Governor Doyle: Signs Bill Ratifying 2003-05 State Employee Labor Contracts

Karen Timberlake, Office of State Employment Relations,

Jessica Erickson, Office of the Governor,

Governor Jim Doyle signed Senate Bill 565 into law today at
the State Capitol. The bill ratified the 2003-05 state employee labor
contract covering employees in the professional social services (PSS)
collective bargaining unit. SB 565 will affect the contracts of 3,266 state

“These contracts are the result of good faith negotiations
and a lot of hard work by everyone involved,” Governor Doyle said. “I
applaud the leadership of the unions and the members of the professional
social services bargaining team for their success in reaching a fair
agreement with the state, and for getting the agreement ratified by the
members of the unit. This agreement will enhance labor stability.”

SB 565 ratifies the agreement negotiated between the state
and AFSCME Council 24, Wisconsin State Employees Union, and the PSS
bargaining unit for the 2003-05 biennium.

The contract negotiated with the PSS bargaining unit
provides for employee contributions to health insurance premiums under the
three-tier health insurance model, which will result in significant future
health care savings. The contract will allow the state to recoup monthly
employee premium contributions from January 2004 through the present month.

“State healthcare costs have increased in recent years,”
Governor Doyle said. “To help contain those costs, a key focus of our
negotiations with the labor unions is to ensure that all state employees
contribute to their health insurance premiums.”

The contract provides no general wage adjustment in 2004.
In fiscal year 2005, the contract provides a general wage adjustment of one
percent, plus $.10 per hour, and a lump sum of $250. Employees in certain
job classifications will receive market wage adjustments to address problems
with turnover and hiring, pay compression, and internal and labor market
inequities. The contract also included a military pay differential benefit
for employees called to active military duty.

Governor Doyle thanked the bargaining teams on both sides
for their hard work negotiating the contract, and thanked the Legislative
Leadership in both houses for making sure the contract ratification bill
reached his desk.

Vetoes Senate Bill 568

Governor Doyle also vetoed Senate Bill 568 today. The bill
would create a nonrefundable individual income tax credit relating to health
savings accounts that may be deducted or exempt from federal income taxes.

Governor Doyle said that Health Savings Accounts are
inextricably linked to high deductible medical insurance and therefore could
decrease employer sponsored insurance coverage. Also, Health Savings
Accounts are only viable for persons with higher incomes. The Governor said
that tax cuts should not be adopted as an advance budget commitment without
clear and demonstrated economic benefit for the state as a whole.

A copy of Governor Doyle’s veto message can be found online

The Governor also signed Senate Bills 557, 558, 559, 560,
561, 562, 564, and 566 at the request of the Revisor of Statutes. The
Revisor of Statutes Bureau is responsible for incorporating newly enacted
laws into the existing statutes and updating the state’s statutory code. It
reviews attorney general’s opinions as well as both federal and state court
decisions that declare a Wisconsin statute or session law to be ambiguous,
in conflict with other laws, anachronistic or otherwise in need of revisions
– including grammatical updates. These findings are reported to the Joint
Legislative Council’s Law Revision Committee for possible introduction as