Iowa Legislature coming back into session

LEGISLATURE SCHEDULED TO RE-C0NVENE ON WEDNESDAY

The Iowa Legislature is scheduled to come back into session next Wednesday, June 3. Some predict that the legislature will work for about 10 days on budget bills and a few policy items.

The second legislative deadline is June 5. Only bills that have passed one chamber and a committee in the other remain eligible except for budget- and tax-related legislation.

This deadline is coming into play for House Joint Resolution 14, a constitutional amendment proposal to broadly permit voting by people who have completed their prison sentence after committing a felony. The ICC supports the bill which passed the House last year. We can do justice and mercy at the same time. In our view, returning the right to vote also promotes the civic engagement of those re-entering the community.

HJR 14 needs to get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by June 5. It already passed the House last year.

Another bill the ICC supports is House Joint Resolution 2004, which would clarify that our state’s Constitution does not contain a right to an abortion. We encourage your continuing contact with your legislator on this issue. The proposed amendment passed the Senate in February.

Action alerts and sample messages for these issues are available at www.votervoice.net/icc/home.

DIOCESAN UPDATES

The Iowa dioceses are reviewing the restrictions they have had in place regarding the opening of churches. To stay up-to-date on what’s happening in each of the Iowa dioceses, you can visit their web sites:

Archdiocese of Dubuque

Diocese of Davenport

Diocese of Des Moines

Diocese of Sioux City

NEED HELP?

The state government is offering a variety of assistance options for those who are suffering from the pandemic. Click here for information from the Child and Family Policy Center on what you should know about the array of public benefits to help you make ends meet during this crisis.

The state has started up a new program to help people who can’t pay their rent. Go to https://www.iowafinance.com/about/covid-19-ifa-recovery-assistance/ for more information.

In addition, you can check with your parish and diocese for assistance programs.

BISHOPS SPEAK OUT ON POSSIBLE RELIEF PACKAGE

At the federal level, the U.S. bishops are asking you to contact your member of Congress on several issues related to the COVID-19 crisis. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has released a statement urging lawmakers to remember the needs of the poor and vulnerable as they consider additional relief packages related to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As Congress turns once more to considering additional relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus should be on those most in need—the poor, the vulnerable, and people on the margins—to offer them some hope and assistance in desperate circumstances,” he said. “Since early April, some of my brother bishops and I have sent five letters to express this touchstone principle to Congress and its various committees, in contexts ranging from food security, housing, access to affordable health care, protections for the unborn, addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, assistance for the poor and unemployed, care for migrants and refugees, safety for detainees and the incarcerated, education, international assistance and debt relief, and help for charities serving vulnerable populations.”

For action alerts on the possible federal relief package, go to https://votervoice.net/USCCB/home and https://justiceforimmigrants.org/category/action-alerts/.

AND FINALLY,

If you’re a member of a political party, don’t forget to vote in Tuesday’s primary election. For details, go to the state’s Voter Ready website. You can click here for the most recent “Faithful Citizenship” resources from the Iowa bishops. Additional information for the general election will be coming later this year.

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