the following: (1) a CTE incentive grant to a school district that has a public safety occupation training program approved by DWD. For each program the school district has, the amount of the incentive grant is equal to $1,000 for each student in the school district who successfully completed the program in a school year in which the program was approved by DWD; and (2) a CTE completion award to a student in the amount of $500 for each public safety occupation training program the student successfully completed in a school year in which the program was approved by DWD. Under current law, CTE incentive grants are funded from the appropriation to DWD for workplace training grants, commonly referred to as “Fast Forward” grants, and DWD must allocate not less than $3.5 million in each fiscal year for the CTE incentive grants. Also under current law, if the amount allocated in any fiscal year is insufficient to pay the full amount per student, DWD may prorate the amount of the incentive grants that eligible school districts receive. Under the bill, the CTE incentive grants to school districts would be paid from the existing $3.5 million allocation and may be prorated if that allocation is insufficient in any fiscal year. The bill creates a sum sufficient appropriation to fund the student completion awards. Given that technical colleges often partner with school districts to offer the relevant training via dual enrollment programs, the District Boards Association supported the bill. The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 16 to 0 on February 13, 2018. The Assembly passed the bill unanimously on February 15, 2018, and the bill awaits action in the Senate.