Government Relations

UW System Position on Bills Introduced in the Legislature During the 2005-2006 Session

Pending Legislation

SB 338

Purchase Contracts of UW Goods and Services by Research Companies

Full Description

(Kanavas) Creates an exemption to s. 946.13 for a research company who contracts with the University of Wisconsin for the purchase of goods or services if the contract evaluated by a campus review process, independent of the faculty or staff member involved with the company, shows there is not a conflict of interest.

To Job Creation, Economic Development and Consumer Affairs

UW System Position

SUPPORT: Several times each year, University of Wisconsin faculty and staff efforts to get their technology discoveries into the marketplace are delayed because current law requires a lengthy legal opinion process with the Attorney General. The process, which comes after a thorough campus review, ensures the person who created the technology to establish the start-up company is not in violation of Wisconsin State Statute 946.13 if the company contracts with the UW for certain goods and services. This is sometimes necessary because start-ups, in order to succeed, may need to utilize specialized research facilities and services available at the university.

While every situation reviewed by the Attorney General has shown no violation of the law, these unnecessary delays have resulted in lost opportunities for these start-ups to secure grants and venture capital. To encourage start-ups, an important component of Wisconsin's economic development efforts, this law should be amended to exempt this type of activity.

As part of Wisconsin's strategy to remain at the forefront of the burgeoning biotechnology field, Governor Doyle has highlighted the need (most recently in his Grow Wisconsin II plan) for this legislative change to remove bureaucratic hurdles for UW faculty members who want to become entrepreneurs.