On Tuesday, WILL Policy Director Kyle Koenen submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform in-favor of Senate Bill 354, and on Wednesday submitted testimony to the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development on Assembly Bill 336, the Assembly companion of the bill. In addition, WILL also submitted testimony on Wednesday to the Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry in favor of Senate Bills 232 and 233.
Senate Bill 354 and Assembly Bill 336
As a result of the pandemic and related business closures, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate reached a high of 14.8% in April 2020. Today, the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8%. The problem is no longer that workers can’t find jobs, but rather employers cannot find workers willing to return to work. Currently the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Job Center of Wisconsin website has nearly 110,000 jobs listed.
A likely cause of many workers remaining out of the workforce is the federal weekly unemployment bonus of $300 that workers are receiving in addition to their standard unemployment. For many, this is better money than they made while working. Last week WILL Research Director Will Flanders found that approximately 11% of Wisconsin workers could make more on unemployment than working. So in order to get Wisconsin back to work, our state ought to follow the lead of other states and end the $300 federal unemployment bonus early and this is just what SB 354 and AB 336 propose.
Find our submitted testimony for SB 354 HERE.
Senate Bill 232 and 233
SB 232 and 233 are both prudent reforms that would streamline occupational licensing review in Wisconsin. Currently to receive most licenses, individuals are forced to wait for the review and decision from a credentialing board. The problem is that many boards meet infrequently. Whether it’s one month between meetings or three months, individuals waiting to be credentialed are not able to perform their jobs until these boards meet and approve their paperwork.
SB 232 creates a process for the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to issue temporary licenses that individuals can use to practice their profession until the credentialing board approves their paperwork.
SB 233 allows the credentialing board for any given profession to delegate their credentialing authority to DSPS. This delegation makes sense because the department has the capacity and ability to process licenses at a much more rapid pace than the credentialing boards do. This would not only streamline the occupational licensing process, but also make better use of taxpayer dollars.
Find our submitted testimony for SB 232 and 233 HERE.