Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker John Gard has agreed to place our arbitration of discipline bill on the June legislative calendar for a vote on the floor of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Assembly Bill 185 would provide municipal law enforcement officers with the opportunity to appeal the disciplinary decision of a police and fire commission to an arbitrator, rather than to circuit court, if permitted in the officers’ collective bargaining agreement. The WPPA has sought this bill for many years, and the fact that we will get a floor vote on this bill is an outstanding development given that, prior to this legislative session, this bill has never even received a hearing before an Assembly committee.
Opponents of AB 185 assert that the bill somehow diminishes the power of local police and fire commissions. This argument is absurd given that PFC decisions can already be the subject of an appeal to a circuit court. AB 185 merely provides for an alternative to circuit court review where an employer agrees to it in the collective bargaining process. Prior to a 1995 Court of Appeals decision, the option of arbitration of discipline was a right our members enjoyed. AB 185 would place municipal law enforcement officers on the same playing field as deputy sheriffs, who already can utilize the arbitration of discipline option. The rights afforded the dedicated men and women of Wisconsin’s law enforcement community should not depend upon the color of their uniform. AB 185 corrects the inequity that exists under current law.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR WPPA MEMBERS TO ACT
In order to get this bill through the Assembly, WPPA members will need to take a minute and call their lawmakers and urge them to support AB 185.
If WE do not call OUR elected officials in the State Assembly in significant numbers, this bill will not pass.
The easiest way to contact a legislator is through the legislative hotline. For WPPA members in the Madison area, the legislative hotline number is 266-9960. Otherwise, the hotline can be reached toll-free at 1-800-362-9472. WPPA members will talk to an operator, who will simply take a message and forward it to the appropriate office. If members are not sure which district they live in, the legislative hotline operators can help them. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact WPPA lobbyist Jim Palmer at 1-800-362-8838.
CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR NOW!!!