March 27, 2023

State Budget Priorities

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. In April, the JFC will hold four Statewide Budget Listening Sessions across the state:

Wednesday, April 5, 10am - 5pm at Waukesha County Expo, Main Arena  

Tuesday, April 11, 10am - 5pm at UW-Eau Claire, Davis Student Center  

Wednesday, April 12, 10am - 5pm at Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Conference Center 

Wednesday, April 26, 10am - 5pm at Lakeland Union High School 

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 budget.comments@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.

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 Urges Legislators to Oppose Abortion Expansion

On March 15, a group of 15 Republican legislators held a press conference to announce a proposed expansion of abortion in Wisconsin. The group announced the circulation of LRB-2151, which would create an exception in Wisconsin’s statute permitting children conceived in rape and incest to be killed, and expand abortion access in cases of fetal abnormality or risk to the mother. 

After the press conference, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu issued a statement saying that LRB-2151 would not be considered on the Senate Floor. Governor Evers also tweeted that he would not sign a bill that does not repeal the ban on abortion altogether. Although the Senate does not plan to advance the bill, your representatives still need to hear from you!

The bill will be circulated until March 29 for cosponsorship, after which point, it is likely to be introduced. Ahead of its introduction, please contact your State Senator and Representative with the following message:

  • I urge you to oppose LRB-2151 and to take the lead on protecting the life and health of both women and their children in Wisconsin. 
  • Abortion is not necessary to care for women in complex pregnancies. Doctors can care for both without killing a child.
  • Abortion is not the solution to the horrific crime of rape and incest. There is no other area of the law where we say it is lawful to destroy the most vulnerable party for the crimes of another. 
  • Protecting the life and health of women and children should include the expansion of postpartum care, reducing costs for birth, removal of sales tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers, funding for pregnancy resource centers, adoption tax credits, affordable housing, child care, transportation access, and more. If Wisconsin is to be a place where women and children can flourish, these are the kinds of policies that build a culture of life.
  • Thank you for your service and for protecting the most vulnerable in Wisconsin.

To learn more about the WCC’s position, please view the action alert and press release.

On March 21, Governor Evers, Lt. Governor Rodriguez, Sen. Roys, and Rep. Subeck announced a separate bill, LRB-0692, to repeal Wisconsin’s abortion ban. According to the authors, the proposal would revert abortion access in Wisconsin to what was available prior to the June 23, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The WCC also opposes this bill, which is not expected to pass in the Senate or Assembly.

2023 Spring Election on April 4

The 2023 Spring Election is coming up on Tuesday, April 4. As Catholics, we are called to form our consciences in light of Catholic teaching. As you discern how best to be a faithful citizen at the polls, consult the WCC Faithful Citizenship series and the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions below.

On the ballot will be candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, local offices, and various state and local referenda. To see what is on your ballot, find your polling place, or register to vote, go to myvote.wi.gov.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices are elected to serve a ten-year term on the bench. Wisconsin Public Television interviewed each of candidates, listed alphabetically below:

Daniel Kelly

Janet Protasiewicz

You can also watch the candidate debate here (March 21, 2023) or the candidate forum before the primary here (January 9, 2023).

WCC Supports Clean Water Grants

The WCC has registered in support of two bipartisan clean water bills. SB-058 (Cowles, Rob) / AB-064 (Kitchens, Joel) expand eligibility for nitrate-contaminated wells under the well compensation grant program administered by the Department of Natural Resources. SB-059 (Cowles, Rob) / AB-065 (Kitchens, Joel) expand eligibility for producer-led watershed, lake, and river protection grants. The committees took no further action. 

WCC Public Policy Positions: Support Pregnant and Parenting Women

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

Support pregnant and parenting women. Pregnant and parenting women face unique burdens. In addition to ensuring adequate financial and medical support, Wisconsin must provide women facing a crisis pregnancy with wraparound services that can enable them to parent or place their child for adoption. Wisconsin must also provide high quality childcare and decent housing to women in need, and make it possible for them to continue their education. 

The flourishing of a healthy society depends on the flourishing of women and children. 

A throwaway culture transforms raising children into a purely economic choice, to be made solely by a woman. Legal abortion implicitly communicates that the burden to bear is entirely her own.

Archbishop William Lori, former chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, speaking on behalf of the U.S. bishops, has called for, “a paradigm shift from an abandonment of women masquerading as freedom to radical solidarity.”

Pope Francis has called for a culture of life that celebrates women as “increasingly precious at the center of the processes of social, political, occupational, and institutional renewal.” He further says that, “Women urgently need help with childcare, and should not be discriminated against in terms of pay and advancement.”

Public policy, together with private aid, must help ensure that women and children are given priority so they can truly thrive.

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.

The next edition of the Capitol Update will be delivered on Tuesday, April 11 due to the Easter Triduum.

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