Oneida Nation Secretary Lisa Liggins, second from left, meets with the Wisconsin State Tribal Relations Committee in Madison December 13, 2022. The committee unanimously passed several new pieces of tribal legislation.
Government Administrative Office
Oneida Nation Secretary Lisa Liggins continues to advocate in Madison for the overall betterment of Wisconsin’s tribal nations as part of the Oneida Business Committee’s (OBC) Broad Goals of Health and Safety, Housing, Food and Agriculture, Education, Culture and Language, Revenue Generation, and Government Roles and Responsibilities. Liggins attended the State Tribal Relations (STR) Committee meeting December 13, 2022, during which the committee voted unanimously to approve five key pieces of new legislation.
The first bill approved was 2023 LRB-0011/1, pertaining to Act 31, which will now require school boards in the state to provide informational materials to board members, district administrators, principals, social studies teachers, and those responsible for curriculum and staff development beginning in the 2024-25 school year. Liggins and the committee discussed this bill during earlier sessions this year and, after incorporating one change, approved its implementation. To view 2023 LRB-0011/1 please visit: (23-0011/1) (wisconsin.gov).
The next bill, 2023 LRB-0012/1, relates to students wearing traditional tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies and school-sponsored events. Discussed at length by Liggins and the committee earlier this year during previous STR meetings and again unanimously approved, this bill now makes it illegal for school boards and charter schools to prevent students who are members of, descendants of a member of, or eligible to be enrolled in a federally recognized American Indian tribe from wearing traditional tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies and other school-sponsored events. To view 2023 LRB-0012/1 please visit: (23-0012/1) (wisconsin.gov).
The third bill brought to a vote was 2023 LRB-0013/1 which adds tribal governments and tribal employees to the list of personnel authorized to produce copies of a certified copy of a vital record for administrative use. Currently, financial institutions, state agencies, county departments, Wisconsin Works agency, and long-term care employees are exempt from prosecution for producing copies of vital records if it is for use by an authorized entity and the copy is marked “FOR ADMINISTRATIVE USE.” To view 2023 LRB-0013/1 please visit: (23-0013/1) (wisconsin.gov).
2023 LRB-0393/1 was the next bill Liggins and the committee unanimously passed which now adds Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the list of calendar dates requiring holiday observance in Wisconsin. Certain dates are required to be “appropriately observed” if they fall on a day school is in session. If a holiday date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the school day immediately preceding or following the specified date. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is officially observed on the second Monday of October in Wisconsin. To view 2023 LRB-0393/1 please visit: (23-0393/1) (wisconsin.gov).
2023 LRB-0573/1 was the final piece of legislation the STR committee enacted. This bill relates to TIER III lifetime licensing for individuals applying to teach an American Indian language. Liggins and the STR have discussed 2023 LRB-0573/1 throughout the year while the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) worked to implement changes and clarification. This clarification makes DPI the entity that issues the license to teach an American Indian language.
Any individual who currently holds a provisional teaching license is eligible to apply for a Tier III lifetime license once they complete six semesters of teaching experience. Now included in this legislation is the option for tribes to decide if the individual applying for the lifetime license to teach their language is qualified to do so. DPI will now notify the respective Nation when an individual applies to teach their language, and that tribe will advise the DPI if they endorse the applicant for the lifetime teaching license, or they do not. Additionally, the applicant may only receive the TIER III lifetime license if the applicant has successfully satisfied other certain requirements needed for the licensing and they have been endorsed by the specified tribe to teach their language. To view 2023 LRB-0573/1 please visit: (23-0573/1) (wisconsin.gov).