Even temperatures of 4 degrees above zero couldn’t keep human resources professionals from across the state from attending the 6th Annual Wisconsin State Council SHRM Day on the Hill event! About 50 attendees braved the cold weather to participate in a day of employment law and public policy updates as well as advocacy visits to the Wisconsin State Capitol.
The event started with a comprehensive public policy overview by Bob Carragher, Vice President State Strategy & Engagement from SHRM. This was Bob’s first visit to Wisconsin, but he mentioned that he and his SHRM Government Affairs staff were keenly aware of the work that Wisconsin SHRM and our HR advocates have been doing on behalf of SHRM for many years.
Bob shared information about the current state of affairs in Washington, DC. With 2020 being a presidential election year, there is a great deal of activity taking place at all levels of government as the country prepares for a national election in November. Bob added that SHRM has been and will be at the forefront of issues that impact the workplace. Regardless of which party is in charge of the White House, House of Representatives, or the Senate; Republican or Democrat, SHRM will work with the party in control as they continue to follow their philosophy of “policy, not politics.”
The SHRM Presentation concluded with an overview of the areas of public policy that SHRM is focusing on, including current federal legislation that SHRM is in support of. For more information, visit the SHRM Public Policy Action Center.
After the conclusion of Bob’s presentation, the group walked across the street from the conference hotel to the Wisconsin State Capitol. At the State Capitol, attendees had the opportunity to either take a guided tour of the State Capitol Building, or meet with their respective State Representative and State Senator (or staff) to introduce them to SHRM and advocate for pending state legislation called “Pathways to Employment’. This bill looks to reform the expungement process for certain, non-violent criminal convictions.
Those that chose to advocate for Assembly Bill 33, described how this could help many employment applicants that may have in their past, a non-violent conviction to take this before a court to be removed or “expunged” from their record. This could benefit both applicants in seeking employment and employers with access to an often-underutilized talent pool. The bill aligns closely with SHRM’s national initiative called “Getting Talent Back to Work.”
After the State Capitol visits and lunch, attendees received an employment law and legislative update from Attorney Bob Gregg of Boardman Clark LLP, Legislative Partner for the Wisconsin State Council SHRM. As always, Bob provided the group with a number of court case updates and often entertaining real life, workplace stories that often seem too bizarre to be true! The title for Bob’s presentation, “Do Employment Law Keep You Awake at Night?” was very appropriate!
Finally, the day concluded with a presentation by Terri Dougherty, Human Resources Editor from J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Terri’s presentation, “What to do About Weed in the Workplace” was a timely and informative discussion about the impacts on changing marijuana laws on the workplace. Attendees learned that even in Wisconsin, where both medical and recreational marijuana use remains illegal, the law changes in other states have an impact on employers in Wisconsin. Terri provided updates in both recent and proposed legislation, and what to watch for in the future.
Overall, the 6th Annual Day on the Hill provided a new format, updated topics and new opportunities for attendees to advocate, network, and become more aware of public policy issues that impact all of our workplaces. Planning will begin in a few months for the 7th Annual Day on the Hill in 2021, and we hope to see many of you in Madison, Wisconsin next year for this event.