Sometimes, people infer that the Catholic Church only cares about abortion and contraception. I just thought you'd like to know what the Iowa Catholic Conference is lobbying for among legislators. And this just what's happening at the state level. The USCCB actually has a lot more that it's working on!
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1. HF 2380, the House Education Reform Bill
ICC does not support the expansion of the core curriculum found in the bill. ICC supports additional opportunities in online learning, competency-based instruction and an alternative path to teacher licensure. ICC also supports all forms of school choice but to implement additional charter schools without an equal measure of nonpublic school choice is problematic. In other states, charter school initiatives have led to the closure of private schools, as parents see an alternative to the regular public school that is “free.”
2. “Education Celebration” for Nonpublic Schools in Iowa
It will be held at the state capitol on Wed, March 21 at noon on the first floor rotunda. Speakers will include Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Sen. Daryl Beall (D-Fort Dodge). The event is sponsored by the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education. Please make plans to attend if you can.
3. HF 2429, Identity Theft
ICC opposes this bill, especially the provisions which create a new crime, stealing the identity of a fictitious person (a person who does not exist), and increase existing penalties for all identity theft violations to a felony. While identity theft is an extremely serious matter, this bill would have the effect of automatic deportation of some migrants for crimes against a person who does not exist.
4. SF 2275, Online Poker
ICC opposes the bill as it legalizes poker over the Internet sponsored by casinos in Iowa. We believe this is an unwarranted expansion of gambling in the state that will result in more problem gamblers and therefore more problems for families.
5. HSB 665
ICC recommends your support for this bill, creating a tax credit for 20% of a taxpayer’s contribution to a nonprofit regenerative medicine clinic in the state. The bill would be of benefit to the Pope John II Stem Cell Research Center, which focuses on reducing the barriers of translating basic stem cell research into clinical research for curing disease.
6. HF 2390 Human Trafficking
Along with the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking, ICC supports HF 2390, which would, among other provisions, expand the definition of human trafficking. It would include knowingly purchasing or attempting to purchase services involving commercial sexual activity from a victim or another person engaged in human trafficking.
7. HF 657 Late Term Abortion Ban and HJR 6 Marriage
ICC continues to ask our Senators to consider HF 657, the late-term abortion ban, and HJR 6, a state constitutional amendment to recognize marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Your messages to Senators on these bills would be appreciated.
8. HJR 2010 Balanced Budget
ICC recommends your opposition to HJR 2010, a proposed state constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget in Iowa and a 60% vote of the legislature before changing the state income or sales tax. Iowa currently is required by statute to have a balanced budget. The statute has proved effective. In addition, this amendment would make it more difficult for legislators to act when a tax increase or decrease might be called for to serve the common good.
9. Farm Bill
USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference are asking for support of a Farm Bill that provides for poor and hungry people both at home and abroad, offers effective support for those who grow our food, ensures fairness to family farmers and ranchers, and promotes stewardship of the land. Go to the National Catholic Rural Life Conference’s website at www.ncrlc.com for the full letter.
10. Nuclear Force Reduction
Now is a opportunity to make our voices heard by pressing President Obama to make good on his commitment to "put an end to Cold War thinking" and pursue further, dramatic steps that would make us all safer from the threat of nuclear weapons. Before March 31, you can join thousands of Americans by adding your name to a petition at www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22EXJL487Q5.