The News
Oregon Suicides Up PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 March 2016 13:30

According to the Oregon Public Health Division, the number of people who committed assisted suicide in 2015 increased 25 percent over the previous year. During 2015, 132 Oregon residents died from ingesting the overdose – double the number of Oregonians who committed assisted suicide in 2010. The 2015 report for Washington State is expected to be released this summer.

 
Pope – The Joy of Love PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 March 2016 13:28

Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), released April 8, brings “a rich reflection on the mission of the family and on how the Church can equip couples to embrace God’s vision for marriage and can offer healing for families who are struggling,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, the chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. “I encourage all Catholics, especially those living the vocation of marriage and family life, to take time to read and study the exhortation as a pastoral guide to the great calling of marriage in the Lord.”

The exhortation also addresses the different challenges families face around the world, whether fleeing conflict in Syria, gang violence in Latin America, or failing crops in East Africa. Pope Francis issues the rallying cry, “may we never lose heart because of our limitations, or ever stop seeking that fullness of love and communion which God holds out before us.” The Pope calls on us to “let us make this journey as families, let us keep walking together.”
 
The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the culmination of a synodal process called for by Pope Francis in 2013. The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops met in October 2014 on the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” In October 2015, the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops built on the first synod by examining the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” Bishops, clergy, religious and lay people at both synods, together with Pope Francis, addressed a wide array of topics that concern marriage and family life today.
 
Visit the USCCB website for more information or to purchase printed copies online.  Amoris Laetitia is also available to read or print from the Vatican website.

 
Legislative Update PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 February 2016 16:25

We are now in week 8 of  Washington State's legislative session, and nearing its end.  March 4th, is the deadline for all bills to pass the opposite chamber, for example a House bill must be passed by the Senate and vice-versa before 5:00 p.m. on the 4th.

Supplemental Budgets Proposed
Last week, the House and Senate released their versions of the supplemental budget. There were no major cuts to social service programs in either the House or Senate budgets.

The House budget proposes to spend an additional $467 million, including $99 million for starting teacher pay raises as part of solving the teacher shortage crisis in the state.  The House budget also contains $47 million for mental health, including $3 million for community mental health centers, and nearly $50 million to aid people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  The funds could be used for rental assistance and rapid rehousing. The House plan proposes to pay for the increased spending by eliminating six tax exemptions, including the sales tax exemption for bottled water. In addition to ending some tax breaks, the House budget proposes to tap the state’s emergency “rainy day fund” for $190 million to help pay for the devastating 2015 wildfire season.

The Senate supplemental operating budget relies on spending cuts and one-time savings and actually reduces state spending. The budget provides for a $159 million increase for low-income health care, necessitated by increased caseloads for patients on Medicaid, and includes $36 million to increase safety at Western State Hospital.

Neither the House nor the Senate supplemental capital budgets include any additional monies for the Housing Trust Fund. 

Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs)
Most people convicted of a crime must pay Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) that include victim restitution, crime victims' compensation fees, etc. The interest rate on repayment is about 12 percent. As it passed the House on Feb. 3 by a 97-0 vote, HB 1390 would eliminate the interest on most of the debt. The bill, which WSCC supports, passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

WorkFirst
The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program is called WorkFirst in Washington State. This program provides eligible adults assistance to find work. HB 1875 would increase the amount of vocational training for WorkFirst recipients from 12 to 24 months, subject to the amount appropriated.  HB 1875, which WSCC supports, passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

Toxic Flame Retardants
HB 2545, legislation that WSCC supports, would prohibit a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer from manufacturing, selling, or distributing for sale or for use in this state children's products or residential upholstered furniture containing any of five flame retardants. HB 2545 passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

To receive updates on how these and other pieces of legislation, visit WSCC's Action Center and Join the Network.

 
Special Session Concludes PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 14:27

After a 20-day special session, the 2016 legislative session adjourned on March 29.  The House passed the supplemental operating budget 78-17 and a few hours later the Senate did so by a 27-17 vote. The budget deal includes about $191 million in new spending from general revenues as well as $190 million from the “rainy day” fund to pay for costs stemming from last year’s wildfires. Among the new spending in the supplemental operating budget is about $40 million for mental health care. Another approximately $13 million will go to expanded services for homeless youth.

When the Governor called the special session on March 10, he also vetoed 27 bills, none of which WSCC was tracking. Before adjourning, the Legislature overrode the Governor’s vetoes on all of the 27 bills. Once a veto is overridden, the bill becomes law. The last time the Legislature overturned a gubernatorial veto was in 1998.

 
Catholic Advocacy Day PDF Print E-mail

WSCC is pleased with the fantastic turnout for Catholic Advocacy Day 2016.

More than 500 enthusiastic people, including grade and high school students, traveled to Olympia on February 8th for an opportunity to lobby legislators in person with other Catholics from across the state.

Advocates gathered at St. Michael’s parish in Olympia for legislative briefings followed by Mass.  The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Elizondo with several priest concelebrants and Fr. Michael Ryan gave the homily.  Participants then proceeded to the Capitol for appointments with their legislators.   

Click here for Northwest Catholic’s article on CAD 2016.

Attendees: still need to submit your evaluation of the event?  Click here for the evaluation form.

 
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