Background: Navigating the California State Budget Process

On a fundamental level, the California state budget is the vehicle that provides our communities with necessary public services. However, on a societal level, the state budget reflects the values that we prioritize as Californians. 

Increasingly, critical policy issues are being decided through the budget process, often making the full impact of these policies difficult to find. (See: State and Local Funding of Planned Parenthood.)

Although the fiscal system can be complex, advocates should have a basic understanding of the budget process and how it enables participation in key decisions that impact their neighborhood, region and state.

State Budget Composition

In the simplest terms, the California state budget is comprised of state funds and federal funds – roughly two thirds and one third of the total budget, respectively.  More specifically, the state funds are comprised of the General Fund (not designated by law for specific purposes), Special Funds (designated by law for specific purposes) and Bond Funds (money borrowed from citizens by government agencies).

State Budget Revenue Sources

There are several different revenue sources that support the comprehensive state expenditures for a given fiscal year.  Think back to all the sales, income and other taxes that you incur each year.

To put the various revenue sources into perspective, out of the total 2017-18 governor’s proposed estimated revenue sources: nearly 50% of revenue for the 2017-18 fiscal year will come from personal income tax; 21% from sales and use tax; 6% from corporation tax; 3% from highway users taxes; 5% from motor vehicle fees; 1.3% from insurance tax; 1.2% from cigarette tax; and 13% from other sources.

That is a total estimated revenue of $175.7 billion for one fiscal year alone.

State Budget Allocation

As you can imagine, there is an exhaustible list of state expenses. Each line item goes to the public services that affect you and millions of other Californians. These include systems of education, health and human services and more.

To put the state’s expenses into perspective, the 2017-18 governor’s proposed budget estimates that nearly: 33% of expenses will come from health and human services; 29% from K-12 education; 8% from higher education; 8% from corrections and rehabilitation; 6% from transportation; and 15% from a combination of sources – including natural resources, government operations, business services, consumer services and more.

According to the proposed budget, this yields roughly $179.5 billion in expenditures for 2017-18 alone. If this sounds like a significant amount of cash flow, it is. As of June 2016, California was reported to have the world’s sixth largest economy.

State Budget Timeline

The state budget is essentially a series of bills that authorize the state to allocate funding across public services and system over the course of one fiscal year. Development of the state budget is a year-long, cyclical process and can be understood in two stages.

Stage one takes place from July through December.  On July 1 each year, the start of the state fiscal year, the current budget is enacted and development of the Governor’s proposed budget for the following fiscal year begins.  From this point through the end of the year, three key players are active in different ways:

  1. The state legislature is able to pass amendments to the current budget and develop their budget priorities for the next fiscal year;
  2. The general public meets with state legislators and advocate for issues that they feel deserve a hearing in the following year; and
  3. State departments and agencies develop and submit budget proposals/requests for the next fiscal year to the Department of Finance (DOF). The DOF then meets with the departments and agencies to review the budget requests, and the Governor makes final decisions on the proposals.

By the end of December, the DOF must prepare the Governor’s proposed budget, which must be balanced – meaning that estimated revenues must meet or exceed estimated spending.

The beginning of stage two is marked by the release of the Governor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year by January 10 each year. Several layers of review then take place:

  1. First, full Senate and Assembly budget committees and subcommittees (education, general government, environmental and health) review the Governor’s proposed budget and develop versions of their annual spending plan;
  2. Second, the general public can send letters to budget subcommittees supporting or opposing specific issues, meet with budget subcommittee members and/or legislative staff, and get involved in coalitions; and
  3. Lastly, officials from the Governor’s administration participate in legislative hearings to defend the proposed budget and develop the May budget revision. Members of the general public can also testify at budget subcommittee hearings and continue to meet with legislative staff and members of the Governor’s administration to advocate for issues.

By May 14, the Governor releases a revised budget proposal, known as the “May Revision,” or May Revise.

From mid-May to early June, officials from the Governor’s administration and the general public are able to testify at ongoing subcommittee hearings. Simultaneously, the State Assembly and Senate review the May Revise to finalize their versions of the budget in the hearings, while members of the general public are able to meet with Governor’s and legislative staff to discuss changes or new proposals to the May Revise.

By June 15, the Governor and other elected officials have met to address outstanding budget-related issues and the Legislature must have passed a balanced budget with a simple majority vote.

Between June 15 and July 1st, the Governor reviews the final budget package and must sign it or issue a veto. The Governor can issue a veto for individual appropriations, but cannot increase appropriations above the Legislature-approved level. Should the Legislature wish to override a Governor veto, a two-thirds vote is needed. Additionally, a two-thirds vote is needed to pass other bills in the budget package, including bills that increase taxes or propose constitutional amendments. If legislators do not pass a budget bill by June 15, they must forfeit their pay and expense reimbursement until the bill is passed and sent to the Governor.

Although the depth of this multi-layered budget process can seem overwhelming, it is essential for Californians to know how to participate in this annual process and have their voice heard in matters that affect them.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/budget-process

A7302, Cusick / S.5660, Lanza: In relation to the New York State Child Protection Act of 2017

Published on April 26th, 2017

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced bill is an omnibus child protection initiative designed to protect children from sexual abuse, and to allow existing and future survivors of such abuse a longer opportunity to seek justice in both criminal and civil courts. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly supports this bill.

By eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for the prosecution of certain sex offenses, the bill enables prosecutors to hold abusers accountable for crimes committed now and in the future, bringing unprecedented new protections to victims of child sexual crimes. In addition, this bill extends the time for civil claims to be brought by survivors of child sexual abuse until they are 28 years old, thereby ensuring victims have sufficient time to hold abusers civilly accountable for their actions. Importantly, notice of claim requirements are amended under this bill to ensure that victims of child sexual abuse are able to bring civil claims against all abusers, including those employed by municipal entities. Unlike some other bills before the legislature, all victims are treated equally under this bill.

Furthermore, this bill goes further than other legislation by addressing the societal problem of child sexual abuse in a comprehensive way. It expands mandated reporter requirements by adding clergy to the list of those who must report suspected cases of sexual abuse of a child, and requires all mandated reporters to not only report suspected familial abuse, but also suspected abuse at the hands of other mandated reporters. It also requires that all organizations, public or private, conduct criminal history searches on any employee or volunteer with the organization who has unsupervised contact with children. Costs to not-for-profit organizations associated with such criminal history checks would be reimbursed by the state under this legislation.

Sexual abuse is a crime and an assault on the dignity of the human person, made even worse when the victim is a child. Child sexual abuse is a pervasive social problem and the Catholic Conference fully supports legislative efforts to strengthen criminal and prospective civil penalties for sexual abuse of children to ensure children are protected from predators now and in the future. This bill helps to ensure such protection, and the Catholic Conference strongly supports it.

Since 2002, the Catholic Church has had a zero tolerance policy for anyone credibly accused of abusing a child, and has taken more steps to prevent the sexual abuse of children than any other religious or private organization. No one who has been credibly accused of harming a child is currently in active ministry, and all Church employees and volunteers must complete sexual abuse awareness training if they are going to be in contact with children. Whenever a credible claim of sexual abuse is brought, it is both investigated by Church authorities and reported to law enforcement. Under U.S. Church law, every diocese is subjected to annual outside audits to ensure full compliance with these policies.

The Catholic Conference strongly urges the passage of this bill because it will help bring justice to survivors of child sexual abuse, will help to prevent abuse going forward and treats all victims fairly and equally, regardless of where the abuse occurred.

Article source: http://www.nyscatholic.org/2017/04/child-protection-act-of-2017/

Pennsylvania Civic Commemoration Ceremony of the Holocaust

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer and Rabbi Elisha Friedman and son from Kesher Israel, Harrisburg, PA

“We must always be vigilant in preventing such atrocities,” said Matthew Handel, Chair of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. “This annual civic commemoration is essential to acknowledge and reflect on the catastrophe that fell upon the Jewish people and other groups of victims who were the recipients of unfathomable bigotry and hatred.

