LEGISLATURE CONCLUDES SESSION
The Legislature adjourned the 2022 Session of the 89th General Assembly earlier today.
We’re pleased that the “Iowa MOMS” proposal was included in House File 2578, the human services budget bill. Iowa MOMS will receive $500,000 to help pro-life agencies support pregnant women and new moms with baby essentials and counseling. Unfortunately, however, funding was not included for the expansion of coverage for mothers who receive Medicaid from two months post-partum to a year.
An amendment to HF 2578 providing additional state funding for refugee resettlement services failed to pass.
The Students First/Education Savings Accounts proposal from Gov. Kim Reynolds, Senate File 2369, did not get brought up for a vote in the House before adjournment. We’ve already received questions about how representatives voted on the issue. The problem is that there was no vote taken, so you’ll have to ask your legislators and candidates what they think. Click here for a list of candidates in the upcoming primary election on June 7. Send them an email and let them know what’s important to you.
State support for nonpublic school students received status quo funding for next year, including $852,000 for textbooks, about $9 million for transportation services and $1 million for concurrent enrollment (college classes).
The House and Senate approved a compromise gambling expansion bill, House File 2497. The good news is that it was amended to take out the legalization of gambling on e-sports (video games).
The bill legalizes “cashless gambling,” which makes it possible to transfer money from your bank account to a phone app to the machine, rather than walking to visit an ATM. The app will be required to show the “800-BETS-OFF" number for problem gamblers. The bill also places a moratorium on licensing new casinos until June 30, 2024.
In other action:
Gov. Reynolds signed Senate File 577 yesterday. The bill provides the opportunity to receive a birth certificate following a miscarriage and hopefully will assist in a family’s healing.
The governor also signed House File 2372, which clarifies a loophole in Iowa law. It provides that it is a Class D felony to attempt to terminate a pregnancy without the consent of the woman.
The Senate completed work on House File 2420, which extends the time period in Iowa’s Safe Haven law from 30 days to 90 days. This enables parents to drop off an infant at a safe place if the parent feels they cannot care for the child. It has been used more than 50 times since it came into effect about 20 years ago.
House File 2464, supported by the ICC, fell by the wayside. The bill deletes certain criminal records of victims of human trafficking. It recognizes that victims were subject to coercion and abuse when in captivity and helps them make a new start.
U.S. BISHOPS SUPPORT EXPANSION OF CHILD TAX CREDIT
Last year, more than 36 million families received a monthly payment through the expanded Child Tax Credit program. The expanded credit proved to be extremely effective at reducing child poverty, lifting 3.7 million children above the poverty line. Unfortunately, the expansions expired at the end of the year. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the current credit is not structured to serve the children who need it the most. The poorest children are not eligible to receive the full value of the credit because their parents don’t earn enough money.
You are asked to contact our members of Congress now to strengthen the Child Tax Credit, including by making it fully refundable so that the full credit is available to the lowest-income families. Click here for the action alert and more information.
STATEMENT ON SCHOOL SHOOTING
In response to yesterday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the USCCB offered the following statement from its spokesperson, Chieko Noguchi, director of public affairs.
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, and we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller. As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”