MADISON – Today the Wisconsin State Senate on a 20-11 vote, passed Senate Bill 344, which not only increases the amount of tax deduction available for a dependent, but also allows a preborn baby in whom a heartbeat has been detected to be claimed as a “dependent” for tax purposes.

Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Action president, commented, “We love this bill and have championed it from the beginning. Increasing the dependent tax deduction helps families and recognizing the person of a preborn baby by declaring it as a viable “dependent” is a major pro-life declaration. We applaud the senators who voted for this proposal and thank Senator Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron) for authoring this bill.”

Senate Bill 344 is one bill in the four-bill “Embrace Them Both” package, all authored by Senator Quinn. Senate Bill 343 clearly defines abortion as the intentional killing of an unborn baby, Senate Bill 345 allows for $1,000,000 a year to go to Choose Life Wisconsin, Inc. to be distributed in grants of up to $50,000 to Wisconsin’s amazing pregnancy care centers, and Senate Bill 346 allocates $5,000,000 in a biennium to be distributed by the Department of Children and Families to established adoption agencies, which will then in turn give grants to qualified Wisconsin families seeking to adopt a child in Wisconsin. The Senate has now passed all four of the bills.

In other floor action today, the Senate also passed for first consideration Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would amend our state constitution clearly prohibiting the state or any agency of the state, or any unit or agency of local government from ordering places of worship to close during a declared emergency, including a health emergency. The bill will need to pass in the Assembly this session and then pass again in both houses in the next legislative session.  After that happens, the proposal would be put on a statewide ballot for the people of Wisconsin to vote. The vote today in the Senate was 21-10, along party lines.

“We learned the hard way that government can and will overreach, especially in emergencies, the very times our rights and freedoms should be more respected and protected,” stated Appling. “The vote today was a first step in making sure that government does not usurp our religious freedom clearly declared in our state constitution. We thank Senator Cory Tomczyk (R-Mosinee) for authoring this resolution and the senators who have supported it. Hopefully, the Assembly will soon follow the Senate’s lead and pass this resolution on first consideration.”

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