California Legislators Debate the Fate of Hundreds of Measures
The California Legislative Session will officially end at midnight on September 13 and bills are moving at a frantic pace in the Capitol Building as lawmakers hurry to get their bills passed before the deadline.
Numerous bills that the CCC has been tracking have made major moves. Some have fast-tracked their way to the floors of the chambers while others have now become two-year bills.
There are several life and dignity bills that the CCC is closely watching including SB 24, the bill that would make chemical abortions available on college campuses is on the Assembly floor; AB 922, the bill that would compensate women for providing their oocytes; and SB 29 would expand Medi-Cal to undocumented individuals who are 65 years or older.
The Network distributed and Action Alert on SB 24 earlier this week. (See next story.)
AB 809 (Santiago, D-Los Angeles) which would provide expectant parents with their rights through Title IX programs now sits on the Governor's desk. Thank you to all who worked in supporting that bill. Watch for an Action Alert on SB 809 next week. We would like to give the Governor some extra encouragement to sign this bill quickly.
(Look for details, analysis and committee votes on all the bills mentioned in this article on our Legislative Page.)
The CCC is monitoring several education bills. The Conference supports AB 842, which would greatly increase affordable access to healthy meals for low-income children in preschool and childcare, while opposing AB 624 Pupil and student health: identification cards because it would add numerous hotline numbers on student identification cards that will diminish the effectiveness of the only number (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) now required.
In college-related bills, AB 2 would offer a second year of tuition-free community college for first time, full-time students at campuses participating in the state’s College Promise program; AB 211 would provide a financial incentive for families to save for future higher education; and AB 1307 creates a Cal Grant program to establish fair, predictable financial aid for students attending independent state colleges and universities.
The CCC is also supporting AB 1548 California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which would improve security for nonprofit places of learning and worship that are at high risk for violent attacks or hate crimes due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.
As for environmental legislation, the CCC is supporting AB 209 a grant program aimed to foster good stewardship among underserved and at-risk youth by increasing their ability to engage in outdoor environmental education experiences at state parks and other public lands where these activities take place. The Conference is also supporting AB 638 to identify water storage facilities vulnerable to threats from climate change and propose strategies to mitigate those threats as well as AB 1628 to protect disadvantaged communities from environmental harms.
The Conference is also supporting SB 1, the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 which would ensure that clean air, clean water, protection of endangered species and worker safety standards that have been in place for as long as 50 years will not be rolled back.
Additional environmental bills include SB 54, the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which would drastically reduce the amount of single-use packaging and products sold in California and ensure the remaining items are effectively composted and recycled. We are also supporting SB 210 to direct the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to create a smog-check program for heavy-duty diesel trucks that will improve air quality and public health in communities choked by the harmful impacts of diesel exhaust.
Several Catholic Advocacy Day bills are done for this year but will be taken up again next session. These include SB 298 (Caballero, D-Salinas), the Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Act, which would establish specific targets to end deep child poverty in four years and reduce child poverty in California by 50 percent by 2039.
SB 360 (Hill, D-San Mateo) which would require clergy to break the seal of the confessional and become mandated reporters might also be reconsidered next year as will SB 456 (Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera) which would prevent faith-based organizations from sharing volunteer information without a court order.
Stay with the CCC for the latest on these bills and check our alerts page for ways you can help support or oppose important bills.
Oppose Abortion Medication for Colleges Bill Now
SB 24 Abortion by medication techniques (Leyva, D-Chino) mandates that the on-campus health centers of public universities in California offer abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486. Governor Brown vetoed a similar bill (SB 320) last year. Yet proponents keep bringing up the same measure - unchanged and with no new evidence to support their position.
SB 24 also invites health centers to offer abortion counseling services to students but is specifically written in such a way to exclude pro-life counseling. This bill fails to allow students the opportunity to know any option other than abortion.
Besides the moral significance of this bill, SB 24 puts the health of college women at risk because college health centers will not have adequate resources to support them as they should. The bill also requires the State Treasurer to accept donations and administer an abortion promotion fund. After the funding runs out in 2023, the cost will either go to taxpayers or the college students through their school's mandatory student fees.
The state of California should not be encouraging or funding abortions at all. Most Californians, even many who support a woman's right to choose, are opposed to our state being so involved in such a highly controversial decision.
SB 24 is now up for a vote in the California Assembly.
Let your Assembly Member know there is no need for these services on campus and that you oppose this one-sided bill. Where is the assistance for women who want to choose to keep their babies? Why have the legitimate concerns of college health providers been ignored?
Change to Public Charge Rule to Undermine Families
On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule that will have negative consequences for families accessing critical public benefits for which they otherwise qualify. The rule is currently set to take effect on October 15, pending several court challenges that could delay or even halt implementation.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, TX and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, FL and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed their strong opposition to the new rule declaring: "This rule will undermine family unity and lead many lawful immigrants to forgo vital assistance, including enrollment in nutrition, housing, and medical programs."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC. (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) to create a new informational resource you can use to discuss the potential impacts of the rule change. This new document is available here.
Gráinne McEvoy, an independent scholar based in South Bend, Indiana, who is currently writing a book on American Catholic social thought and immigration policy in the 20th century closely examined the detrimental effects this change will have for those it impacts.
“Any process that undermines the health and well-being of the nation’s children, parents, and the elderly, whether citizens or immigrants, runs counter to the Catholic principle that the integrity of the family unit is the vital heart of a stable society,” McEvoy wrote.
USCCB Holding Respect Life Program Webinar
The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities is holding a Respect Life Program webinar on Thursday, September 12 at 2:30 p.m. EST for all parishes regarding changes to this year’s materials.
The webinar will walk through the new resources and include a live Q&A at the end.
Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts
As Hurricane Dorian continues its trek up the Eastern seaboard, Catholic Charities USA has begun relief efforts to help counter the destruction the storm has left it its path. The devastation is especially bad in the hard-hit Bahamas where some 60,000 people need food and supplies. On Grand Bahama Island, 60 percent of the island is now underwater, including the airport, making rescue and aid efforts difficult.
Catholic Charities USA is accepting donations and will be dispersing the funds to local agencies on the ground assisting those affected by this storm.
Click here for a list of dioceses who are accepting funds for relief services.
September 6, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 24