Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, April 6, 2023
Archbishop Jackels retires
Pope Francis has granted Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels’ request to retire early for health reasons. Until a new archbishop of Dubuque is named, Bishop Richard Pates, retired bishop of Des Moines, has been appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Administrator. After almost 10 years, Archbishop Jackels said he “leaves with gratitude for the opportunity to serve, fond memories, and contrition for anyone who took offense at him.”
We thank Archbishop Jackels for his service on the ICC board and welcome Bishop Pates back to Iowa.
At the State Capitol
Legislators have completed their work for the week and plan to gavel back in on Monday, April 10.
ICC staff spoke at a public hearing on April 4 in the Iowa House in opposition to Senate File 494, which provides for a new asset test and real-time income verification system for public assistance programs such as Medicaid or SNAP (food stamps). We noted the error rate for benefits being overpaid or underpaid in Iowa has substantially improved during the past couple of years and there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
Iowa is currently one of 36 states that does not have an asset limit for SNAP. Asset limits have been shown to discourage people who are eligible from applying for SNAP, increase administrative costs, and discourage people from saving for emergencies.
Another item of concern is the bill’s maximum of 10 days to respond to the state about an income mismatch that disqualifies a person.
The ICC encourages you to send a message to your member of the Iowa House in opposition to the bill. We believe that society should give the needs of the poor and otherwise vulnerable special consideration.
The Iowa House passed Senate File 496 by a vote of 55-42 and sent it back to the Senate with a 40-page amendment. The bill includes provisions the ICC has supported to prohibit instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in elementary school and require schools to notify parents if a student requests to use new pronouns.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed all the state department budget bills, although with no numbers attached. The actual amount of the appropriations will be seen later in amendments before floor debate. House leaders propose spending about $8.6 billion on the state budget, about $90 million more than the Senate.
We pray you are having a blessed Holy Week!