July 10, 2019 SB 360, Legislative Threat to Seal of Confession, Pulled from Committee The day before hundreds of Catholics were planning to voice their opposition by attending a hearing in the Capitol, SB 360 was pulled from the Assembly Public Safety Committee agenda effectively removing it from any further consideration this year. SB 360 (Hill, D-San Mateo) attempted to deny the sanctity of confession when it comes to priests and to Catholics who work with priests in parishes, Church agencies and ministries. The action follows the delivery of tens of thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Catholics and others concerned with the free expression of religion. Hundreds more planned on boarding buses from as far away as Los Angeles to voice their opposition. THANK YOU FOR YOUR EMAILS, PHONE CALLS and LETTERS Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, expressed his thanks to the Californians who reached out to their legislators to oppose SB 360: “An amazing number of people spoke to their legislators to explain the sacred nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” said Rivas. “It is important to our spirituality and our relation to God and to others. Our thanks go to all who played a part.” Rivas emphasized the strengthening mandatory reporting laws continues to be a priority of the Conference’s public policy efforts. Analysis of SB 360 by the staff of the Public Safety Committee also raised significant First Amendment concerns, emphasized that no other state had taken a similar approach and pointed to the impracticality of enforcing the new law. The analysis also noted the committee had received opposition from more than 125,000 individuals – although emails and letters from several dioceses continued to be delivered after that count was made. Authors can pull bills for a variety of reasons ranging from not having enough votes to a desire to continue working on details. Since the California legislature has a two-year session, the bill can still be considered next year. Related Reactions and Article Statement from Archbishop José Gomez Angelus News Story Bishop Oscar Cantu National Catholic Register Resources Available on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have made materials available to help you urge your U.S. Congressperson to sign the discharge petition and vote to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962). July and August are excellent times to engage parishes in taking action. Constituents are encouraged to schedule a meeting with their representative or attend a town hall meeting while he or she is in the home district. Congress will be on recess August 5–31. The beginner’s lobbying guide mentioned in the leader’s toolkit provides helpful tips on how to have an easy and constructive meeting with your representative. The leader’s toolkit is available here. The California Legislature is in recess until August 12, 2019. Public Policy Insights will resume when they return. Thank you for your advocacy and being a voice for life and dignity in California. U.S. Bishops Affirms that All Should Be Included in Census Bishop Frank Dewane, of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Joe Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement regarding last week’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Department of Commerce v. New York, regarding the importance of ensuring an accurate count for the U.S. Census: “We affirm last week’s decision by the Supreme Court that the inclusion of a citizenship question must ensure genuine reasons for such inclusion. We reaffirm that all persons in the United States should be counted in the Census regardless of their immigration status and reemphasize our judgment that questions regarding citizenship should not be included in the Census. We hope that this view will prevail, whether by administrative action or judicial determination.” Read more about how the Golden State is handling the census here.