ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Legislative leadership released their "budget targets" last week so committees can begin putting together the major appropriations bills. This means that debate on the state's budget will begin in early March. The targets anticipate more than $200 million less in estimated expenditures compared to the current fiscal year. The biggest hit is to the Health and Human Services department, which includes Medicaid.
The last bill of the session, called the "standing appropriations" bill, is not included in the target amounts; therefore we don't know what the total budget will be.
Earlier in the week, the House passed the state reorganization bill 98-0. The bill, Senate File 2088, is estimated to save the state more than $250 million. Since it was amended in the House, the bill returns to the Senate.
As we reported last week, the bills providing conscience protections for religious organizations regarding marriage did not make it out of committee. Some legislators oppose the bill because they are not interested in addressing the marriage issue or religious freedom at all; others oppose it because they believe the bill would legitimize same-sex marriage. Many other legislators support the bills as a way to continue Iowa's long-standing traditions of religious freedom.
It is our position that mitigating the damage to religious freedom from same-sex marriage should be supported, as we continue to work for an amendment to Iowa's constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Sometimes people ask, "What's the real problem? Why does the church care?" A perfect example came last week as Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C. was told that the agency would be ineligible to continue its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program because it will not place children with same-sex couples. The District of Columbia's new same-sex marriage law is scheduled to go into effect next month.
I have to ask: Why is it that here in Iowa, the chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee both introduced religious conscience bills to take care of problems like this, but could not receive a hearing?
Please use the sample message on our website at www.capwiz.com/iowanasccd or call on your legislator to help.
This edition of FOCUS seeks to advance the Church’s support for universal health care, to detail what policy positions must be included in any effort to reform the nation’s health care delivery system, and to provide additional resources for Catholics to learn more about this critical, and morally relevant public policy. View document…
Minnesota Catholic Bishops Urge Legislature To Support A Reformed General Assistance Medical Care Program
GAMC is an essential state-funded health care program that annually provides basic care to 77,000 of Minnesota’s poorest and most vulnerable adults. It is scheduled to end on April 1, 2010. The majority of Minnesotans receiving GAMC have as their only income the $203 per month they receive from General Assistance payments. One-third of Minnesotans enrolled in GAMC are homeless, more than half suffer from mental illness or chemical dependency, and nearly one-third live with a chronic medical illness. The bishops stated that the focus of GAMC reform efforts must be “providing accessible health care coverage to our neighbors in need.”
The Minnesota House of Representatives is expected to vote on a reformed GAMC program (House File 2680) during today’s 11:00 a.m. floor session.
Friday was the deadline for Senate bills to be reported out of Senate committees and House bills out of House committees. Let’s take a look at how some issues of interest to the Iowa Catholic Conference fared:
We were pleased that House File 2269 did not make it out of committee. The bill would have required require all schools, public and private, to offer “comprehensive” sexuality education each year from kindergarten through high school. We opposed requiring Catholic schools to offer instruction that is quite likely to be in opposition to the church’s moral teaching. I would like to thank those who contacted their legislator about this issue – you made a big difference!|
|The filing deadline for bills in both the Senate and the House has now passed with a total of 1,382 measures being introduced. Even though new bills can no longer be introduced, various proposals can still come into being by virtue of strike-everything amendments and other tactics. In reality, these tactics mean that nothing is really over until the legislative session ends.|
For its part, the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) will continue to monitor all of the bills and amendments for their potential impact on the interests of the Catholic Church throughout the entire session.
With regard to the highlights of legislative activity this week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation (HB 2664) to provide more transparency and accountability to the individual tuition tax credit. Additionally, the Senate gave tentative approval to a bill (SB 1274) that would allow taxpayers to make contributions to school tuition organizations up until April 15
1. Governor Details 2010–11 Budget Recommendations Amidst $1.7 Billion Deficit
2. "Body Parts" Bill Moves on to Full Senate
|SB 1070 is a problematic anti-immigrant bill that will soon reach the floor of the Arizona Senate. While finding meaningful solutions to immigration issues is not easy, there are some efforts that may unintentionally have a negative impact on public safety. Such is the case with SB 1070. |
ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
- Governor’s budget message
- Regulation of payday loans
- Iowa Workforce Opportunities Act
- Technology for nonpublic school students
- Marriage amendment
- Health care reform – national and state
- Pro-life rally
- Medicaid Family Planning Waiver
- Woman’s Right to Know Act
Read more . . .