(The Center Square) – The latest version of a Parental Bill of Rights has cleared its first major hurdle at the Wisconsin Capitol, but it’s not expected to get much further.
The State Assembly on Thursday approved AB 510, which spells out the rights that parents in the state have over their own children.
That list includes formally acknowledging that parents make medical and education decisions for their children.
Including, as Rep. Bob Wittke, R-Racine explained on the Assembly floor, the right to know what their kids are learning.
“I agree with those that have stood up and said ‘I have no desire to have the school, or someone else within the school raise my children. I want information so that I can deal with subjects with them, so that they can participate in their school, to the extent that they can learn and expand their horizons. I don’t want to be ambushed by their subjects that are going on that they bring home and say, What is this?’” Wittke said.
There are 16 different rights in the legislation. But it is the fifth parental right, the right to decide what name a child will be called in school, that drew most of the opposition.
“This bill is not about rights but rather about wrongs the Republicans want to inflict on our state and our students, especially transgender students,” Rep Melissa Ratcliff, D-Cottage Grove, said earlier in the week. “Restricting a student’s right to be called by their preferred name and pronouns is deplorable and reprehensible.”
Wittke said the idea is not to harm any particular group but to empower parents.
“The bill, basically, will prohibit the state from infringing on any of the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, healthcare, and mental health of their children,” he said.
The Parental Bill of Rights next heads to the State Senate.
Gov. Evers has already promised to veto the proposal when it reaches his desk.
Wittke on Thursday said that’s the governor’s decision to make.
“At some point time we have to get back to the way Gov. Tommy Thompson ran things,” Wittke said. “And that was that we do things for what’s best for the families in Wisconsin and not be in the partisan divide continually.”