“We must never forget, so that we do not allow this tragic chapter of history to be repeated.”

The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition hosted this year’s Civic Commemoration of the Holocaust on April 24, 2017, at the State Capitol.  The 33rd annual ceremony included remarks from many elected officials including Governor Tom Wolf and resolutions from the Pennsylvania Senate and House.

The ceremony also included the lighting of candles by Holocaust survivors, and children and grandchildren of survivors, an essay reading from students, and an interfaith message by Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.

“The crimes of the Nazis began with a false understanding of humanity – that there are different “grades” of being and worth among people. This misguided idea that human beings differ from each other in terms of dignity, importance, or worth,” said Bishop Gainer, “must be categorically rejected as a direct contradiction to a moral and democratic society.”

“May this Holocaust Memorial Day forge a united resolve never to forget the tears and sufferings of the past and a united resolve to protect the dignity and sanctity of every person and to protect the rights endowed to every person by our Creator.”




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pennsylvania-civic-commemoration-ceremony-of-the-holocaust/

A.2646, Simotas / S.3148, Savino: In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Published on April 21st, 2017

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

While the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance mandate.  These concerns include the legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies.

Destruction of Human Embryos

Many of the assisted reproductive technologies available today, including IVF, routinely involve the creation, freezing, discarding, and systematic destruction of living human embryos in order to bring one healthy child to term. Initially, the process requires the fertilization of numerous eggs in the laboratory in order to be marginally effective. The embryos not implanted are then either discarded immediately or frozen for later use; many do not survive the freezing and defrosting processes. In reality, the majority of embryonic children created by IVF procedures will eventually end up deceased.

Practitioners generally choose to transfer greater numbers of embryos than fewer, to increase the chance that at least one will implant; this increases the likelihood of multiple gestations. According to the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law (Assisted Reproductive Technologies, April 1998, page 128), “The use of fertility drugs and the transfer of multiple embryos into the uterus during IVF creates a recognized risk that more embryos will implant than can safely be carried to term. In recent years, practitioners have relied on access to ‘fetal reduction’ – the destruction of one or more embryos so the remaining ones have a better chance – to manage these hazardous situations.” Simply put, fetal reduction is abortion.

The Catholic Church views the manipulation and destruction of living human embryos through assisted reproductive technologies as an assault on the dignity and value of human life. Each human embryo possesses unique DNA, and need only nutrition and the safe environment of the womb to grow and develop. Living human embryos must not be used as a means to an end because they are, like all precious human beings, an end in and of themselves.

Concerns with Assisted Reproductive Technologies

The Catholic Church supports and assists couples in overcoming infertility through the use of scientifically-based diagnostics, drugs and procedures that assist marital sexual intercourse in reaching its natural procreative potential. This type of “restorative reproductive medicine” can diagnose and resolve underlying fertility issues and treat reproductive disorders in an effective, less invasive, less costly manner than IVF. Restorative reproductive medicine can markedly reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies, premature births and miscarriages, and decrease other potential maternal complications as well.

The Catholic Church cannot support in vitro fertilization because it separates the natural sexual act from the conception of a child. A man and a woman supply the raw material for a technician to produce a child, grow him or her in a nutrient culture, and insert the child into the mother’s womb. This is done in exchange for many thousands of dollars.

IVF procedures are an artificial means of reproduction which treat children as merchandise to be manufactured, bought, and disposed of at will.

It is easy to see how this mentality can lead to other abuses as well, resulting from the desire to manufacture the best product most efficiently. Embryos produced in a laboratory can be pre-screened for genetic defects or a predisposition to certain diseases, or even for gender and eye color, and thrown away if they fail quality control.

Lack of Conscience Protection

This legislation contains no conscience protection for religious employers, religious organizations or closely held for-profit employers with religious objections to certain assisted reproductive technologies. Our Conference has consistently and strongly advocated for the inclusion of protections which would exempt religious institutional employers from paying for such mandates.

Conclusion

Current law already requires health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, but does not extend coverage to IVF, gamete and embryo transfers. Nor does current law extend the coverage mandate to human cloning, sterilization reversals, and experimental procedures, a policy that would be maintained under this legislation. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, we believe New York’s current law draws appropriate lines and we therefore urge lawmakers to reject A.2646/S.3148.

Article source: http://www.nyscatholic.org/2017/04/a-2646-simotas-s-3148-savino-in-relation-to-an-insurance-mandate-for-in-vitro-fertilization/

Perspectivas: Jornada de la Propugnación Católica la próxima semana; La realidad de la pobreza en California

Jornada de Propugnación Católica de la próxima semana se enfocará en los niños

Frecuentemente definimos el éxito por la cantidad de dinero que ganamos o por los lujos que adquirimos.  Pero cuando se reflexiona en esto, el verdadero éxito no tiene nada que ver con el dinero o las cosas materiales. La salud es lo que importa.  La comunidad importa.  Nuestros niños importan. 

¿Hemos preparado a nuestros hijos para que tengan éxito o para que fracasen? ¿Les hemos brindado la oportunidad para una buena educación? ¿Les hemos dado un entorno seguro y estable que les apoye en el hogar y en la escuela?  ¿Hemos dado el ejemplo de buenos valores y ayudado a enseñarles la diferencia entre el bien y el mal?  

La Jornada de la Propugnación de este año, el 25 de abril, se enfocará en la seguridad y el bienestar de nuestros niños, y en proveer vías para asegurar que ellos tengan las oportunidades para prosperar. 

Aunque usted no piense asistir al evento de este año, aún puede visitar la página de la Jornada de Propugnación Católica ( Catholic Advocacy Day web page ) para enviar rápidamente una carta a los legisladores o ver videos sobre algunos de los proyectos de ley.

Usted podrá participar en este evento, aunque no esté presente en Sacramento, visitando nuestra página de Alertas para la Acción ( Action Alert page ) donde podrá unirse a los delegados para decirles a sus representantes que a usted le importa el bienestar de los niños en California.

Tome medidas ahora  o continúe leyendo

 

Análisis: Son necesarias medidas inteligentes para reducir la alta tasa de pobreza en California.

Aunque California se conoce como uno de los estados más pudientes del país, con un ingreso medio de aproximadamente $61,818 por familia, por año, y con una economía más grande que todos los países, salvo cinco, mundialmente, también nos estamos convirtiendo en el estado que tiene los mayores niveles de pobreza y de pobreza infantil en los Estados Unidos.  

Según la Medida Oficial de la Pobreza (OPM, por sus siglas en inglés) de la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos, aproximadamente 5,8 californianos viven en la pobreza. La Medida establece el umbral de la pobreza en la cantidad de $24,339 como el ingreso total anual para una familia de cuatro (dos adultos y dos niños), $12,486 para una persona sola menor de 65 años de edad, y $11,511 para las personas de 65 años y más. Aunque no se han tomado en cuenta muchos factores geográficos pertinentes, según esta medida oficial, esta cifra equivale al 15 por ciento de californianos que vive en la pobreza. Según este sistema métrico limitado, California (el estado con una población significativamente mayor que otros estados) ocupa el lugar número veinte por su porcentaje de población que vive por debajo del nivel de pobreza, a la vez que ocupa el décimo lugar por tener los ingresos medios más altos por familia, en el país.  

Sin embargo, aunque estas cifras ya son notorias, la medida oficial no toma en cuenta factores importantes que afectan la realidad de la pobreza en nuestro estado.

