WCC Urges Readers to Advocate for Life and Religious Liberty
The WCC urges individuals to take a moment this holiday season and contact their State Senators, urging them to support two important bills that promote the dignity of human life and ensure the protection of religious liberty. Assembly Bill 216 (Rep. Andre Jaque, R-DePere) and Assembly Bill 217 (Rep. Steve Kestell, R-Elkhart Lake) have yet to receive a vote in the Senate, the last hurdle before being signed by Governor Walker.
As previously reported, AB 216 would 1) provide religious entities with objections to purchasing coverage for contraception the same protection under Wisconsin law as provided for by the Obama Administration under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); and 2) affirm that funds held by public authorities are prohibited from being used to subsidize the performance of abortions (WCC testimony in support). The bill makes certain that Wisconsin law provides the same protections for life and religious liberty as federal law.
Assembly Bill 217 would prohibit abortion providers from knowingly performing sex-selective abortions (WCC testimony in support). The bill extends prohibitions on discrimination against gender and is especially important for the protection of unborn girls.
With Senators at the Capitol for the special session on December 19,
Capitol Update readers have a unique opportunity to reach Senators before they gather together later this month. Please contact your Senator and ask for a vote on both bills as soon as possible. To find your Senator's contact information, enter your zipcode at:
Special Session on Health Care Transition
On Wednesday, the Assembly, on a bi-partisan vote of 64-32, approved Governor Walker's proposal Governor's proposal to delay by three months the transition of about 72,000 low-income people from Wisconsin's Medicaid program (BadgerCare) to the federal health exchange plans and delay the dissolution of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan to March 31, 2014. The Senate is expected to take up the proposal next week. To pay for this extension, the Governor's proposal would delay by three months Medicaid's coverage of 83,000 childless adults below the poverty level.
Interfaith Letter on Health Care Transition
To pay for the BadgerCare extension discussed above, the Governor's proposal would delay by three months Medicaid's coverage of 83,000 childless adults below the poverty level. The WCC, the Wisconsin Jewish Conference, and the Wisconsin Council of Churches sent a joint letter to the members of the Joint Finance Committee, praising the extension of coverage for the 72,000, but also urging that Wisconsin's 83,000 childless adults be covered immediately: "Just last week Pope Francis observed that the world's poor are still waiting for the benefits of an economic system that is supposed to pass wealth down to them. We should not ask 83,000 of our brothers and sisters to wait three more months for access to a good so critical to their wellbeing during the coldest part of the year." The bill passed by the Assembly did not extend the coverage.
Upcoming Hearings of Interest
(N.B. Only bills of interest are flagged. In most cases, committees will be considering other bills as well.)
Assembly Speaker's Taskforce on Rural Schools, 12n, Tue, Dec. 17, 412-E
The Task Force will hear invited testimony from a variety of groups and organizations. The informational hearing is open to the public, but only invited testimony will be heard.
New Bills of Interest
. Epi-Pens (Olsen) A pupil's possession and use of an epinephrine auto-injector. To Education.
AB-520. CCAP (Stroebel) Removing certain information contained in the Consolidated Court Automation Programs Internet site. To Judiciary.
AB-521. Employees (Hintz) Grants for hiring new employees. To Jobs, Economy and Mining.
AB-524. Human Trafficking (Young) Expunging a record of a conviction or adjudication of delinquency if the offender was a victim of human trafficking. To Judiciary.
AB-526. Pregnancy (Genrich) Reasonable accommodation of any condition of an employee that is related to pregnancy or childbirth and of an employee's inability to adequately undertake the job-related responsibilities of a particular job because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition. To Labor.
AB-528. License Plates (Taylor) Special distinguishing plates displaying the words Support Planned Parenthood. To Transportation.
AB-529. Employment Discrimination (Riemer) Employment discrimination on the basis of family status. To Labor.
AB-530. Deaths (Vruwink) Reporting deaths; death investigations and other duties of coroners and medical examiners; disposition of bodies; creating a medicolegal investigation examining board; licensure of coroners, medical examiners, and medicolegal investigation staff members. To State Affairs and Government Operations.
AB-531. Living Wage (Sinicki) Creation of a wage council to study and make recommendations concerning increases in the living wage. To Labor.