2017 - 2018
Legislative Update for
Wisconsin Technical Colleges
December 20, 2017
Fall Session Report
Following final passage of the state budget and Foxconn manufacturing zone legislation in mid-September, the Legislature jumped into a busy fall session. While no major bills directly aimed at technical colleges have been considered, other issues that may be of interest are detailed in this report. The legislative calendar for Spring 2018 is as follows: January 16-25; February 13-22; and March 13-22.
In state higher education circles, Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) has been an important influence on policy since her election to the State Senate in 2003. Senator Harsdorf left her seat in late November, upon her appointment by the Governor as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Harsdorf served as both chair of the Senate higher education committee and on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Her successors in those roles have yet to be named.
The Assembly Ways and Means Committee has split into four subcommittees, in order to undertake comprehensive tax reform at the state level. Four subcommittees have been established in order to examine the following areas: (a) personal and corporate income taxes; (b) local government taxes and funding; (c) sales and use taxes; and (d) excise taxes and fees. The subcommittees have begun holding preliminary meetings, and are expected to begin considering legislative proposals as soon as February.
Bills of Interest
- 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.
- 2017 Act 82 (AB-167/SB-109) Practicing Barbering and Cosmetology
Current law requires a person who owns a barbering establishment to employ at least one person as a manager who is a licensed barbering manager or licensed cosmetology manager. In addition, a person who owns a cosmetology establishment must employ at least one person as a manager who is a licensed cosmetology manager. To receive a barbering manager license, a person must be a licensed barber or cosmetologist, pass an examination, and complete either of the following: (1) 4,000 hours of practice as a licensed barber or cosmetologist under the supervision of a licensed manager; or (2) 2,000 hours of practice as a licensed barber or cosmetologist and 150 training hours of theoretical instruction. To receive a cosmetology manager license, a person must be a licensed cosmetologist, pass an examination, and complete either of the following: (1) 4,000 hours of practice as a licensed cosmetologist under the supervision of a licensed manager; or (2) 2,000 hours of practice as a licensed cosmetologist and 150 training hours of theoretical instruction.
The legislation eliminates the barbering manager license and cosmetology manager license. Under the bill, a person who owns a barbering establishment must employ at least one person as a manager who is a licensed barber or cosmetologist, and a person who owns a cosmetology establishment must employ at least one person as a manager who is a licensed cosmetologist. Under the act, a person may practice barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, electrology, or manicuring outside of a licensed establishment if all of the following apply: (a) the person owns, manages, is employed by, or is affiliated with a licensed establishment; (b) the person brings his or her license certificate, or a copy of it, to the location where barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, or manicuring is practiced; (c) the service provided by the person does not involve the use of a chemical process, except for the use of a chemical process in cutting or styling hair or applying cosmetics, oils, lotions, clay, creams, antiseptics, powders, or tonics. 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, except that the Board may not promulgate any rule that restricts the use of a chemical process in cutting or styling hair or applying cosmetics, oils, lotions, clay, creams, antiseptics, powders, or tonics. DSPS must promulgate rules permitting the use of a chemical process in the practice of barbering outside of a licensed establishment, except that DSPS may not promulgate any rule that restricts the use of a chemical process in cutting or styling hair. 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 or represent himself or herself to be a 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.
- 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 also changes the funding of the program from a sum certain to a sum sufficient. The Assembly Workforce committee held a hearing on the bill April 25, and the Senate Workforce committee held a hearing on the bill May 24.
- 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. The Senate has yet to take it up.
- 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.
- 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 Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee held a hearing passed the bill on October 17, on a vote of 5-0. The full Senate passed the bill on October 31. The Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee held its hearing on the bill on December 12, and an executive session on the bill is scheduled for December 20.
- AB-598 Eligibility for Certain Loan Assistance Programs
This bill makes 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 under current law. 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 Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee held a public hearing on the bill on December 12.
- 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.