October 14, 2013, Vol. 6, No. 33
In this Issue:
- Bishops Thank Governor for Veto of SB 131
- Approval of AB 154 Will Expand Abortion in California
- Legislative Wrap-Up for the Year
- Thank You for Your Advocacy!
Bishops Thank Governor for Veto of SB 131
The Most Rev. Gerald Wilkerson, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and President of the California Catholic Conference, released the following statement Saturday following Gov. Brown's veto of SB 131 (Beall). The bill would have reopened the statute of limitations against private employers for child sex abuse for a period of 1 year, but would have forbidden lawsuits against public schools, other government agencies and the actual perpetrator of the abuse:
"We are grateful that Gov. Brown chose to veto SB 131. It was unfair to the vast majority of victims and unfair to all private and non-profit organizations.
"The fact that SB 131 discriminated against victims clearly played a major role in prompting a veto, but at the same time, we hope the way the Catholic Church in California has responded to the abuse crisis over the last ten years, and 'walked the walk' with respect to protecting young people and reporting allegations to law enforcement helped play a role, too.
"The Church's reaction has gone way beyond settling more than 1,000 cases and paying $1.2 billion in settlements. It's changed how we operate as a church. Millions of children and tens of thousands of church workers have received 'Safe Environment' training to learn how to keep children safe and spot potential abuse. Hundreds of thousands of workers and volunteers have been fingerprinted and background checked to screen them for red flags in their background. We continue to provide counseling to anyone who comes forward and we actively work with law enforcement to report allegations immediately and suspend anybody, clergy or otherwise, suspected of abuse.
"In the end, however, all we know for sure is that there can be no half-measures where victims are concerned and that the way SB 131 discriminated and treated victims unequally was impossible to morally or legally justify."
Approval of AB 154 Will Expand Abortion in California
Earlier in the week, Bishop Wilkerson also released a statement following the Governor's approval of AB 154 (Atkins) to allow abortions to be performed by non-physicians and AB 980 (Pan) to lower building standards in facilities that provide abortions:
"We are disappointed that Governor Brown has signed AB 154 and AB 980, which together dramatically increase the availability of abortion in California---the state in which 12 percent of Americans reside but 29 percent of all the nation's abortions occur. We oppose abortion, and until it becomes illegal, we will oppose measures which expand it---especially when it is at the expense of the girls and women undergoing the procedure.
"This change in the law will effectively create a two-tier health system. Physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives---with eight week's training---can now perform first trimester abortions in primary care clinics not designed for surgery. Most of their clients will be women and girls who are poor, whereas women and girls with means will seek out physicians with surgical skills and hospital admitting privileges for their abortions.
"The often repeated mantra of those supporting abortions rights is that abortions ought to be safe, legal and rare. With this change in California's law, abortions are merely legal---no longer safe and rare. We pray for the day when abortion is no longer legal."
Legislative Wrap-Up for the Year
Governor Brown took final action on many of the bills for which Action Alerts were issued, including:
- AB 651 (Bradford, D-Gardena) Convictions: expungement -- signed into law.
- AB 191 (Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles) CalFresh: categorical eligibility -- signed into law.
- SB 284 (de Leon, D-Los Angeles) Income taxes: credits: contribution to education funds -- vetoed because of technical issues but the Governor indicated a willingness to work with the author.
- SB 285 (de Leon, D-Los Angeles) Student financial aid: Cal Grant Program -- vetoed.
- SB 672 (Leno, D-San Francisco) CalFresh: eligibility: guidelines -- signed into law.
You can find the results of all the bills the Conference was following on our Legislative Report page.
Thank You for Your Advocacy!
It has been a challenging legislative year in California, not to mention the ongoing dysfunction in the nation's capital. Catholic Legislative Network (CLN) members sent tens of thousands of emails to legislators and the Governor on the many bills the Conference followed this year.
Your emails had an impact -- lawmakers mentioned to our lobbyists the correspondence they had received from CLN members, votes were influenced on your emails and lawmakers took notice.
Thank you. Job well done!