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Insights: Legislative Update, New Restorative Justice site, Earth Day

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April 29, 2016

Busy Weeks at the Capitol

For the past few weeks, committees in the California Legislature were furiously working through hundreds of fiscally-related bills to meet their April 22 legislative deadline.  Non-fiscal bills have until May 6 to pass out of their respective policy committees.

If state funds are available or approved for the specific program(s), then a bill will move to the floor of its house of origin to be debated and voted on by members of that house. Then it will go through the process all over again in the other house. 

Any bill that involves more than $150,000 in expenditures will go to “suspense” and remain there until the legislature’s fiscal deadline on May 27.  This means that the Appropriations Committee is waiting until the State’s revenue picture is more certain.  Those projections – to be released in two weeks - are made in the Governor’s May Revise, his final budget proposal before the legislature takes its turn to chart the financial course of the Golden State.  

Stay tuned for alerts on Advocacy Day Bills and other bills we are watching as they move to the floor for a vote. We will also be watching budget request items and will have more information on these requests after the May Revise is released on May 12.

Update on SB 1002- End of Life Option Act: telephone number

This past Monday, one of our Advocacy Day bills, SB 1002 (Monning) was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  SB 1002 would require the California Department of Public Health to post a toll-free telephone number on its departmental website, on or before January 1, 2017, for the purpose of receiving and responding to questions in multiple languages about the End of Life Option Act, which is scheduled to take effect on June 9. 

The California Catholic Conference remains opposed to the bill because we believe the state has no role in what should be a personal and private conversation between a patient and their doctor. 

Furthermore, the bill also presents policy questions of potential liability concerns for the state and its employees regarding any misinformation or inadvertent encouragement that leads to an untimely death or unintended cooperation in an incident of coerced death when concerned, confused or distraught citizens approach the state for “medical” advice.

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High School Credit for Release Time Education Programs - SB 1457 (Morrell, R- Rancho Cucamonga) allows school boards to lift the cap on time restrictions for students enrolled in approved release time education (RTE) programs. These programs are either religious classes or moral and religious instruction. 

You can still take action on this bill and let your Senator know that you support this bill. It will be heard on the Senate floor next week. Thank you to all of those who already lent their support, your voice was heard.

New Restorejustice.com Website

In 2000, the U.S. Catholic Bishops released a statement regarding society’s response to crime. Throughout California, diocesan offices of restorative justice worked to implement the statement by educating Catholics about restorative justice and inviting them to take a more active role in combating crime and punishment.

Restorative justice is a response to crime and violence that shifts the focus from punishment to "responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration."  It holds offenders accountable even as it opens paths to healing, especially with victims.  And it addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime: victims, offenders, families, communities, and those working in the criminal justice system.

Our website, Restorejustice.com is now updated and has merged with the California Catholic Conference site. It is easy to view on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices; connects people to restorative justice activity on Facebook; promotes local restorative justice events in all of our dioceses, and; supports the Conference's RJ advocacy at the state capitol.

Earth Day Celebration

“Dive into the world’s problems with courage and help people turn their lives of desolation into abundance and hope,” Pope Francis said.

“You must take life as it comes. It’s like being the goalie in soccer – grab the ball wherever they kick it,” he told people gathered in a Rome park for an Earth Day event.

“We must not be afraid of life, afraid of conflict,” he said April 24, “because it is only by confronting challenges head-on and together that they can be solved.”

Making a surprise late afternoon visit to Rome’s Villa Borghese park, the Pope spoke to more than 3,000 people attending a four-day event sponsored by the Focolare Movement and Earth Day Italy.

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April 29, 2016                                
Vol. 9, No. 14

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