Rural Wisconsin Initiative Bills Scheduled for Public Hearing Thursday

As we mentioned in a previous post, a group of rural Republican legislators recently announced the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, a package of seven pieces of legislation aimed at creating opportunities in out-state Wisconsin.

These bills are scheduled for a public hearing in the Assembly Mining and Rural Development Committee:

Thursday, February 4, 2016
10:00 AM
328 Northwest

Assembly Bill 793 Relating to: the teacher loan program. This bill expands eligibility for an existing student loan forgiveness program to teachers employed in rural school districts as defined by the bill. ( The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.)

Assembly Bill 794 Relating to: student loan reimbursements for certain individuals domiciled in rural counties, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.

Assembly Bill 795 Relating to: local youth apprenticeship grants and making an appropriation.  This bill provides an additional $500,000 for Youth Apprenticeship Grants in 2016-17 only. (The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.)

Assembly Bill 796 Relating to: the apprenticeship completion award program and making an appropriation. This bill provides an additional $150,000 for Apprenticeship Completion Grants in 2016-17 only.(The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.)

Assembly Bill 797 Relating to: funding for the rural physician residency assistance program and making an appropriation.

Assembly Bill 798 Relating to: funding for broadband expansion grants and making an appropriation. This bill allows the Public Service Commission (PSC) to make a total of $10 million in broadband expansion grants during fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17. Currently, the PSC may not award more than $1.5 million in such grants in any single fiscal year. (The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.)

Assembly Bill 799 Relating to: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics grants for rural school districts, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. This bill would provide $1 million in funding and require the DPI to award grants to rural school districts (defined as having fewer than 1,000 students and fewer than 12 students per square mile) of from $3,000 to $20,000 for the purpose of establishing, maintaining STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics)  programs.  To qualify for a STEM grant, districts must raise a 10 percent matching amount.  (The WASB will likely register in support of this bill.)

Assembly Bill 820 Relating to: duties of the Public Service Commission under the broadband expansion grant program and certification of political subdivisions under that program.

To view the full plan or offer suggestions, visit www.RuralWisconsinInitiative.com