Consciente de estas limitaciones, la Oficina del Censo de los EE.UU. publica una Medida de Pobreza Suplementaria (SPM, por sus siglas en inglés), la cual hace “ajustes en el umbral oficial de la pobreza para justificar las diferencias en el nivel del precio geográfico, particularmente para las diferencias en el costo de vivienda, según se mide por los alquileres”. De acuerdo a la Medida de Pobreza Suplementaria, California tiene el primer lugar en comparación a los otros estados, con aproximadamente 7,9 californianos viviendo en la pobreza.

Continúe leyendo

 

Declaración Diocesana:  Tiroteos fatales invitan a todos los fieles a la oración, la reflexión y la reconciliación

La Diócesis de Fresno publicó la siguiente declaración en respuesta a los tiroteos absurdos que tuvieron lugar en Fresno esta semana:

En menos de dos minutos, se perdieron tres vidas sin causa aparente, aparte de un odio incomprensiblemente profundo que llevaba en su corazón un hombre.  Las escrituras dicen: “El que afirma que está en la luz, pero odia a su hermano, todavía está en la oscuridad. El que ama a su hermano permanece en la luz, y no hay nada en su vida que lo haga tropezar. Pero el que odia a su hermano está en la oscuridad y en ella vive, y no sabe a dónde va porque la oscuridad no lo deja ver”.  (1 Juan 2, 9-11)

Una vez más, nuestra comunidad ha sido tocada por la oscuridad.  Las familias, amigos, vecinos y la gran multitud de personas buenas y bondadosas en nuestra comunidad deberán decidir ahora, una vez más, cómo responderemos a esta tragedia sin sentido.  Debemos reflexionar en lo que hemos pasado y en lo que pensamos al respecto. El enojo y la indignación son ciertamente una reacción natural; no obstante, debemos sentirnos invitados a una reflexión en la presencia de Dios, para que estas emociones crudas no se apoderen de nosotros y nos lleven a la misma oscuridad que aborrecemos.

Continúe leyendo

 

Papa Francisco nombra al Padre John Dolan como Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de San Diego

La Oficina de Prensa del Vaticano ayer anunció que Su Santidad, el Papa Francisco ha nombrado al Padre John P. Dolan, el actual párroco de la Iglesia de San Juan el Evangelista en la ciudad de Hillcrest, como obispo auxiliar en la Diócesis de San Diego.  Él asumirá sus funciones el 8 de junio, después de su ordenación episcopal en la Iglesia de Santa Teresa del Carmelo (St. Therese of Carmel) en la ciudad de Del Mar.

Monseñor Robert McElroy destacó dos características importantes del sacerdocio del Padre Dolan: el gran amor que él le tiene a los sacerdotes y al pueblo de Dios, y el espíritu intensamente alegre que impregna su vida y su misión.

 ”Nuestra iglesia local,” dijo Monseñor McElroy, “será intensamente bendecida por estos dones del Obispo-Electo Dolan en su nuevo papel episcopal de liderazgo, sacrificio y servicio devoto”.

Los comentarios del Monseñor McElroy los hizo esta mañana en la presentación del Obispo-Electo Dolan al personal y sus familiares en el Centro Pastoral diocesano.

Continúe leyendo

 

Se emprende programa innovador en Santa Rosa para combatir el desamparo crónico

Hace un año, Caridades Católicas de la Diócesis de Santa Rosa (CCSR) creó un programa piloto pionero para traer innovadoras viviendas permanentes de apoyo al Condado de Sonoma. Como la agencia que encabezaba el proyecto, CCSR creó alianzas con el dueño de un hotel particular, el condado, y otros proveedores sin fines de lucro, para convertir un hotel con 104 unidades– The Palms Inn – en vivienda permanente de apoyo para algunos de los residentes más vulnerables de la zona: veteranos desamparados y otros adultos crónicamente desamparados. El programa funciona según las Filosofías de la Vivienda Primero de fácil acceso y un enfoque en servir a las personas con la mayor necesidad.

Estas unidades de “habitaciones individuales” son hogares permanentes – y un sueño hecho realidad para sus residentes, muchos de ellos siendo personas que vivían en vehículos, en las calles o en refugios antes de mudarse a su propia unidad privada en The Palms.

Continúe leyendo

21 de abril de 2017
Tomo 10, No. 14

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-jornada-de-la-propugnaci%C3%B3n-cat%C3%B3lica-la-pr%C3%B3xima-semana-la-realidad

Insights: Catholic Advocacy Day Next Week; The Reality of Poverty in CA

Next Week’s Catholic Advocacy Day Focuses on Children

Oftentimes, we define success by how much money we make or how many luxuries we acquire.  When you think about it, however, true success isn’t about money or things.  It’s about our health.  It’s about our community.  It’s about our kids. 

Have we set our children up to succeed or fail?  Have we provided them with the opportunity for a good education?  Have we given them a safe and stable environment that supports them at home and at school?  Have we protected all of God’s children – the unborn, the migrant, the young and the vulnerable?

This year’s Advocacy Day on April 25 will focus on the safety and well being of our children, and providing pathways to ensure they have opportunities to thrive.  

 

You can participate in the event, even if you are not present in Sacramento, by visiting our Action Alert page where you can join with the delegates to tell your elected representatives you care about the well-being of California’s children.

Take Action Now or Continue Reading

 

Analysis: Intelligent Action Needed to Reduce California’s High Poverty Rate

While California is known for being one of the nation’s wealthiest states with a median household income of approximately $61,818 per year, and with a larger economy than all but five nations worldwide, we are also becoming the United States’ leader in poverty and childhood poverty rates.

According to the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) of the United States Census Bureau, approximately 5.8 Californians live in poverty. The measure sets the poverty threshold at $24,339 for total yearly household income for a household of four (two adults and two related children), $12,486 for a single person under 65 years of age, and $11,511 for individuals 65 years and older. While not taking into account many pertinent geographical factors, under this official measure, this number amounts to 15 percent of Californians living in poverty. Under this limited metric, California (by far the most populous state) ranks twentieth for percentage of the population living under the poverty level, while it ranks tenth in the nation for having the highest median household income.

However, while these numbers are already glaring, the official measure does not take into account important factors that affect the reality of poverty in our state.

Aware of these limitations, the U.S. Census Bureau publishes a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which makes “adjustments in the official poverty threshold to account for geographic price level differences, particularly for differences in the cost of shelter as measured by rents.” According to the SPM, California ranks highest compared to the rest of the states, with approximately 7.9 Californians living in poverty.

Continue Reading

 

Diocesan Statement:  Fatal Fresno Shootings Call All The Faithful To Prayer, Reflection And Reconciliation 

The Diocese of Fresno released the following statement in response to the senseless shootings that took place in Fresno this week:

In less than two minutes, three lives were taken for no apparent reason beyond an incomprehensible depth of hatred carried in the heart of one man.  Scripture states: “Whoever says that he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  (1 John 2:9-11)

Once again, our community is touched by darkness.  Family, friends, neighbors and the vast multitude of good and caring people in our community must now decide, once again, how we will respond to this senseless tragedy.  We must reflect on what we have experienced and how we feel about it. Anger and outrage are certainly a natural reaction; yet, these feelings must also be experienced as an invitation to prayerful reflection so that our raw feelings do not take hold and lead us into the very darkness we abhor.

Continue Reading

 

Pope Francis appoints Fr. John Dolan as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego

The Vatican Press Office yesterday announced that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Fr. John P. Dolan, the current pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish in Hillcrest, as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Diego.  He will take up his duties June 8, following his episcopal ordination at St. Therese of Carmel in Del Mar.

Bishop Robert McElroy noted two central characteristics of Father Dolan’s priesthood: the great love which he has for the priests and the people of God, and the intensely joyful spirit that permeates his life and mission.

 ”Our local church,” Bishop McElroy said, “will be deeply blessed by these gifts in Bishop-Elect Dolan’s new episcopal role of leadership, sacrifice and prayerful service.”

