Summary of this week’s public policy news and events.
Newsom Focuses on Administration Highlights in State of the State
Governor Gavin Newsom delivered his State of the State address this week, spending the uncharacteristically short 18-minute speech lauding the “California Way” and touting his administration’s work on Californian’s top-of-mind issues like gas prices, crime, and homelessness.
The Governor briefly touched on his only new policy proposal, a legislative deal to bring relief via a tax rebate to drivers reeling from $5 a gallon plus gas prices, but didn’t provide any details on the proposal.
Newsom cursorily reiterated California’s “leadership” in preserving abortion in the country, though he quickly pivoted to other issues polls show to be on voters’ minds in this election year. COVID-19, which has driven the majority of the state’s spending and policies priorities over the last two years, was not mentioned until more than halfway through the address.
The full text of his speech can be found here.
Congress Retains Hyde and Weldon Amendment in Omnibus Spending Package
The House passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending package Thursday morning with Republicans touting the victory of retaining the Hyde and Weldon Amendments that Democrats had attempted to strip from the budget proposal.
“We applaud Congress for including provisions in the omnibus appropriations package that uphold the sacred dignity of human life and will support and assist many vulnerable people here and abroad,” the USCCB said in a statement. “In particular, we are grateful that Congress has maintained longstanding, bipartisan, and lifesaving provisions including the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon Amendments that prevent our tax dollars from paying for the tragedy of abortion and protect people from having to participate in abortion against their consciences.”
The Biden Administration unsuccessfully sought to remove the Hyde Amendment language, which prevents federal funds from being used for abortion services, from last year’s budget. It was the first time in four decades that an attempt had been made to do so since the amendment was adopted in the 1970s.
The current omnibus bill also includes the Weldon amendment, which guarantees federal funding for entities that do not provide abortion services. Democrats had also stripped the original bill language of that protection.
The bill will now be sent to the Senate. You can find your Senator here to tell them to keep the Amendments in place.
Catholic Restorative Justice Network Webinar Series
The Catholic Restorative Justice Network is offering a second six-part webinar series to increase understanding and best practices in restorative justice and spiritual care, community resilience, and accompaniment ministries.
The series will begin on March 24 and be presented with simultaneous Spanish translation. The program is a collaboration between the California Catholic Conference, Office of Restorative Justice, Santa Clara University’s Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, and (Arch) Diocesan Restorative Justice Directors.
Participants will receive a certificate of completion from Bishop O’Connell, Santa Clara University, and your diocesan bishop.
Catholic Climate Covenant Small Grants Program
The Catholic Climate Covenant’s 2022 Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants Program will offer $75,000 in small grants to support projects, programs, and events across the U.S. Catholic communities that advance the spirit of Laudato Si’ and promote diocesan and parish creation care activity as part of the synodal process.
Grants for 2022 will be available up to a maximum of $1,000 for U.S. Catholic parishes, schools, dioceses, and other U.S. Catholic organizations. The application deadline to apply is May 2nd, 2022.
Support Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Catholic social teaching is deeply committed to building economies that put people before profits. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 1486) would make the workplace safer for pregnant workers and their unborn children by requiring employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations.
Common requests made by pregnant women include a chair for jobs that require long periods of standing up, a modified schedule, light duty for jobs that require heavy lifting, being able to carry a bottle of water, or permission to take additional breaks to use the restroom or drink water.
Unfortunately, the current legal landscape does not require employers to provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations. Consequently, some pregnant workers are denied such temporary accommodations and are forced to take leave, are terminated, or experience other forms of retaliation.
No woman should be forced to risk her or her child’s health, miscarriage, preterm birth, economic security, or losing insurance by being denied a short-term, reasonable, pregnancy-related accommodation.
Please take action today and encourage your U.S. Senators to protect pregnant workers by advancing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
If you have personal experience with the denial of workplace accommodations during pregnancy, we encourage you to include it in your message.
California Catholic Conference Internship Opportunity
The California Catholic Conference is seeking a Restorative Justice Intern for the 2022-2023 school year who has leadership and community service experience, and effective writing and communication skills.
Our CCHD intern would have an indispensable role in the building of our new Catholic Restorative Justice Network, collaboration with diocesan directors and partners, outreach and education messaging, supporting legislative strategy development, and promoting organizing opportunities related to social justice issues.
The internship will begin with a three-day orientation, June 1-3, in Washington, D.C. The position will be 16 hours per week based in the Sacramento office and includes parking. A Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant funds the paid position.
Applications are due by April 25.
For more information, please send your resume to Debbie McDermott at email@example.com.
Prayer, charity and fasting are not medicines meant only for ourselves but for everyone: they can change history, because they are the principal ways for God to intervene in our lives and in the world. They are weapons of the spirit. #Lent
March 11, 2022
Vol. 15, No. 9