TAKE ACTION NOW
As members of the General Assembly approach the final stage of the legislative session, the Iowa Catholic Conference has issued new action alerts on critical issues. Go to https://iowacatholicconference.org/voter-voice for these alerts:
- The Iowa Senate has amended the House version of the Protect Life Amendment (HJR 5) and sent it back to the House. It’s time to contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to complete work on the amendment. In June 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court identified a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. We believe almost no existing or future regulation of abortion can survive a court challenge in Iowa. The Protect Life Amendment would clarify that Iowa’s Constitution does not contain a right to abortion. We recognize that each person is created in the image and likeness of God. Direct attacks on innocent persons are never acceptable. This is why abortion is such an important issue.
- Today marks the Education Celebration at the Capitol in support of nonpublic schools. It’s good timing because legislators are still considering options for helping the parents of private and homeschool students. We need your help in making sure that the benefits of school choice can reach as many Iowa parents as possible.
LAST WEEK AT THE STATE CAPITOL
A bill to provide authorities with additional resources to complete investigations of trafficking in humans, HF 452, passed the Senate on April 6 and was sent back to the House.
The House Education Appropriations Committee has introduced the budget bill for the Department of Education. There is a proposed increase in funding for textbooks used in nonpublic schools to $772,000, compared to $652,000 last year. The bill also includes status quo funding for nonpublic school students to take community college classes.
Last week, Senate Ways and Means subcommittees recommended passage for three bills supported by the Iowa Catholic Conference:
- HF 847, which doubles the per-child tax credit for nonpublic school parents from $250 to $500 and doubles a teacher’s tax deduction for classroom expenditures from $250 to $500.
- HF 369, which doubles the tax deduction for adoptive parents to $10,000.
- SSB 1254, exempts non-food items from the state sales tax that are sold to a food bank or food pantry.
IOWA SUPREME COURT SPEAKS OUT ON REDISTRICTING
Drawing new lines for legislative districts takes place every ten years, and 2021 is one of those years. In Iowa, the process has typically been accomplished by the Legislature in a nonpartisan way. Unfortunately, the U.S. Census Bureau may not be able to deliver data for the redistricting process in Iowa until the September deadline is passed.
The Iowa Supreme Court announced last week that if the General Assembly is not able to meet the constitutional deadline, the Court is prepared to meet its constitutional responsibility by implementing a process which permits, to the extent possible, the redistricting framework set forth in Iowa law.
IOWA RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY
The annual Iowa Religious Freedom Day sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Iowa Catholic Conference is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There won’t be any speakers this year, but there will be displays in the first floor rotunda at the State Capitol with the theme: “Adapting Worship and Service in the Pandemic: An Essential Work.”
HELPING UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN AT THE BORDER
It has been reported that Gov. Reynolds declined a request from the federal government for the state to take in migrant children from the southern border of our country.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of Catholic organizations that are working directly with migrants at the border and in facilities for unaccompanied children, along with links for making donations to assist them in their efforts:
- Catholic Charities USA
- Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (also has an Amazon Wish List)
- Catholic Charities Diocese of Laredo
- Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio
- Catholic Charities Dallas
- Diocese of El Paso: Border Refugee Assistance Fund
- Annunciation House of El Paso
- Hope Border Institute
- Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona: Casa Alitas Program
- Kino Border Initiative
- Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico
- Diocese of San Angelo Immigration Services
- Catholic Charities of San Diego
- Catholic Charities San Bernardino and Riverside Counties
- Catholic Charities of Los Angeles