Last Minute Action Alerts, Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, May 19, 2013

To: Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Network

This week might be your last chance to contact your Iowa legislator on some key issues. Here are the action alerts we have at www.capwiz.com/iowanasccd:

  • Protect the poor and vulnerable, by encouraging further restrictions on government funding of abortions and an increase in the state Earned Income Tax Credit;
  • Improve access to health insurance for low-income people; and
  • Increase tax credits to help low-income students attend nonpublic school.

There wasn’t much movement on these issues last week, so please take the time to send a message to your legislator. There’s still time to make an impact.

The biggest news to report from the state capitol last week is a reported deal on property taxes between Senate and House leadership. It apparently contains these provisions:

  • cuts the allowable increase in residential and agricultural property taxes
  • reduces the taxable assessment of commercial property
  • offers property tax credits for small businesses
  • creates a new “multiresidential” category of property taxes which will include apartments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. - this will have the effect of lowering property taxes on these properties.
  • provides for an income tax credit for taxpayers
  • increases the state Earned Income Tax Credit to 15 percent for lower-income workers (one of our ICC priorities for the year)
  • offers some replacement payments to local governments

Cities and counties may still lose some revenue so many are reluctant to support the proposal. It apparently has next-to-unanimous support among Republicans but it remains to be seen if enough Senate Democrats will go along.

NATIONAL ISSUES

On the national scene, last Wednesday was an interfaith “Religious Freedom Action Day.” The goal was to urge members of Congress to co-sponsor and approve H.R. 940, the "Health Care Conscience Rights Act" which the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference has long supported. We continue to oppose the HHS mandate for contraceptive/sterilization/abortifacient coverage and you can help by sending a message to Congress at www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=292.  I am hearing we’re making progress toward getting Congress to address this serious problem.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing its consideration of S. 744, an immigration reform bill. The Justice for Immigrants Campaign associated with the U.S. bishops is encouraging you to send a message to Senate Judiciary Committee members and the Gang of 8 on immigration reform. Click here for the alert: www.capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/issues/alert/?alertid=62661611&....

The Senate may start voting on the 2013 Farm Bill soon. Contact your Senators today urging them to support a fair Farm Bill that will fight hunger, protect God’s creation, and support small family farmers and rural America and to oppose cuts to critical programs that help people in need. Go to this alert on Catholic Relief Services' website.

AND FINALLY,

The chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for reflection, greater respect for human life and healing in the wake of the May 13 convictions of Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia. “Dr. Gosnell’s trial brought much-needed attention to the tragedy of abortion,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., of Boston. “His murder convictions of newly delivered infants have caused many people to reexamine their positions on abortion.”

Among Gosnell’s 237 convictions were three counts of first-degree murder of infants born alive during attempted late-term abortions, one count of infanticide, and the involuntary manslaughter of a patient who died from complications of anesthesia administered by an unlicensed nurse at his abortion clinic. He was also found guilty of conspiracy, performing abortions beyond the legal limit in Pennsylvania, and 208 violations of the state’s informed consent law. On May 14, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison.

More information on the Catholic Church’s pastoral response to those who have been involved in abortion is available at www.HopeAfterAbortion.com. More information on nationwide efforts of prayer and fasting are available at www.usccb.org/fast.

Here in Iowa, the state does not inspect abortion clinics or a law requiring informed consent before an abortion takes place.

Tom Chapman

Executive Director

Iowa Catholic Conference

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