Sen. Mary Lazich Calls for Audit of Wisconsin GAB

ImageStatement from official Facebook page of Senator Mary Lazich:

“Yesterday, as Chair of the Senate Committee of Elections and Urban Affair I renewed my call to audit the Government Accountability Board (GAB) after it was revealed that the GAB will not update voter rolls prior to the April 2, 2013, election. The purpose of notifications to inactive voters is to ensure that voter rolls are filled with active voters and that inactive voters are removed from voting lists.

While GAB graciously assumed the postcard notification duty, they should have gotten the task completed.The fact remains inactive voters are not contacted and timelines required by state law are not achieved. As a result voter rolls will not be current for the April 2 election. It is beyond time for a full audit of the GAB. The law requires election tasks be completed.

State law requires inactive voters be notified by their municipal clerk or local election commission before they are removed from the rolls. It was revealed that less than half of municipal clerks performed the postcard notification tasks. GAB assumed the responsibility of contacting inactive voters following the 2010 November election without authorization from the legislature.

Bottom line, the volleyball mess between the GAB and county clerks needed to end yesterday. This shifting of responsibilities created a process that ignores the law and threatens election integrity. An audit is the only remedy to cure the constant speculation and unrest about GAB’s performance. This is exactly the reason I asked for an audit of the GAB during June 2012 and again during January 2013. Once again I reiterate my call for an audit of the GAB to establish order and provide the legislature with facts to strengthen elections law and election integrity.”

Wisconsin Mining Bill Passes Senate 17-16: Good News for WI Families!

After nearly nine hours of arguments, Senate Bill 1/Assembly Bill 1, the bill addressing mining application procedures and regulations in Wisconsin, passed the Senate with a vote of 17-16 with only one Republican voting against the bill, Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center.

miningWFA president Julaine Appling states, “This proposal that opens the door for mining to return to Northern Wisconsin also protects Wisconsin’s best natural resource – our traditional families.  Last night’s passage in the Senate is good news for Wisconsin.”

Read full press release HERE.

Wisconsin Family Action Files with 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Grote v Sebelius

Press release from Wisconsin Family Action 02/27/2013:

Wisconsin Family Action Files Friend of Court Brief on 

HHS Contraceptive Mandates

Pro-family group files with 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Grote v. Sebelius

MADISON— Wisconsin Family Action late yesterday filed a friend of the court brief in Grote v. Sebelius, a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dealing with the federal abortion pill mandate.

This federal mandate requires that employee health plans, with some limited exceptions, include FDA-approved contraception, even “contraception” that can result in the death of a human embryo. Many religious business owners oppose being forced to facilitate contraception—particularly abortifacients—that are contrary to their religious conscience.

The government has been arguing vigorously that corporations don’t have the right to exercise religion.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, notes, “WFA lays out in this brief the legal and philosophical reasons supporting the position that First Amendment religious liberty is not just for purely religious organizations but is also for for-profit corporations run by people who have closely held religious beliefs. The federal government should not be violating the religious freedom of these business owners by mandating that they purchase health insurance that includes abortifacient drugs and even sterilization procedures for their employees.”

Read the brief here.

WFA Files Amicus Brief in Grote Industries v Sebelius

Today, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) filed a “friend of the court” brief with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in the lawsuit Grote Industries v. Sebelius. WFA argues that ImageFirst Amendment religious liberty is not just for purely religious organizations but is also for for-profit corporations run by people who have closely held religious beliefs. The federal government should not be violating the religious freedom of these business owners by mandating that they purchase health insurance for their employees that includes abortifacient drugs & sterilization procedures.

Read the court document HERE.

Read more about Grote Industries v Sebelius on the Alliance Defending Freedom Fact Page HERE.

 

TeenPact Wisconsin — Time for some Bragging!

From WFA President Julaine Appling:

It’s time for some bragging.  No, I’m not going to be bragging about Wisconsin Family Council.  I’m devoting this commentary to bragging about some teenagers.

About three years ago a friend contacted me and asked me to speak to a group of teens that she said would be meeting in our state capitol for a week in February.  To be honest, the details were fuzzy to me.  I caught the name, the place, and the date and showed up.

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak for the 4th straight year to this group of teens—and I now know much more about them. TeenPact Leadership Schools do that to you.  They kind of sneak up and then you realize just who and what they are and are accomplishing with the next generation.

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WFA President Interviews TeenPact Students

According to the TeenPact web site, “TeenPact is a dynamic, hands-on leadership school for Christian students.”  Their “mission is to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend their Christian faith and engage the culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things.”

I can tell you TeenPact Wisconsin lives up to the national group’s mission.  And TeenPact Wisconsin is likely very similar to the other 38 state TeenPact Leadership Schools.

The first time I spoke to TeenPact in the beautiful North Hearing Room of our state capitol, I was impressed.  It took me back to my early days of teaching in Christian schools. The young men were dressed in suits and ties and the young ladies were dressed in professional suits or dresses.  They listened intently; took notes and were prepared to ask thoughtful questions.

During the requisite Q&A, hands went up all over the room and when each teen I called on stood, greeted me professionally, introduced himself or herself, and then asked the question—and they were all good questions that allowed everyone to profit from the answer.

The format for TeenPact Leadership Schools is for the teens to pay to attend a week-long school in the state capitol. In Wisconsin, the students stay at a nearby Bible camp and are transported to the capitol for several days of hands-on training. At the camp at night, there are devotionals, one-on-one interactions with counselors, and just some good old-fashioned fun.

