WSCC 2021 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 3 January 22, 2021
State Legislative Update
Bishop Mueggenborg Testifies Against Assisted Suicide Bill (HB1141)
House Bill 1141 (HB 1141) increases access to physician assisted suicide and accelerates the process. The bill broadens the definition of “qualified medical provider” and broadens the definition of those who can provide counseling. Additionally, this bill decreases the amount of time that a patient is required to wait between making a request and receiving a prescription to terminate his or her life. Previously, the patient had to wait 15 days. The waiting period will be shortened to 72 hours. Bishop Mueggenborg of the Archdiocese of Seattle and WSCC Executive Director, Mario Villanueva, testified against HB 1141 on January 18. View their testimony at 1:29:02. This bill was passed 11-4 by the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on January 20 and has been referred to the Rules Committee. It is anticipated that the HB 1141 will be brought to the House floor for debate. The WSCC opposes HB 1141.
HB 1072: Civil Legal Aid Funds for Undocumented Immigrants
Action Alert: Sign in as “pro” for the House Bill 1072 (HB 1072) Appropriations hearing prior to 2:30 pm on January 26. HB 1072 gives undocumented immigrants access to civil legal aid funds. These funds can be used for legal matters such as domestic relations and family law, elder abuse, disability rights, and health care. HB 1072 was passed by the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary and is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on January 26. In accordance with the bishops’ legislative priorities to help low-income individuals, including immigrants, the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) supports HB 1072.
HB 1009: Addition of Abortion Coverage to Student Health Plans
House Bill 1009 (HB 1009) expands the coverage of abortion in student health plans for colleges and universities. Any student health plan that provides coverage for maternity care or services will also be required to include equivalent coverage to permit the abortion of a pregnancy. This bill was fast-tracked. HB 1009 was passed by the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness and has been referred to the Rules 2 Review. It is anticipated that the bill will be brought to the House floor for debate. The WSCC opposes HB 1009.
Clean Fuels Bill (HB 1091) Passes Senate Committee Vote
House Bill 1091, also known as the Clean Fuels Bill, reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuel to reduce greenhouse emissions gas. The Senate companion bill is SB 5231. HB 1091 was passed by the House Committee on Environment and Energy on Jan 21. In accordance with Pope Francis’s call to care for God’s creation in Laudato Si’, the WSCC supports HB 1091.
Creating Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education (HB 1044) Scheduled for a Committee Vote
House Bill 1044 permits the Department of Corrections (DOC) to implement postsecondary education certificate and degree programs at state correctional institutions. It also establishes processes for identifying, assessing and accommodating incarcerated persons with learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and cognitive impairments. The House Committee on College and Workforce Development held a hearing on the bill and a vote is scheduled for Monday, January 25. Related to the bishops’ restorative justice priority, the WSCC supports HB 1044.
Private Schools Emergency Waiver Bill (HB 1131) Sent to Rules Committee
House Bill 1131 (HB 1131) provides a waiver for private schools to maintain their approval status when they are unable to meet minimum schools days or instructional hours due to a significant disruption resulting from an emergency situation. This bill is favorable to Catholic schools. The House Committee on Education voted on and passed HB 1131, and the House Rules Committee has placed it on the second reading calendar for debate. The WSCC supports HB 1131.
Voter Eligibility, HB 1078
House Bill 1078 will automatically restore voter eligibility to individuals convicted of a felony offense who are not serving a sentence of total confinement under the authority of the Department of Corrections. Currently, convicted persons must undergo a two-step process to regain voting eligibility. The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations passed HB 1078 on Jan 21. In accordance with the Washington bishops’ restorative justice legislative priority, the WSCC supports HB 1078.
HB 5068: Improving Maternal Health Outcomes
House Bill 5068 (HB 5068) expands postpartum maternal coverage from 60 days to one year for recipients of Apple Health. Apple Health provides health coverage for eligible families, children, low-income adults, and certain disabled individuals. Throughout Washington state and the US, maternal mortality rates are much higher than other developed countries, with stark ethnic disparities. The Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care conducted a hearing on January 20 for HB 5068. Related to our health care and racial justice legislative priorities, the WSCC supports HB 5068.
