The Iowa Legislature has picked up where it left off after a three-month pause due to the coronavirus. Here’s a report from last week’s action on some bills of interest to the Iowa Catholic Conference:
House Joint Resolution 14 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 10 to 4. The bill would amend Iowa’s Constitution to broadly permit voting by people who have completed their prison sentence after committing a felony. It is now eligible to be voted on by the full Senate. If HJR 14 passes the Senate, it would need to be passed in the same form in 2021 or 2022 in both chambers before going to a vote of the people of Iowa. Click here to review a sample message to your senator in support of the bill. We can do justice and have mercy at the same time.
The House passed, and Gov. Reynolds signed into law, Senate File 2348. The law will prevent those who commit homicide or voter fraud, sex offenders, or those who are unable to pay victim restitution from automatically receiving their right to vote when they leave prison, in the event that HJR 14 is ultimately approved by the people of Iowa.
The Senate State Government Committee unanimously approved House File 2259. The legislation provides that a government employer could only use public funds to stay at hotels certified to have training on human trafficking prevention. We’ve seen information showing that 70 percent of human traffickers use hotels and motels for trafficking activity. The ICC supports the bill.
The House Judiciary Committee approved Senate File 2368. The bill forbids a city from requiring landlords to accept federal housing vouchers. The ICC opposes the bill because it’s more difficult for low-income people to obtain housing when landlords will not accept federal housing assistance.
COMING UP AT THE STATEHOUSE
It is anticipated that the legislature will begin work on budget bills in earnest this week.
The Iowa Supreme Court found a fundamental right to abortion in the state Constitution. The ICC supports House Joint Resolution 2004, which would clarify that our state’s Constitution does not contain a right to an abortion. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits action in the Iowa House. Click here for more information and to prepare a message to your state representative.
RESOURCES ON RACISM
Many Church leaders have issued statements and taken other actions following the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests. For Catholic Church resources on racism, go to http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/index.cfm.
For messages from your bishop, visit your diocesan website: