ARE 529 PLANS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Federal and state “529” college savings plans have been expanded to provide a tax benefit to parents paying tuition at K-12 Catholic schools in Iowa. Our partners at Iowa ACE have put together an information sheet you can take to your tax professional to see if the new benefits will help you. Click here for more…Continue
Iowa Supreme Court strikes down abortion reflection period
By a vote of 4-2, the Iowa Supreme Court has struck down a provision providing for a three-day reflection period before an abortion can take place. We strongly disagree with the Court’s judgment that this regulation of abortion impinges upon fundamental state Constitutional rights.
Several of the state’s bishops have commented on the ruling and we have shared those statements on our…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on July 2, 2018 at 9:12am — No Comments
Primary elections are being held tomorrow (Tuesday, June 5) for political parties to select their candidates for office. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Voter registration or a change in party affiliation are allowed at the polling place. For more information, go the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at sos.iowa.gov.
You can also visit our website for…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on June 4, 2018 at 3:45pm — No Comments
A few quick updates:
The U.S. Catholic bishops’ social justice department has issued an action alert regarding the federal Farm Bill.Please contact your member of Congress today at www.votervoice.net/usccb/home and ask them to insist on changes to the bill. It has serious flaws that would negatively impact poor, hungry and vulnerable people. You can…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on May 14, 2018 at 9:30am — No Comments
The Iowa legislature adjourned “sine die” on Saturday, ending the 2018 session of the 87th General Assembly. We are very grateful that many of you contacted your legislator during the past few days.
The Iowa legislative session completed its work with the passage of a tax reform bill, Senate File 2417, that will cut taxes by about $2 billion over the next several years. Some of the tax cuts won’t kick in unless state revenue surpasses certain levels.
SF 2417 included a $1…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on May 7, 2018 at 8:17am — No Comments
The Iowa legislative session is in overtime as lawmakers are into their third week of not receiving their per diem expense checks. However, the session may end this week as Gov. Kim Reynolds and House and Senate Republican leadership have announced a deal on a tax reform plan, one of their key priorities.
The actual legislative language has not yet been made available. A key question is whether the tax cuts will allow adequate revenues for public education, Medicaid, public safety, a…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on April 29, 2018 at 6:15pm — No Comments
It appears that Republican leaders in the Iowa House and Senate are getting closer to an agreement on tax reform and the state budget.
The House is proposing an increase in state spending of $235 million and a $7.5 billion budget. The Senate is proposing $5 million less overall, with slightly more for education and human services, and slightly less for the “standing appropriations” bill and justice systems.
Regarding tax reform, the Senate has proposed a $2 billion cut over…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on April 22, 2018 at 9:32pm — No Comments
The Iowa Catholic Conference was disappointed that Gov. Reynolds signed the immigration enforcement bill, Senate File 481, last week. The Catholic bishops of Iowa had sent a letter to the governor asking for a veto.
In a statement regarding the bill, the bishops said, “Our energy, therefore, should be directed toward finding a solution so that immigrants are welcome here, and as a consequence, strengthen our communities with their families, enrich our social fabric by their faith and…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on April 15, 2018 at 4:48pm — No Comments
Senate File 481, the immigration enforcement bill, passed the Iowa House and Senate last week and is going the governor for her signature. The Iowa Catholic Conference opposed the bill. Among other provisions, the bill requires local jails to comply with all requests from ICE (immigration control) to hold immigrants, even when federal law does not require it. People would be held for possible deportation when they otherwise normally would get released.…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on April 9, 2018 at 9:16am — No Comments
Typically Holy Week is a slower week at the State Capitol. That was true this year as well. Three issues of interest did not see any floor or committee action:
The good news is that Senate File 481, immigration enforcement, was not debated last week in the House. We believe advocates’ efforts are having an impact and slowing the bill down. There’s still time to contact your legislator.
