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Iowa Catholic Conference update

Gov. Reynolds signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week. The law creates a balancing test for a court to weigh a person’s right to act in accord with their religious beliefs against the government’s desire to pursue its interests in a way that violates that right. The Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) has supported the proposal for many years.

 

Support the “Baby Olivia” bill

 

Even though it’s late in the session, we encourage you to send a message to your Senator in support of House File 2617, the “Baby Olivia” bill. HF 2617 requires middle and high school curriculum to include a video showing fetal development. The proposal would ensure students can see the miracle of life and how it develops in the womb. It will show the humanity of the unborn child. HF 2617 does not require the use of any specific video.

 

Bills go to the governor

 

The Iowa House passed SF 2252, a bill to correct some issues with the Iowa MOMS (More Options for Maternal Support) program. It will allow Iowa groups to apply to be the third-party administrator of the  program.

 

Previously, the program required administrators to have three years of experience, which no in-state organization had because the MOMS program is new. This program connects expectant mothers with resources like counseling and baby supplies from pro-life organizations.

 

On a bipartisan vote the House also approved SF 2251 which extends Medicaid health insurance for new mothers to a full year after the birth of a child. Previously the state offered two months of coverage after the birth.

 

Unfortunately, fewer mothers will qualify for Medicaid because the bill scales back income eligibility, but at least the lowest-income moms will receive the extended coverage. Rep. Devon Wood, the manager of the bill, said she was committed to continuing work on the income eligibility issue.

 

The Legislative Services Agency estimates the bill will make about 1,300 women who would currently be eligible for coverage ineligible under the lower income levels. Some of those women will be shifted over to HAWK-I (another state insurance program). Mothers currently receiving post-partum services under Medicaid will be covered by the expansion regarding of their income.

 

Both SF 2251 and SF 2252 go to the governor for her signature.

 

Constitutional amendment proposal advances

 

The Senate passed a constitutional amendment proposal that would mandate a single rate for individual state income taxes. SJR 2004 now goes to the Iowa House for consideration. The ICC’s legislative concerns call for maintaining a progressive tax code and revenues sufficient to meet the basic needs of the poor and vulnerable. The proposal would not permit a legislature to adopt a lower tax rate for lower-income people.

 

Stop by this Wednesday

 

The annual Iowa Religious Freedom Day breakfast will be on the first floor of the State Capitol on the morning of Wednesday, April 10. Short remarks will be given at around 9:30 a.m. and a proclamation signing with Gov. Reynolds will take place at about 10:15. The theme is “What Good Is Religion in the 21st Century?” Among the co-sponsors of the breakfast along with the ICC are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Des Moines Area Religious Council.

 

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