Three Republican members were absent (two on military tours of duty), as was one Independent (Rep. Jeff Wood–Bloomer) who normally votes with the Democratic caucus. The bill passed on party lines with one Democrat, Rep. Robert Ziegelbauer, voting against the bill.
Although we (families, parents, students, pro-family organizations, etc.) lost this “battle,” we made some significant advances in the “war” for the immediate and future health, happiness and success of our children. Right now, we do not have a majority of elected officials in either chamber of the state legislature that is friendly toward pro-family, pro-life, pro-marriage values.
During the debate on this bill, it’s become very apparent that the legislators involved, and most of the organizations and individuals lining up on either side of the debate, have the same good intentions–the health and success of our kids. The problem comes in the difference in ideology and approach to a solution. That is precisely why your help has been so important, and so pivotal, in this debate. When you made the phone calls and sent the emails to your state legislators, you let them know that there are a lot of people in this state who do not believe that comprehensive sex ed and handing out condoms is the magic answer to the problem of teen sex, pregnancy and STD’s. Interestingly, while this debate was going on yesterday, this report was released by the CDC on the effectiveness of abstinence education.
Without those calls and emails, the debate last night would have been meaningless. Instead, the constant flood of emails and phone calls into every Representative’s office put the bill’s supporters on the defensive. Suddenly, they had to defend their “cure-all” bill; they could not make the claim that “everyone” wanted their mandated solution. Your voiced opposition to AB458 put the bones on the speeches Rep’s Kleefisch, Vukmir, Ballweg, LeMahieu, Strachota, Spanbauer, Gottlieb and Davis gave on the Assembly floor against the bill–because they were speaking not just for themselves, but for every Wisconsinite that opposed AB458.
The Representatives opposed to AB458 put up a good fight. For the first time this session, on a highly controversial bill such as this, the Assembly actually voted on some minority party amendments and even passed two of them! Don’t miss the significance of that. The majority party has the power to throw out any amendment they want to, and they frequently do. But because of the pressure you put on your Representatives, they had to do something. So they passed a few Republican amendments making minor, but not insignificant, changes to AB458.
Even though the bill passed the Assembly, the Republicans managed to stall it a little longer and at the moment it looks like the Senate won’t be voting on the bill until mid-January at the earliest. So there’s still time to contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on AB458.
Your Representative needs to hear from you again on this bill, either to thank him/her for the no-vote or to hold him/her accountable for a yes-vote. Click here to send a thank-you message to your State Representative or here to let your Representative know you are disappointed with their yes-vote on AB 458.
Without a pro-family, pro-life, pro-marriage-friendly majority in the legislature, we have to do what we can to win some of the policy battles by keeping the pressure on our state legislators until we can give them a proper report card in the form of a ballet vote in November 2010!