Governor Walker Signs Mental Health Bills
Governor Walker this week signed seven mental health bills into law. The new laws will provide better care for people suffering from mental illness, as well as help them find meaningful employment.
USCCB Urges Congress to Support the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act"
Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged support for the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 7) in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a January 28 letter to the House, Cardinal O'Malley called the bill "one small step toward a society that promotes life and not death for unborn children and their mothers."
"It will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 37 years: The federal government should not use its funding power to support and promote elective abortion, and should not force taxpayers to subsidize this violence," Cardinal O'Malley wrote. "Even public officials who take a 'pro-choice' stand, and courts that have insisted on a constitutional 'right' to abortion, have agreed that the government has every right (in the Supreme Court's words) to 'encourage childbirth over abortion.'"
H.R. 7 passed the House of Representatives on January 28 and now awaits action in the Senate. Readers are encouraged to contact their Senators through the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) website.
For more detailed information, see the testimony of Richard Doerflinger of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities before the House Judiciary Committee.
USCCB Response to Republican Immigration Principles
Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, commented January 29 on the immigration reform principles released by House Republicans at their year-end retreat.
"I am encouraged by the release of these principles, which hopefully will spark action in the House of Representatives to finally address our nation's broken immigration system," Bishop Elizondo said. "Congress must seize the moment and end the suffering of immigrants and their families."
Bishop Elizondo expressed concern, however, with some of the principles. "While we are pleased that there is a willingness to extend legal protection to those without status, we are concerned that most would be unable to achieve citizenship, leaving them as a permanent underclass - a minority without the same rights and protections of the majority," Bishop Elizondo said. "This would establish a troubling precedent that is inconsistent with our nation's founding principles."
Bishop Elizondo also expressed reservations about the requirement that border enforcement triggers are met prior to immigrants receiving legal status. "The process of meeting border security goals could take years, continuing to leave millions vulnerable to deportation."
Bishop Elizondo pledged to work with Congress and both parties for a law that is just, humane, and serves the best interest of the United States.
New Bills of Interest
SJR-60. (Carpenter) Commending Pope Francis. To Senate Organization.
SB-508. Workdays (Grothman) Permitting an employee to voluntarily choose to work without one day of rest in seven. To Judiciary and Labor.
SB-523. Newborns (Vukmir) Tests administered to newborns for congenital disorders. To Health and Human Services.
SB-525. Special Needs Scholarship (Vukmir) Creating a Special Needs Scholarship Program for disabled pupils. To Education.
SB-528. Child Neglect (Olsen) Prohibiting the disclosure of a determination that a person has abused or neglected a child for purposes of a caregiver background check when that abuse or neglect has not been substantiated. To Health and Human Services.
SB-529. Fetal Alcohol (Olsen) Evaluation of infants for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and referral of infants who have that condition for services and treatment. To Health and Human Services.
SB-532. Child Placement (Farrow) Placement of a child in a shelter care facility under a voluntary agreement. To Health and Human Services.
SB-538. Racial Impact Statements (Harris) Requiring racial impact statements for bills that create a new crime, modify an existing crime, or modify the penalty for an existing crime. To Judiciary and Labor.
SB-546. Newborns (Schultz) expanding eligibility for the earned income tax credit; hospital best practices for postpartum patients and newborns; hospital staff privileges and written agreements required for nurse-midwives; coverage of nurse-midwives under the injured patients and families compensation fund; a report on information related to hospital neonatal intensive care units; an electronic application and information system to determine eligibility and register for public assistance programs; directing the Department of Health Services to request a Medical Assistance waiver; evidence-based home visitation program services for persons who are at risk of poor birth outcomes or of abusing or neglecting their children; designating race and ethnicity on birth certificates; a report on fetal and infant mortality and birth outcomes; requiring informed consent for performance on pregnant women of certain elective procedures prior to the full gestational term of a fetus; cultural competency training for certain students enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System and the technical college system. To Health and Human Services.
SB-552. Sexual Exploitation (Harris) Creating a civil cause of action for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. To Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans and Military Affairs.
SB-553. Medication (Lazich) Administration of medications at a camp. To Health and Human Services.
SB-554. Choice Schools (Shilling) Requiring a private school participating in a parental choice program to employ certain special education staff and to comply with certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To Education.
SB-560. Hospitals (Vukmir) Regulation of hospitals. To Health and Human Services.
SB-563. Employment Discrimination (Hansen) Employment discrimination based on employment status. To Judiciary and Labor.
AB-667. Workdays (Born) Permitting an employee to voluntarily choose to work without one day of rest in seven. To Labor.
AB-668. Treatment Alternative Grants (Nygren) Providing grants to counties that offer substance abuse treatment and diversion from incarceration. To Finance.
AB-674. Child Placement (Loudenbeck) Placement of a child in a shelter care facility under a voluntary agreement. To Children and Families.
AB-675. Fetal Alcohol (Krug) Evaluation of infants for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and referral of infants who have that condition for services and treatment. To Children and Families.
AB-676. Child Neglect (Krug) Prohibiting the disclosure of a determination that a person has abused or neglected a child for purposes of a caregiver background check when that abuse or neglect has not been substantiated. To Children and Families.
AB-681. Sexual Exploitation (Billings) Creating a civil cause of action for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. To Criminal Justice.
AB-682. Special Needs Scholarship (Jagler) Creating a Special Needs Scholarship Program for disabled pupils. To Education.
AB-686. State Minimum Wage (Mason) A state minimum wage, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. To Labor.
AB-720. Living Wage (Sinicki) Creation of a wage council to study and make recommendations concerning increases in the living wage, increasing the state minimum wage. To Labor.
AB-722. Housing Discrimination (Sinicki) Prohibiting discrimination in housing because of political opinions, beliefs, or affiliations. To Housing and Real Estate.
AB-728. Hospitals (Marklein) Regulation of hospitals. To Health.