Iowa Catholic Conference report on the first legislative deadline

To: Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Network

Friday was the deadline for non-budget or tax bills in the legislature to win committee approval. Unfortunately, some key items didn’t make the cut. For example, the Education Savings Account bills in the House and Senate did not advance. As you recall, the bills would provide that the state deposit about $5,600 annually into a savings account for nonpublic school or homeschool students to help pay for tuition and other educational expenses.

How can you help with this issue? The next step is to visit the state capitol on Thursday, March 6 at noon for the Education Celebration supporting school choice and nonpublic schools. 

Other legislation of interest that failed to advance past the funnel date:

  • Regulate payday loans to help break the cycle of debt for customers
  • Provides for a temporary driver’s license for people who are undocumented (see more information at www.iowasaferoads.com)
  • Creates a civil cause of action (a possible lawsuit) when a mother loses her unborn baby due to the wrongful act of another

Some items we supported made it through the committee deadline, however, including legislation that:

  • Raises the state’s minimum wage to $10.10
  • Allows a judge to make an individualized determination on sentences for juveniles
  • Creates a pilot program to support refugees
  • Provides additional flexibility for people who receive child care assistance (currently recipients must choose between full-time work or full-time school, not a combination) 

Keep an eye out for alerts directed to your Iowa senator regarding support for a ban on so-called “webcam” or “telemed” abortions where the abortion-causing medication is provided during a videoconference. If you’re interested in the Legislature's information page on the b....

Important budget items will soon be coming to the fore as well. 

RALLY FOR LIFE

Bad weather caused many to miss the Rally for Life last week. I was very disappointed because the content was excellent. The keynote speaker was Wesley Smith, one of the country’s leading experts in bioethics, on the topic of assisted suicide. He said that empowering physicians to kill those who are suffering is not a good way to end suffering. Smith is also concerned that “relief from pain” is becoming the defining end of society.

There’s no current legislation on physician-assisted suicide in Iowa, but we want to be ready. See the U.S. Catholic bishops’ page on assisted suicide for more information. It’s important to help people understand that one can live their last days in dignity with proper care. 

AND FINALLY,

Thanks to the many legislators, and ICC board and committee members, who attended our legislative breakfast on Wednesday. We appreciate their service.

Tom Chapman

Executive Director

Iowa Catholic Conference

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