By Tom Chapman
A bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.25 per hour was introduced last week in the Senate (Senate File 2039). The Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) supports an increase as a way to help provide sufficient resources for individuals to form and support families. House File 2011 is a similar bill in the Iowa House.
One of the seven core principles of Catholic Social Teaching as identified by the U.S. bishops is “care for creation.” Two bills related to this principle were introduced last week, House File 2028, and House File 2029. The ICC is monitoring HF 2028, which would put into place a moratorium on silica sand mining for “fracking” of shale oil or gas, and require the state to conduct a study of the mining for its effects on water, air and road quality. House File 2029 would simply require the study.
These bills are an opportunity to offer the Church’s perspective on an important principle. The creation of jobs and energy is important, but needs to be balanced against any consequences to the environment where we and future generations will live. The ethical and moral dimensions should not be overlooked.
The ICC advises opposition to House File 2041, which would require random drug testing for participants in state family assistance, food assistance or Medicaid programs. No provision exists in the bill for children to get assistance if their parent is disqualified. Some drug-using parents would be discouraged from applying for benefits at all, which would have an obvious impact on their children. In addition, poor people are being targeted while many others who receive state assistance are not.
If any of the above bills start to move, the ICC will let you know how to get involved. In the meantime, you can find out who your legislator is and their email address by searching the ICC’s Action Center on its website: www.iowacatholicconference.org.
This week is Catholic Schools Week, with the theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
It’s time to call your GOP member of Congress and urge them to include a path to citizenship for immigrants. The number is (855) 589-5698. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives planned to meet this week to plan their way forward on immigration reform.
The Justice for Immigrants campaign is asking that these two elements be included in their immigration reform principles:
• Include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
• Maintain family unity by preserving the family immigration system.
Also this week, the House is set to vote on H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment has updated its action alert to reflect this new information. See www.nchla.org /actiondisplay.asp?ID=310.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, first introduced in 2010, would place in permanent law a consistent policy that the federal government should not use tax dollars to support or promote elective abortion. In 2011, the measure was approved by the House with bipartisan support.