Friday, May 29, 2009

Senate considers "Passport to Same-Sex Marriage"

The Family Research Council in Washington is alerting the public regarding Senate Bill 424 introduced in Washington DC.  Although this bill is called the “Uniting American Families Act of 2009”, FRC says this Bill is actually an attack upon marriage at the expense of U.S. taxpayers stating it is part of the movement to give same-sex partners special privileges.  Senate Bill 424  will allow any gay or lesbian foreigner who declares themselves to be a permanent partner of an American to immigrate to the U.S. on the same basis as foreign spouses. And, like a married couple, these homosexuals would be eligible for “permanent resident status” under the current immigration law.  The United States Senate Judiciary Committee will take up Senate Bill 424 at their Committee Meeting Wednesday, June 3rd at 10am. Both Wisconsin Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold are members of this committee.  You may contact them regarding your position on Senate Bill 424. Senator Kohl’s number is (202) 224-5653.  Senator Feingold’s office can be reached at (202) 224-5323.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Joint Finance Committee Passes Domestic Parnter Benefits

Despite a budget deficit of 6.6 billion dollars in Wisconsin, on Friday afternoon, May 22nd , Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee approved by a 12-4 vote a measure to create new statewide domestic partner benefits for state of Wisconsin employees. According to the Legislature’s budget office, these new special benefits will cost between 4.7-6.7 million dollars every year.  Besides the fiscal cost, many believe this measure violates the marriage amendment passed by voters in 2006 and will likely face a court challenge.  Now that the committee has passed the measure it will now move to the full legislature as early as June.  Both your assemblyman and your senator will be voting on this measure at that time.  To share your views you may contact the Wisconsin Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.

Public Hearing Set to Determine Microstamping Requirement for Certain Handguns

The Assembly Criminal Justice Committee will be holding a public hearing on Assembly Bill 221 that would create a microstamping requirement for certain handguns purchased in the State of Wisconsin.  Accordingly to State Senator Glenn Grothman & State Representative Scott Suder, (Sue-dher) “microstamping is the process of engraving a firearm’s make, model, and serial number on the tip of the firing pin, so that the information is theoretically transferred to the cartridge when the gun is fired.  However, they state the microstamping can be easily bypassed with a few household tools.  Further they state that gun owners would be forced to pay an additional cost – as much as $200 to cover this unproven tracking mechanism. Forensic experts at University of California-Davis concluded that microstamping was a “flawed technology”.  A public hearing on this Assembly Bill 221 will be held in Madison on Thursday, May 28th at 10am in room 328-NorthWest in the State Capitol.  To share your views you may contact the Wisconsin Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fate of Domestic Partner Registry/Benefits to be Deceided This Friday/Saturday in Committee

The Joint Finance Committee will be holding a budget executive session beginning Friday,
May 22nd at 11am and Saturday, May 23rd at 9:00am. On their agenda for this Memorial
Day Weekend are provisions in the State Budget for the establishment of a Domestic
Parnership Registry and Domestic Partner Benefits for State Employees. Please read the
previous post below for contact numbers the members of the Joint Finance Committee.Jim
Program Director
VCY America

Friday, May 8, 2009

State Facing "Economic Natural Disaster" But Still Pushes For Domestic Partner Benefits

On Thursday, May 7th Gov. Jim Doyle announced the budget deficit has exploded to up to $6.5 BILLION DOLLARS in the State of Wisconsin. He is speaking of the potential of laying off up to 1100 state employees and placing on furlough non- emergency workers up to eight days a year and also rescinding 2% pay increases. And he is talking about further cuts in aid to schools and local governments. The co- chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance compared this budget deficit “like a natural disaster except in economic terms.”

And what’s so AMAZING despite this dismal economic condition in our state, the Governor still has not rescinded his push for the creation of a new special category of benefits in Wisconsin which includes the establishment of a domestic partnership registry AND domestic partner benefits for State employees.

The University of Wisconsin News is reporting that the Joint Committee on Finance is slated to take up the Governor’s provision on domestic partner benefits for ALL State employees later this month. Biddy Martin, UW-Madison Chancellor, sent a letter to each member of the Joint Finance Committee Member emphasizing the importance of these benefits. The Chancellor wrote, “I understand the budget challenges the state faces, and in light of that difficulty we must find ways to recognize the valuable contributions faculty, staff and all state employees make. Providing this benefit is an important piece of that effort.” According to the Chancellor’s own letter, the cost for establishing this new category of special benefits would cost the state over a half a million dollars for the University system alone. Keep in mind that the University system is only one state agency. There are approximately 65 state agencies.

You may contact the members of the Joint Committee on Finance at the numbers below. You may also contact your own State Senator and State Representative on the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.

Joint Committee on Finance Members

Assembly Members: Phone: Home
Rep. Mark Pocan (D), Co-Chair
Rep. Pedro Colon (D)
Rep. Cory Mason (D)
Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D)
Rep. Gary Sherman (D)
Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D)
Rep. Robin Vos(R)
Rep. Phil Montgomery (R)

Senate Members:
Sen. Mark Miller (D), Co-Chair
Sen. Dave Hansen (D)
Sen. Lena Taylor (D)
Sen. John Lehman (D)
Sen. Judy Robson (D)
Sen. Julie Lassa (D)
Sen. Alberta Darling (R)
Sen. Luther Olsen (R)