Government Relations

Testimony on Pending Legislation: Assembly Bill 186

Before Assembly Committee on Budget Review
May 17, 2005
Testimony of Ruth Anderson
Assistant Vice President of Administrative Services
University of Wisconsin System

AB – 186 requires all contractual services purchased by state executive branch agencies to be performed within the U.S.

Chairperson Kerkman and members of the Committee, thank you for allowing me to speak today in opposition to AB 186 on behalf of the UW System. My name is Ruth Anderson and I’m the Assistant Vice President of Administrative Services at the UW System. In this position I have responsibility for the Procurement operations at the UW institutions and I previously was the Director of Procurement for a number of years.

I’m here because I’m concerned that AB 186 will add administrative cost to the University and impact on our ability to do research. While the university is physically located in Wisconsin, the University operates on an international scope. Our faculty members work with faculty from universities around the world. We participate in numerous international research consortiums and we have research projects going on throughout the world. This bill would make it very difficult for us to maintain these research partnerships. This bill would also not allow us to enter into contracts with experts located outside of the US to do research with us.

Following are examples from the UW Madison campus of services we could not receive if this bill is passed. At times the best technical expertise for a project is located out of country and we need access to it:

  • Ericsson Network Technologies in Sweden was instrumental in perfecting the design of the suspension/communication cables that hold electronic sensing globes beneath the Antarctic ice.
  • Halle Nachfolger in Germany was instrumental in perfecting the design and completion of Superachromatic Waveplates that were used for the South Africa Large Telescope project lenses.
  • Mercedes Camino of New Zealand was contracted to research and prepare essays for a Cartography project funded with federal grants. She was selected by a review committee based on her PhD work on historical cartography in the 18th century, a perfect fit for the project. Others from the United States applied but were not as qualified.
  • Professor Solon Chaphole from South Africa was contracted to help prepare instructional content for a textbook on the Sesotho language (a language indigenous to specific locations in South Africa). While there are US educated speakers of this language, none would have been as qualified as Dr. Chaphole.
  • Installation and maintenance of distance education software created by Desire2Learn, a Canadian firm. This software allows the UW to offer the on-line nursing program and the on-line MBA program from UW Whitewater. The software was also less expensive then their American competitors.

From an administrative cost burden perspective, procurement staff would have to determine if vendors and their subcontractors were performing their work in country or out of country, which would be difficult to determine. It would add time and expense to the procurement process.

Thank you for your time. I would be happy to answer any questions.