Wisconsin Family Action Responds to President Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Freedom

MADISON, WI – The following is a statement from Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling on President Trump’s religious freedom Executive Order, signed earlier today.

“Religious freedom and rights of conscience have been severely undermined in America in recent years. The Executive Order signed today by President Donald Trump represents a good first step towards restoring needed protection for those precious rights and the beginning of fulfillment of his campaign promises to protect the religious freedoms of Americans. But it is only a step.

“The previous administration created a climate of hostility towards religion and the right of Americans to live out their faith freely. Across the country employers, faith-based schools and charities have been forced to choose between their faith and continuing to operate for the good of our economy and society.

“While we welcome the signing of today’s Executive Order, on behalf of the thousands of citizens our organization represents and in concert with the 39 state family policy councils with whom we  are in alliance, we call on President Trump and his administration to work towards completely fulfilling his pledge to protect religious freedom. As President Trump said in the Rose Garden this morning, ‘For too long the Federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs.’

“Today’s Executive Order represents a start towards reversing this unwarranted government discrimination. Wisconsin Family Action will continue to work for a Wisconsin and an America where religious freedom flourishes and families thrive.”

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide organization engaged in strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.

WFA Testifies in favor of AB 127; stops group insurance board from contracting for abortions

Today Julaine Appling, WFA president, testified before the Assembly Committee on Health in favor of Assembly Bill 128 which prohibits the group insurance board from contracting for or providing abortion services.

Testimony in Support of Assembly Bill 128
Assembly Committee on Health
Public Hearing, April 19, 2017

Julaine Appling
President, Wisconsin Family Action

Thank you, Chairman Sanfelippo and committee members, for the opportunity to testify in support of Assembly Bill 128.

Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) believes this bill is necessary to bring the state fully in compliance with existing state prohibitions on funding abortion, as cited in Section 20.927 of our state statutues.

Providing a benefit in the form of a health insurance policy to state employees, state annuitants or local government employees whose local government unit participates in a Group Insurance Board health insurance plan certainly constitutes state funding.  Since the law clearly prohibits state funds from subsidizing abortion, with the exceptions as noted in 20.927, making health insurance policies that include abortion available to state employees and the others as noted obviously is funding abortion and should therefore not be permitted.

It is time to bring this outlier into conformity to state law.

Wisconsin Family Action urges the committee to support this bill and move it to the full Assembly for a vote.

Click CLICK HERE to view the full testimony.

Click HERE to read AB 128.

 

WFA Testifies In Favor of AB 57 – “Deadbeat Parent” bill

Testimony in Support of Assembly Bill 57 Assembly Committee on Public Benefits Reform Public Hearing, April 11, 2017
Julaine Appling President, Wisconsin Family Action

Thank you, Chairman Krug and committee members, for the opportunity to submit in writing the testimony I gave today before the committee in support of Assembly Bill 57.

Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) believes the very best environment for children is to live with their married mother and father. Unfortunately, that gold standard is not reality for very child. In situations where the child’s best interest has already been sacrificed too often on the altar of adult desires through divorce or unwed child birth, we believe it is mportant that children be as closely tied to their biological parents as possible, assuming parental rights have not been terminated for good reason.

Further, Wisconsin Family Action believes our citizens are much better off, and as a result, our entire state is much better off when our citizens are independent of government. Public benefit programs can, if not managed very carefully,, keep people from becoming independent, but rather contributing to keeping people in poverty by not requiring some measure of personal responsibility..To this point, Governor Walker has said recently he believes public benefits should be a trampoline, not a hammock.

Wisconsin Family Action believes Assembly Bill 57, authored by Rep. Sanfelippo and Sen. Kapenga, helps with both of what I just laid out. It is a bill about acknowledging and accepting responsibility as a parent of a child in at least two ways: paternity and related child support. The idea behind the bill is that custodial or non-custodial parents who wish to receive FoodShare benefits need to cooperate in determining paternity, establishing or enforcing a child support order, and being no more than 3 months in arrears on child support. These requirements are reasonable and are about the best interest of the child.

The fastest way for a woman or a child to experience poverty is for them to be involved in a divorce or unwed childbirth. Some of this poverty experience can be alleviated if the biological father of the child is known and then held accountable for, at a minimum, contributing to the financial needs of the child through child support. Public benefits should not “reward” bad behavior, particularly when minor children are involved. (While the preceding focuses on non-custodial fathers, the reality is a woman, whether custodial or non-custodial, guilty of obstructing a support order or being delinquent in child support, would also be denied FoodShares under this bill.)

WFA does not see AB 57 as punitive but rather as an appropriate push towards parental responsibility by a reasonable withholding of a public benefit. Public benefits doled out without requirements become hammocks rather than trampolines.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this bill. Wisconsin Family Action urges the committee to pass AB 57 and move it to the full Assembly for a floor vote.

Publications I referred to in my remarks and responses to questions are available online.

Wisconsin Family Council’s Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition
The Family Prosperity Index (2017 edition)
Wisconsin Family Prosperity Report (2016)

View document HERE.

WFA Appling: Planned Parenthood claim is “nonsense”

April 10, 2017 – Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling pens op ed to Journal Sentinel:

Few things raise the blood pressure of good-hearted citizens in this state as much as the abortion debate, and, specifically, the controversy over public funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s and our state’s largest abortion provider. Because this matter affects some of the most vulnerable in our society — the unborn and the mothers who carry them — it demands our attention, careful consideration and perhaps even our collective elevated blood pressure. Critical to this discussion is exposing and debunking the false choice being presented. (more…)

Wisconsin docs say fetal tissue from abortions (still) not needed for research/medical treatments

Two bills have recently been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature to provide a path forward for biomedical research that honors the dignity of the human beings that it is meant to serve. These are the Fetal Remains Respect Act and the Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act, part of the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative. Contrary to what some claim, these bills do not stifle research. As scientists, we wholeheartedly support this initiative to support and advocate for biomedical research that benefits all human persons, without sacrificing one for another.

