Friday, January 19, 2018

ALERT: Ask you legislator to oppose Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857!

Senator Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) formally introduced Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857 today, which would end the Common School Fund as we know it and end the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) loan program that benefits schools, towns, villages, technical colleges, CESAs and public library systems. 


The following legislators signed on in support of this bill:  Senators Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and David Craig (R-Big Bend)  and Representatives Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield), Rob Brooks (R-Saukville), Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg), John Macco (R-De Pere), Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago), and Ron Tusler (R- Harrison).



Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857:

  •  Eliminates the requirement that schools spend Common School Fund disbursements on instructional materials, library books or school library computers/software. Schools would be able to spend CSF funds on any items they would like and those items would not need to be housed in the school library

  • Eliminates BCPL’s authority to make loans. The interest on these loans currently goes into the Common School Fund. 

  • Under current law, the BCPL can delegate some investment authority to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), but SWIB can only invest in fixed income accounts. The bill would remove this restriction and allow SWIB to invest state trust fund dollars using their typical investment strategy.



Contact your state representative and state senator TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857!

Here are some things you can say:


  • Common School Fund stakeholders were not consulted in the development of this legislation, and we do not support these changes. We want to maintain the current structure that has been working well since the founding of our State in 1848.. 

  • Over the past 10 years, the BCPL State Trust Fund Loan program has invested over $1 billion in communities throughout Wisconsin. Earnings from these loans are deposited into the Common School Fund. Ending the BCPL loan program would eliminate this important economic development funding from our communities and eliminate a major source of revenue for the Common School Fund. 


  • With school districts across the state facing increased budget constraints, distributions from the Common School Fund are often the only dollars available for school libraries to purchase informational materials including books, newspapers and periodicals, web-based resources, and computer hardware and software. This bill would remove the requirement that the Common School Fund be used for libraries, putting school library funding in jeopardy. 

  • The bill also gives the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) more authority to invest BCPL trust fund dollars. According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if SWIB had been managing the Common School Fund dollars during the financial crash of 2008, it would have suffered a devastating loss of between $195 million and $290 million. No funding would have been available for school libraries for several years following a loss of that magnitude. 
How to Contact Your Legislators:

The first step in contacting your legislator is knowing who your legislator is. The easiest way to do this is the tool found on the Legislature’s home page, at http://legis.wisconsin.gov. In the right-hand side of that page is a link that says Find My Legislators!  Type your address in the box below that link to get the names of your state representative and senator.
  • Phone.  You may leave a message for your legislator’s Capitol office or indicate your position on legislation through the toll free Legislative Hotline, at 1-800-362-9472.

    Friday, December 29, 2017

    State of the State Address to Be Delivered January 24; Comings and Goings

    Earlier this week, Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) invited Governor Walker to deliver his yearly State of the State address on January 24, 2018. A time has not yet been set.

    As we near the end of the 2017-18 legislative session, resignations and retirements are starting to be announced. Below is a list of some of the most recent shake-ups.

    The next possible floor session for the Legislature begins January 16. The Legislature will likely adjourn the 2017-18 session in February or March.

    Comings and Goings

    Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) is stepping down from his Assembly seat to become Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. No special election will be held.

    Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) is stepping down from his Senate seat to serve as the Division Administrator for Worker's Compensation. No special election will be held.

    Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) has been appointed to the Joint Finance Committee to fill the seat vacated by Senator Harsdorf.

    Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) gave up her seat to become the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Representative Adam Jarchow (R- Balsam Lake) won the Republican primary against Representative Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) in December. Jarchow will face Patty Schachtner, a Democrat from Somerset, in the general election on January 16 to fill Harsdorf's Senate seat. 

    Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) is giving up her State Senate Seat to run for U.S. Senate. Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) is giving up his State Assembly Seat to run for Vukmir’s State Senate Seat.

    State Superintendent Tony Evers, Representative Dana Wachs (D- Eau Claire) and Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) are among the crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge Governor Walker when he is up for re-election in November 2018. The primary will be held August 14, 2018.

    Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) was recently elected mayor of Racine and vacated his Assembly seat. Greta Neubauer, a Democrat from Racine, won the Democratic primary and is unopposed in the general election to fill Mason's seat. 

    Representative Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) passed away unexpectedly this year. Rick Gundrum, a Republican from Slinger, will face Dennis Degenhardt, a Democrat from West Bend, in the general election on January 16 to fill Gannon's seat. 

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    We Need Your Help to Save the Common School Fund!

    Draft legislation authored by Representative Hutton (R-Brookfield) and Senator Stroebel (R-Saukville) was released this afternoon that would end the Common School Fund as we know it and end the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) loan program that benefits schools, towns, villages, technical colleges, CESAs and public library systems. 

    The bill does the following:

    •  Eliminates the requirement that schools spend Common School Fund disbursements on instructional materials, library books or school library computers/software. Schools would be able to spend CSF funds on any items they would like and those items would not need to be housed in the school library

    • Eliminates BCPL’s authority to make loans. The interest on these loans currently goes into the Common School Fund. 

    • Under current law, the BCPL can delegate some investment authority to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), but SWIB can only invest in fixed income accounts. The bill would remove this restriction and allow SWIB to invest state trust fund dollars using their typical investment strategy.


    The bill authors are asking other legislators to sign on to this draft bill as co-sponsors. Legislators have until December 21 to sign on to the legislation. Contact your state representative and state senator TODAY and ask them to NOT sign on to this proposal and to oppose it if it is introduced (LRB-4425: Board of Commissioners of Public Lands Reform). 



    How to Contact Your Legislators:



    The first step in contacting your legislator is knowing who your legislator is. The easiest way to do this is the tool found on the Legislature’s home page, at http://legis.wisconsin.gov. In the right-hand side of that page is a link that says Find My Legislators!  Type your address in the box below that link to get the names of your state representative and senator.

    • Phone.  You may leave a message for your legislator’s Capitol office or indicate your position on legislation through the toll free Legislative Hotline, at 1-800-362-9472.