California Legislature Back in Session
California lawmakers returned to the State Capitol this week to begin the next two-year legislative cycle.
This year’s class of elected officials includes more than 20 new members who have not previously served as a state lawmaker. While there are now more Latino and Asian members than in the past, there are four fewer female lawmakers.
Democrats now hold supermajorities in both the Assembly and the Senate, giving them power to pass bills without the need for Republican support. Under new term limit laws, they now also have up to 12 years to gain experience and competence in the legislative process which will hopefully positively impact solutions to California issues.
Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have already vocalized their opposition to the Trump presidency and their intention to challenge federal mandates that are in conflict with their view of California’s needs. Just this week, they contracted former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to assist with potential legal challenges to the administration.
The Legislature is already at work, solidifying committee assignments, scheduling hearings on the nomination of Congressman Xavier Becerra as the new Attorney General to replace U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and posturing with Governor Jerry Brown on his initial budget proposal scheduled for later this month.
The California Catholic Conference will be tracking issues and bills arising in the Legislature impacting reverence for life, family and marriage, human dignity, education, restorative justice, environment and the practice of faith in the public square. Given the new Administration in Washington, the Conference is also anticipating a deepening engagement with Federal issues in conjunction with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Visit www.cacatholic.org for the latest on all legislative matters.
National Migration Week Jan. 8-14
The worldwide National Migration Week 2017 will take place January 8-14. This year’s theme is “Creating a Culture of Encounter.” The celebration provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contributions of migrants, including refugees, and victims of human trafficking in our communities.
Globally, more than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes with the number continuing to rise. National Migration Week offers a time to learn about migration and to come together to encounter immigrants and refugees in parishes, dioceses and communities.
The gospel of Matthew illustrates the Holy Family’s own forced migration as Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus to escape King Herod’s attempt to kill infants of the area. Jesus himself was whisked away in the same way that millions have experienced around the globe.
Justice for Immigrants, a coalition sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will be launching a website featuring news, background materials on migration policy issues, and ways for individuals to get involved.
Click here for more information and resources.
Upcoming Series on Abortion Industry
Next week, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) will begin a three-part series examining public funding for Planned Parenthood and the extensive list of “special” legislative treatment the abortion industry has received in California.
Though it claims to be a nonprofit Planned Parenthood reported revenue of almost $1.5 billion in the 2015 fiscal year. Almost half of this amount, over $500 million, was paid by taxpayers.
In addition, Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry stakeholders have successfully lobbied for the expansion of abortion services that defy medical safeguards, while restricting pro-life flexibility in the state.
The series will explore issues, including:
· How Planned Parenthood skews its abortion statistics, which are largely unverifiable.
· The financial reality that provides taxpayer-funded abortion services in California for essentially any reason.
· What the election of Donald Trump could mean for Planned Parenthood funding.
The series will begin next week.
San Bernardino Diocese Fasting to Prepare for Inauguration
In response to divisions that emerged from the presidential campaign and in support of healing and hope for the country, Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino has asked for a period of fasting, prayer and good works for our nation and its leaders.
In the spirit of the continuation of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, he is encouraging people to take one day between January 3 and 19 as a concentrated time of focus and self-emptying so that the Holy Spirit might purify and deepen our collaboration and love for our nation, its leaders, and our families. He suggests that people especially pray that the Spirit might heal divisions in our nation.
Click here for more information and the fasting calendar.
Pope Urges Non-Violence in 2017 World Day of Peace Message
In his message titled “Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace” for the 50th World Day of Peace on January 1 this year, Pope Francis urged families, faith communities, government leaders, and the international community to practice non-violence and work to build a just peace.
“In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves to prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace.”
Click here to read the message in its entirety.
January 6, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 1