Iowa Catholic Conference Second "Funnel" Deadline Update, March 16, 2014

To: Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Network

Friday was the second “funnel” deadline at the legislature. Non-money bills in the Iowa Legislature were required to have passed one chamber and passed by a committee in the other chamber to remain eligible. 

Several issues we have been working on are no longer eligible for consideration. They include:

  • Prohibit “webcam” abortions - bill to prohibit this type of abortion procedure had passed the Iowa House but wasn’t addressed in the Iowa Senate. Interestingly, the Des Moines Register released a poll last week that showed two-thirds of Iowans think these abortions should not be allowed. About 80 percent of Catholics said they opposed the procedure.
  • Increase in the state minimum wage - bill had passed a committee in the Iowa Senate.
  • Limit the shackling of pregnant inmates - bill had passed the Iowa Senate but the House didn’t tackle the issue. 

Among the issues of interest to the Iowa Catholic Conference that are still eligible:

  • Assistance for victims of human trafficking and increased penalties relating to traffickers - bill has passed the Senate and out of a House committee
  • Support for nonpublic school students in the areas of textbook and transportation services - bill will be introduced shortly
  • Tax credit for adoptive parents - bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee
  • Pilot program for support of refugees - bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Additional flexibility for recipients of child care assistance to work and go to school - bill has passed the Senate and out of a House Committee
  • Some cuts are suggested in victim assistance grants, which may affect a Catholic Charities domestic violence program - first draft of Justice Appropriations budget

We’re also working for funding for “drug courts” in the Justice System Appropriations Budget. The goal of drug courts is to offer non-violent offenders with addictions an opportunity to change their lives with the help of an intensive treatment and rehabilitation program. It also allows them the opportunity to avoid prison time if successful in completing the program. Catholic Charities assists with these programs in some parts of the state. If offenders can be rehabilitated without prison this also saves the state money.

We’ll keep you posted on any action alert we may prepare in these areas.


Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Father Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA, recently called on Congress to pass the Second Chance Act. The bill would assist those leaving incarceration with important support programs to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support and other needed services. Think of the drug courts just mentioned above. Second Chance helps them reenter society in healthy and productive ways that keeps communities safe while promoting healing and restoration.

There is no worse affront to human life and dignity than the reality that millions of our brothers and sisters go without safe drinking water and proper sanitation every day. Today, you can change these dire statistics in a tangible way by contacting your U.S. Representative to support the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2013, H.R. 2901.

World Water Day is March 22, 2014, making now the perfect time to call on Congress to pass the Water for the World Act! Your voice makes a difference. Please take action by sending your Representative an email through ...

Catholic Relief Services and their local partners have been working with communities to expand access to water, hygiene, and sanitation in more than forty countries throughout the world. The lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation has a disproportionate impact on women and girls throughout the world. Collecting water takes hours each day. It keeps women and girls from work and school. It exposes them to violence by putting them in isolated places. It causes accidents and injury. Together, lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene causes illness and preventable death, including from diarrhea, pneumonia, stunting and undernutrition. The bottom line is that low levels of access to water and sanitation keep families in poverty.

Without requesting additional funding, this bill will help to ensure that U.S. Government investments in safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene have the greatest possible benefits by improving targeting, focus, sustainability and transparency so the poorest of the poor will be reached for the long-term.


More than 200 Catholic dioceses, agencies and businesses filed a class action lawsuit last week against the HHS mandate, which requires most organizations to include contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in their health insurance plans.


Our friends at the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education are now on Twitter @iowaace. You can follow us @iacatholicconf.

Tom Chapman

Executive Director

Iowa Catholic Conference

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