McElroy’s comments came this morning during Bishop-Elect Dolan’s introduction to staff and family at the diocesan Pastoral Center.

Continue Reading

 

Innovative Program to Combat Chronic Homelessness Launches in Santa Rosa

One year ago, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Rosa (CCSR) began a groundbreaking pilot program to bring innovative permanent supportive housing to Sonoma County. As project lead, CCSR developed partnerships with a private hotel owner, the county, and other non-profit service providers to convert a 104-unit hotel – The Palms Inn – into permanent supportive housing for some of the area’s most vulnerable residents: homeless veterans and other chronically homeless adults. The program operates under the Housing First philosophies of very low barriers to entry and a focus on serving those with the highest need.

These “single room occupancy” units are permanent homes – and a dream come true for residents, many of whom were living in cars, on the streets, or in shelters before they moved to their own private unit at The Palms.

Continue Reading

April 21, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 14

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/insights-catholic-advocacy-day-next-week-reality-poverty-ca

Next Week’s Catholic Advocacy Day Focuses on Children

Oftentimes, we define success by how much money we make or how many luxuries we acquire.

When you think about it, however, true success isn’t about money or things.  It’s about our health.  It’s about our community.  It’s about our kids. 

Have we set our children up to succeed or fail?  Have we provided them with the opportunity for a good education?  Have we given them a safe and stable environment that supports them at home and at school?  Have we modelled good values and helped teach them the difference between right and wrong?

These are some of the questions we used to narrow down the pieces of legislation we’ve set aside for Advocacy Day.

This year’s Advocacy Day on April 25 will focus on the safety and well being of our children, and providing pathways to ensure they have opportunities to thrive.  

Even if you aren’t attending this year’s event, you can still visit the Catholic Advocacy Day web page to quickly send a letter to lawmakers or view videos on the selected bills.

Youth Immigration – SB 68 SB 257 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach)

SB 68 (video) would expand opportunities for “Dreamers” and other students who could prove they had completed three years worth of high school academic credit and treat them as California residents for the purpose of paying resident tuition at the UC, CSU and California Community Colleges.

SB 257 (video) would allow students who already have the legal right to attend California schools (both citizens and non-citizens) to continue to attend classes at their previous elementary, middle school, junior high or high school even if their parents are deported and they are forced to live with a guardian who may live outside of their existing school boundaries.

Education – AB 586 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena)                         

AB 586 (video) would recognize the financial burden placed upon teachers by allowing targeted tax deductions and tax credits for classroom expenses and professional development costs incurred as new teachers acquire the necessary training and certificates they need to succeed in their profession. Investing in quality education means investing in teacher quality.

Family Poverty – AB 1520 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood)

AB 1520 (video) would commit the State of California to reducing the rate of childhood poverty by 50% by 2039 and require the Department of Finance to prepare an annual progress report  as part of the Governor’s Budget detailing how that year’s proposed state budget would advance that goal.

Health Care Familiy Values – SB 320 by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino)

SB 320 (video) is opposed by the CA Catholic Conference and would force religious employers to carry out employment practices that would undercut their religious values. In the case of Catholic schools, for example, it would nullify provisions of existing teacher contracts that forbid publicly undermining Catholic teaching. The legislation is unnecessary and solves a non-existent problem.

Homelessness – AB 824 by Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale)

AB 824 (video) would provide grants to non-profit organizations like Catholic Charities or Mercy Housing to provide housing and transitional services to homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 24 for a period of up to 3 years as a means of helping young people and preventing drug, alcohol and other problems associated with homelessness.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/next-week%E2%80%99s-catholic-advocacy-day-focuses-children

Pope Francis appoints Fr. John Dolan as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/dolan-sd-appointment

Analysis: Intelligent Action Needed to Reduce California’s High Poverty Rate

While California is known for being one of the nation’s wealthiest states with a median household income of approximately $61,818 per year, and with a larger economy than all but five nations worldwide, we are also becoming the United States’ leader in poverty and childhood poverty rates.

According to the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) of the United States Census Bureau, approximately 5.8 Californians live in poverty. The measure sets the poverty threshold at $24,339 for total yearly household income for a household of four (two adults and two related children), $12,486 for a single person under 65 years of age, and $11,511 for individuals 65 years and older. While not taking into account many pertinent geographical factors, under this official measure, this number amounts to 15 percent of Californians living in poverty. Under this limited metric, California (by far the most populous state) ranks twentieth for percentage of the population living under the poverty level, while it ranks tenth in the nation for having the highest median household income.

However, while these numbers are already glaring, the official measure does not take into account important factors that affect the reality of poverty in our state. Aware of these limitations, the U.S. Census Bureau publishes a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which makes “adjustments in the official poverty threshold to account for geographic price level differences, particularly for differences in the cost of shelter as measured by rents.” According to the SPM, California ranks highest compared to the rest of the states, with approximately 7.9 Californians living in poverty. This is about 1.5 million more than the runner up, Texas which has the second highest number of individuals in poverty.

According to this SPM, 5.6 percent more Californians live in poverty than were counted in the OPM, bringing us to 20.6 percent (the highest in the country, second only to the District of Columbia in terms of percentage but certainly not in terms of sum total in poverty). Comparatively, in Texas, which through the supplemental measure actually saw a reduction from the official number, the bureau reports 14.9 percent live in poverty.

Similarly, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality along with the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), closely modeling their own research off of the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, have conducted a joint study on poverty in California called the California Poverty Measure (CPM). Modeled after the SPM, but taking into account additional factors and pertinent family groupings for the sake of measuring poverty rates, the CPM also found that 20.6 percent of Californians are living in poverty. Among these, the rate is highest for children, of whom 23.1 percent – nearly one in every four children – live in poverty.

Internationally, on the other hand, according to the United Nations and the World Bank, global extreme poverty has been measurably reduced in recent decades. The United Nations reports that “extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990,” a report similarly confirmed by the World Bank, which states that the international community reached its first goal of cutting in half the 1990 rate of 35 percent “five years ahead of schedule, in 2010.” While it is still true that global extreme poverty remains “unacceptably high” according to the World Bank, these gains in recent decades show some promise for the reduction of poverty internationally. The World Bank has set a goal to reduce poverty to 3 percent of the world population by 2030.

With such global trends toward economic improvement and with such a comparatively great deal of economic resources in our own state, which constitutes the sixth largest economy globally, we must take notice of California’s rate of poverty, and the sheer number of our brothers and sisters living in poverty in this great state. Additional efforts must be made to insure that California reduces poverty dramatically, which has such a significant effect on families and children.

AB 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act of 2017, is one significant course by which we can accomplish this great task for the common good, the good of our fellow Californians. This bill by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood), is sponsored by GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage; founded by the Daughters of Charity), who have conducted research along with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality on poverty and effective poverty reduction in California. AB 1520 aims, through multifaceted initiatives, at the goal of reducing poverty in half over 20 years.

This bill sets up a framework and legislative findings intent on establishing a structure of accountability in order to achieve this goal. Included in this framework is the intention to “fund programs or services that have been proven to reduce child poverty in California” as well as to “fund future innovations that are shown to achieve similar outcomes.” The bill therefore establishes criterion for governmental courses of action based on means and methods that are proven and studied to efficiently and cost effectively achieve measurable results in poverty reduction.

Among these proven means of constructive and essential assistance the bill outlines state expenditures for child care and early childhood education, home visiting programs, after school and summer school programs, work force development, Medi-Cal expansion, affordable housing, Earned Income Tax Credit expansion, CalWORKs increases and investment in Promise Zones.

