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This Week in Legislative Affairs

March 27, 2012

First thing discussed at the Legislative Affairs meeting were reports. The chair, Hannah, gave an update about the Vote Coalition. They will be doing another week of voter registration after break and she just asked everyone volunteer for a little bit if they can. One of the vice-chairs, Rachel, gave an update on ALDO, which is Alcohol License Density Ordinance. Basically, it determines how many bars can be in a specific place. She went to a meeting regarding the one year evaluation. She could not say if it had helped or not, but she has a meeting with the guy who lead the presentation to discuss it more in depth and will let the committee know after that meeting. There were no liaisons present to give updates. All three interns did not have any major break achievements in the past week. They all are working on setting up meetings to get farther on their projects.

The committee then moved on to business. A member gave an update about Mifflin. Legislative Affairs has been working with the mayor of Madison to come up with a plan for Mifflin. Early this year, the mayor wanted to cancel Mifflin, but has had a change of heart and is now working with students. Mifflin had a sponsor, who recently withdrew their application. Leg Affairs in now working on making sure we can get the street blocked off, have vendors, and other logistics. The first year Mifflin had sponsors was in 2008, so the party will still happen.  The members of the committee who went to the lobby meetings gave updates on how they went. One member met with a lady from the City Clerk’s office regarding voting. She said the most important thing to do is keep registering students to vote. Another member met with a group about Responsible Action. Many students said the policy needed to be publicized more. Two members spoke with Senator Olson’s chief of staff about the budget and education. They had a discussion about budget cuts to the UW system, FAFSA, tech schools and programs regarding those types of degrees. The next topic discussed was the budget. The committee brain stormed reasons why the state budget should not cut so much money from the UW system. They are trying to come up with unique ideas. That way the legislators can have new reasons to listen, and might be more likely to do so, since they have heard the normal reasons a lot and don’t appear to listen to those. The committee also discussed Responsible Action, which I will talk about in the next paragraph. During the committee’s next meeting, they will talk about the legislative session and debrief about it.

One of the intern’s projects is getting Responsible Action passed at the state level and it becoming a law. Campus enacted a policy called Responsible Action this fall. The policy grants immunity from an under-age ticket in two scenarios: one, if you are a witness or victim of a crime, you can report it and will not be penalized for drinking; two, if you get medical attention for someone who needs it. However, under current policy, the person who needs medical help can still receive a ticket. The version going to the state took out the clause about orgs and grants immunity for the person who needs help. The main goal of the bill is to ensure students who need help are able to get it, without fear of tickets, since they were being responsible. The intern has a bunch of information, including results from the policy survey a few weeks ago, other states who are in the process of bills similar to ours (such as Michigan and Indiana), and statistic on drinking in Wisconsin. She has been presenting several legislators with this information and currently has two sponsors (Hulsey and Risser). She is working on getting a few more, preferably from the Republican Party. The bill will be introduced in January, during the next session.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Tony Falk permalink
    April 23, 2012 11:11 pm

    We love you Hannah! #bestlegchairever

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