UW-Madison expertise tapped for state legislative study committees

July 22, 2010

University of Wisconsin-Madison experts have been appointed to 12 special committees the Wisconsin Legislature created to study emerging state issues and make recommendations for the 2011-12 legislative session.

The appointments were recommended by the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Council, Sen. Fred Risser of Madison and Rep. Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids, and approved by the full 22-member council. Most of the special committees have bipartisan legislative representation, with UW-Madison appointees among the public members of each.

"I am grateful to the Legislature for offering our faculty the opportunity to help develop and advance sound public policy in service to the people of our state," says Chancellor Biddy Martin. "This is the Wisconsin Idea in action, carrying on a long tradition of collaboration between the university and state government.

"Our faculty members have responded enthusiastically to the chance to apply their teaching and research to important issues facing Wisconsin," Martin says.

The UW-Madison special committee members are:

  • Criminal Justice Funding and Strategies: Ben Kempinen, clinical professor of law; director, Remington Center Prosecution Project; former interim director, Legal Defense Project.
  • Emergency Detention and Admission of Minors Under Chapter 51: Tally Moses, assistant professor of social work; expert in adolescent mental health, mental illness stigma among youth and their caregivers, mental health engagement, and psychopharmacologic treatment and its psychosocial implications.
  • Health Care Access (two): Jeff Patterson, doctor of osteopathy, Department of Family Medicine, UW Health Northeast Clinic. Roberta Riportella, professor of consumer science in School of Human Ecology; health policy specialist, UW-Extension; expert on understanding and helping vulnerable families overcome barriers to accessing health care.
  • Higher Education Financial Aid Programs: Sara Goldrick-Rab, assistant professor of educational policy studies and sociology; expert on college affordability and financial aid; co-director, WiscAid (Wisconsin Financial Aid Study).
  • Infant Mortality: Anne Eglash, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health, UW Health-Mount Horeb. Family physician and specialist in breastfeeding medicine and interested in improving breastfeeding rates to decrease infant morbidity, mortality and neglect/abuse.
  • Judicial Discipline and Recusal: David Schultz, professor of law; associate dean for continuing legal education and outreach; member of Wisconsin Judicial Council since 1989, chair 1991-96.
  • Local Service Consolidation: Dennis Dresang, emeritus professor of public affairs and political science; director, Center on State, Local and Tribal Governance; research focus includes public personnel management.
  • Managed Forest Land Program: Mark Rickenbach, associate professor of forest and wildlife ecology and state extension specialist; expert on Wisconsin forest policy and management; research focuses on people and their connections to private forests.
  • Nanotechnology: Robert Hamers, professor and chair, chemistry; associate director, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center; expert in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
  • Public Assistance Program Integrity: Steven Cook, researcher, Institute for Research on Poverty; participated in research on the Child Support Demonstration Evaluation project examining the relationship between child support and welfare policies.
  • Records Access of Circuit Court Documents (two): Keith Findley, clinical professor of law; co-director, Wisconsin Innocence Project; expert on criminal appeals, post-conviction review and wrongful convictions; strong interest in court records access issues. Lahny Silva, research assistant, Law School; as attorney, represented individuals advocating for the expungement of past criminal convictions; focuses on collateral consequences of convictions and issues associated with access to records.
  • Spousal Maintenance Awards in Divorce Proceedings: Marsha Mansfield, clinical associate professor of law; director, Economic Justice Institute; director, Family Court Assistance Project; elected to State Bar Board of Governors 2006; member of Legal Assistance Committee, and Family Law and Litigation Sections.

Read the Legislative Council's charge to each committee.