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 Safety subcommittee last week. Among other provisions, SF 481 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, sometimes for relatively minor offenses, when they otherwise normally would be released. This may cause the separation of families and imposition of a penalty that is out-of-proportion to the wrong that has been done.
The bill is now eligible for consideration by the full House Public Safety Committee. If you’re interested in finding out if your State Representative serves on the committee, go to https://www.votervoice.net/ICC/campaigns/56531/respond.
The Iowa Catholic Conference supports House File 2165, which would limit lawsuits against physicians by parents who claim a child should have been aborted. This is in response to an Iowa Supreme Court decision which for the first time recognized these claims. This bill would not stop malpractice claims against physicians, but would lessen the pressure on them to be held financially responsible for a life they did not create or a disability they did not cause.
We expect to be working with legislators on other pro-life legislation in next couple of weeks. The ICC is still encouraging House members to take up Senate File 359, which limits trafficking in fetal body parts.
Senate Study Bill 3093 makes many changes to regulation of public utilities. An issue we’re watching is that the bill proposes fewer requirements of utilities related to energy efficiency. Laudato Si, the 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis on the “care of our common home,” has raised awareness about how our future as human beings is connected to how we take care of the Earth. Energy efficiency is a relatively inexpensive way to help us address our energy needs. Is now a time to pull back on the commitments that have been made to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels?
Lent begins next week. We encourage you to get a copy of the Lenten reflection booklet, “Caring for Our Common Home.” Based on “Laudato si’,” the booklet has a different reflection and action step for each day during Lent. Copies of the booklet are still available for $4.75 each by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by downloading it for free.
FAILURE TO PASS PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT ‘APPALLING’
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called the U.S. Senate's failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “appalling.” The bill, similar to Iowa’s new law passed last year, proposes to ban abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.
“Abortions performed in the second half of pregnancy usually involve brutally dismembering a defenseless unborn child, while also posing serious dangers to his or her mother. The Senate's rejection of this common-sense legislation is radically out of step with most Americans,” Cardinal Dolan said.
As the first legislative deadline of Feb. 16 approaches, there’s a flurry of bills being introduced and committee meetings taking place at the State Capitol. Keep an eye on your inbox for any last-minute action alerts.