Legislature Adjourns Regular Session
The Senate and Assembly have adjourned for the 2013-14 session. All bills that did not pass both houses are therefore dead. A summary of the session will appear in the next Catholic Update. Barring any special session the Governor might call, the Legislature now stands adjourned until January 2015. The WCC, therefore, will be issuing the Capitol Update less frequently.
Legislative Council Special Committees
The Legislative Council is one of five nonpartisan legislative service agencies of the Wisconsin Legislature. One of its responsibilities is to provide nonpartisan legal, scientific, and other research services, as well as administrative support services to legislative study committees, standing committees, and task forces. Between each legislative session, members of the Legislature serve on special committees along with select members of the public. This interim, there will be eight Legislative Council Special Committees. Of particular interest to the WCC are the following:
Special Committee on Adoption Disruption and Dissolution (Rep. Kleefisch, Chair; Rep. Kessler, Vice-Chair).
Special Committee on Problem-Solving Courts, Alternatives, and Diversions (Rep. Bies, Chair; Rep. Goyke, Vice-Chair).
Special Committee on the Review of Criminal Penalties (Sen. Grothman, Chair; Rep. Hutton, Vice-Chair).
Special Committee on the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) Program (Sen. Olsen, Chair; Rep. Czaja, Vice Chair).
Echoing Pope Francis, U.S. Bishops Celebrate Border Mass
Led by Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border April 1, and celebrated Mass in remembrance of migrants who have died attempting to reach the United States. This Mission for Migrants included a wreath laying ceremony and a tour of the border. It was inspired by the trip Pope Francis made last year to Lampedusa, Italy, to pray for migrants who died attempting to reach Europe by boat.
"As a moral matter, our nation can no longer employ an immigration system that divides families and denies basic due process protections to our fellow human beings," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.
Members of the delegation have called upon Congress - specifically the House of Representatives - to move quickly to fix a broken system. While the U.S. Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform last year, the House has refused to move on the measure or pass its own version of reform.
The USCCB is asking Catholics to send an electronic postcard to members of Congress. Additional information on the April 1 event and suggested actions can be found on the USCCB's Bishops on the Border: Mission for Migrants page.
New Bills of Interest
The following bills will not advance as the Senate and Assembly have adjourned their regular session. However, they may be reintroduced in the 2015 session.
SB-689. Religious Buildings (Vinehout) The applicability of laws and regulations for the construction of one- and two-family dwellings to dwellings that are occupied by members of certain bona fide religious denominations. To Insurance and Housing.
SB-693. Tuition Expenses (Grothman) Creating a refundable individual income tax credit for tuition expenses paid for dependents who attend certain private elementary and secondary schools. To Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue.
SB-694. Payday Loans (Grothman) Interest rates on payday loans and loans by licensed lenders. To Financial Institutions and Rural Issues.
AB-886. Voting (Pasch) Restoring the right to vote to certain person barred from voting as a result of a felony conviction, changing the information required on voter registration forms, and changing voting procedure for certain persons who are convicted of felonies. To Criminal Justice.
AB-892. BadgerCare Plus (Hulsey) Creating the BadgerCare Plus restoration fund, providing funding for the well-woman program and reducing infant morbidity and mortality. To Health.
AB-893. Milwaukee Parental Choice (Zamarripa) Requiring teachers and administrators employed by and owners of private schools participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and in the choice program for other eligible school districts to be subject to the background investigation requirements and employment restrictions imposed upon teachers in public schools. To Education.
AB-894. Family Leave (Pope) Paid family leave. To Labor.
AB-898. Sick Leave (Mason) Paid sick leave. To Labor.
AB-903. Low-Income Assistance (Shankland) Eligibility for certain low-income energy assistance. To Energy and Utilities.
AB-904. Medical Assistance (Jacque) Eligibility for and premiums under the Medical Assistance purchase plan and disregarding assets in an independence account and retirement benefits for the purposes of determining eligibility and cost-sharing requirements under a number of Medical Assistance and long-term care programs. To Health.
AB-905. Milwaukee Jobs (Riemer) The Transform Milwaukee Jobs program and the Transitional Jobs program. To Jobs, Economy and Mining.
AB-906. Organ Donation (Mason) Leave from employment for the purpose of serving as an organ donor. To Labor.