Thanks to those of you who have signed the petition backing the passage of Education Savings Accounts in Iowa. More than 1,100 people endorsed the proposal. We let the governor’s office and key legislators know about your support. You can still sign the petition through Sunday at www.votervoice.net/icc/home.
The 90th Iowa General Assembly starts next Monday, Jan. 9. Gov. Kim Reynolds is scheduled to present her budget and “Condition of the State” message to the Legislature on Tuesday.
There are 54 new lawmakers this year – more than a third of the chambers. Republicans hold a 64-36 majority in the Iowa House and a 34-16 majority in the Senate. As the 2023 legislative session begins, please take some time to pray for legislators and their families. It is difficult for them to be away from their families during the week.
For reference, here are the switchboard numbers to leave a message for your legislator: Iowa House is (515) 281-3221, Iowa Senate is (515) 281-3371. You can find out who your legislator is on our website.
U.S. CONGRESS PASSES OMNIBUS BILL
The omnibus bill signed by the president shortly before Christmas included several provisions that will provide meaningful support for pregnant and nursing women and their children. In addition to retaining the longstanding, bipartisan pro-life appropriations riders, the year-end omnibus agreement included:
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a USCCB-endorsed bill that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with medical needs due to pregnancy or childbirth.
A provision that requires 12 months of continuous coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP and makes the state option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage during the postpartum period permanent. The ICC is working on “continuous coverage” here at the state Legislature.
Unfortunately, the omnibus bill did not include other year-end priorities of the U.S. Catholic bishops like the Afghan Adjustment Act, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, an expanded child tax credit, and the American Dream and Promise Act.
EMERITUS POPE BENEDICT’S FUNERAL
Pope Francis has invited us to pray for Emeritus Pope Benedict, 95, who died last week. The funeral is early Thursday morning Iowa time. May perpetual light shine upon him.
The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated Sunday, Jan. 8, marks the end of the Christmas season on our liturgical calendar. We pray you have a good conclusion to the Christmas season.