February 27, 2023

Governor Evers Introduces Executive Budget

Governor Tony Evers’ 2023-25 executive budget has been introduced as companion bills SB-70 and AB-43 and referred to the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Normally, the JFC works off the executive budget and amends it before sending it to one of the two houses. However, as happened last session, the chairs of the JFC have indicated that they intend to set the executive budget aside and instead work from the base budget, which is the spending levels in current law.

WCC Supports Life-Affirming Policies Instead of Abortion

On February 21, a group of 21 governors, including Governor Tony Evers, announced the launch of a multi-state Reproductive Freedom Alliance, which pledges “to work together to strengthen abortion firewalls across America” and frames abortion as “reproductive health care.”

Rather than fighting to restore legal abortion, which is neither healthy nor caring for mothers and their unborn children, the WCC urges all Wisconsinites to support life-affirming policies that truly help women and children flourish. As the legislative session progresses, the WCC will advocate for expanding health care, increasing the supply of safe and affordable housing, establishing a state adoption tax credit, and adequately funding public and private education. These and other life-affirming policies will be detailed in the WCC’s forthcoming State Budget Issue Brief.

WCC Supports Born Alive Protections

On February 21, the WCC registered in support of SB-61 (Wimberger, Eric), which would require any health care provider present at the time an abortion results in a child born alive to exercise the same care to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care provider would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age and to ensure that the child is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital. An employee at a facility where abortions are performed who has knowledge of a failure to comply with the requirements of the bill would be required to immediately report the failure to an appropriate law enforcement agency. No public hearing has been scheduled at this time.

WCC Public Policy Positions: Protect Religious Freedom and Conscience

In the upcoming editions of the Capitol Update, we will be elaborating on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below.


Protect religious freedom and conscience. The right to religious freedom and conscience is grounded in the very dignity of the human person. No one should be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her own conscience or beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. Wisconsin must guard this civil right by protecting the religious and conscience rights of individuals, employers, and employees, allowing private organizations to live out their religious beliefs, and allowing for reasonable collaboration between public and religious entities. 

The ability to act according to one’s religious beliefs and conscience is central to human flourishing. In the words of Pope Francis, “Religious freedom is not only that of private thought or worship. It is the liberty to live, both privately and publicly, according to the ethical principles resulting from the truth.” 

Individuals and groups must be able to profess their faith and beliefs without fear of persecution. Additionally, an individual has a right to order his or her life in accord with religious truths without undue coercion from any human agent, especially government, and to do so in community with others. 

While religious freedom is a broad right, it does have limits. As Pope Francis notes, these practices must be lived in accordance with ethical principles resulting from the truth. Thus, religious freedom does not provide any license to commit violence or coerce others in the name of religion. 

Nor can any religion seek to establish a monopoly over others through law. The United States is a pluralistic society in which individuals and groups practice a wide variety of faiths. We must cultivate a society where individuals and groups can believe and practice their faith openly and collaborate whenever possible for the sake of the common good.

Updates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WCC 2023 Public Policy Positions

The WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions are designed to inform state legislators, policy makers, and other interested parties about the Church's public policy positions and the principles that undergird them.

2023-24 Legislature and Citizen Resources

To find out who your legislators are, go to the Wisconsin State Legislature's home page and enter your address under Who Are My Legislators. Other legislative resources include:

You can also follow state government by tuning in to WisconsinEye, the independent, nonpartisan news service that provides uncut video coverage of state government proceedings.

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