The state Senate has passed legislation that would restrict how much Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin could be reimbursed for birth control medications. Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) said the bill, which would mean a cut funding for Planned Parenthood, is about protecting life.
“Because I believe that begins at conception, and I believe that one of the cornerstones of the Declaration of Independence and what our Constitution is drafted around is the protection of life, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Kapenga said.
Democrats argue the bill is “vindictive” — and unlikely to withstand a court challenge. “This is not about protection of life at all,” said Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwakee).
The bill (SB 238) could cost Planned Parenthood about $7.5 million in annual reimbursement — and Democrats argued that would mean less access for women. “Defunding Planned Parenthood by these reimbursement changes, that is what we mean by defunding the organization, because they can’t continue to keep doing what they’re doing,” said minority leader, Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse).
The bill passed on a party line 18-14 vote and now heads to the Assembly.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation allowing state residents to carry switchblade knives and other edged weapons, (AB 142) allowing hunters to wear blaze pink gear (AB 291), increasing penalties for fourth-offense OWI offenders (SB 455), and requiring doctors to check a state database when writing prescription for drugs that could be abused.
On Wednesday evening, the Senate began debating a bill (AB 373) to overhaul Wisconsin’s century-old Civil Service system.
Republicans argue those changes are needed to simplify the hiring process used to fill vacant state positions by moving away from the current civil service exam and using a resume-based hiring system. They also want a more uniform way of dealing with problem employees and more flexibility in giving new hires time to adjust to the job.
Critics contend the changes will result in politics having a greater effect on jobs that have traditionally been somewhat insulated from that influence.