Capitol Update

June 2, 2017Like us on Facebook

Contents Include:
1.  WCC Opposes Reduced Regulations on Concealed Weapons
2.  USCCB Chairman Regrets U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
3.  Upcoming Hearings of Interest
4.  New Bills of Interest
5.  Websites of Interest

WCC Opposes Reduced Regulations on Concealed Weapons
At a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, the WCC testified in opposition to Senate Bill 169 (Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend), which would eliminate firearms training requirements and allow carrying firearms in more places, including schools, unless those locations post signs.  The WCC noted that "if SB 169 were to pass, the amount of handguns present on schools grounds and in school zones would likely increase.  This proliferation of guns is a cause for concern, not because it will likely unleash a wave of intentional violence, but because a greater prevalence of guns is associated with greater numbers of accidental or unintentional firearm injuries and deaths."  The WCC called for maintaining the current safe zones for schools and the training requirement for concealed weapons.  It also called for expanding the list of mandatory gun-free buildings to those used for religious purposes or that serve families, children, and other vulnerable individuals.  The Committee is expected to amend the bill.

USCCB Chairman Regrets U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
In response to President Trump's announcement yesterday to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change, Bishop Oscar CantĂș of Las Cruces, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement: 

"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have [sic] consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation.  The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.

The Scriptures affirm the value of caring for creation and caring for each other in solidarity.  The Paris agreement is an international accord that promotes these values.  President Trump's decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities.  The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in sea level rise, glacial melts, intensified storms, and more frequent droughts.  I can only hope that the President will propose concrete ways to address global climate change and promote environmental stewardship."

The USCCB has voiced support for prudent action and dialogue on climate change since its 2001 statement: " Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good ."  In a letter to Congress in 2015, the U.S. Bishops, along with the presidents of Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, encouraged the United States to sign the Paris agreement.  They have since reiterated their support on several occasions.  Pope Francis and the Holy See have also consistently voiced support for the Paris agreement. 

Upcoming Hearings of Interest
(N.B. Only bills of interest are flagged.  In most cases, committees will be considering other bills as well.)

Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight,
10:01 am, Wed, June 7, 300-NE
AB-300  Pupil Exam Information (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Providing information about mandatory pupil examinations.
AB-304  Pupil Exam Opt-Out (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Allowing a pupil's parent or guardian to opt out of certain statewide examinations.
New Bills of Interest
SB-081 Group Insurance Board Prohibition (Craig, David) Prohibiting the group insurance board from contracting for or providing abortion services.
Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-147 Employee Break Time (Johnson, La Tonya) Requiring an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee who is breast-feeding her child to express breast milk for the child. Referred to Senate Health & Human Services
SB-253 Prohibiting Aiding Sexual Abuse (Olsen, Luther) Prohibiting aiding and abetting sexual abuse. Referred to Senate Education
SB-261 Prohibiting Conversion Therapy (Risser, Fred) Prohibiting conversion therapy. Referred to Senate Health & Human Services
SB-264  DOC Inmate Work Release (Feyen, Daniel) Work release for inmates in Department of Corrections contracted facilities. Referred to Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
SB-265  Preexisting Condition Exclusion (Erpenbach, Jon) Prohibiting preexisting condition exclusion and setting rates or cost sharing based on preexisting conditions. Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-266  Lifetime Limit Prohibition (Erpenbach, Jon) Prohibiting lifetime and annual limits under health insurance policies and plans. Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-267  Preventive Service Coverage (Erpenbach, Jon) Requiring coverage and prohibiting cost sharing for preventive services under health insurance policies and plans. Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-268  Essential Health Benefits (Erpenbach, Jon) Coverage of certain essential health benefits by health insurance policies and plans and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-269  Family Planning Providers (Johnson, La Tonya) Maintaining access and reimbursements to certain family planning providers in the Medical Assistance program. Referred to Senate Insurance, Housing & Trade
SB-275 Prohibiting Sanctuary Cities (Nass, Stephen) Prohibiting local ordinances, resolutions, and policies that prohibit the enforcement of federal or state law relating to illegal aliens or immigration status, authorizing certain elective officeholders to commence an enforcement action, providing a reduction in shared revenue payments, and creating governmental liability for damages caused by illegal aliens. Referred to Senate Labor & Regulatory Reform
AB-329 Prohibiting Aiding Sexual Abuse (Duchow, Cindi) Prohibiting aiding and abetting sexual abuse. Referred to Assembly Education
AB-331 Record Expungement (Steffen, David) Expungement of records of certain crimes. Referred to Assembly Criminal Justice and Public Safety
AB-341 Truant Pupil Notification (Genrich, Eric) Method for notifying parent or guardian of truant pupil. Referred to Assembly Education
AB-345 DOC Inmate Work Release (Schraa, Michael) Work release for inmates in Department of Corrections contracted facilities. Referred to Assembly Jobs and the Economy
AB-349 Prohibiting Conversion Therapy (Stuck, Amanda) Prohibiting conversion therapy. Referred to Assembly Mental Health
AB-350 Homestead Tax Credit (Riemer, Daniel) Increasing the maximum income, maximum property taxes, and threshold income under the homestead tax credit and indexing the credit for inflation. Referred to Assembly Ways and Means

Websites of Interest
WisconsinEye - Independent, nonpartisan news service that provides uncut video coverage of state government proceedings, as well as interviews with lawmakers and policy experts.
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."

Capitol Update is a periodic e-mail on legislative issues from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
Wisconsin Catholic Conference
131 W. Wilson St., Suite 1105
Madison, WI 53703