It is our responsibility as Californians, with so many resources in our great state, not to neglect the children and families living in poverty among us. We must make use of intelligent, cost effective and efficient means to respond to the great burden of poverty experienced by one in five Californians, and nearly one in four children in California.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/economic-justice/analysis-intelligent-action-needed-reduce-california%E2%80%99s-high-poverty

Protect Religious Liberty of Adoption & Foster Care Providers

The U.S. Congress is considering important legislation that will protect religious liberty.

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) protects the religious liberties of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.  The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis that they decline to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.  The Inclusion Act is needed because child welfare service providers are being discriminated against because of their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.  For example, certain religiously-affiliated charities in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia have had to stop adoption and foster care services because of requirements imposed upon them to place children in households headed by two persons of the same sex.  Also, women and men who want to place their children for adoption should be free to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.  The Inclusion Act recognizes and respects this parental choice.  The Inclusion Act has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1881) and the Senate (S. 811).

Contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators today!




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/protect-religious-liberty-of-adoption-foster-care-providers/

Child Abuse Prevention Month: 10 Points to Create a Safe Environment

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The responsibility of protecting children belongs to everyone as a matter of charity and justice. Child Abuse Prevention Month should lead to heightened awareness of the need to be vigilant about providing a safe environment for all within the Church and for our communities. Consider these 10 points:

1. Sexual molestation is about the victim
Many people are affected when a priest abuses a minor, but the individual most impacted is the victim who has suffered a violation of trust that can affect his or her entire life. The abuser, the family of the abused, and the parish community are all affected by this sin and crime, but the primary person of concern must be the victim.

2. No one has the right to have access to children
If people wish to volunteer for the church, for example, in a parish or school, they must follow diocesan guidelines on background checks, safe environment training, policies and procedures, and codes of conduct. No one, no matter who they are, has an automatic right to be around children or young people who are in the care of the church without proper screening and without following the rules.

3. Common sense is not all that common
It is naive to presume that people automatically know boundaries so organizations and families have to spell them out. For example, no youth minister, cleric or other adult leader should be in a child’s bedroom, alone with the child.

4. Child sexual abuse can be prevented
Awareness that child sexual abuse exists and can exist anywhere is a start. It is then critical to build safety barriers around children and young people to keep them from harm. These barriers come in the form of protective guardians, codes of conduct, background evaluations, policies and procedures, and safety training programs.

5. The residual effects of having been abused can last a lifetime
Those who have been abused seldom just get over it. The sense of violation goes deep into a persons psyche and feelings of anger, shame, hurt and betrayal can build long after the abuse has taken place. Some have even described the feeling as if it has scarred their soul.

6. Feeling heard leads toward healing
Relief from hurt and anger often comes when one feels heard, when ones pain and concerns are taken seriously, and a victim/survivors appropriate sense of rage and indignation are acknowledged. Not being acknowledged contributes to a victims sense of being invisible, unimportant and unworthy; they are in some way revictimized.

7. You cannot always predict who will be an abuser
Experience shows that most abuse is at the hands of someone who has gained the trust of a victim/survivor and his/her family. Most abuse also occurs in the family setting. Sometimes the nicest person in the world is an abuser, and this niceness enables a false sense of trust to be created between abuser and abused.

8. There are behavioral warning signs of child abusers
Training and education help adults recognize grooming techniques that are precursors to abuse. Some abusers isolate a potential victim by giving him or her undue attention or lavish gifts. Another common grooming technique is to allow young people to participate in activities which their parents or guardians would not approve, such as watching pornography, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and excessive touching, which includes wrestling and tickling. It is also critical to be wary of age-inappropriate relationships, seen, for example, in the adult who is more comfortable with children than fellow adults. Parishes can set up rules to guide interaction between adults and children.

9. People can be taught to identify grooming behavior
Grooming behaviors are the actions which abusers take to project the image that they are kind, generous, caring people, while their intent is to lure a minor into an inappropriate relationship. An abuser may develop a relationship with the family to increase his credibility. Abusers might show attention to the child by talking to him/her, being friendly, sharing alcohol with a minor and giving the child status by insinuating that the child is their favorite or special person. Offenders can be patient and may groom their victim, his or her family, or community for years.

10. Background checks work
Background checks in churches, schools and other organizations keep predators away from children both because they scare off some predators and because they uncover past actions which should ban an adult from working or volunteering with children. If an adult has had difficulty with some boundaries that society sets, such as not driving while intoxicated or not disturbing the public peace, he or she may have difficulties with other boundaries, such as not hurting a child. Never forget that offenders lie.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Anyone who has been abused or if you suspect abuse is occurring, report the abuse and seek help immediately by calling the toll-free Pennsylvania ChildLine number at 800-932-0313 or local law enforcement. Learn more about the child protection and safe environment efforts in your local diocese or how survivors of abuse can get help here.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/child-abuse-prevention-month-10-points-to-create-a-safe-environment/

Perspectivas: Semana Nacional de Decisiones Sobre la Atención Médica; Mes de Prevención del Abuso Infantil

Boletines Informativos para la Jornada de Propugnación Católica ahora disponibles

“Todo niño debería poder jugar, estudiar, orar y crecer en su propia familia, y de hacerlo en un contexto armonioso de amor y serenidad,” afirmó el Papa Francisco.

Al abogar a favor de programas que abordan la pobreza y la falta de vivienda, una mejor educación, vida para los bebés no nacidos y mejorías en los programas de justicia juvenil, los seis proyectos de ley de la Jornada de Propugnación Católica se enfocan de manera especial en ayudar a los niños a alcanzar su mayor potencial.

Cuidado de los niños – uno de los instintos humanos más básicos – debería ser un interés común para todos los que conforman la sociedad.  De todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas necesitados, ellos son los que menos pueden cuidarse a sí mismos y merecen nuestro apoyo ilimitado.

Algunos delegados provenientes de todas las diócesis en California se reunirán el 25 de abril con sus funcionarios públicos para ser una voz a favor de la vida y la dignidad en el Capitolio del estado.  Los proyectos de ley en los que se enfocarán son: 

·      AB 586 (Holden, D-Pasadena) Crédito Fiscal para los Maestros  (APOYAMOS)

·      SB 257 y SB 68 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) Admisión Escolar y Colegiatura para los No Residentes  (APOYAMOS)

·      SB 320 (Leyva, D-Chino) Centros de Salud en los Recintos Universitarios-: Medicamentos Abortivos  (OPONEMOS)

·      SB 304 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge) Alumnos de Institutos de Formación Juvenil (APOYAMOS)

·      AB 824 (Lackey, R-Palmdale) Servicios de Transición para los Jóvenes Indigentes (APOYAMOS)

·       AB 1520 (Burke, D-Inglewood) Ley del 2017 para Sacar a los Niños y Familias de la Pobreza (APOYAMOS)

Pulse los enlaces anteriores para mayor información sobre cada proyecto de ley o visite www.cacatholic.org para la información más reciente sobre éstos y todos los otros proyectos de ley que la CCC está siguiendo.

 

Las personas sin hogar en California – Servir a los marginados

El hecho de encontrarse sin hogar es una creciente preocupación a lo largo del estado de California. Según el Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de los EE.UU. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), en el 2016, había más de 118,142 personas sin hogar viviendo en el estado. Aunque la mayoría de las personas sin hogar en California se encuentran en las zonas metropolitanas como Los Ángeles y el Área de la Bahía de San Francisco, las ciudades más pequeñas y las comunidades rurales no son inmunes a este problema

La Comunidad Católica de la Resurrección en Aptos cuenta con ministerios de amplia extensión para servir a muchas personas de la comunidad, incluyendo a las personas sin hogar. Kathy Manus, una feligrés y voluntaria de las actividades de extensión, ha estado sirviendo a las personas sin hogar en el área de Santa Cruz desde el 2006. Manus brinda su tiempo como voluntaria en la Cocina Católica de San Francisco, así como en la Casa de Jesús María y José (JMJ), ambas ubicadas en Santa Cruz. “Me complace servir a las personas necesitadas,” dijo Manus.