Senate Study Bill 3206 passed out of subcommittee last week but has seen no further action…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on April 2, 2018 at 8:41am — No Comments
All parents, regardless of address or income, deserve the ability to make choices in education that reflect their basic convictions and aspirations for their child. A new bill to provide for Education Savings Grants, Senate Study Bill 3206, passed out of a subcommittee last week. Some parents could use that money to help pay for nonpublic school tuition. The bill is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.
Thanks to those of you who have sent a…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on March 25, 2018 at 5:32pm — No Comments
The second legislative deadline - called the “second funnel” – was last Friday. Only bills that have passed a committee in both chambers remain eligible, except for budget- and tax-related legislation.
Senate File 359 made it past the deadline. The bill, passed by the Senate last year, has been on our priority list. It would stop trafficking in fetal body parts which remain following an elective abortion. The bill advanced out of the House Human Resources Committee…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on March 18, 2018 at 6:16pm — No Comments
The U.S. Congress will decide soon, most likely this week, whether to include the Conscience Protection Act (CPA) in must-pass government funding legislation.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, are urging you to flood Congress with emails and calls asking for enactment of the…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on March 11, 2018 at 8:42pm — No Comments
Thanks to those of you who were able to call Congress in support of Dreamers. More than 48,000 calls were made to the DC offices of U.S. Senators and Representatives. Also last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined the government's request to hear its “appeal before judgment” on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) cases. This means that DACA renewals remain available to those who currently have DACA status. Otherwise young persons with…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on March 4, 2018 at 9:46pm — No Comments
First, a reminder. Monday, Feb. 26, is the U.S. bishops’ national Call-in Day for Dreamers. You are asked to contact your members of Congress to help the nearly 1.8 million “Dreamers,” who are young people without papers brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation proceedings as soon as March 6 unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them.
It’s easy to help. Please call 855-589-5698 to reach the Capitol…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on February 25, 2018 at 9:05pm — No Comments
The first legislative “funnel” deadline was last Friday. That means any bill that has not passed out of a committee by now is, in theory, dead for the session, with the exception of budget and tax bills. However, nothing is dead for certain until the legislature adjourns.
Here’s some updates on issues of concern …
The Iowa Catholic Conference has been working for many years on legislation to help parents be able to afford the most appropriate education for…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on February 19, 2018 at 8:57am — No Comments
The first Iowa legislative deadline is coming up. Any non-budget bill has to pass out of a committee in one chamber by Friday to remain eligible.
Legislation addressing one of the ICC’s major priorities was introduced last week by the chair of the House Education Committee, Rep. Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls).
House Study Bill 651, the “Iowa Student Opportunity Act,” would offer state-funded Educational Savings Grants for some parents to help them choose the educational option…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on February 11, 2018 at 7:37pm — No Comments
There was some good news at the State Capitol last week. While the House’s bill to bring back the death penalty, House Study Bill 569, passed out of a subcommittee, it looks like there aren’t enough votes to bring the bill out of the full House Public Safety Committee. Our attention now will turn to the Iowa Senate, where a new bill to bring back the death penalty (Senate Study Bill 3134) was introduced Thursday.
Senate File 481 passed out of a House Public…Continue
Activity is picking up at the State Capitol as several issues of concern to Catholics are being considered.
There is a subcommittee meeting scheduled in the House on Tuesday to consider Senate File 481. This is the immigration enforcement bill that the Iowa Catholic Conference has opposed since it was introduced in the Senate last year. It passed the Senate last April and is being considered in the House.
Senate File 481 requires local jails to comply with all…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on January 28, 2018 at 8:36pm — No Comments
It was another short week at the state Capitol as Iowans celebrated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday last Monday.
A bill to bring back the death penalty was introduced Thursday in the Iowa Senate. Senate Study Bill 3042 would allow the penalty of death for the first degree murder of a peace officer. The Iowa Catholic Conference opposes the bill.…Continue
Added by Tom Chapman on January 21, 2018 at 4:59pm — No Comments