State legislators have not been able to come to an agreement on public school funding levels. This has drastically slowed work on the state budget. Typically, a target date for the end of the session is when the reimbursement of daily expenses for legislators ends – this year on May 1. It seems unlikely that the legislature will be finished by May 1 this year.

On Wednesday the Iowa House passed SF 448 and sent the bill to the governor. The Iowa Catholic Conference had opposed a provision of SF 448 that permits a life sentence without parole for juveniles. Some young people – even those who commit terrible crimes – may be able to rejoin society outside of prison. The law should carefully take into account the moral and cognitive development differences between a juvenile and an adult.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has filed a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the cases challenging state laws which define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. It contains a good explanation of the Church’s teaching on the issue. The USCCB has also posted some questions and answers on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.