SECOND DEADLINE APPROACHES
The next legislative deadline is this Friday. After the deadline only bills that have passed one chamber and a committee in the other chamber will be eligible for consideration. Appropriations and tax bill are not subject to the deadline.
BISHOPS AT THE CAPITOL
Bishops Thomas Zinkula of Davenport and William Joensen of Des Moines visited the Capitol on Tuesday for meetings with legislative leaders and participants in the Education Celebration. Among other issues, the bishops discussed their longstanding support for Education Savings Accounts as well as for the “Iowa MOMS” bill to provide additional support for pregnant and parenting moms. The ICC Human Life and Dignity Committee met last week to learn more about the Iowa MOMS bill and hear a presentation from Kat Talalas of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the pastoral initiative Walking with Moms in Need.
TAKE ACTION NOW ON SCHOLARSHIPS
Several hundred parents and students took part in the Education Celebration at the Capitol last Tuesday as well. You can check out some photos on our Facebook page. The governor’s Students First scholarship plan, House Study Bill 672, was passed by a House subcommittee the same day. The ICC supports the bill to help some parents afford tuition to a Catholic school.
In addition to many Iowans who spoke at the hearing, the subcommittee also heard from Walter Blanks, Jr. and Nathan Cunneen, the “School Choice Boyz” from the American Federation for Children. They are direct beneficiaries of school choice programs in Ohio and Florida, and travel around the country speaking on behalf of school choice.
Now’s a good time to speak out to your member of the Iowa House in support of helping some parents with funding to send their child to a Catholic school. Click here to learn more about the bill and prepare a message.
The House is still considering cuts to unemployment insurance benefits in House File 2279. The ICC opposes these provisions. Click here for more information and a sample message to your legislator. The cuts are part of a bill to limit how much money people can receive when winning a lawsuit against a medical provider.
House File 2464 has passed the House by a vote of 95-1. The bill deletes certain criminal records of victims of human trafficking. It recognizes that victims were subject to coercion and abuse when in captivity.
The Senate Labor Committee passed House File 724 to require employers to treat adoptive parents the same as birth parents for the purposes of employee policies and protections. The ICC has supported this idea during the past few sessions.
A House subcommittee passed Senate File 2197, which would establish a task force to discuss special education support for students at nonpublic schools. We are working to get the bill out of the full Education Committee this week.
BISHOPS SUPPORT PREGNANT WORKERS FAIRNESS ACT
The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 1486) would make the workplace safer for pregnant workers and their unborn children by requiring employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations. Common requests made by pregnant women include a chair for jobs that require long periods of standing up, a modified schedule, light duty for jobs that require heavy lifting, being able to carry a bottle of water, or permission to take additional breaks to use the restroom or drink water.
Unfortunately, the current legal landscape does not require employers to provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations. Please take action today and encourage your U.S. Senators to protect pregnant workers by advancing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. If you have personal experience with the denial of workplace accommodations during pregnancy, we encourage you to include it in your message.
This year’s Iowa Prayer Rally for Life will be held at the State Capitol next Monday, March 21. At 11 a.m., ICC staff and others will be in Room 315 to help attendees prepare to lobby legislators on important issues. The rally itself will be held in the rotunda at 1 p.m. We will be encouraging legislators to take action on the “Iowa MOMS” bill.