Assembly Republicans Put Extremism Before Wisconsin Parents and Students

GOP Rubber Stamps Legislation Largely Written by Right-Wing Legal Group to Intimidate, Censor Public Schools

MADISON, Wis. – Assembly Republicans today passed Assembly Bill 510, a bad faith bill that seeks to censor what Wisconsin students can learn and talk about at school, with a specific target against issues that impact LGBTQ+ students and other marginalized groups. The bill also encourages legal action against teachers and schools for simply doing their jobs: educating and supporting their students, no matter their gender identity, background, or race.

Records obtained by A Better Wisconsin Together and reported in the media have revealed that the extremist right-wing law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) – which frequently represents parents in lawsuits against public schools and has a long-established history of weaponizing attacks on LGBTQ+ youth and educators – was intimately involved in writing and advancing the bill. 

WILL’s brazen involvement with Assembly Bill 510 includes writing bill language, strategizing on possible bill co-sponsors, coordinating people to testify on the bill, and giving legal advice and answers to the legislators that introduced the bill. Additionally, committee action on the bill was scheduled to accommodate WILL’s availability. Over the course of nearly one year, WILL directed numerous additions and revisions to the bill’s statutory language, according to emails obtained by A Better Wisconsin Together.

In addition to benefiting from suing school districts and educators in actions similar to what Assembly Bill 510 encourages, WILL also fundraises directly off of its education-related litigation.

“It is clear that WILL is working with state Republicans in a shameless scheme to change state law in a way that makes it easier for them to push litigation against public schools and continue their extreme anti-LGBTQ+ agenda,” said Lucy Ripp, communications director at A Better Wisconsin Together. “That they would work to change state law in order to profiteer off of it and create more division among parents, students, and educators for their own personal benefit – and that GOP lawmakers would allow and support it – is atrocious.”

Other recent attacks WILL has launched against Wisconsin public schools, teachers, and LGBTQ+ youth includes:

Call your legislator today at 1-800-362-9472 and demand that education curriculum in Wisconsin be set by education experts, teachers and administrators working with parents, not by politicians and extremist groups with ulterior motives trying to divide our communities. 

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.