Late last month, meetings with the offices of more than 40 lawmakers took place during the annual Catholic Advocacy Day, where Catholics from throughout the state gathered in the Capitol to lobby positions on bills dealing with life, children, and families.
Aside from the important goal of holding lawmakers accountable, Catholic Advocacy Day also helps build ongoing relationships with legislators. Over time, these relationships can make a significant difference in legislative outcomes – especially if members of a parish or community consistently work with the representatives. Today’s U.S. Senator was yesterday’s State Assembly Member.
According to one participant, Alex Bennet, a policy analyst for Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, is interested in resolving SB 360’s (Hill – D, San Mateo) impingement on the First Amendment. (See previous article.) Discussion, insight and information like this is valuable to understanding the perspective of each legislator and how they fit into Capitol dynamics.
“We appreciate that [Assemblymember] Sharon Quirk-Silva has taken the time to meet with our group for the past three years,” said Alicia Jacinto, a CAD advocate from Orange. “If she agrees or disagrees on an issue, she is able to explain her reasoning. We didn't feel rushed at all throughout the meeting and were able to go through each of our talking points. We felt like she was listening to our needs and was willing to take action when she returns to our community.”
Several offices were unable to share positions on Advocacy Day bills, which can be for several reasons. Many legislators will avoid giving a position on a bill that is not in their house yet and others may be waiting to see if the bill is amended before it gets to them or they may be withholding their vote as a bargaining chip. And there is always the possibility they have not had the time to study the bills in question. There is never a wasted visit to discuss these bills.
Advocates plan to follow-up with several legislators, especially as these bills come closer to being up for vote.
Visit www.cacatholic.org for the most recent information on the status of these and other bills the CCC is monitoring.