Capitol Update

 March 20, 2015Like us on Facebook

Contents Include:

1.  Governor Walker Signs Right to Work Bill

2.  Senate and Assembly Pass Human Trafficking Bill

3.  Joint Finance Public Hearings on State Budget

4.  Breakout Sessions for Catholics at the Capitol, April 8

5.  Registration for Catholics at the Capitol

6.  New Bills of Interest

7.  Websites of Interest


Governor Walker Signs Right to Work Bill

On March 9, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 44 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 1, prohibiting that as a condition of obtaining or continuing employment, private-sector workers be required to pay union dues.  The WCC previously testified for information on the proposal.


Senate and Assembly Pass Human Trafficking Bill

The Senate and Assembly have both passed Assembly Bill 16 (Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton), which would require that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) design a poster that provides information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline.  The WCC registered in support.


Joint Finance Public Hearings on State Budget

The Joint Committee on Finance, which is charged with the first revision of Governor Walker's budget, will hold its final two public hearings next week.  Readers are encouraged to attend and make their concerns known.  The WCC's priorities can be found here.


Monday, March 23 (10:00am-5:00pm)

University of Wisconsin-Barron County

Fine Arts Theatre

1800 College Drive

Rice Lake, WI 54868


Thursday, March 26(9:30am-4:00pm)

Reedsburg High School

CAL Center Auditorium

1100 South Albert Avenue

Reedsburg, WI 53959


Here are some tips on testifying at the hearings: 

  • Arrive early and complete a registration form, which are available from the legislative pages who staff the hearing.
  • Plan on keeping your comments to two or three minutes.  Committee members will follow up with questions if they want to know more.
  • Give personal or specific examples of why you support or oppose a budget item.
  • If possible, have written copies of your testimony for the Committee.  If you have to leave before you are called to testify, you may leave the written testimony with a page, who will make sure the Committee members receive it. 

If you can't make these hearings, you will still have several weeks to contact your own legislators to share your views on the budget.  Also, on April 8 you can attend our Catholics at the Capitol event in Madison to learn more about select budget issues.


Breakout Sessions for Catholics at the Capitol, April 8

A1.  Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching:  Review the principles that are the basis for the Church's public policy advocacy.  Speakers:  Prof. Tom Thibodeau and Assoc. Prof. Emily Dykman, Viterbo University


A2.  Are Wisconsin's Voters Really Polarized?  Learn about areas of agreement among the state's voters and examine how the Church's positions align with these viewpoints.  Speakers:  Dr. Charles Franklin, Director, Marquette University Law School, and John Huebscher, Executive Director, Wisconsin Catholic Conference


A3.  Examining the Causes of Poverty:  Identify the challenges and factors that frequently cause people to remain in poverty.   Speakers:  Lawrence Berger, Director, University of Wisconsin, Institute for Research on Poverty, and  Ted Phernetton, Executive Director, Diocese of Green Bay Catholic Charities


A4.  Catholic Teaching on Environmental Stewardship:  Learn about what the Church teaches on environmental stewardship and why this is an emerging Church issue.  Speaker:  Dr. Mark Potosnak, Catholic Climate Ambassador, Catholic Climate Covenant (DePaul University, Illinois)


A5.  Immigration Policy and the Family:  Find out what it takes to become documented and how being undocumented can burden families.  Speakers:  Atty. Ramona Natera, Catholic Multicultural Center, Madison, and Atty. Chuck Berendes, Assistant Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse


A6.  Preventing the Pain of Abortion:  Discuss efforts to advance legislation that would limit abortion and examine how pro-life groups are promoting a "culture of encounter."  Speakers:  Heather Weininger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Right to Life, and Daniel Miller, State Director, Pro-Life Wisconsin


A7.  Lost Church, Lost Community:  Examine how local parishes and Catholic schools improve and maintain the quality of life in our neighborhoods.  Speakers:  Peggy Schoenfuss, Director of Catholic Formation, Diocese of Superior, and Sr. Zita Simon, O.P., Pastoral Associate, Good Shepherd Parish, Madison


A8.  Reforming Wisconsin's Criminal Justice System:  Learn how corrections policies affect offenders, their families, and their efforts to regain stability upon release.  Speakers:  Kelli Thompson, State Public Defender, Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office, and David Fields, Wisconsin Coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's National Ex-Offenders Re-Entry Project


B1.  Servant Leadership:  Discuss what it means to become a servant leader.  Speaker:  Prof. Tom Thibodeau, Viterbo University


B2.  Wisconsin Politics - A Look Ahead:  Learn about the 2015-16 session from a source who has covered the Capitol for over 35 years.  Speaker:  Steve Walters, Senior Producer, Wisconsin Eye


B3.  Organizing a Poverty Simulation:  Learn how to conduct a parish poverty simulation with information from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Council USA.  Speaker:  Jack Braun, Social Ministry Director, Holy Family Catholic Community, Fond du Lac


B4.  The Link between Pornography and Human Trafficking:  Examine the close connection between pornography and human trafficking.  Speakers:  Daniel Weiss, Founder, The Brushfires Foundation, and Lorraine Riedl, Assistant to the Director of the Office for Ministries and Social Concerns, Diocese of La Crosse


B5.  The Synod on the Family:  Learn about the Holy See's Synod on the Family from one of its participants.  Speaker:  Alice Heinzen, Director, Office for Marriage and Family Life, Diocese of La Crosse


B6.  Making Work Family Friendly:  Explore how wage stagnation, unpredictable scheduling practices, and other factors are making it difficult to find quality employment.   Speakers:  Dr. Anna Haley-Lock, University of Wisconsin, School of Social Work, and Josie Montaņez-Tyler, Associate Service Center Director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul-District Council of Madison


B7.  Racial Disparity in Wisconsin:  Discuss Wisconsin's racial disparity in areas of economic opportunity, education, and justice.  Speakers:  Ken Taylor, Executive Director, Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and David Fields, Wisconsin Coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's National Ex-Offenders Re-Entry Project


Registration for Catholics at the Capitol

Registration materials and online registration via PayPal or VISA/MasterCard, are available on our website.


New Bills of Interest

AB-084 Earned Income Tax Credit (Riemer, Daniel (D)) Creating a refundable earned income tax credit for individuals, repealing the changes made to the earned income tax credit in 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, and making an appropriation. Referred to Assembly Ways and Means


AB-085 Homestead Tax Credit (Riemer, Daniel (D)) Restoring indexing provisions to the homestead tax credit. Referred to Assembly Ways and Means


AB-094 Co-sleeping (Kerkman, Samantha (R)) Causing harm to a child by co-sleeping while intoxicated, providing information about safe sleep, and providing a penalty. Referred to Assembly Children and Families


Websites of Interest

2015-16 Session Schedule 

Senate Directory 

Assembly Directory 

Senate Committees 

Assembly Committees 

Weekly Schedule of Committee Activities 

Who Are My Legislators or type your address in the top right hand corner of the Legislature's Home Page: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ 

Wisconsin Eye - Independent, nonpartisan video coverage of state government proceedings.

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