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Insights: Advocacy Day, Busy Weeks in Capitol

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April 8, 2016

Advocates Call on Lawmakers to Promote Life & Dignity

On April 19 more than a hundred Catholic delegates from Dioceses around the state will gather at the Capitol to advocate for a variety of bills that promote life, support families and better their communities. The annual event will highlight specific bills that include:  tax relief for teachers and lower income families, protecting children who are victims of human trafficking, sentencing reform and strong opposition to the state furthering physician-assisted suicide.

Statewide measures meet two criteria for selection; they reflect Catholic principles and the likelihood of advancing legislation we support or stopping a bill we oppose during the legislative process.  Delegates may also add local issues to discuss with their lawmakers as long as they are consistent with California Catholic Conference positions.

Delegates are currently being trained and briefed in each diocese in preparation for their meetings with legislators during Catholic Advocacy Day.

Next week we will offer all Catholic Legislative Network the opportunity to participate via Virtual Advocacy Day – an Action Alert that voices your support for your fellow Catholics as they make the rounds to lawmaker’s offices.  Please watch for it!

For more information on the bills, please visit our Catholic Day Advocacy 2016 page or contact your local social action director and learn more about how you can become involved. 

Pope Francis’s long-anticipated Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), in which he lays out the response to two Synods on the Family, was released today.  Visit the Vatican's website to download a copy.

Upcoming: Hearings & Advocacy Shifts into High Gear                                  

On Wednesday, April 23, Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) will hold an information briefing on AB 2590 Sentencing: restorative justice, a measure sponsored by the California Catholic Conference and other faith groups.  AB 2590 would emphasize public safety as it applies restorative justice practices to the State’s sentencing process.  Contact Linda Wanner, for more information.  And watch for an Action Alert next week as the bill heads to its first hearing.

Speaking of Action Alerts, it’s that time of year when they’ll begin coming fast and furious.  The California legislature begins holding hearings on nearly 2,200 bills introduced in the second year of the session.  For some bills it will be the start of a long journey; others will come to a quick end.  Your fast response to Alerts is needed to make sure your voice is heard before the fate of some of the bills is sealed.

Next week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, an annual event established in 1981 to draw attention to the people and families whose lives have been affected by violent crime.  The California Catholic Conference will issue a statement next week from the Conference’s Restorative Justice Committee on the importance of healing in the criminal justice system

Stockton Diocese Joins Groups Supporting Clean Power

The Diocese of Stockton, in the heart of California’s Central Valley and facing immense environmental challenges, has joined the Catholic Climate Covenant as well as other Catholic and faith groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal standards on carbon pollution from power plants.

“The Earth is ‘Our Common Home,’” explained Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton.  “Our ecological future depends upon us all.  As such we must be good stewards of the planet entrusted to our care.  Climate change is a moral issue: It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity, with its worst impact felt by our poorest communities and developing countries worldwide in the coming decades.”

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California Minimum Wage Increases

Faced with an aggressive, far-reaching initiative headed to the November ballot, California lawmakers have enacted the highest minimum wage in the nation.  Governor Brown quickly signed the measure bringing the State’s lowest wage earners to $15 per hour by 2022.

The Governor resisted increasing the minimum wage too rapidly for some time, but an initiative recently qualified for the ballot. Many expected this wage increase initiative to pass easily.  Under California law, the legislature can “respond” to an initiative by enacting legislation and eliminating the need for a ballot measure.

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CCHD Internship Shapes Career Choices

Edwin Valdez came to work at the California Catholic Offices office nine months ago through a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities. Here are Edwin’s thoughts on his internship:

While attending mass one day at my parish, Holy Family in Citrus Heights, friends recruited me to help with a voter registration drive. The Sacramento division of Area Congregations Together (ACT) was sponsoring the drive and soon I become more involved with the group. I worked actively on Proposition 47 through phone banks and other grassroots efforts.

My efforts did not go unnoticed and soon Gaby Trejo, an ACT community organizer offered me an internship with the California Catholic Conference (CCC).  It was a great opportunity, since I needed a part-time job for school. Little did I know how much it would alter my career path.

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April 8, 2016      
Vol. 9, No. 11

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