Original Post 2/21/12:
AB 473, a bill to delay until July 1, 2014 the restrictions on participation by the UW System in selling or providing telecommunications services (commonly known as the WiscNet bill), was the subject of a public hearing on February 16 in the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. Chaired by Rep. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), who is a cosponsor of the bill, the committee heard from several groups in favor of the bill: UW officials, technical colleges, as well as WEMTA and WLA. Opponents of the bill are telecommunications companies, represented at the hearing by Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) and AccessWisconsin.
The committee will hold its executive session (to vote on the bill) on March 1, a schedule that leaves very little time for getting the bill scheduled and passed by both houses of the legislature. At this writing, the companion bill, SB 375, has not been scheduled for a Senate vote. (It was recommended for passage by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Higher Education on January 23.)
For background information and talking points on the bill, please see our CapWiz legislative alert and contact your legislators to urge passage.