A legislative committee has cancelled a scheduled vote on controversial legislation that would overhaul Wisconsin’s 110-year-old civil service system.
The Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform was expected to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol. However, an amended notice sent out Monday indicated the bill, which received a public hearing in the committee last week, was being pulled from the calendar.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the delay is the result of a dispute between committee chairman Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), over a provision that deals with asking applicants for state jobs about their criminal record. The bill includes a provision that prohibits state agencies from inquiring about the conviction record of job applicants, unless their record would disqualify them from the position. Nass reportedly wants language added that would leave the question up to the discretion of each state agency.
Messages left with the offices of both Nass and Roth were not immediately returned.
The legislation has been on the fast track at the Capitol, since its introduction late last month. Republicans say the changes are needed to modernize the state’s hiring process, which they argue often leads to lengthy delays in filling empty positions and makes it difficult for Wisconsin to compete for top talent. Union officials and Democrats contend the bill strips away important civil service protections and will make it easier for politics to play a role in state hiring decisions.