Committee approves raises for state, UW workers, rejects $15 minimum wage, State Patrol raises

A state legislative committee unanimously passed a 2 percent raise for state and University of Wisconsin system employees on Wednesday, but rejected calls to grant a raise to those in the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Assembly Speaker and committee co-chair Robin Vos said the amount the agency was asking for – a 23 percent raise – was too high.

“I would be open to giving raises significantly higher than the rate of inflation but not 20 plus percent,” he said.

At committee meeting to address state worker raises (that does not approve raises for state patrolmen/women), @SpeakerVos says the raise ($5 mil more a year in total) would be too much considering recent increases the leg has approved. #wipol

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) December 18, 2019

Vos said the state law enforcement agency will have to meet with officials in Gov. Tony Evers’ administration to come up with a raise in “the high single digits.”

Democrats on the committee voted against the amendment that omitted the raises for State Patrol.

Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said leaving the group out on Wednesday was “troubling.”

“In a time that we are quick to lift up law enforcement and to praise them as heroes, and you have our back in this building, that we don’t have your back in this instance,” she said.

Chad Thompson, the president of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, said the decision not to grant the pay raises was disappointing as the agency works to find officers who can handle the job.

“By having lower compensation it makes it that much harder for us to find qualified individuals that you as the citizens want out there doing the job as a law enforcement officer,” Thompson said.

He said State Patrol is losing officers to local agencies which can pay more.

What he wanted from lawmakers was to even the pay scale between new officers and seasoned vets.

Now it’s back to the negotiating table to find a rate Vos can agree with come January.

Lawmakers on the committee also rejected a call from Evers to raise the minimum wage for state and UW workers to $15 an hour.

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