by Marc Herstand, MSW, CISW

Every two years NASW WI organizes a lobby day in Madison.  The goals of lobby day are to: 1) Train Wisconsin social workers in basic lobbying and advocacy techniques; 2) Connect NASW WI members with their State Senators and State Representatives; and 3) Help gain legislative support for NASW WI priority issues. 

 NASW WI’s 2013 lobby day will be held on Wednesday April 17, 2013 at the Madison Masonic Center and the Wisconsin State Capitol from 9:00 A.M-3:30 P.M. 

The tentative issues for NASW WI’s 2013 lobby day are Medicaid, the Wisconsin State Budget, the Child Victims’ Act, the Castle Doctrine and either a tuition cap, increased state financial aid or loan forgiveness for social work students.  ..   

 Here is a brief description of these issues:

1) Medicaid. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) states will have incentives to expand their Medicaid program to cover the poor and near poor.  However the Walker Administration has actually proposed policy changes to its Medicaid program that would result in tens of thousands of children and families losing coverage.   NASW WI will be supporting efforts to fully implement the Medicaid provisions of Obamacare and retain Medicaid coverage for all who need it.

 2) Wisconsin State Budget.  The 2011-2013 budget increased fees or slashed programs helping the poor including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Senior Citizen Homestead program, the Family Shares (child care) program, and the W-2 program. It also slashed funding for K-12 education, transportation and many other state programs.   Advocacy groups will be looking to restore some of these cuts.  

3) Child Victims’ Act.  This bill would provide a two year release of the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault to bring civil actions in court.  In other states that passed this same law, hundreds of previously unidentified perpetrators of sexual assault were brought to justice. 

 4) Repeal or amend the “Castle Doctrine”.  The “Castle Doctrine” which passed in the last legislative session, would allow homeowners to shoot to kill when they had “reason to believe” that someone was breaking into their house.  This bill should be of great concern to social workers making home visits and/or investigating reports of child abuse and neglect or elderly abuse. 

 5) The NASW WI lobby day planning committee is discussing the possibility of adding a Wisconsin university tuition cap, financial aid or loan forgiveness as the fifth lobby day issue.

 Registration for lobby day will begin in December.   If you have questions about lobby day, please contact me at marcherstand@naswwi.org