Capitol Update

February 20, 2017Like us on Facebook

Contents Include:
1.  WCC Resumes Publication of Capitol Update
2.  USCCB Action Alerts on Freedom of Religion and Conscience
3.  2017-18 Legislature and Citizen Resources
4.  Governor Walker's State Budget
5.  WCC 2017 Public Policy Positions
6.  Register for Catholics at the Capitol, March 28, 2017
WCC Resumes Publication of Capitol Update
With the start of the new legislative session, WCC staff will resume regular publication of the Capitol Update every two weeks, with special updates as events warrant.  Additional updated information is also regularly posted on the WCC website, www.wisconsincatholic.org .
USCCB Action Alerts on Freedom of Religion and Conscience
In early February, several media outlets reported that President Donald J. Trump is considering issuing an executive order establishing a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom.  A copy of a draft executive order was published by multiple news outlets. The President has not yet signed the executive order on religious freedom.   On February 16, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop William E. Lori, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane jointly issued a statement urging President Trump to fulfill his promise to protect religious liberty .   Please join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in urging President Trump to sign an executive order respecting religious freedom.   Take action today!
The USCCB is also asking Catholics to contact Congress and advocate for the protection of life and freedom of conscience. The Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and in the Senate (S. 301) by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK). This much-needed, common-sense legislation will clarify federal law and ensure that those who provide health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.  Please take a moment to let your representatives in Congress know that we expect them to protect our most cherished liberties.   T ake action today!
2017-18 Legislature and Citizen Resources
For the fourth session in a row and with wider margins, Republicans will be in control of both the Senate and the Assembly.   The Senate has 20 Republicans (a net gain of one) and 13 Democrats.  The Assembly has 64 Republicans (a net gain of one) and 35 Democrats.
To find out who your legislators are, go to the Wisconsin State Legislature's home page and type your address in the top right hand corner under "Find My Legislators."  Other resources on the website include:
Citizens can also follow state government by tuning in to WisconsinEye , the independent, nonpartisan news service that provides uncut video coverage of state government proceedings.
Governor Walker's State Budget
Governor Walker delivered his budget address on February 8, 2017.  The Legislature then introduced the budget as companion bills ( Senate Bill 30  and Assembly Bill 64 ) and referred them to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance (JCF).  The JCF will first hold informational hearings and invite testimony from state agency representatives, and then, starting early to mid-March, hold public hearings, usually in various locations statewide.  In April and May the JCF will hold executive sessions, advancing budget proposals section by section.  When finished, likely in May, the JCF will forward the bill to the full Legislature.  Once passed in final form, the bill will be sent to the Governor, who may veto parts of the bill prior to signing it.   The WCC staff will provide a summary of the budget in the next Update.
WCC 2017 Public Policy Positions
The WCC has published its 2017 Public Policy Positions document , which it will share with state legislators, policy makers, and other interested parties.  The document is organized around the seven principles of Catholic social teaching.  Readers are encouraged to review and share it.
Register for Catholics at the Capitol, March 28, 2017
Every two years, the WCC hosts Catholics at the Capitol and hundreds of Catholics from around the state come to Madison for a day dedicated to prayer, formation, and advocacy on Catholic social teaching and public policy issues.
This day-long event will take place at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.  The day starts with registration and breakfast, followed by a morning general session that begins with a prayer service and ends with a keynote address.  This year's keynote address will be provided by Colleen Stratton, who is a speaker, writer, and survivor of human trafficking.  She is passionate about using her story to educate, inform and empower others.  After years of walking about in darkness, shackled in chains of addiction, shame and fear, she experienced a radical transformation as a result of God's amazing gift of grace.  Colleen has a heart for proclaiming freedom to the captives and hope to the hopeless.  It is her joy to be a member of the Eye Heart World outreach team, as she is able to share her experience and hope with the women she comes in contact with.  Colleen is a wife to Joel, a mother to one-and-a-half-year-old Miles, and six-month-old Max.
After the morning session, participants select one of five breakout sessions to attend.  These sessions focus on various aspects of Church social teaching and current policy issues.  There is also an introduction to Catholic social teaching for those interested in gaining a better understanding of the principles that guide Catholic public policy engagement.
Lunch is followed by additional breakout sessions and an afternoon general session that will provide tips on contacting lawmakers.  To complete the day, participants are encouraged to meet with their elected officials and advocate for state budget issues identified by the WCC.
The WCC invites everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity.  Please sign up now for Catholics at the Capitol 2017.
Paper and online registration materials are available.  The advance registration deadline is March 20, 2017.  Students can register for only $12.  All others can register in advance for $40.  Some dioceses are also offering scholarships and transportation.  For these details and to register, visit the Catholics at the Capitol website .

Capitol Update is a periodic e-mail on legislative issues from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.


Wisconsin Catholic Conference

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