Tag: state legislature

Ribble pushes federal legislation to target ‘dead zones’

U.S. Representative Reid Ribble is a sponsor of H.R. 3120, the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act of 2015, a bill he says would help equip farmers to reduce excess nutrient loading that has seen water bodies including the Bay of Green Bay suffer seasonal “dead zones.” H.R. 3120 would create an initiative for states in the Great Lakes Basin to establish “innovative, proactive programs that help farms of all sizes and all commodities to prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.” Ribble has hosted a series of listening sessions and stakeholder meetings prompted in part by highly publicized research – some of it involving UW-Green Bay faculty, students and alumni – showing phosphorous-laden runoff is causing algae blooms and oxygen problems in the bay. If you’re interested in the topic, the Wisconsin State Farmer news site had an ag-centric view of Ribble’s project posted online. The piece quotes experts including local dairyman Gordon Spiers and UWGB watershed specialist Prof. Kevin Fermanich of Natural and Applied Sciences.

Update on budget: No final decisions before June

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller distributed a short letter with the title “Budget Reduction Update” to UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members this morning (April 21). He shared that the University’s leaders and advocates continue to have constructive conversations with state legislators about the size of the UW System funding cuts and important new flexibilities. He summarized this month’s Board of Regents developments. He also amended his earlier projection that the University might identify and announce its budget-reduction plans by mid-May. Because of the slower-than-expected pace of legislative action on the budget, the Chancellor now believes final decisions will be made no earlier than late June.

Flexibility ‘on life support’ comment draws attention

It doesn’t look like the Legislature will support Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to grant the UW System autonomy from state oversight and laws, including the setting of tuition rates, key lawmakers said Tuesday. That’s the gist, anyway, of an AP story that quotes Rep. John Nygren, co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, as saying the autonomy proposal “might be on life support.” Others quoted in the story, however, say the flexibility options remain very much alive. Read more.

Sen. Lasee says cuts aren’t that big

State Sen. Frank Lasee is among the state lawmakers who argue that Gov. Walker’s proposed reductions for the UW System aren’t as large as UW officials make them out to be. When measured against the totality of the System’s $6.1 billion annual budget, Lasee says, a $150 million cut is a 2.5 percent reduction. (System officials say the more appropriate figure to cite is closer to $1 billion – the amount provided by state GPR taxpayer support – without including tuition revenue, gifts, grants and revenue from auxiliaries including housing, dining and more.) If you’re interested in reading Lasee’s argument, see his guest piece in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Elected alumni: Six (6!) former Phoenix, not five, serving in Legislature

We told you here yesterday about the growing number of UW-Green Bay alumni now serving in the state Legislature. We erred, however, by omitting yet another Phoenix alum, Tyler Vorpagel ’07. Vorpagel, an aide to retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, was elected Nov. 4 to the state Assembly seat for District 27. He joins alumni Scott Krug ’09, R-Rome and Romaine R. Quinn ’14, R-Rice Lake in the state Assembly. Fellow alums Dave Hansen ’71, D-Green Bay; Rob Cowles ’75, R-Allouez; and Frank Lasee ’86, R-Ledgeview, are serving in the state Senate. Our thanks to Assistant Prof. Aaron Weinschenk for catching the omission.

Another elected alum brings total to five Phoenix in state Legislature

We told you here recently about the Nov. 4 reelection of UW-Green Bay alumni Frank Lasee ’86, R-Ledgeview (state Senate); and Scott Krug ’09, R-Rome (state Assembly). It turns out UW-Green Bay had another alumnus, Romaine R. Quinn ’14, newly elected to the Assembly that day, bringing the total number of Phoenix alumni serving in the state legislature to five. UW-Green Bay grads Dave Hansen ’71, D-Green Bay; and Rob Cowles ’75, R-Allouez, also serve in the state Senate. Hansen and Cowles are midway through their terms and were not up for election Nov. 4. You can read more about Quinn, who at just 24 years old is also the former mayor of Rice Lake, and a graduate of the Adult Degree Program, in this story from the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.

‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ bill gets hearing in Madison

Remember the bill introduced by state Sen. Dave Hansen in a news conference last fall at the Cofrin Library? That proposal, called the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill, would create a new state authority that would offer up to 763,000 Wisconsin residents a chance to refinance their college loans, and allow borrowers to deduct up to $6,500 in student loan payments yearly on state income tax returns. Hansen’s bill got a hearing in Madison earlier this week. Most who testified said action is needed, but others questioned the cost to the state and whether anything that would have the indirect effect of encouraging even more student borrowing will prove wise in the long run.

More on student debt: Editorial, review of yesterday’s coverage

We told you here yesterday about a student debt relief bill that was touted by state Sen. Dave Hansen and others during a Wednesday (Oct. 30) press conference held in the Cofrin Library, in front of the Division of Outreach and Adult Access. In addition to the news coverage we mentioned, the Green Bay Press-Gazette today (Thursday, Oct. 31) carried an editorial endorsing the idea of allowing refinancing of student loans — part of the plan Hansen and others have put forth. We’ve linked to that editorial, and again to some of yesterday’s and previous coverage (including our own), below:
Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial
Green Bay Press-Gazette article
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
UW-Green Bay News