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Insights: Repeal MFG, Appropriations, Memorial Day

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May 27, 2016

Faith Leaders Ask State to Help Women

The repeal of the CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule has garnered bi-partisan support in both Assembly and Senate Budget negotiations.   The repeal will probably come down to convincing the Governor of the need and importance to California low-income families. 

Currently only 15 states maintain “family caps” which deny an increase in benefits to families who have an additional child when they have received state aid in the 10 months prior to the child’s birth.   This denial of benefits hurts all children and may make women feel ‘forced’ into an abortion.

The legislative history of the MFG shows it was intended to discourage “gaming” the system and having additional children to receive more benefit dollars.  Such policies ultimately punish the child being born.  But to insinuate, as some have, that a woman would have a baby for about $120 per month strains common sense and borders on the absurd while endangering the life of both the impoverished mother and the baby in the womb.

The campaign to repeal the law has gained more than 150 organizational supporters and there is no organized opposition.  

To convince the Governor and legislators of the need to repeal MFG, a coalition of interfaith leaders recently created a video urging its repeal.  Please take a moment to watch this video which explains why faith leaders are unified in our support for repealing the MFG rule and then send an email to your legislators supporting the repeal.


Take Action Now!

It’s a busy time at the Capitol (see below) as all bills that involve the expenditure of funds must clear their respective fiscal committees by the end of the day and must pass their house of origin by next Friday.  If you have not already taken action on these bills, please take just a moment to do so now.  We will report back the results next week.

Stop the Bill Authorizing a Physician-Assisted Suicide Telephone Hotline - SB 1002 would establish a new, state-funded, telephone 'hotline' for Californian residents who wish to inquire about assisted suicide.  The new law making assisted suicide legal in our state, termed by proponents as the End of Life Option Act (AB X2 15), was passed late last year -- but has yet to take effect.  Nevertheless, proponents are already seeking to expand this sad law by proposing this inappropriate and conflicting role for the state.  

Help Families, Children Living on the Margin - Repeal MFG - The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program provides cash assistance to families with incomes below the federal poverty level.  The purpose of CalWORKs is to provide for the well-being of children, address the employment barriers parents may have and to promote job training.  (See related article.)

Restorative Justice Solutions - Despite our overcrowded prisons, recidivism remains at an unacceptably high rate. Last year, a broad array of faith-based and community organizations convened and agreed that the current criminal justice system, founded upon the sole purpose of punishment, has failed.  Along with Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D- San Diego) they created AB 2590.

Appropriations – Parking Lot or Last Stop

What to do with a bill that involves spending state dollars?  Not sure about whether the bill has enough votes?  Want to give a colleague a little more time to tout his or her bill before it’s killed?

Welcome to the Appropriations Committees.  

The committees often serve as a “parking lots” for bills with expenditures attached until the Budget becomes clearer.  But they also serve political expediency for many legislators.  You can also “kill” a bill by just leaving in Appropriations until after the deadline passes.

Next week, bills must clear their house of origin so there’s another rush.  It’s all just part of the ebb and flow of any organization.

We will bring you up to date on all the results new week or follow us on Facebook.

New Deportations Questioned by Bishops

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration expressed deep concern over reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will soon begin a month-long series of immigrant deportation raids. Incoming committee chairman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, also voiced such concern. 

Like the ICE enforcement actions conducted in early January, the upcoming operation is expected to focus on undocumented Central American mothers and children. 

While recognizing the federal government's role in upholding immigration laws, Bishop Elizondo warns against the underlying rationale behind the ICE enforcement actions. "Sending women and children back to Central America will not serve as an effective deterrent to migration because this is a humanitarian crisis and individuals from the region are being forced to flee for their lives," Bishop Elizondo said.

Continue Reading

USC has also published a new report on the benefits of naturalization in LA County.  You can read it here.

Prayer for Memorial Day

God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen

—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

May 27, 2016    
Vol. 9, No. 18