During the days, the students have various leaders come in and speak to them from their unique perspective for about 20 minutes with a 10-minute Q&A.  They also do field work, including meeting legislators in their offices and talking with them.  I popped in on a TeenPact afternoon session this year, and who was in doing a Q&A session with the teens?  Shirley Abrahamson, chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  These teens are getting to interact with leaders, whether they necessarily agree with them or not.

Wisconsin Family Council is very impressed with the TeenPact leaders and the teens that we have met and continue to work with.  Last election cycle, we were able to work with TeenPact on some election-related activities and helped a number of the teens earn scholarships so they could attend this year’s school, which had a record attendance for Wisconsin.  We were honored to work with this great group of teenagers.

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TeenPact Students Lend a Voice During Interview with WFA President Julaine Appling

TeenPact is a natural partner for Wisconsin Family Council and should be a natural partner for parents.  The schedule lends itself to home-schooling families, but I’ve heard stories of students taking time from their regular schooling to attend the TeenPact Leadership School, and I can certainly see why. The trade-off is well worth it.

TeenPact takes teens and leadership seriously.  If you want to see TeenPact in action, come to our 2013 Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 21.  A representative from TeenPact Wisconsin will speak for a few minutes, and Laura Barker, the TeenPact Wisconsin director, will be at the event with several students. They’ll be volunteering for the day and gleaning more information that will help them be even better equipped leaders in the years ahead.  Call us at 888-378-7395 for details on our exciting Day at the Capitol with TeenPact.

If you have teenagers in your home or in your life, I encourage you to check out teenpact.com, call us at 888-378-7395 for other contact information.

It’s an honor to brag about the teens and leaders who are part of TeenPact Wisconsin.  Their passion to serve the Lord, to be godly leaders and real world-changers is exciting and gives me great hope for the future.  I wholeheartedly commend TeenPact for their work and pray God’s continued blessings on this organization that is investing in tomorrow.

Closing of 4 WI Planned Parenthood Facilities is “GOOD NEWS” for Wisconsin

WFA President Julaine Appling explains how the recent closure of four Planned Parenthood locations in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Shawano and Chippewa Falls is “good news” for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Closings Cause for Rejoicing

A message from WFA President Julaine Appling:

An Unintended Consequence & Cause for Rejoicing

The press release showed up in our inboxes on Monday.  I read the headline and cheered, as did everyone else in our office. I don’t think that’s really the reaction the organization that issued the press release wanted people to have.  Here’s the headline that caused our jubilation: “Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Announces Health Center Closures.”

Yes, you heard that right.  Earlier this week, the state’s largest abortion provider announced that it is shutting down four, as they call them, “family planning health centers” in the state.  The four communities directly affected are Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Johnson Creek and Beaver Dam.

Of course, the timing of this announcement is designed to coincide with Governor Walker’s budget address this week.  Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin blames the Governor and the state legislature for having to close these facilities—and for the record, these are not “health centers.”  Any place that counsels for abortion and refers for abortion is not about women’s health.

ImageIn the budget that the state enacted in June 2011, nearly $4 million of taxpayer money that had historically been designated for “family planning” was redirected with the stipulation that the counties that would get the money could not give our tax dollars to organizations that promoted abortion or referred for abortions or had affiliates who promote or refer for abortion.  Since Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin received the lion’s share of that $4 million over the two years of the budget, they were the most unhappy of the state’s abortion-referring and performing organizations.

Was the direct intent of the legislature and the governor to shut down Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin facilities?  No, of course not. The intent was to quit using taxpayer money to support organizations that kill the next generation of Wisconsin citizens.  Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has every right to raise money from the private sector, just like we do.  What the governor and the legislature said was that they value human life and aren’t willing to keep pouring millions of dollars of taxpayer money into an organization whose main mission is to abort Wisconsin’s future taxpayers and workers.

This is a great lesson about passing good legislation.  Bad legislation often has bad unintended consequences; good legislation often has good unintended consequences.  It also highlights the truth that I have been trying to get people to understand for years.  Not only can we legislate morality, we do it every day.  Someone’s morality—someone’s view of right and wrong—becomes law every time we pass a bill in Madison or anywhere else.  We get good law when good morality is legislated.

Now, what about these communities where the facilities are closing?  Planned Parenthood wants us to believe that women are going to be going without cancer screenings and other health care.  The truth is that Planned Parenthood is not the only provider of such screenings and reproductive health care in these communities—not even for low-income women. Don’t believe the lie that these women have no alternatives. It’s just not true.

It’s especially not true when you remember that the counties by law had to dispense the money from the state for these services—they just couldn’t distribute it to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.  Someone in those four communities got the money and is making the services available.

What the closing of these centers means is that fewer teenagers will be given contraceptive drugs and devices without their parents’ knowledge, let alone permission.  The closings mean fewer women will be told that abortion is their only viable option in an unplanned pregnancy.  It’s important to note here that in the most recent reporting period, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin reported that they had zero—let me repeat that—zero referrals for adoption.  That’s why I said that women are told that abortion is their only option.  In those communities, fewer women will suffer the trauma of abortion; maybe more babies will be born—and more babies adopted in to forever families.

In spite of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s best effort to issue a doom and gloom press release on the closing of these facilities, from our perspective this is a time for joy—and a time to thank God for this particular unintended consequence.  We can only hope that the governor and the state legislature will shut down other funding streams that use taxpayer money to fund this abortion giant. That would be more cause for cheering.