The state legislature has been considering a number of bills targeting agriculture during a special session. Several bill pertain specifically to programs with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences:
Assembly Bill 627/Senate Bill 563 Includes $1M in funding for six Extension faculty specialist positions within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW–Madison in the field of applied agricultural research. This legislation passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions. It will be considered by the Joint Finance Committee today, and may be scheduled for a floor vote in both houses later this week. State Relations Assistant Director Ben Van Pelt, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach Doug Reinemann and Associate Dean for External Relations Heidi Zoerb testified in support of this bill before the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Van Pelt, Reinemann and Division of Extension Dean Karl Martin testified in support of the bill before the Senate committee.
Assembly Bill 874 Requires UW System to conduct a study of agricultural programs at System campuses to be submitted to the legislature nine months after passage of the bill. This passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee. The Senate has not yet acted on this legislation. It may be considered by the full Assembly later this week.
Assembly Bill 876 Requires UW-Madison to conduct a study on developing a science and technology program specific to agriculture. The Assembly Agriculture Committee passed the bill. It awaits consideration by the Senate and floor votes in both houses. Van Pelt and Zoerb provided informational testimony related to this bill at a recent hearing.
Other bills in this package address grants for dairy processors, dairy export programs and tax credits for farmers.
Assembly Bill 556/Senate Bill 497 is additional legislation related to CALS. Introduced a few weeks ago, it requires the Board of Regents to develop and implement a plan for monitoring Extension instructional hours by applied agricultural Extension specialists across UW System. The Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families and the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities have both passed this legislation.