Housing Stability and Eviction Prevention
House Bill 1277 (HB 1277) creates a revenue source for housing stability services for low-income individuals and those experiencing homelessness. It also creates funds to prevent the eviction of households likely to become homeless or who would have severe health consequences, or both. The House Housing, Human Services and Veterans Committee held a hearing for this bill earlier today and will be voting on HB 1277 on January 29. Committed to affordable housing, the WSCC supports HB 1277.
SB 5010: Concerning Credit Scores and Equity
Senate Bill 5010 (SB 5010) prohibits the use of credit scores to determine rates for personal lines of insurance. The use of credit scoring to calculate rates for personal lines of insurance is unfair and has a disproportionately negative economic impact on women, low income individuals, and communities of color in Washington. On January 14 the Senate Committee on Business, Financial Services, and Trade conducted a hearing on this bill, and WSCC Executive Director Mario Villanueva testified in support. No further action has been scheduled at this time. The WSCC supports SB 5010.
Voice Your Opinion on Legislation
As a reminder, you may provide written comments on a bill at any time. To leave a message for legislators about a bill, call 1-800-562-6000.
Archbishop Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine and Encourages Others To Get Vaccinated
Earlier this month Archbishop Etienne received the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more from the Northwest Catholic. The WSCC, comprised of the bishops of Washington state, along with the Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Care organizations of the state issued a statement last month encouraging individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
From the USCCB
USCCB President Releases Statement Following Inauguration
Archbishop José Gomez, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released a statement on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, offering prayers and speaking to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
USCCB Responds to President Biden’s Executive Orders
The USCCB welcomed a number of the executive orders signed by President Biden on his inauguration day:
Virtual Catholic Advocacy Day on March 23, 2021
Register for our first virtual Catholic Advocacy Day (CAD). Scheduled for March 23, CAD will include opportunities to pray at Mass, talk with your legislators virtually alongside fellow Catholics in your district, and participate in a social media campaign. Participate in all or some of the day’s activities as your schedule allows. Please register for this free event by March 9 if you would like to meet with your legislators during CAD.
January Pro-Life Activities
As we remember the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision today, January 22, there are a number of pro-life activities in January:
- January 21-29: 9 Days for Life novena: Join the 9 Days for Life novena to pray for the protection of life. Visit 9daysforlife.com to learn more and sign up to receive daily prayers during the novena. Information on planning pro-life activities at your parish may be found here.
- January 22: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Children: Pray for the unborn on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
- January 22: Virtual March for Life in Washington. WA State March for Life says that this will be the culmination of a Week for Life on their Facebook page.
- January 24: Diocese of Spokane Mass for Life at 11 AM at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, with Bishop Daly presiding. The Mass will be streamed thru the Cathedral’s website www.SpokaneCathedral.com on the Facebook link.
- January 28-29: National Prayer Vigil for Life: This prayer vigil is held on the eve of the March for Life every year. Due to the pandemic the vigil will be closed to the public but will be televised on EWTN.
- January 29: National March for Life in Washington, DC
- January 31: Diocese of Yakima Annual Mass for Life at 11 AM at St. Paul Cathedral. Mass will be celebrated by Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima. Reservations for the Mass for Life may be made at https://www.stpaulyakima.org/.
January January is Poverty Awareness Month
January January is Anti-Trafficking Month
Jan 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Jan 21-29 9 Days for Life
January 22 Archdiocese of Seattle Mass for Life
January 22 Virtual March for Life in Washington
January 22 Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Children
January 24 Diocese of Spokane Mass for Life
Jan 28-29 National Prayer Vigil for Life
January 29 National March for Life in Washington, DC
January 31 Diocese of Yakima Annual Mass for Life
January 31 Catholic Schools Week begins
February 6-9 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering
March 23 Virtual Catholic Advocacy Day
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