SB 5339, which would remove the death penalty from state law, is up for hearing in the House Public Safety Committee. Among those testifying is Bishop Eusebio Elizondo. Members of the Catholic Advocacy Network are encouraged to attend at 1:30 pm in the John L. O’Brien Building (Hearing Room D). There is also an option to live-stream the hearing on TVW.
USCCB Endorses Legislation to Protect Dreamers
The USCCB Committee on Migration endorsed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), which would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez (Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.) testified before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month. His testimony and the USCCB’s letter of support are both available online.
School Safety Legislation Up for Committee Vote
On Monday, several Catholic school leaders testified before the House Public Safety Committee in favor of SB 5514, which addresses the need for all schools to receive notifications to lockdown, evacuate, or shelter in place during an emergency. The Committee is now scheduled to vote on the bill on March 28. If passed from committee, the bill would require a vote on the House floor before going to the Governor for signature.
State Budget Process Heats Up
This week’s increased projection of over $500 million in revenue has set the stage for state lawmakers to finalize Transportation, Capital and Operating budgets. In the coming weeks, appropriation bills (representing drafts of the budgets) will be heard and passed out of the fiscal committees in both houses. Negotiations will then begin between Senate and House leadership to finalize each budget before sending to the Governor to sign.The WSCC is advocating for an Operating Budget that gives quality early learning and child care options to more families and expands the availability of community-based mental health programs. The Operating Budget also includes funding for the important Housing and Essential Needs program (HEN). Additionally, the WSCC is championing for a Capital Budget that supports the Housing Trust Fund.