Por más de 25 años, la Cocina Católica de San Francisco ha estado proveyendo una comida caliente a las personas desamparadas en los días hábiles. Los voluntarios como Manus ayudan a servir comidas a más de 180 invitados diariamente y los feligreses de parroquias locales donan ropa que se distribuye tres días por semana. Un objetivo de la Cocina Católica de San Francisco, según su declaración de misión, es: “Expresar las enseñanzas y amor de San Francisco y la Iglesia católica proveyendo comida, ropa y refugio, con dignidad, a los pobres y necesitados”.

Son muchos los factores que contribuyen a que las personas no tengan un hogar, pero la falta de viviendas asequibles en California es uno de los factores principales. De acuerdo a Caridades Católicas de California, 6,3 millones de californianos viven en la pobreza. Adicionalmente, la tasa de desempleo en el estado también es mayor que el promedio nacional. Debido al creciente costo en la vivienda en el estado, muchas de las personas que viven en la pobreza están al borde de quedarse sin hogar, por lo tanto, la vivienda asequible y los programas de albergues son de máxima importancia.

Continúe leyendo

 

Semana Nacional de Decisiones Sobre la Atención Médica

Este año, el Día Nacional de Decisiones sobre la Atención Médica se extenderá toda una semana, llevándose a cabo del 16 al 22 de abril.

Este acontecimiento tiene la finalidad de ayudar a personas de todo el país a entender el valor de la planificación anticipada para la atención médica y los pasos necesarios para ésta.

El Instituto de la Providencia para los Cuidados Humanos / Providence Institute for Human Caring tiene un nuevo y más extenso conjunto de herramientas para las decisiones nacionales sobre la atención médica / National Healthcare Decisions Day tool kit disponible. Este conjunto de herramientas se enfoca en los cuidados integrales para la persona, para ayudar a los pacientes a participar en las decisiones sobre su atención médica, para apoyar a las familias cuando sus seres queridos se encuentran seriamente enfermos, y para ayudar a las personas que brindan los cuidados a que obtengan ayuda para saber manejar la tensión que se puede sufrir al proporcionar los cuidados.

Existe un aspecto personal a la atención médica que a menudo se pasa por alto. La atención médica se debe basar en las necesidades médicas y en los valores personales, tanto físicos como espirituales. 

Pulse aquí para el conjunto de herramientas de California / California tool kit

 

Abril es el mes de prevención del abuso infantil

Según la Fundación para la Asistencia Infantil / Child Help Foundation, cada año más de 3,6 millones de remisiones se envían a las agencias de protección de menores involucrando a más de 6,6 millones de niños en los EE.UU. Se delatan incidentes de abuso infantil cada 10 segundos. En el 2014, las agencias estatales encontraron a aproximadamente 700,000 víctimas de abuso infantil, suficiente para llenar 10 estadios de fútbol.

Desde 1983, el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los EE.UU. / U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ha dedicado el mes de abril como el Mes de Prevención del Abuso Infantil, cuando las comunidades deberían dedicarse nuevamente a apoyar a las familias, y desempeñar un papel activo en la prevención del abuso y descuido infantil, así como el tomar medidas positivas para promover el bienestar de los niños y las familias.

Pulse aquí para informarse sobre las señales del abuso infantil y qué hacer si usted sospecha de algún abuso. Y visite la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU. / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops para informarse cómo la Iglesia está protegiendo a los niños en la actualidad.  Todo niño vale la pena.

 

Vacaciones Primaverales de la Legislatura

Ayer empezaron las vacaciones primaverales para la Legislatura de California. Cada legislador pasará más tiempo en su distrito hasta que se reanuden las sesiones en el Capitolio el 17 de abril.

Public Policy Insights / Perspectivas no se publicará durante estas vacaciones, pero usted podrá revisar nuestro sitio web en www.cacatholic.org en cualquier momento para obtener las noticias más recientes sobre los proyectos de ley y otra información importante.

De parte de todos en la Conferencia Católica de California, deseamos que tenga una Pascua de Resurrección llena de bendiciones y que la gloria de Cristo y la promesa de este tiempo le brinde paz y gozo.

“Bendito sea el Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesús quién nos hizo renacer a la esperanza viva a través de la resurrección de Jesucristo de entre los muertos”. 1 Pedro 1:3

7 de abril de  2017
Tomo 10, No. 13

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-semana-nacional-de-decisiones-sobre-la-atenci%C3%B3n-m%C3%A9dica-mes-de

Insights: National Healthcare Decision Week; Child Abuse Prevention Month

Catholic Advocacy Day Backgrounders Now Available

“All children must be able to play, study, pray and grow, in their own families, and do so in a harmonious context of love and serenity,” says Pope Francis. 

By advocating for programs that address poverty and homeless, better education, life for the unborn and improvements in juvenile justice programs, this year’s six Catholic Advocacy Day bills have a special focus on helping children reach their greatest potential. 

Care for children – one of the most basic human instincts – must be a common concern of all of society.  Of all of our brothers and sisters in need, they are the least able to care for themselves and deserve our unrestricted support.

Delegates from every diocese in California will meet on April 25 with their elected officials to be a voice for life and dignity in the state Capitol.  The bills they will focus on are: 

·      AB 586 (Holden, D-Pasadena) Teacher Tax Credit (SUPPORT)

·      SB 257 SB 68 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) School admission nonresident tuition (SUPPORT)

·      SB 320 (Leyva, D-Chino) On-campus health centers: abortion medication (OPPOSE)

·      SB 304 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge) Juvenile court school pupils (SUPPORT)

·      AB 824 (Lackey, R-Palmdale) Transitional Services for Homeless Youth (SUPPORT)

·       AB 1520 (Burke, D-Inglewood) Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act of 2017 (SUPPORT)

Click the links above to learn more about each bill or visit www.cacatholic.org for the latest on these and all other bills the CCC is tracking.

 

California Homeless – Serving the Underserved

Homelessness is a growing concern across the state of California. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2016, there were over 118,142 homeless people living in the state. Although the majority of California’s homeless are found in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, smaller cities and rural communities are not immune to the issue.

Resurrection Catholic Community in Aptos has extensive outreach ministries to serve many in the community, including the homeless. Kathy Manus, a parishioner and outreach volunteer, has been serving the homeless in the Santa Cruz area since 2006. Manus volunteers her time at St. Francis Catholic Kitchen, as well as Jesus Mary Joseph Home (JMJ), both located in Santa Cruz. “It is a pleasure to serve those in need,” Manus said.

For more than 25 years, St. Francis Catholic Kitchen has been providing a warm meal to the homeless each weekday. Volunteers such as Manus help serve meals to more than 180 daily guests and parishioners from local churches donate clothing to be distributed three days per week. One objective of St. Francis Catholic Kitchen, according to its mission statement, is “To express the teachings and love of St. Francis and the Catholic Church by providing food, clothing and shelter, with dignity, to poor and needy people.”

Many factors contribute to homelessness, but California’s lack of affordable housing is one of the largest. According to Catholic Charities of California, 6.3 million Californians live in poverty. In addition, the state’s unemployment rate is also higher than the national average. Due to the increasing cost of housing in the state, many of those who live in poverty are on the verge of homelessness, so affordable housing and shelter programs are of utmost importance.

Continue Reading

 

National Health Care Decisions Week

This year, National Healthcare Decisions Day will be extended to an entire week taking place April 16 to April 22.

The event is aimed at helping people throughout the country understand the value of advance healthcare planning and the necessary steps needed to do so.

The Providence Institute for Human Caring has a new, expanded National Healthcare Decisions Day tool kit available. The kit is focused on whole person care, to help patients be involved in decisions about their care, to support families when loved ones are seriously ill, and to help caregivers receive help with coping with the strains of caregiving.

