This week's legislative deadline
A bill must pass its first committee by Friday or it’s considered ineligible for the rest of session. (This does not apply to budget or tax legislation.)
You can visit our Action Center to put in your street address and send a message to your legislator on any of the following bills. Go to our website and tap on “Take Action” on the top right of the screen.
Bills looking to beat the deadline
HSB 254, an omnibus bill regarding the right to keep and bear arms. The bill eliminates the requirement to have a valid permit when carrying a firearm in a city and bans local ordinances on carrying. The ICC has opposed these types of bills as the bishops have consistently supported measures that control the sale and use of firearms and other sensible regulations. (House Public Safety Committee)
Several bills related to parental choice in education, including HSB 240, which contains a substantial increase in the tuition and textbook tax credit for school parents. HSB 240 passed a subcommittee on Thursday. Also coming up on Tuesday in the House will be a first hearing on the Student First scholarship plan to help some students attend a nonpublic school (HSB 243) and on a bill to establish a pathway to public charter schools started by private organizations (HSB 242). Regardless of what happens this week there will be future opportunities to help some parents have a real choice in the educational options for their children. (House Education Committee)
A bill (SF 168) to require public schools to offer special education services at the location of the nonpublic school is eligible for consideration by the Senate Education Committee.
The prospects of two bills the ICC supports in the House Judiciary Committee are uncertain:
HF 377, which provides for a new committee on commutations to review life sentences in Iowa.
HF 442 provides additional legal protections to residents of mobile home parks.
Here’s a list of committee members if you’re interested in making a contact.
LAST WEEK AT THE STATE CAPITOL
Both the Senate and House Labor Committees passed their versions of bills opposed by the ICC (SSB 1172 and HSB 203) that slice unemployment benefits for bigger families and implement a one-week waiting period for benefits.
The Senate Labor Committee also passed SSB 1029, which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees based on pregnancy or childbirth. However, there was an amendment which weakens the bill’s impact.
The House Judiciary Committee passed HSB 143, a constitutional amendment proposal to allow people coming out of prison to vote.
Along party lines the Iowa Senate passed SF 389, which creates a new eligibility verification system for Iowans enrolled in public assistance programs. In itself, the creation of a new verification system is not necessarily problematic. However, the bill also eliminates “categorical eligibility” for SNAP (food stamps) which, according to a proponent, would kick 50,000 people off of food stamps in Iowa. Categorical eligibility means a person qualifies for SNAP because they qualify for another government assistance program.
The ICC is working to change this and other provisions which could put up barriers to people who qualify for benefits. The bill is eligible to be considered by the Iowa House later in the session.
CONTACT CONGRESS NOW
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have several urgent action alerts on COVID-19 relief and the Equality Act. Please look at the sample messages and consider contacting Congress today.