Insights: End of Signing Period; Respect Life Month

Respect Life Month

Newsom’s Signatures Bring Several Wins, Major Disappointments

Like many things in this era of COVID-19, Governor Newsom’s Sept. 30 deadline to sign or veto legislation placed a cap on a largely disjointed and confused second year of the two-year legislative session.

The number of bills placed on the Governor’s desk in 2020 compared to 2019 dropped by nearly two-thirds – 500 in 2020 compared to 1,300 in 2019 –  and was largely a byproduct of the era of COVID-19 and the legislature’s need to narrow its focus this year. With unplanned, extended recesses in both the Assembly and Senate this year, many bills were the victims of circumstance and didn’t move beyond their initial committees.

Despite the setbacks, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) is happy to report that our co-sponsored bill, SB 905, (Archuleta, D – Chino Hills) was signed by Governor Newsom, and will protect the identities of church volunteers from ICE and other reporting agencies.

The CCC is also pleased that AB 1876 was also signed, giving all Californians access to the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). The expansion allows all undocumented workers who meet income requirements to take part in CalEITC, a bi-partisan tax credit program that helps families who, despite working, fall below the poverty line. 

In another win, AB 2512 (Stone, D – Scotts Valley) was signed hours before the deadline. This new law will ensure that individuals with intellectual disabilities are quickly and accurately identified to prevent California from sentencing people with intellectual disabilities to death row. It will also ensure that those with intellectual disabilities who are currently on death row are resentenced.

In a major disappointment, and despite noticeable opposition from doctors and parents, AB 2218 (Santiago, D – Los Angeles) was signed into law. This bill provides grants to transgender-led organizations and hospitals, health care clinics, and other medical providers that provide gender-conforming health care services. 

The CCC is also saddened to report that SB 1237 (Dodd, D – Napa), a bill that removes physician or surgeon supervision for certified midwives in cases of low-risk pregnancy and childbirth was signed by our governor. While expanding the scope of practice for midwives is beneficial for Californian mothers to have greater access to healthcare, the bill failed to exclude the circumstances in which midwives engage in abortions.  


October is Respect Life Month

Each October, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. During October, the Church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life.

“This year’s theme is “Live the Gospel of Life.” The USCCB has published Action Guides in both English and Spanish to help guide parishes through Respect Life Month. The resources include homily helps, prayers, announcements, activities, and more to help you get started. We encourage you to adapt these resources as needed to fit your parish, school, or ministry.

You can also check in on the latest happenings in California on the public policy front by visiting the California Catholic Conference’s Reverence for Life page.


Election Resources

With Election Day a month away and early voting only days away, the California Catholic Conference has election resources and materials to assist you in your faithful citizenship duty.

There are propositional analyses and statements from the Bishops, excerpts on Catholic Social Teaching to aid in your decisions, homily helps, and policies on political materials and the Church among other information.

"The Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. . . . The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice." - Benedict XVI,  Deus Caritas Est no. 28

Faithful Citizenship Resources
2020 General Election Propositions Analysis
Guidelines for Political Activity
Policy on Political Materials


Wildfire Support

With several month-old fires still burning and new ones flaring up, this year’s wildfire season has proved the most devastating in California’s history. Over 4 million acres have burned so far, leaving thousands homeless and testing the limits of fire crews around the state and beyond.

Click here to find ways to support Catholic Charities that are assisting parishes and dioceses ravaged by the state’s destructive wildfires.


USCCB Denounces Exclusion of Catholic Schools from Revised HEROES Act

As soon as today, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider House Democrats’ new COVID-19 aid package, the revised Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill includes $225 billion for education, including $182 billion for K-12 schools. However, the bill provides no equitable services for students in non-public schools and maintains language that prohibits any funds from being used to provide financial assistance to non-public school children. This has the effect of excluding virtually any aid to students, families, and teachers in non-public schools.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Americans, including those whose children are enrolled in Catholic and non-public schools,” the Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland who serves as chair of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education in a released statement.

“It is unconscionable that this latest aid proposal would exclude these American children and the schools they attend from emergency aid that would ease the financial burdens they have borne as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic’s economic devastation has already led to the closure of at least 150 Catholic schools, many in low-income areas that serve children of color. Congress and the White House must come together to support emergency aid that prioritizes the health and safety of all students, including non-public school children and the nearly two million students enrolled in Catholic schools.”



"We see the face of Jesus in the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners; Christ calls us to help." @Pontifex

October 2, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 35

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