There is a personal side to health care that often gets overlooked. Health care should be based on medical needs and personal values, both physical and spiritual. 

Click here for the California tool kit

 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

According to the Child Help Foundation, every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children in the U.S. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. In 2014, state agencies found an estimated 700,000 victims of child abuse, enough to pack 10 football stadiums.

Since 1983, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has dedicated April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, when communities should rededicate themselves to being supportive of families, and play an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect as well as taking positive action to promote child and family well being.

Click here to learn the signs of child abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse is taking place. And visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to learn how the church is protecting children today.  Every child is worth the effort.

 

Legislative Spring Recess

Spring recess for the California legislature began yesterday. Each lawmaker will spend extended time in their districts until they reconvene at the Capitol on April 17.

Public Policy Insights will be on hiatus during the recess, but you can check our website at www.cacatholic.org at any time for the latest on bills and other important information.

From everyone at the California Catholic Conference, may you have a blessed Easter and may Christ’s glory and the promise of this season bring peace and joy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave us new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  1 Peter 1:3

April 7, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 13

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/insights-national-healthcare-decision-week-child-abuse-prevention-month

Legislative Status Report – Statutes of Limitation

Statutes of limitation reform for childhood sexual abuse is a being debated again this legislative session.

Senate Bill 261, which passed the Senate without opposition (48-0) in February, prospectively abolishes the criminal statute of limitation and would allow survivors to file civil lawsuits up to their age 50. The legislation also opens the door to the courts for survivors who suffered sexual abuse in public or governmental institutions by removing the sovereign immunity defense.

On April 4, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee amended SB 261 to further equalize the opportunities for survivors of sexual abuse in public institutions to access recovery of damages through the civil courts. The technical amendments render inapplicable the written notice requirement that public entities must be notified of an individual’s intent to sue only 6 months after the child victim’s 18th birthday, and eliminates the caps on the amount of damages that may be awarded. These amendments “level the playing field” for children who are abused by someone in a public institution with children who may have suffered the same crime in a private setting.

A third amendment strikes the provision in the Senate bill that would eliminate the civil statute of limitations in certain cases against an individual perpetrator or an individual who had direct involvement in allowing the abuse to continue. As amended, the bill would raise the statute of limitations for all civil actions to the victim’s age 50.

Caught up in the debate about making changes to protect children now and in the future has been an effort to change the statute of limitations retroactively. An amendment may be offered to SB 261 to allow lawsuits for decades-old cases. This proposal would, in effect, force the people who make up an organization like the Catholic Church today defend themselves against a crime that was committed in their parish, school, or charitable program years ago. Last year, the Senate held hearings and determined that changing the law retroactively would be unconstitutional in Pennsylvania.  Regardless, it is definitely unfair to individual Catholics today whose parishes and schools would be the targets of decades-old lawsuits.

SB 261 was reported out of committee with a vote of 22-5 and will soon be considered by the full House of Representatives. Send a message to your elected officials that it is possible to strengthen laws to give justice to childhood sexual abuse survivors without bankrupting the men, women and children who make up the Church today.

The first obligation of the Church with regard to survivors of childhood sexual abuse is for healing and reconciliation. Dioceses and eparchies continue to reach out to every person who has been a victim of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone in church service, whether that abuse is recent or occurred in the past. Learn more about victim/survivor assistance in Pennsylvania.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/legislative-status-report-statutes-of-limitation/

PA House Condemns Global Persecution of Christians

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution this week condemning the persecution of Christians around the world. HR 203 is a resolution “Condemning the global persecution of Christians and calling on world leaders to implement policies that protect the religious liberty of Christians and all other faiths within their borders.”

The prime sponsor, Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Crawford, Forest, Warren) urged her colleagues to support the resolution to bring attention to the various forms of persecution and the rights of Christians to practice their sincerely-held religious beliefs regardless of their location on the globe.

It is fitting for Pennsylvania, with our rich tradition of religious liberty, to acknowledge this serious threat to so many around the world.

Pray for peace!




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pa-house-condemns-global-persecution-of-christians/

California Homeless – Serving the Underserved

“Be attentive to the needs of the poor, the suffering, the lonely, for whoever has chosen to love Jesus cannot but love his neighbor.”

                                                                                                                        -Pope Francis, December 18, 2014

Homelessness is a growing concern across the state of California. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2016, there were over 118,142 homeless people living in the state. Although the majority of California’s homeless are found in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, smaller cities and rural communities are not immune to the issue.

Resurrection Catholic Community in Aptos has extensive outreach ministries to serve many in the community, including the homeless. Kathy Manus, a parishioner and outreach volunteer, has been serving the homeless in the Santa Cruz area since 2006. Manus volunteers her time at St. Francis Catholic Kitchen, as well as Jesus Mary Joseph Home (JMJ), both located in Santa Cruz. “It is a pleasure to serve those in need,” Manus said.

For more than 25 years, St. Francis Catholic Kitchen has been providing a warm meal to the homeless each weekday. Volunteers such as Manus help serve meals to more than 180 daily guests and parishioners from local churches donate clothing to be distributed three days per week. One objective of St. Francis Catholic Kitchen, according to its mission statement, is “To express the teachings and love of St. Francis and the Catholic Church by providing food, clothing and shelter, with dignity, to poor and needy people.”

Many factors contribute to homelessness, but California’s lack of affordable housing is one of the largest. According to Catholic Charities of California, 6.3 million Californians live in poverty. In addition, the state’s unemployment rate is also higher than the national average. Due to the increasing cost of housing in the state, many of those who live in poverty are on the verge of homelessness, so affordable housing and shelter programs are of utmost importance.

One such program is Jesus Mary Joseph Home, a five-bedroom shelter for homeless women and children. Located in a residential neighborhood, JMJ is the sister facility of St. Francis Catholic Kitchen. Mothers and their children are allowed to stay at JMJ for up to six months. Manus explained that JMJ is an intensive program designed to help mothers find work and permanent housing through a Catholic Christian tradition. “There is lots of repair work happening there. It’s healing of mind, body and spirit,” Manus said of JMJ.

Manus can also be found helping Manna Ministries, another outreach ministry of Resurrection parish. Started about five years ago by Shorelife Community Church, Manna Ministries serves a warm meal to the homeless each Saturday from the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel cemetery parking lot at Resurrection Catholic Community. Parishioners of Resurrection, led by Manus, volunteer their time setting up, serving meals and cleaning up each week. Parishioners also donate clothing and other personal items to be distributed. Manus said working with other faith-based organizations such as Shorelife is vital to helping the homeless. “There is more need for cooperation here,” she said.

Through her outreach work over the past eleven years, Manus has seen many causes of homelessness. She said there are many more people with intensive needs now, citing an increase in people with physical disabilities, such as amputees, living on the streets. Cases of mental illness and drug usage, especially amphetamines, are also on the rise.  “There has been an uptick in using drugs and alcohol for coping mechanisms,” Manus said. She added, “There’s not enough to go around in the treatment area.”

When asked why she continues to devote her life to helping the homeless, Manus said, “Whatever I can do, it is an opportunity to serve. It’s part of the gospel to reach out to people.”

Read how other parishes in the state have served to our homeless brothers and sisters.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/human-dignity/economic-justice/california-homeless-%E2%80%93-serving-underserved

Child Abuse Prevention Month: Opening the Door to Healing and Recovery

The blue ribbon is a sign of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The first response that a survivor of childhood sexual abuse receives when revealing what happened to him or her is crucial for opening the door toward healing.

“I believe you.”

“It is not your fault.”

“I am sorry that happened to you.”

