Wisconsin Family Action Releases 2017-2018 Legislative Scorecard

Wisconsin Family Action Releases 2017-2018 Legislative Scorecard
9 state legislators earn 100% for their work in most recent session; 15 others have distinguished scores

MADISON, WI – Today, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) released its 2017-2018 Legislative Scorecard, giving its assessment of how all thirty-three State Senators and all ninety-nine State Assembly Representatives did this past legislative session. The session began in early January 2017 and floor activity concluded in March of this year.

“Within our mission, we work on or at least track quite a variety of bills during a legislative session. It’s important that citizens get an idea of how their elected officials did relative to those proposals,” said Julaine Appling, WFA president.

This past session, two (2) senators and seven (7) representatives earned a 100% score from WFA, meaning on all bills scored, these legislators agreed with WFA’s position.

The 100% senators are Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) and Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville). State representatives earning 100% are Scott Allen (R-Waukesha), Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield), André Jacque (R-DePere), Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), Dave Murphy (R-Greenville), and Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac).

“Earning a 100% on our scorecard is not easy. We are proud of these state legislators whose body of work during this past session evidences courage and true commitment to conservative principles and ideas. We congratulate these nine on a job very well done,” noted Appling.

Legislators scoring a 95%-99% also distinguished themselves as strong pro-family, pro-life, pro-liberty lawmakers. Six (6) senators and nine (9) representatives achieved this score. Senators with these scores are Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), and Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). Representatives achieving this score are Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago), Bob Kulp (R-Stratford), Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee), Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh), Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin), Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc), Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego).

“We are also very pleased to recognize the excellent work of those in this group of lawmakers,” Appling commented. “Being an elected official is not easy. It requires tough decisions in pressured situations. We are grateful for those officials who consistently do the right thing.”

This edition of WFA’s Scorecard scores ten bills in the state senate and 11 bills in the state assembly. Details on scoring, WFA’s position, and the bills themselves are available in the Scorecard.

WFA’s 2017-2018 Legislative Scorecard is available online HERE.

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

Copy available online here.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WINS IN US SUPREME COURT

MADISON—  Earlier today the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in one of the major cases of this term, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case originating in Colorado,  involving owner Jack Phillips who declined to design a cake for a same-sex wedding. The high court ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack and his Masterpiece Cakeshop, overturning the State of Colorado’s decision, which had punished Jack for declining to participate in a wedding that violated his religious beliefs.

Following is a statement from Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling. Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) joined with other like-minded organizations from around the country in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in this case. That brief is available here.

“Today is a victory for the Constitution and for all Americans.  We are reminded we still have a justice system in which the First Amendment actually means something significant. This historic decision will no doubt be part of efforts to protect religious freedom in our country for generations to come. In essence, the decision sends a clear message that it is unconstitutional to show hostility towards people of faith in the marketplace because of their religious convictions.

“As Jack said in his statement, ‘[t]oday’s decision makes clear that tolerance is a two-way street. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others with whom we disagree,’ especially on important issues such as the meaning of marriage. The government’s hostility directly impacted the shop Jack and his family relied on for their livelihood, including receiving death threats and harassment.

“Since June 26, 2015, when the US Supreme Court forced a redefinition of marriage on Wisconsin and the entire country, we have known such a showdown was coming. Today’s decision is encouraging and we trust precedent setting moving forward.”

More About the Decision 

Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, served all customers including his LGBT neighbors. Jack was before the U.S. Supreme Court simply because he did not want to create a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

The US Supreme Court found that the Colorado Human Rights Commission treated Jack with incredible hostility. As Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion:

“[The] Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case…showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.”

Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court found this hostility unconstitutional. While the decision was made on narrow grounds, it sets the tone for future cases on this issue. The decision also shows the Court is still open to considering whether cake artistry is protected speech.

Certainly this is not the final word in protecting religious freedom. Wisconsin Family Action will continue its work to ensure that Christians and all people of faith are not discriminated against because of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide, not-for-profit organization actively strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.

Copy available online here.

Pro-Family, Pro-Life Champion André Jacque Wins First Senate District Special Election

Madison, WI – Yesterday, State Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere) won the GOP primary for the Special Election in Senate District 1.

Wisconsin Family Action PAC (WFA PAC) endorsed only Jacque in this race.

