GEF 1 State Office Building
201 East Washington Ave.
Management: James Buchen, Earl Gustafson, Dan Petersen, Ed Lump and Robert Oyler
Labor: Phil Neuenfeldt, Michael Bolton and Red Platz
Chair: Greg Frigo
Department staff present: Bill Clingan, Tom Smith, Carol Laudenbach, Dick Tillema, Brian Bradley, Len Wroblewski, Carla Breber.
Frigo called the meeting to order, cited shifting bill drafters’ priorities for sluggish progress toward final UI bill, will meet again to refine Reed Act and other appropriation language, with an eye to federal compliance.
Buchen suggested not hurrying the bill into the Legislature this session, emphasized desire to avoid mistakes. Frigo, Buchen commented Legislature’s timing and concern with process, not substance, of UI bill. Neuenfeldt agreed that the bill should not be hurried, cited current support for the bill but narrow legislative time frame for passage argues against a rush.
Peterson asked, Buchen noted January 2004 was the next possible floor session for passage, commented on the few time-sensitive provisions of the bill balanced against legislative realities. Buchen, Neuenfeldt, Gustafson, Frigo commented on some companies waiting for the partial successorship provision.
Frigo said effective dates for the bill provisions will have to be rechecked for comportment with a Jan. 2004 passage, cited the notice requirements for the administrative fee assessment. Oyler suggested some provisions could be made retroactive to Jan. 1.
Gustafson suggested lobbying to move the bill quicker. Buchen expressed concern that the some legislative committee members are seeing a UI bill for the first time and may be wary of a rush to passage. Neuenfeldt suggested the Capitol atmosphere argued for a Jan. 2004 introduction to keep the bill intact.
Frigo mentioned two employers who are seeking a retroactive change on the approved training provision, so UI benefits for which they are being charged would become non-charges, noted one case dates to 2002. Buchen, Oyler asked about cost. Breber said it was determinable, if needed. Frigo, Breber noted it would likely not affect too many other employers, provided the retroactivity did not extend more than a couple years. Oyler asked, Breber suggested cost would range about $10,000 or less.
Gustafson asked about Council precedent on retroactivity. Frigo said it has been infrequent, but could not cite specific instances. Smith noted last bill’s VISA holder provision was retroactive.
Frigo motioned for approval of retroactivity for the approved training provision. Buchen, Gustafson, Petersen, Lump, Oyler, Neuenfeldt, Bolton and Platz approved.
Frigo asked about the work search change re: 12-week limit for UI claimants with a recall date. Laudenbach said IT programming for the change requires a later effective date, as late as June 30. Platz was amenable, if the partial successorship change was also June 30. Bolton asked if it could be done manually. Laudenbach said it was unlikely, the initial claim system is too highly automated.
Frigo suggested language making the approved training provision effective when practicable by the department. Laudenbach said the change is a bureau priority, assured that she would not be dragging her feet. Frigo asked about a formal motion for the when-practicable effective date. Neuenfeldt asked for clarity on IT programming timeline. Laudenbach said June 30 at the latest, hoped for April.
Neuenfeldt, Laudenbach commented on the new separation notice required of employers. Neuenfeldt wondered if employers could do these manually. Frigo, Laudenbach said no. Frigo suggested formal action was needed, offered motion language. Buchen motioned, Oyler seconded a motion to delay the 12-week limiter provision until the IT programming was complete, not later than June 30, 2004.
Platz asked for a guarantee of implementation by June 30,2004. Laudenbach extended the guarantee. Buchen, Gustafson, Petersen, Lump, Oyler, Neuenfeldt, and Platz approved. Bolton dissented. Frigo noted the provision carried 7-1.
Frigo asked about other issues, Smith mentioned the levy. Frigo highlighted the levy authority and exemptions, the bill standard is not identical to garnishment law. Tillema explained federal standards, family income, various income sources for exemption from garnishment for recovering UI over-payments.
Tillema, Smith noted that wages of the debtor only would be considered, which would advantage the debtor, noted the bill language also does not include garnishment law’s consideration of public assistance, which would unduly complicate the process. Frigo asked, Neuenfeldt agreed, that this was the gist of the Council’s agreement.
Frigo noted the bill includes the repeal of the requirement to write an attendance rule and to define an establishment by rule. Lump, Neuenfeldt commented. Approval of these repeals was moved and seconded. Buchen, Gustafson, Petersen, Oyler, Neuenfeldt, Bolton and Platz approved. Lump dissented. Frigo noted the provision carried 7-1.
