March 13, 2023

Joint Finance Committee Announces Budget Listening Sessions

In April, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), which is responsible for the first revision of the Governor’s 2023-25 state budget, will hold four public hearings across the state:

Wednesday, Apr 5, 10:00 am - 5 pm

Waukesha County Expo, Main Arena

1000 Northview Road, Waukesha


Tuesday, Apr 11, 10:00 am - 5 pm

UW-Eau Claire, Davis Student Center

Ojibwe Grand Ballroom, Third Floor

77 Roosevelt Avenue, Eau Claire


Wednesday, Apr 12, 10:00 am - 5 pm

Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Conference Center

Sandstone Meeting Room

45 Hillman Road, Wisconsin Dells


Wednesday, Apr 26, 10:00 am - 5 pm

Lakeland Union High School

9573 State Highway 70, Minocqua

Attendees will be asked to fill out a form upon arrival to be added to the queue to testify. Comments will probably be limited to 2 minutes per individual. 

Citizens may also email comments to the JFC at [email protected], or submit them at https://legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments, or mail them to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702.

Capitol Update readers are encouraged to attend in person or comment in writing and to utilize the WCC’s forthcoming State Budget Issue Brief to advocate for the life and dignity of each human being and for the common good. 

Once the four public hearings are completed, the JFC will spend the month of May drafting its own version of the state budget and then send it to both houses of the Legislature, where in June it will be further amended and then passed. Finally, the Legislature will send the amended budget back to the Governor for his action before June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Faithful Citizenship Between Elections

To be a faithful citizen is to be engaged in the lawmaking that happens between elections. As Wisconsin’s bishops wrote in their August 2022 Faithful Citizenship letter:

“Our Catholic [social] teaching holds that protecting human life and dignity and advancing the common good are central tasks of good government. The recent Dobbs decision demonstrates that faithful and determined citizens and lawmakers can protect innocent lives and correct injustice. Nevertheless, now that abortion laws are a state matter, we must remain vigilant to ensure that unborn children can be carried safely to term and mothers can access the resources they need to thrive.”

In the upcoming budget process, the WCC will be placing special emphasis on assisting mothers, children, and families. In doing this, the WCC will rely on the accumulated wisdom enshrined in Catholic Social Teaching (CST). Indeed, as the bishops added in their letter, “No other institution today, religious or secular, has developed a body of social principles that is so broad and deep.” Over 2,000 years of observation and reflection, the Church has gained insight and experience on how women, children, and families thrive best.

To learn about how the seven principles of CST can be applied in practice in your advocacy, see the WCC’s 2023 Public Policy Positions and legislative resources below.

Celebrating 10 Years of Pope Francis' Papacy

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Pope Francis' papacy. Over the last decade, Pope Francis has continuously urged us to encounter and accompany those on the margins and journey together toward a deeper relationship with Christ.

We are grateful for his papacy and remember his first request on this day ten years ago: to pray for him as he prays for us.

WCC Supports Trafficking Victims

On March 7, the WCC testified in support of SB-56 (Jacque, Andre) which seeks to protect victims of sex trafficking in adult-entertainment establishments. The bill prohibits adult-entertainment establishments from being owned or operated by a person who has been convicted of certain offenses, prohibits employees under the age of 18 at such establishments, and prohibits establishments from knowingly allowing a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, certain obscenity laws, and certain sex or human trafficking laws to occur. The committee took no further action.

WCC Supports Postpartum Care Expansion

On March 13, the WCC registered in support of SB-110 (Ballweg, Joan) which would expand postpartum care from 90 days to a full year. A recent study found that two out of three pregnancy-related deaths occur postpartum. This bipartisan bill helps postpartum women during this critical period. For example, pregnancy can exacerbate chronic health conditions and mental health disorders which often require treatment in the year following birth. The bill was referred to committee and has not yet received a public hearing.

Supreme Court Candidates Debate on March 21

Former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Judge Janet Protasiewicz will participate in a debate on March 21, organized by News 3 Now, WisPolitics, and the State Bar of Wisconsin. The debate will begin at 12:45 pm at the State Bar Center located at 5302 Eastpark Blvd., Madison, WI. This is currently the only scheduled debate between the two candidates prior to the election on April 4.

How can I watch the debate?

The event is open to the public with an RSVP. Those interested in attending should RSVP to the State Bar of Wisconsin at [email protected] or by calling 800-728-7728.

The debate will be livestreamed online at Channel3000.com at 12:45 pm and rebroadcast on WISC-TV News 3 at 4pm.

WCC Public Policy Positions: Affirm the Dignity of Human Life in Medical and Scientific Research

In the upcoming editions of the Capitol Update, we will be elaborating on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below.


Affirm the Dignity of Human Life in Medical and Scientific Research. Science and medicine must heal and not harm. Wisconsin must reject research and development that requires the destruction or cloning of a human embryo, as well as the use of abortion derived stem cells. 

Science could discover all kinds of things and with much greater speed if there were no ethical limits on human experimentation, but ethical limits exist to make certain that vulnerable members of the human family are not exploited. 

As Pope Francis asks in his encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings [...] if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” How can we justify “eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted?” (nos. 120 and 123).

Our human reason and our Constitution teach us that every human being has an inalienable right to life, from which all other rights flow. Human reason also tells us that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Ethically, it is never right to commit a wrong, even if good can come out of it. Human beings must never be treated as a means to an end, however noble. 

Medicine and science must aim to heal and not harm and such research must be constrained by ethical limits to uphold the dignity of all human life, especially those most vulnerable.

Update from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WCC 2023 Public Policy Positions

The WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions are designed to inform state legislators, policy makers, and other interested parties about the Church's public policy positions and the principles that undergird them.

2023-24 Legislature and Citizen Resources

To find out who your legislators are, go to the Wisconsin State Legislature's home page and enter your address under Who Are My Legislators. Other legislative resources include:

You can also follow state government by tuning in to WisconsinEye, the independent, nonpartisan news service that provides uncut video coverage of state government proceedings.

Facebook  Web  Email