ICYMI: GOP Bill Attacking Teachers and LGBTQ+ Youth Headed to Governor’s Desk

Assembly Bill 510 Was Largely Written by an Extremist Right-Wing Law Firm, Who Recent Filings Show Also Spent Big Bucks Lobbying for the Bill

MADISON, Wis. — Action taken this week by legislative Republicans will now send Assembly Bill 510 to Governor Evers’ desk. Assembly Bill 510 is bad faith GOP legislation that seeks to censor what Wisconsin students can learn and talk about at school – with a specific target against issues that impact LGBTQ+ and BIPOC students.

Last year, records obtained last year by A Better Wisconsin Together and reported in the media revealed that the right-wing law group Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) – which frequently represents parties in lawsuits against public schools and therefore could profit off of the bill’s passage – was deeply involved in writing the bill.

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 writing the bill’s language, WILL was also involved in strategizing on bill co-sponsors, coordinating public testimony, and advising the legislators that introduced the bill on how to respond to legal questions. Committee action on the bill was scheduled to accommodate WILL’s availability.

According to a more recently filed Statement of Lobbying Activity and Expenditures, WILL spent a significant amount of time and money in 2023 lobbying on behalf of the bill they were intimately involved in writing. The report shows they spent thousands of dollars and over a hundred hours on lobbying over a 6 month period, a large chunk of which was dedicated to Assembly Bill 510.

“This is a clear case of an extremist group exploiting the legislative process for personal gain,” said Lucy Ripp, communications director at A Better Wisconsin Together. “The fact that WILL 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. We are hopeful that Governor Evers, a strong advocate for equity and public education, will use his veto power to ensure Assembly Bill 510 does not become law in Wisconsin.”

Together, we can call on Governor Evers to continue standing with public schools, parents, and students by vetoing Assembly Bill 510.

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