The pace of debate on the floor of the Iowa Legislature slowed down some last week as leaders from both chambers spent time behind closed doors working on the budget.

The Iowa Catholic Conference has updated its action alerts opposing the legalization of sports betting and the provision of contraception without a prescription. We encourage you to go to www.votervoice.net/icc/home and send a message to your legislator.

The ICC is also advocating for an increase in tax credits that help raise money for scholarships to attend a nonpublic school. We anticipate some movement on that proposal this week.

The Iowa House has passed the human services budget bill, HF 766, and sent it to the Senate. It spends more than $1.9 billion for health and human services, including the state’s portion of Medicaid, public health, and TANF (welfare). There was an amendment, which was withdrawn, that would have “defunded” abortion providers from Title X family planning money.

There was a news conference on Wednesday at the Capitol in support of Iowa HR 18, which urges Iowa’s congressional delegation to support the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR 6). Click here for more information on HR 6. A version has been introduced in the U.S. Senate as well.

Finally, the Iowa Hunger Coalition is advocating for a sales tax exemption to nonprofit emergency feeding organizations. The Iowa coalition estimates that exempting emergency feeding organizations from sales tax would provide 1,375,000 more meals in Iowa through food banks alone.

AND FINALLY,

The annual celebration of religious diversity and freedom took place at the Capitol on April 11. Gov. Reynolds signed a petition and the featured speaker was Steven T. Collis, religious law scholar and chair of Holland & Hart First Amendment practice group. The event was co-sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Iowa Catholic Conference, First Amendment Partnership and the Reuben Clark Law Society. Go to www.facebook.com/iowacatholicconference to see some photos.