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Insights: Budget Goes to Governor, Orlando Tragedy

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June 17, 2016

Lawmakers Approve Budget, On to Governor

Every year, the State Budget process is a long campaign that begins in January and is followed by months of negotiations, lobbying and revisions. The lengthy and commonly contentious process ultimately ends up with controversial issues being negotiated or decided by the “Big Three” – the Governor and Democratic majority leaders in both legislative houses.  Republican leaders are part of the Conference Committee process but because of the simple majority vote needed to approve the Budget, their influence is greatly diminished.

Without exception to this historic pattern, the California Legislature officially passed a $125 billion State Budget on Wednesday.

As reported last week in Public Policy Insights, Governor Brown announced a budget deal that contained the repeal of maximum family grant (MFG) rule and made significant strides in funding early childhood education and teacher preparation.  However, funds are still included to pay for a lethal dose of drugs for Medi-Cal recepients. It is now very likely that the first assisted suicide will take place before Medi-Cal patients receive adequate palliative care alternatives.

Please e-mail the Governor immediately and ask him to eliminate the funding for lethal drugs.  He has a line-item veto authority and can still eliminate this funding.

Conversely, we are pleased to report that the assisted-suicide “hotline” was removed from the final budget. However, this item is still being pursued separately by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and will require close monitoring by the CCC.

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Orlando: A Sword Has Pierced the Heart of Our City

 “A sword has pierced the heart of our city,” said Bishop John Noonan of Orlando after the horror of last Saturday night.   His diocese is now the location of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.  (Read the Call to Prayer issued this week.)

The nation awoke Sunday – on the Lord’s Day – to yet another report of a mass shooting as a lone gunman stuck down patrons in an Orlando nightclub.

The Vatican reacted quickly with the release of an early morning statement.  “Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion. Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort,” said the statement released by the Holy See Press Office.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops President, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, also released a statement early Sunday morning while details of the massacre were emerging.

Many churches, thoughout the nation and the world, raised prayers for the dead and their families as cities and towns around the world took pause.

California Bishops have called for prayers in a number of statements issued throughout the ensuing week.  Among those posting comments are Archbishop José Gomez (Los Angeles), Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco), Bishop Armando Ochoa (Fresno), Bishop Kevin Vann (Orange), Bishop Jaime Soto (Sacramento), Bishop Gerald Barnes (San Bernardino), Bishop Robert McElroy (San Diego) and Bishop Patrick McGrath (San Jose).

 

Analyst’s Report Questions Prop. 47 Savings Estimate

In 2014, California voters approved the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act – Proposition 47 – that reclassified certain nonviolent crimes as misdemeanors which reduced some penalties and decreased the prison population overall.   The savings from the change are to be spent to support dropout preventions, victim services, mental health and drug abuse treatment, trauma recovery and services to victims of crime and programs designed to improve K-12 education and truancy reduction programs.

However, a new report by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) points out that the Governor may be underestimating the savings by as much as $100 million.

The overall intent of the Act is to have no net impact on state finances, says the LAO.  In other words, whatever was saved from fewer incarcerations would be rolled into programs specified in the Act designed to prevent crime.  The LAO report takes exception to the way the Governor has calculated those savings, saying that the Administration has underestimated the savings and overestimated the costs.

To remedy this, the LAO has recommended to lawmakers a more accurate and transparent process.  You can review their proposal here.

 

Year of Mercy – End-of-Life Conversations and Visiting the Sick

A controversial law – opposed by both political parties – went into effect last week.  Instead of devising compassionate, informed and dignified end-of-life treatment, patients can now ask their physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs instead.

Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals and organizations – recognizing the fundamental shift in patient care this law entails – have announced they will not participate.  Instead, they are recommitting to better end-of-life care, better education for patients and families, and a better overall approach to treatment at the end of life.

Many people are reluctant to talk about death, fearing that talking about death will somehow make it happen.  It’s awkward and not something people like to talk about.

But we should.

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Celebrate Laudato Si Week

One year ago, on June 18th 2015, Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. 

Laudato Si’ Week will be a major international celebration to reflect on the Laudato Si’ message and take action to bring it to life.

Read about the impact of the Encyclical and what’s happening carry out its message around the world.

 

June 17, 2016   
Vol. 9, No. 21