READ MORE HERE

Wisconsin Family Action Responds to Pre-Enforcement Lawsuit Filed

March 10, 2017

Commissioned photographer and blogger sues for
right to create & speak

MADISON, WI – Earlier this week, Wisconsin Family Action partner Alliance Defending Freedom filed a law suit in Dane County Circuit Court on behalf of Amy Lynn Photography Studio. The Studio and its owner, Madison resident Amy Lawson are suing the City of Madison and the State of Wisconsin because a city ordinance and a state law prevent her from creating and speaking in accordance with her beliefs. Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling issued the following statement:

“We have long known that Madison’s public accommodations ordinance is draconian—overreaching and free-speech chilling—and that the state public accommodations law is one of the broadest in the country. This pre-enforcement challenge to both Madison’s ordinance and the state law are timely, not just for Amy Lawson and her Amy Lynn Photography Studio, but for many others who are engaged in creative vocations where these laws essentially shut down their free speech.

“Our Wisconsin constitution and our US constitution clearly provide for free speech and freedom of conscience, and neither one turns on the viewpoint espoused. Just because Amy’s viewpoint as expressed in her creative, commissioned photography and her related blog does not agree with what others may think on issues such as marriage and abortion, does not mean Amy or her business lack the right to free speech. Laws that restrict such freedom are unduly burdensome and as in this case can even mean loss of livelihood.”’

Full details about this case are available here.

Wisconsin Family Action has monitored and been involved in protecting conscience rights and religious freedom in Wisconsin for more than a decade.

Click HERE for pdf of release.

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide organization engaged in strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Family Action PAC-Endorsed Candidate Moves on to General Election

Holtz garners second-most votes in Primary for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Madison, WI – Dr. Lowell Holtz, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, took the second highest vote total in yesterday’s statewide primary election. Incumbent Tony Evers placed first, with John Humphries placing a distant third. Wisconsin Family Action PAC (WFA PAC) endorsed Dr. Holtz earlier this month.  Evers and Holtz move on to the general election on Tuesday, April 4.

WFA PAC director Julaine Appling said, “We congratulate Dr. Holtz on yesterday’s election. Primary elections are never easy—and spring nonpartisan elections are notoriously difficult. All things considered he put in a solid performance.

“We believe Dr. Holtz is well positioned to go head to head with Tony Evers in the general election.  He provides a stark contrast with Dr. Evers on many issues, including school choice and Common Core. Wisconsin voters who are concerned about these issues as well as wanting to hold public schools accountable while ensuring they are doing an excellent job of educating children should vote for Dr. Holtz in April.

“WFA PAC believes it is time for a real change at the Department of Public Instruction and that Dr. Holtz, with his experience, expertise, and beliefs, is the change we need. We wish Dr. Holtz the very best as he campaigns over the next six weeks and urge Wisconsin voters to plan now to go to polls and vote for him on April 4.”

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Authorized and paid for by Wisconsin Family Action PAC, Leslie Harrison, Treasurer.  Not authorized by any candidate or by any candidate’s agent or committee.

Copy available online here.

Wisconsin Family Action PAC Endorses Dr. Lowell Holtz for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Madison, WI – Today Wisconsin Family Action PAC (WFA PAC) announced it has endorsed Dr. Lowell Holtz, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Julaine Appling, WFA PAC director, made the following statement:

“We are honored to endorse a candidate of the caliber of Dr. Lowell Holtz for this important office. Dr. Holtz’s personal educational preparation and attainment, coupled with his hands-on experience are extremely well suited for this position. But more important to us is his character and his positions on the critical issues surrounding education today.

“Dr. Holtz understands that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Public Instruction don’t need to be adversarial to school choice. He rightly believes parents, not the state, are ultimately responsible for the education of their children; and he is therefore rightly supportive of giving parents more options for fulfilling that responsibility. We’ve not had a State Superintendent of Public Instruction with that mindset for decades. This is the election where that needs to change.
Read more here.

Wisconsin Family Action to President Trump: Make Religious Freedom Great Again

MADISON, WI – Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) joined national ally Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family groups, representing hundreds of thousands of families across the country, in sending a letter to President Trump asking him to make good on his campaign promise to protect religious freedom.

President Trump has an opportunity to do this by signing an Executive Order to that effect.

This Executive Order is good, lawful public policy that reinforces existing religious freedom protections in law and affirms that President Trump’s administration will respect the religious freedom rights of all Americans.

The letter, delivered to both the President and Vice President, cites the passage of Obamacare and the HHS mandate, other discriminatory practices by the previous administration, and the numerous small business owners who have been negatively affected by the push to keep people of faith out of the public square.

Read more here.

WFA Appling on NPR “A Nation Engaged” LISTEN HERE

Headshot_JulaineApplingWisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling was a guest panelist Wednesday evening, January 11, participating in “A Nation Engaged,” a live pre-inauguration community conversation, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The forum was put on by National Public Radio (NPR) and Wisconsin Public Radio. Similar panels were also held in Sacramento, Houston and Raleigh-Durham this same evening.

During the forum, community leaders were invited to speak to the questions: What are your hopes for the Trump Administration? What should the country know about your community? The moderator also took questions and comments from the audience during the one-hour panel.

The program aired nationwide on NPR on Monday, January 16. Click HERE to listen.

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