February 5, 2024

WCC Action Alert: Urge Senate to Oppose 14 Week Abortion Referendum with Exceptions for Rape and Incest to Term

In response to the Assembly’s passage of AB-975 (Nedweski, Amanda) on January 25, allowing abortion through the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and abortion in the case of sexual assault through all of pregnancy, the Heal Without Harm Coalition (HWH) urges everyone to contact their State Senator to oppose the bill. The HWH Coalition condemns the bill’s passage during a time when the current state statute continues to proceed through the court system. 

The HWH Coalition will continue to defend Wisconsin State Statute 940.04, a law that protects life from conception and which has saved over 1,500 lives since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. As this legislation proceeds to the Wisconsin State Senate, the HWH Coalition urges everyone to contact their State Senator to oppose AB-975. View the action alert here.

USCCB Action Alert: Urge Congress to Protect Children Online

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to contact their members of Congress to urge them to take action to protect children online. In light of recent legislative hearings, the USCCB urges legislators to focus serious attention on the growing problem of child exploitation online, including the harms of pornography, and to use government authority to protect children and the vulnerable. To learn more, read the USCCB’s letter outlining three moral principles Congress can use to protect children online. View the action alert here.

WCC Supports Expanding Child and Dependent Care Credit

On February 2, the WCC registered in favor of SB-976 (Quinn, Romaine) / AB-1023 (Binsfeld, Amy), expanding the child and dependent care credit. These bills increase the amount of the state credit that an individual may claim by increasing the employment-related expense limitation to $10,000 for one qualifying dependent and $20,000 for two or more qualifying dependents. Since the public hearing, the committee has taken no further action. 

WCC Supports Expanding Married Persons Credit

On February 2, the WCC registered in favor of SB-979 (Ballweg, Joan) / AB-1022 (Schutt, Ellen), expanding the married persons credit. These bills double the maximum income tax credit for married persons filing jointly from $480 to $870. Since the public hearing, the committee has taken no further action.

WCC Opposes Palliative Care Council 

On February 1, the WCC submitted testimony in opposition to SB-703 (James, Jesse), establishing a Palliative Care Council. The Catholic Church supports true palliative care, but the bill lacks an affirmation that palliative care excludes intentionally hastening, assisting in, or causing someone’s death. Since the public hearing, the committee has taken no further action.

WCC Supports Protecting Children Online

On February 1, the WCC registered in favor of SB-683 (Wanggaard, Van) / AB-730 (Gustafson, Nate), regarding the distribution of certain materials to minors. The bills prohibit businesses from knowingly and intentionally publishing or distributing material harmful to minors on the Internet from a website that contains a substantial portion of such material, unless the business entity performs reasonable age verification methods. The bill passed out of the Assembly committee and awaits further action in the Senate committee. 

WCC Opposes Restricting Refugee Resettlement

On January 31, the WCC registered in opposition to SB-916 (Tomczyk, Cory) / AB-1004 (Hurd, Karen), requiring local governments to designate an individual for consultation required under a federal program regarding refugee resettlement and assistance. The bill requires resettlement agencies to consult with all local governmental units within a 100-mile radius before placing refugees. Refugees admitted to the United States have undergone the most extensive vetting of any new arrivals. No other immigrant group—those on travel visas, students, etc.—are scrutinized so thoroughly. This bill creates unnecessary obstacles to resettling some of the most vulnerable individuals and families. The bill is scheduled to receive a public hearing in the Senate on Tuesday, February 6.

WCC Supports Expanding Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Programs

On January 30, the WCC registered in support of SB-11 (Jacque, André) / AB-17 (Tittl, Paul), expanding the treatment alternatives and diversion programs that offer alcohol or drug treatment services as alternatives to prosecution or incarceration in order to reduce recidivism, promote public safety, and reduce prison and jail populations. Since the public hearing, the Senate committee has taken no further action.

WCC Supports Human Trafficking Prevention Package

On January 24, the WCC testified in support of a package of ten bills to combat human trafficking in Wisconsin. The package emerged from a bipartisan Speaker’s Task Force. To learn more about the bills, read the report with legislative recommendations of the Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. Since the public hearings, the following have passed out of committee: AB-978 (O'Connor, Jerry), AB-979 (O'Connor), AB-974 (Steffen, David), AB-971 (Emerson, Jodi), AB-976 (Billings, Jill), AB-972 (Gundrum, Rick), and AB-970 (Tittl)

WCC Public Policy Positions: Practice Restorative Justice

Here we elaborate on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below. You can learn more about Catholic Social Teaching on the USCCB website.


Support Law Enforcement Personnel and All Who Help Preserve Public Safety. Law enforcement personnel have a responsibility to be guardians and peacemakers who serve their communities with self-control, mercy, and true respect. Wisconsin must provide law enforcement with adequate resources to recruit, screen, and train the finest candidates to carry out their duties safely and humanely. Wisconsin must also ensure that policing is transparent and accountable to the community. 

Catholic teaching holds that the purpose of law and police is to promote justice. “When public authority acts with justice, it creates an obligation for people to support that authority because God is the source of all justice, such that defying just authority “resists what God has appointed” (Rom 13:2)” (USCCB Letter to House on Police Reform, 2020). Law enforcement personnel are indispensable to civil society as they carry out the work of promoting justice and the common good. They frequently place themselves in harm’s way to protect citizens and assist those in distress. 

Recent popes have offered direct words of encouragement to law enforcement. Pope Benedict XVI said that “a just society needs order and a respect for the rule of law to achieve a peaceful and tranquil coexistence in society.” Pope St. John Paul II explained that police work is a way of “witnessing to the authenticity of your belief in the Paschal Mystery” when it is marked by “high moral standards,” “discipline,” “self-sacrifice and genuine concern for the common good.” Further, this vital work “needs the support of a profound sense of the unique dignity of every human being. The special value of each person can only be fully understood where each one is accepted as an image of God himself and a brother or sister of Christ.” Pope Francis noted that this work, “requires you to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that you face every day, not only in the case of wrongdoings of various nature, but also in the encounter with those who are in need or disadvantaged.”

However, “whenever public authority…fails to seek the common good, it abandons its proper purpose and so delegitimizes itself” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 398). When members of law enforcement act unjustly and in a criminal fashion, public trust is lost.

With these principles in mind, the WCC has expressed support for law enforcement and those who preserve public safety, while at the same time supporting bills aimed at policing reform, including reporting use of force incidents, protecting those who report them, making use of force policies and data accessible to the public, and a ban on chokeholds. In their 2020 letter on police reform, the USCCB also called for the use of body cameras, greater accountability and means of redress regarding those who exercise public authority, and resources to study justice issues further.

Safe communities are at the heart of a flourishing society. As communities, we also give thanks for the men and women who serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, community-based violence interrupters, mental health first responders, and all who preserve public safety.

Updates 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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