Iowa Catholic Conference releases 2019 legislative concerns, principles

The Iowa Catholic Conference’s legislative priorities were formulated in consultation with its Human Life and Dignity Committee and Education Committee and approved by the Iowa Catholic Conference Board of Directors. Items may be added or withdrawn as the situation requires.

The Iowa Catholic Conference supports:

– An Education Savings Account program and enhancements to the School Tuition Organization tax credit

– Initiatives which would make health care more readily available and affordable to all Iowans, including immigrants and their children

– Increased availability of mental health care, palliative care and hospice service

– Addressing pornography and the proposed legalization of sports gambling as public health concerns

–  A state constitutional amendment which would declare the Iowa Constitution to be “abortion-neutral,” and parental notification laws

–  Legislation providing for a provisional driver’s license for undocumented immigrants

–  Assistance for the resettlement of refugees

–  Measures to promote healthy families such as increasing the state’s minimum wage, increasing the availability of affordable housing and addressing food insecurity

–  Legislation to protect residents from racial profiling

–  Programs to assist persons re-entering the community from incarceration

–  Consideration of the availability of Gun Violence Restraining Orders

The Iowa Catholic Conference opposes:

  • Legalization of physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia
  • Reinstatement of the death penalty
  • Legislation that would restrict the state’s ability to regulate weapons
  • Authorizing state and local police to conduct additional enforcement of federal immigration laws

These commitments are a natural development of the words we hear in Scripture. We are to love our neighbor as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). We are to bring “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to set the downtrodden free,” as Jesus says in Luke, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-2; 58:6). We look to Exodus, chapter 20, which tells us, “You shall not kill.”

2019 Legislative Principles

EDUCATION

Parents have the right to choose the kind of education best suited to the needs of their children. Public policy should assist parents in exercising that right.

HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY

Human life should be protected from conception until natural death. The government also should protect the common good, which is comprised of “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1906)

CARE OF CREATION
“The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.” (Caritas in Veritate, 48)

ECONOMIC CONCERNS

Government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable special consideration.

HEALTH CARE

Health care is more than a commodity; it is a ministry of the church as well as a natural human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity.

IMMIGRATION

Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland, in addition to the right to migrate to support and protect themselves and their families. Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILIES

The family should be supported as a basic building block of society.

RACISM

Racism, both individual and systemic, is an evil which endures in our society and should be resisted.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Government should recognize the First Amendment right of religious groups to practice their faith and still participate fully in public life.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration are the foundation for the necessary reform of our broken criminal justice system.

        Tom Chapman is executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Iowa bishops. For more information on the social and moral teachings of the Catholic Church as they relate to involvement in political activity, visit the Iowa Catholic Conference website at iowacatholicconference.org.

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