“André’s bona fide pro-family, pro-life credentials were difference-makers in this hard-fought primary,” said WFA PAC director Julaine Appling.  “Voters have come to know and trust André to do what he says he will do, to stand up for what he believes and to work hard to champion laws that strengthen, preserve and promote marriage, family, life and religious freedom in our state. He’s obviously the kind of senator the people in that senate district want.

“We are proud to have endorsed André and will continue to work hard to ensure he is again victorious in the general election on Tuesday, June 12.”

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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 Candidates in US Senate Race

Strong candidates given pro-family group’s “seal of approval” to take on Tammy Baldwin

Madison, WI – Today, Wisconsin Family Action PAC (WFA PAC) announced its endorsements for the 2018 US Senate race. In keeping with its policy of each candidate seeking WFA PAC endorsement being evaluated strictly on his/her own merits and positions on its core issues, WFA PAC has endorsed two candidates in this race: Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson.  WFA PAC director Julaine Appling issued the following statement:

“We are very encouraged that we have strong and committed candidates running for a high-level office. That doesn’t happen often. Leah Vukmir as a long-serving state legislator has been solid on our issues. Kevin Nicholson gives strong evidence for being willing to stand strong for marriage, family, life and religious freedom.

“Tammy Baldwin has for years, from the time she was in the state legislature until now as a US Senator, acted consistently with her liberal, progressive beliefs. She’s pushed for redefining marriage, promoted abortion, and believes religious freedom isn’t for individuals, only for religious institutions.  We have a great opportunity to replace Senator Baldwin with a true conservative who will champion our values.

“Sometimes in the course of governing, elected officials are asked to take tough votes. The pro-life issue is a great example. Both Kevin and Leah believe life begins at conception and deserves protection from then until natural death, without exception. However, from time to time a bill that is overall pro-life gets put forward with exceptions for rape, incest and/or life of the mother. When it becomes obvious the bill won’t pass without exceptions, even strong pro-life legislators will vote for the bill because on the whole the proposal will save babies and advance the pro-life cause.

“WFA PAC is pleased we have fine candidates willing to take on such tough votes and Tammy Baldwin. Wisconsin will be well served by either Leah Vukmir or Kevin Nicholson. We need the best we have to ensure that Tammy Baldwin and her liberal, destructive ideas are finished in Washington.”

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Authorized and paid for by Wisconsin Family Action Federal PAC, Leslie Harrison, Treasurer.  C000506089 Not authorized by any candidate or by any candidate’s agent or committee.

Copy available online here.

Pro-Family Group Applauds Governor Walker’s Child Tax Credit

Giving back to Wisconsin’s families is a good idea

MADISON— “Helping Wisconsin’s families by giving some of their hard-earned money back to them in the form of this credit is a great idea. It’s responsible leadership. The legislature needs to get behind this and get it done yet this session,” said Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling.

In yesterday’s State-of-the-State speech, Governor Scott Walker announced that he plans to give parents a $100 per child, per year tax credit, an initiative that this year would cost $122 million. This year the credit would be available to parents via a rebate and in subsequent years would be part of their annual income tax filing. Funds to pay for this years credit would be from the revenue surplus, which recently was projected to be more than the Department of Revenue had originally forecasted.

Governor Walker says he wants this year’s credit to reach parents before the beginning of school this fall. For this year, parents with children who were under 18 as of December 31, 2017, qualify for the credit. There is no income restriction.

Appling, noted, “Families with children are the backbone of our state. When dads and moms can get real cash in their pocket to help offset expenses related to child-rearing, that is directly helping to strengthen our best natural resource. Whether parents use this credit for school supplies or clothing or to help pay for music lessons or playing a sport or whatever the need or want may be, this is a good use of surplus revenue. Families can do much more with $100 per child than the state can. No contest there, for sure,” Appling noted.

“We would note, however, that even better than a tax credit would be for the state to do better budgeting. What we ultimately need is to let families keep more of their money in the first place. Let’s get Wisconsin out of being a high-taxed state. I’m pretty sure that would give families a lot more than $100 per child.

“Governor Walker is working hard to help Wisconsin families, and we applaud this pro-family proposal. Further, we urge the state legislature to make it a priority in the closing weeks of the session. If there’s anything elected officials should be able to agree on, it’s helping families help their children.” concluded Appling.

The current legislative session will be over no later than mid-March and could be done sooner.

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide, not-for-profit organization actively strengthening,
preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.

Copy available online here.

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.

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 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.