The State Senate passed SB-95 today (see previous blog post about this issue) without amending it to delete the provision that removes the 25 percent limit on computer purchases with Common School Fund dollars. The vote was 17-16 along straight party lines. Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) offered an amendment to remove the Common School Fund part of the bill, and she said that she had been contacted by library media specialists asking for the amendment.
Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), who authored the bill, spoke against the amendment saying that school districts need flexibility with the funds and seemed to believe that digital resources could not be purchased with Common School Fund money. The amendment failed on a voice vote.
SB-95 will now be sent to the Assembly. There already is an Assembly companion bill, AB-130, in the Committee on Education. That committee failed to pass the bill when it voted in early June. Given the subject matter, SB-95 should go to the same committee, and there could be another vote. Or, either bill could be pulled from the committee through a parliamentary maneuver during a floor session. SB-95 could conceivably be referred to a different committee for further action. At any rate, both the Senate and Assembly must pass the exact same bill before it goes to the governor, and SB-95 has not been through the Assembly.
Stay tuned for more information on this important matter.
--Michael Blumenfeld, Lobbyist, Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association