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Insights: Foster Care, MFG Rule, Affordable Housing

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May 6, 2016

May Revise Expected Next Week

The May Revise is an update to Gov. Brown’s January budget proposal that incorporates actual revenue and expense data from the first months of 2016. It is expected late next week.

The California Catholic Conference is hoping that some items we are watching will be addressed in this revise.  If not, we will work to have them included in the final legislative budget to be passed by June 30.

One rule we would like to see eliminated in this May Revise is the Maximum Family Grant Rule. State law prevents parents receiving assistance through the CalWORKs program from receiving a grant for any child born to the household while any member of the household is receiving aid. 

Another area we are watching is the expansion of physician-assisted suicide in the state. In Gov. Brown’s proposed 2016 Budget, he recommends $2.3 million dollars for the purchase of lethal drugs for Medi-Cal patients as a covered benefit for those who want their physician to help them commit suicide. Sadly there is no mention of funding palliative care in his budget.  

Due to the severe teacher crisis that is afflicting our state, one item that we are working on having included in the final budget is a budget measure that would provide teachers with preliminary credentials either up to a $500 credit or $2,500 deduction on their personal state income taxes for fees incurred toward the completion of an induction program.

These were all items that were part of our Catholic Advocacy Day and we will keep you posted on any developments throughout the budget process.


Year of Mercy- Foster Care Crisis in California

May is Foster Care Awareness Month. This month’s publication “Because We Are Catholic,” shows the need our state has for foster care parents.

The phone always seemed to ring in the middle of night. “Can you take just one more? It will just be for one night.” The answer was always yes then cookies and milk was set out.

The children were often petrified when they arrived at the door.  But a loving smile, a nice bed, clean pajamas and a bedtime story calmed their fears.

 Jan Potts, a parishioner at St. Charles of Borromeo in Livermore, was just out of college and working for Social Services of Shasta County when she met two elderly widows who faithfully accepted foster children on that critical first night. Their kind acts had a lasting effect on Jan.

Later in life, happily married and raising her son, Jan and her husband Bill began the journey to become foster parents themselves. Within months they began helping children in need. “I was inspired by what those women did and I knew I could offer a child, if just for a short time, that stability and care.”

With over 60,000 vulnerable children in California, the foster system constantly struggles to find them suitable homes. 

Continue Reading


Assembly and Senate Proposals to Combat Homelessness

Glancing through the real estate section of a California city newspaper on a Sunday, may cause one to experience a slight panic attack. California housing costs are steadily climbing and the inventory of homes remains low.  

Cities once deemed “affordable,” are becoming more expensive and these high costs are showing no signs of relinquishing. Since 2008, median rents in California have increased by over 20 percent, as median incomes have dropped by eight percent.

Over 1.5 million low-income families lack access to an affordable rental home and our state includes 20 percent of our country’s homeless population.

The Assembly and the Senate have both introduced proposals that work on a permanent funding source for affordable housing in the state.  As the May Revise of the governor’s budget is released late next week, we will be keeping our eye on these proposals and will keep the network informed of their progress.


Education Legislation Update

The U.S. House of Representatives on April 29 approved the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Reauthorization Act (HR 4901), which reauthorizes the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) through 2021 and earmarks additional funding for regular public schools and public charter schools.

The OSP, which was established in 2004, provides funds to allow low-income families to send their children to private schools. New provisions in the reauthorization require participating schools to be accredited.

The bipartisan legislation was supported by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and eight members of the Washington D.C. city council.  The final vote was 224 to 181.

Before becoming law, a stand-alone bill would need approval by the Senate and a signature by President Obama. But this bill’s path to enactment will likely involve being folded into a larger must-pass, must sign spending bill.

The Catholic Legislative Network advocated support for SOAR’s Reauthorization in the U.S. House of Representatives -- and will again be activated as this measure moves to the U.S. Senate. 


Active Alert

AB 2590- 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.

This bill considers effective alternatives to incarceration, specifically restorative justice solutions, as well as opportunities for rehabilitation for those already incarcerated.

Specifically, AB 2590 would declare that the purpose of sentencing is public safety and this can be achieved through accountability, rehabilitation and restorative justice.

This bill recently passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will be heard on the Assembly floor soon. Please urge your legislator to vote “aye” on this bill- Take Action Here.


Happy Mother’s Day!

 Her children rise up and call her blessed… Proverbs 31:28

May 6, 2016

Vol. 9, No. 15