Buchen questioned approved training language on page 18, subsections 1-5, urged restoring language requiring regular attendance and satisfactory progress in training course to continue work-search exemption, noted this was a minimal standard of diligence which should be required and that the Council had agreed to.
Clingan said Department training programs are work-specific and have internal requirements for attendance and progress. Buchen noted independent groups research showing that lack of attendance and participation are major issues, noted those training programs are not under Chapter 108 UI law, said the bill should include the regular attendance and satisfactory progress standards.
Clingan asked about the studies Buchen had mentioned. Buchen offered a study done by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute of W-2 training programs. Clingan said very few W-2 clients would qualify for UI. Buchen insisted the regular attendance and satisfactory progress requirement belongs in the bill.
Breber said the new approved training was added to a statute related to TAA, dislocated worker approved training, which prohibited new statutory requirements, suggested a separate section would be needed to apply the regular attendance and satisfactory progress requirement to the bill’s new approved training.
Neuenfeldt asked, Breber clarified TAA, dislocated worker training requirements. Buchen asked, Breber explained requirements included in the federal law referenced on page 18, line 3, paragraph c. Laudenbach clarified that monitoring requirements under TAA and dislocated worker training are not tracked by the Department under Chapter 108, but the Department is notified of violations, added that Department training programs are similarly monitored and UI would be informed of violations.
Petersen asked, Laudenbach clarified that work search waivers would be denied to any terminated from approved training for any reason. Buchen asked how such information is discovered. Laudenbach noted that TAA, dislocated worker training is closely integrated with UI program, but proposed new training programs are not.
Neuenfeldt expounded on TAA administration, why claimants got into the program, and how they are monitored. Laudenbach commented TAA trainees’ liaisons and how they are required to notify the Department about the trainees’ status.
Buchen asked if the proposed new training programs have similar monitoring and notification or if such would be set up. Lump wondered why the bill could not address regular attendance and satisfactory progress standards just to ensure they are there. Neuenfeldt said they are not trying to give benefits to workers who sign up for training and don’t attend.
Frigo asked, Laudenbach expounded on the Department’s desire to set up the same kind of notification system as TAA for the proposed new approved training programs, but uncertainty of how UI would monitor it. Clingan envisioned developing a system where DWS monitors would be required to notify UI when approved training standards are not met.
Buchen asked why DWS monitors would care about the attendance approved training clients. Neuenfeldt said those monitoring programs are funded under pay for performance standards so monitors have a vested interest in seeking their clients re-employed.
Buchen said a monitoring system should be set up at minimum. Clingan added to Neuenfeldt’s comment about contracts for monitoring client-training progress. Oyler wondered how long would elapse from the time the client stopped attending, the Department noticed and notifies UI and benefits are stopped. Clingan was unsure about weekly or monthly progress reporting.
Neuenfeldt commented on tech college experience, said such a situation rarely arises where someone signs up for training, doesn’t attend, then loses benefits, guessed it might be a few weeks before non-attendance would be reported and UI benefits halted.
Frigo suggested some Department homework on setting up monitoring, then returning to the Council with info at a future date. Buchen said he was satisfied with language as is, but suggested similar questions may be asked by lawmakers. Laudenbach committed to begin researching such monitoring procedures.
Frigo said bill fine-tuning continued, but bill would remain consistent with Council intentions and Council would be notified if there was any doubt. Buchen moved approval of the bill as drafted, Neuenfeldt seconded. Buchen, Gustafson, Petersen, Oyler, Lump, Neuenfeldt, Bolton and Platz approved.
Frigo vowed to keep the Council apprised of legislative progress.
Clingan asked whether the Council wanted Department help passing the bill, noted expressed concerns about legislative leaders. Buchen noted both committee chairs and staff are new to the issue, have been critical of the Department Secretary, and may be hesitant if rushed on the bill.
Clingan said he wanted to ensure Council support for the bill. Buchen said having a final draft now might enable passage in the current floor period, but bill status at this time makes swift passage unlikely, said slower passage is not unprecedented and not a concern. Clingan expressed the desire to preserve the traditional bill process.
Frigo said no future Council meeting would be scheduled at this time. The Council thanked him.
Meeting adjourned.Updated March 25, 2013