Lawmakers on the state’s budget-writing committee have revived a controversial plan to track how much time professors in the University of Wisconsin System spend teaching — five months after they initially rejected the proposal.
The budget provision requires the UW System to develop a plan for measuring the teaching hours of faculty and academic staff, and to reward those employees “who teach more than a standard academic workload.”
Data on teaching hours would have to be included in reports the System sends to the governor and Legislature, and published on UW’s online “accountability dashboard.”
It’s one of several policy changes included in a wrap-up motion members of the Joint Finance Committee added to the state budget Wednesday night as they finished their work on the spending plan, which is two months overdue.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca is stepping down from his post leading the Democrats in his house after 6 1/2 years in that role.
Olivia Hwang, a spokeswoman for the Kenosha lawmaker and former congressman, confirmed he would be leaving his leadership post on Sept. 30 but remain in the Legislature.
Barca, who has led his caucus during a challenging time for Democrats in the state, resigned following an hours-long and private meeting with fellow Assembly Democrats Thursday at an office building across the street from the state Capitol. Legislators often caucus outside the Capitol when they are discussing legislative issues as well as campaigns and politics.
Those involved in and familiar with the discussions said members told Barca they had become frustrated with him, with some showing a willingness to quickly vote on whether to keep him as their leader.
Billing herself as the only “clear, consistent conservative” in the race, State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, announced on Thursday that she will seek to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Vukmir, 59, completed work on the state budget Wednesday evening as a member of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. Her candidacy guarantees a Republican primary, as she joins Marine veteran and businessman — and former College Democrats of America chairman — Kevin Nicholson in the field. Madison businessman Eric Hovde is also said to be considering a run.
In a video announcing her candidacy, Vukmir emphasized her track record as a longtime advocate for conservative causes. A registered nurse, Vukmir was first elected to the state Assembly in 2002 and to the state Senate in 2010. She serves as assistant majority leader in the Senate.
“I have a track record that people know. They can count on me. I’ve gotten things done,” Vukmir says in the video.