April 24, 2023

Last Chance to Submit Comments to JFC on State Budget

The WCC has released its biennial State Budget Issue Brief with items for legislators to prioritize. We encourage all citizens to contact their representatives to share these priorities, which promote the common good and protect the life and dignity of every human being. 

View Issue Brief

In addition, we encourage you to participate directly in the budget process through contact with members of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), which is responsible for the first revision of the Governor’s 2023-25 state budget.

Attend a Hearing. The JFC will hold one more Statewide Budget Listening Session on Wednesday, April 26 from 10am-5pm at Lakeland Union High School in 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. 

Submit Comments Online or by Mail. Citizens may also email comments to the JFC at budgetcomments@legis.wisconsin.gov, or submit them at legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments, or mail them to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702. Comments should be submitted by Wednesday, April 26 at 5pm. 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.

WCC Supports Trafficking Victims

On April 12, the WCC testified in support of AB-60 (Bodden, Ty) 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 WCC previously testified in support of the companion bill, SB-56 (Jacque, André). The committees have taken no further action.

WCC Opposes Limiting Access to Healthcare

On April 12, the WCC testified in opposition to AB-148 (Penterman, William) which would require that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) determine an individual’s eligibility for the state’s BadgerCare Plus program every six months. The bill also states that a failure to disclose information in a timely manner can result in a six month suspension from the Medicaid program. Since the public hearing, the Committee has approved an amendment to the bill which would give a recipient only 10 days to report a change in anything relating to their benefit determination, or face six month suspension. The bill will be voted on by the full Assembly on Tuesday, April 25. The WCC also registered in opposition to companion bill SB-245 (Stafsholt, Rob). 

WCC Opposes Expanding Abortion

On April 17, the WCC registered in opposition to AB-175 (Rozar, Donna) which would add exceptions for rape and incest to the current laws prohibiting abortion. The bill also adds a therapeutic abortion exception when: "1) when pregnancy is

contraindicated due to a serious risk of death of the pregnant woman or of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman; or 2) in any circumstance in which the fetus has no chance of survival, including a physical condition of the fetus that makes survival of the fetus outside of the uterus not possible, an anembryonic pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy." The WCC had previously issued a press release addressing its concerns with the bill. The bill awaits a public hearing. 

On April 21, the WCC registered in opposition to AB-218 (Subeck, Lisa) which would repeal Wisconsin Statute 940.04 prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother. The bill awaits a public hearing.

WCC Supports Opportunities for Expungement

On April 18, the WCC testified in support of SB-38 (Cabral-Guevara, Rachael) which would remove barriers to expungement of a criminal record. The bill would remove the requirement that a person seeking expungement must have committed the crime before the age of 25. Under current law, expungement orders can only be made at the time of sentencing and this bill would allow persons to petition for expungement at the end of his or her sentence. Among other provisions, the bill would also classify certain crimes as ineligible for expungement. The WCC also registered in support of the companion bill AB-37 (Steffen, David). The committees have taken no further action.

Senate and Assembly Pass Clean Water Bill

On April 18 and 19, respectively, the Assembly and Senate passed an amended AB-65 (Kitchens, Joel), which expands eligibility for producer-led watershed, lake, and river protection grants. The bill awaits action by the Governor. The WCC registered in support.

WCC Public Policy Positions: Stop Domestic Abuse and Human Trafficking

Here we elaborate on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below.

Stop domestic abuse and human trafficking. No human being should be abused or enslaved. Wisconsin must give all persons experiencing domestic abuse and human trafficking ready access to services that can assist them in escaping their situation and rebuilding their lives. 

Catholic social teaching proclaims the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of all human life. Each person is made in the image and likeness of God and has inherent worth. As each gift of life deserves to be protected and nurtured, we each have a responsibility to fight against abuse, violence, and violation or degradation of our brothers and sisters.

Domestic abuse and human trafficking directly reject the dignity and fundamental rights of the human person. The Church speaks out forcefully against slavery. “Modern-day slavery—where men, women, and children are bought and sold like merchandise—inherently rejects this principle, showing absolute contempt for human beings.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2414). 

All too often, abuse and trafficking survivors are hidden from our sight and suffer in silence. On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 2022, Pope Francis called for an end to violence against women in particular and a need to take concrete action to bring it to light: “We need to unite, collaborate, network, and what we need is not just a defensive network, but above all a preventive network! This is always crucial when trying to eliminate a social scourge which is also linked to cultural attitudes, mentalities and deep-rooted prejudices” (Vatican News).

In the USCCB statement, On Human Trafficking, the bishops declare: “Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the basic dignity and rights of the human person. All efforts must be expended to end it. In the end, we must work together—Church, state, and community—to eliminate the root causes and markets that permit traffickers to flourish; to make whole the survivors of this crime; and to ensure that, one day soon, trafficking in human persons vanishes from the face of the earth.”

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 LegislatorsOther 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.

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