July 5, 2023

Happy Independence Day!

We hope you had a safe holiday and a happy Fourth of July. May this day, remind us of the values that make our nation great. Let’s continue to work together towards a more just society that can provide peace and prosperity for all.

Happy Independence Day from all of us at the WCC!

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Governor Evers Signs 2023-2025 State Budget

On July 5, Governor Tony Evers signed the 2023-2025 state budget (2023 WI Act 19). The Governor issued 51 partial vetoes which included the following: eliminated the proposed tax cuts for the top two individual income tax brackets, retained the 188 positions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the University of Wisconsin System, and removed a provision to ban (to the extent permitted by federal law) payments through Medical Assistance for puberty-blocking drugs used for gender dysphoria or transition, as well as gender reassignment surgery.

You can read the Governor’s message outlining his partial vetoes here.

A forthcoming Capitol Update will have the WCC’s full overview of the budget.

WCC Supports Embrace Them Both Bill Package 

On June 22, the WCC registered in support of the Embrace Them Both bill package, legislation that will support and protect the life and health of Wisconsin’s women and children:

SB-343 (Quinn, Romaine) clarifies that a medical procedure designed to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, such as the removal of a miscarriage or ectopic

pregnancy, is not an abortion. The Assembly version of the bill awaits introduction.

SB-344 (Quinn) and AB-343 (Snyder, Patrick) increase the dollar amount taxpayers can claim as an exemption for every dependent from $700 to $1000 and extends that coverage not only to children aged 0-17, but also to unborn children.

SB-345 (Quinn) and AB-344 (Nedweski, Amanda) provide grants to Choose Life Wisconsin. For decades, Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) have been on the ground helping to immediately respond to women’s individual needs. These bills fund PRCs with a dedicated grant of $1,000,000 per year.

SB-346 (Quinn) and AB-336 (Rozar, Donna) create an Adoption Financial Assistance Grant Program to make adoption a more affordable option for all Wisconsin families, funded at $5,000,000.

All of the bills await a public hearing.

WCC Public Policy Positions: Respect and Promote Family Relationships

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.

Respect and promote family relationships. Families are essential to human flourishing. Wisconsin must advance taxation, employment, and welfare policies that foster family unity and reward personal responsibility.  Whenever possible, parents must be given the option to care for their young children at home or place them in quality childcare programs. Parents must also be allowed sufficient flexibility and leave from work to attend to their family’s needs, especially in times of illness and loss. 

Families are the first natural society and are at the center of social life. “Relegating the family to a subordinate or secondary role, excluding it from its rightful position in society, would be to inflict grave harm on the authentic growth of society as a whole.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church no. 211).

Families are “the primary place of humanization for the person and society” and the “cradle of life and love” (Compendium, no. 209). In families, one learns “the love and faithfulness of the Lord,” and “the first and most important lessons of practical wisdom, to which the virtues are connected” (Compendium, no. 210).

Families are essential and profoundly important for the human person. For individuals, “in the climate of natural affection which unites the members of a family unit, persons are recognized and learn responsibility in the wholeness of their personhood” (Compendium, no. 212). The family is where a person receives the “first formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person” (Compendium, no. 212). 

Families are also essential to society. “Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak. In the family, moral values are taught starting from the very first years of life, the spiritual heritage of the religious community and the cultural legacy of the nation are transmitted. In the family one learns social responsibility and solidarity” (Compendium, no. 213). 

States must observe the principle of subsidiarity and “public authorities must not take away from the family tasks which it can accomplish well by itself or in free association with other families; on the other hand, these same authorities have a duty to sustain the family, ensuring that it has all the assistance it needs to fulfill properly its responsibilities” (Compendium, no. 214). Public policy should be crafted in a way that welcomes each family member to live in and receive care in the fullness of the family, embracing both the family members with greatest need and making it possible for families to support themselves.

“The family possesses inviolable rights and finds its legitimization in human nature and not in being recognized by the State. The family, then, does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family" (Compendium, no. 214).

In short, families are at the core of a thriving world. We must create a culture that prioritizes families and places them at the center of civic, social, and economic life. 

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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