1. Senate Passes Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
2. WCC Supports Expansion of Parental Opt Out
3. WCC Opposes Including Rent-to-Own Exemptions in State Budget
4. State Budget Action Stalls
5. New Bills of Interest
6. Websites of Interest
Senate Passes Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
On a party-line vote of 19-14, the Senate on June 9 passed Senate Bill 179 (Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin), which would prohibit the abortion of an unborn child considered capable of experiencing pain, except to save the life of the mother. The bill, which the WCC supports, is now available for a vote in the full Assembly.
WCC Supports Expansion of Parental Opt Out
The WCC offered testimony in support of Senate Bill 193 (Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville) before the Senate Committee on Education Reform. The bill, along with its companion, Assembly Bill 239 (Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac), would permit the parents of students in grade three through twelve to request that their student be excused from standardized testing. Current law requires that schools honor a parental request to "opt out" of examinations in fourth, eighth, and ninth through eleventh grades.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction uses data from state-required examinations to track student proficiency and growth, which is then used to evaluate the performance of each public school in the state. Soon private schools participating in the parental choice programs will also be evaluated under this accountability system. Senate Bill 193 and Assembly Bill 239 would prohibit any school from being penalized for diminished test participation due to parental opt outs, which is current practice.
WCC Opposes Including Rent-to-Own Exemptions in State Budget
The WCC distributed a memo to members of the JFC and to Senate and Assembly leaders, urging them not to include exemptions in the state budget for the rent-to-own industry. Attached to the memo was a 2013 statement from Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, opposing the inclusion of an exemption in the 2013 budget. To date, no motion has been introduced.
State Budget Action Stalls
Executive action on the state budget has stalled in the Joint Finance Committee as legislators wrestle with transportation funding, financing a proposed new Milwaukee Bucks arena, and other issues. Some observors think that the JFC may not complete its work until sometime in July.
New Bills of Interest
SB-200 Child Abuse and Human Trafficking (Harsdorf, Sheila (R)) The investigation of a child abuse report in which a person who is not a caregiver of the child is suspected of permitting, allowing, or encouraging the child to engage in prostitution; and prohibiting prosecuting a person under the age of 18 with committing an act of prostitution. Referred to Senate Health and Human Services
AB-260 Racial Impact Statements (Barnes, Mandela (D)) Requiring racial impact statements for bills that create a new crime, modify an existing crime, or modify the penalty for an existing crime. Referred to Assembly State Affairs and Government Operations
AB-261 Employment Discrimination (Barnes, Mandela (D)) Employment discrimination based on employment status. Referred to Assembly State Affairs and Government Operations
AB-263 Child Care Center License (Larson, Thomas (R)) Requiring a person who provides care for children without compensation to obtain a child care center license. Referred to Assembly Children and Families
AB-264 Minimum Wage (Sargent, Melissa (D)) A state minimum wage, permitting the enactment of local living wage ordinances, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from rulemaking procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Referred to Assembly Small Business Development
AB-267 Child Abuse and Human Trafficking (Billings, Jill (D)) The investigation of a child abuse report in which a person who is not a caregiver of the child is suspected of permitting, allowing, or encouraging the child to engage in prostitution; and prohibiting prosecuting a person under the age of 18 with committing an act of prostitution. Referred to Senate Health and Human Services