WISCONSIN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE

CAPITOL UPDATE


November 20, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference

Happy Thanksgiving! Gratitude softens our hearts and helps foster hope and joy. In giving constant thanks to the Lord for our many blessings, we begin to see the face of Christ more clearly in one another. We pray that God blesses all of you abundantly and wish you a happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at the WCC! 

Senate and Assembly Pass Suicide Prevention Programming

On November 14, the WCC registered in support of SB-527 (Ballweg, Joan) / AB-566 (VanderMeer, Nancy), providing grants for suicide prevention programming. SB-527 has now passed both houses and awaits action by the Governor.

WCC Supports Grants to Prevent Suicide by Firearm

On November 14, the WCC registered in support of SB-356 (James, Jesse) / AB-355 (Sortwell, Shae), providing grants to prevent suicide by firearm. The bills await public hearings in both houses.

Senate Passes Infant Safety Devices

On November 14, the Assembly passed SB-369 (Ballweg), authorizing newborn infant safety devices under the safe haven law. The bill has now passed both houses and awaits action by the Governor. The WCC testified in support.

Assembly Passes Medical Assistance for Mental Health Services

On November 14, the Assembly passed SB-635 (Marklein, Howard) / AB-616 (Hurd, Karen), requiring Medical Assistance (MA) for coverage of services provided in an institution for mental disease. The bill also requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to submit a request to the federal DHS to approve the provision of MA coverage for short-term stays for acute care in an institution for mental disease. The bill awaits a public hearing in the Senate. The WCC registered in support.

WCC Supports Black Catholic History Month

On November 10, the WCC registered in support of SJR-85 (Taylor, Lena), proclaiming November 2023 as Black Catholic History Month. The resolution awaits a floor vote. In honor of Black Catholic History Month, we encourage everyone to learn more about the six Black Catholics who are on the road to canonization.

Senate Passes Unborn Child Dependent Tax Exemption

On November 7, the Senate passed SB-344 (Quinn, Romaine), designating an unborn child as a dependent for income tax purposes and increasing the income tax exemption for a dependent. The bill awaits a public hearing in the Assembly. The WCC testified in support.

Senate Passes Sexual Misconduct in Schools

On November 7, the Senate passed SB-333 (James), regarding sexual misconduct against a pupil by a school staff member or volunteer. The bill awaits a public hearing in the Assembly. The WCC registered in support.

WCC Public Policy Positions: Support Family Farms

Here we elaborate on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below. You can learn more about Catholic Social Teaching on the USCCB website.

 

Support Family Farms. Family farms form the backbone of Wisconsin’s rural economy. Wisconsin must help existing family farmers maintain their operations and encourage the creation of new family farms. 


Agriculture touches every one of our lives by helping to provide the food we eat. In Wisconsin, it represents one of the top three industries, along with manufacturing and tourism. Yet, agriculture is not just about producing and consuming, but much more. Family farms not only provide food for the world, they also fulfill God’s call to be good stewards of his creation. 


In a 2021 message to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Pope Francis honored the “valuable role of family farming and rural communities” in creating food systems that provide for the common good and are sustainable, diversified, and capable of withstanding future crises. 


In a 2003 statement, Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers, the United States bishops, drawing on Catholic social teaching and the experience of the Church in rural communities, offered six criteria to guide agricultural policy: 


  1. Overcoming hunger and poverty
  2. Providing a safe, affordable, and sustainable food supply
  3. Ensuring a decent life for farmers and farmworkers
  4. Sustaining and strengthening rural communities
  5. Protecting God’s creation
  6. Expanding participation 


In the statement, the bishops also noted: “We come to these issues from very different perspectives: as farmers and farmworkers, landowners and contract growers, business operators and workers, producers, processors, and consumers. But as Catholics we share a fundamental concern for human life and dignity and a basic commitment to the common good.” 


Working the land and raising livestock, family farmers know intimately what it means to embrace subsidiarity and solidarity. They also help our modern world rediscover a closer relationship with the natural world and with God the Creator.

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 LegislatorsOther 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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