Statistics tell us one out of every four girls, and one out of every six boys, are assaulted before they turn 18. If those statistics are correct, everywhere you turn you will encounter people who have been abused and are feeling the pain of that abuse. Reaching out to all victims of abuse/survivors is critical in bringing hope and the love of Christ to them.

The Catholic community is committed to supporting healing and recovery among sexual abuse survivors and their families, and offers lifelong resources to cover the costs of counseling, addiction treatment and other services of the survivors’ choice. Every diocese has a survivor/victims services professional on staff to listen, learn about their trauma, and encourage survivors in their own time to get support. This is not ordered by the court; it is the Church’s initiative to address the harm, pain and anger caused by child sexual abuse. Assistance is available no matter how long ago the crime was committed.

Where to find Catholic child protection and victim/survivor support services in PA?

The Church has repeatedly acknowledged abuse that happened and its role in the ongoing suffering experienced by survivors and their loved ones. While recognizing and respecting that every individual must take his or her own personal journey toward healing, the Church is committed to offering assistance.   We will provide continuous resources for survivors and their families so they can have access counseling, addiction treatment, medications and other necessary support services.

In addition to support for survivors, the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania adhere to strict safe environment practices, including training for employees, clergy and volunteers in identifying and responding to signs of abuse. Our dioceses enforce a zero-tolerance policy for clergy, employees and volunteers accused of abuse. The dioceses have already reported these allegations to local district attorneys and have now also shared them with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. Credible allegations of misconduct result in permanent removal from ministry, no matter how long ago the abuse took place. Every adult who interacts with children — including clergy, employees and volunteers — is subject to thorough background checks.

The emotional outcry for the Church to make things right for past victims is understandable and fuels the Catholic Church’s support for survivors and enduring commitment to end child abuse through education, awareness and constant vigilance.

 




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/child-abuse-prevention-month-opening-the-door-to-healing-and-recovery/

A.5767, Errigo: In relation to restoration of the death penalty for the murder of a police or corrections officer, or a victim killed in an act of terrorism

Published on April 3rd, 2017

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would reverse the 2004 New York State Court of Appeals decision which invalidated capital punishment (People v. LaValle), by changing the “jury deadlock” instruction to jurors.  This legislation would, therefore, restore the death penalty in New York State.

The New York State Catholic Conference urges you to oppose this legislation.

The Catholic Bishops of New York State and the country believe that capital punishment is not justified in contemporary society.  They seek a society of justice and peace, and urge elected officials to send the message that we can break the horrific cycle of violence without taking life for life. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops renewed their call for an end to the death penalty in November 2005 by issuing the statement, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death.  We urge your careful reflection on this important document.

State government experience with capital punishment has raised many concerns, including the possibility of wrongful convictions; the risk of arbitrary, discriminatory or inequitable application; appropriate stewardship of the state’s limited financial and judicial resources; and adequate safeguards to protect the mentally ill and juveniles.  The bill before you does nothing to ensure that these misgivings and concerns can be resolved in a satisfactory manner.  It simply attempts to remedy one constitutional defect.

Yet even if a capital punishment statute could be crafted to correct all the problems, ensure constitutionality and due process, and protect the rights of all, there is no way the death penalty could be reinstated in a manner which resolves our primary ethical concern.  In our modern and civilized society, capital punishment is simply unwarranted and inconsistent with the Catholic Church’s vision of the sacred inviolable dignity of human beings, and the need to recognize the possibility of redemption and conversion.

We urge your rejection of this bill and any future legislation which would restore capital punishment in New York State.

Article source: http://www.nyscatholic.org/2017/04/a-5767-errigo-in-relation-to-restoration-of-the-death-penalty-for-the-murder-of-a-police-or-corrections-officer-or-a-victim-killed-in-an-act-of-terrorism/

Perspectivas: Jornada de Propugnación Católica; Créditos Fiscales y asistencia disponible

Caseros del distrito de la Misión de SF explotan a inmigrantes indocumentados

El vecindario de la Misión de San Francisco, lugar donde inició la ciudad en 1776 con la fundación de la Misión Dolores, hoy en día es una densa mezcla de personas.

Se pueden encontrar viviendo en una misma cuadra a acaudalados expertos en la tecnología, vecinos que han vivido ahí por mucho tiempo, inmigrantes indocumentados y hasta personas desamparadas en carpas.

En ese entorno, los migrantes indocumentados se sienten especialmente presionados, y algunos caseros parecen aprovecharse de ellos para aumentarles el alquiler o para echarlos de ahí. Los migrantes temen que los denuncien y deporten, de tal manera que se sienten extremadamente vulnerables ante las amenazas de los caseros de que les aumentarán el alquiler o que les desalojarán, ya sean amenazas reales o percibidas.

 Esta presión es especialmente intensa en los vecindarios de la Misión y de Fruitvale en Oakland. Ambos tienen numerosas poblaciones de inmigrantes. Muchas de estas personas no hablan bien el inglés, tienen habilidades laborales deficientes y experiencia limitada con las prácticas culturales y económicas estadounidenses.

En los talleres católicos y talleres comunitarios creados para ayudar con sus permisos de residencia, la presión en la vivienda es una creciente preocupación, conjuntamente con el temor de las acciones gubernamentales.

Continúe leyendo       

 

Créditos fiscales y programas de preparación de impuestos atenúan dificultades de la temporada

La edición de “Because We Are Catholic”  se encuentra disponible como circular para el boletín en inglés y en español .

Impuestos. Llegan cada año con una previsibilidad exacta, no obstante, muchas personas sienten angustia y aprensión al llegar la temporada. El temor de tener que pagar una cuenta fiscal inesperadamente cara o pagar por los servicios de preparación de impuestos podría resultar abrumador para el presupuesto, especialmente para las personas de bajos ingresos y personas que constantemente enfrentan dificultades económicas.

Sin embargo, California cuenta con algunos programas que a menudo se ignoran y que fueron creados para el beneficio de personas que trabajan y que tiene ingresos bajos o moderados.

El estado de California ha promulgado el Crédito por Ingresos del Trabajo (CalEITC), el cual provee un reembolso a trabajadores de bajos ingresos, basado en un porcentaje de sus ingresos. A diferencia de la mayoría de créditos fiscales, el CalEITC es reembolsable, y algunas personas podrían reunir los requisitos para un reembolso de hasta $4,824, dependiendo de sus ingresos y cuántos hijos tengan a su cargo.

CalEITC es un complemento a la versión Federal – establecido durante la presidencia Reagan – programa descrito por ambos partidos políticos como el programa más eficaz para combatir la pobreza en los EE.UU.

Continúe leyendo

 

Proyectos de ley de la Jornada de Propugnación Católica dirigidos a mejorar las vidas de los niños

Marque su calendario – la Jornada de la Propugnación Católica de este año tendrá lugar el 25 de abril y la Conferencia Católica de California se está enfocando en proyectos de ley que promueven la salud, la educación y el bienestar de los niños de este estado.

Los participantes hablarán con los legisladores sobre diversos proyectos de ley incluyendo el AB 1520 (Burke, D-Inglewood), la Ley del 2017 para Sacar a los Niños y Familias de la Pobreza. Este proyecto de ley tiene la finalidad de reducir la pobreza infantil en California en un 50 por ciento en los próximos 20 años y provee un esquema completo de soluciones respaldadas por los trabajos de investigación, para lograrlo.

Otros proyectos de ley incluyen los proyectos SB 257 y SB 68 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens). Estoy proyectos abordan dos problemas para las personas indocumentadas, permite a las personas indocumentadas que hayan asistido a una escuela en el estado, pagar los costos de matrícula que pagan los residentes del estado, y permite que los hijos de padres deportados sigan en la escuela.

El proyecto SB 304 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge) crearía planes de transición especializados para los estudiantes detenidos por más de cuatro días escolares consecutivos.  El AB 842 (Lackey, R-Palmdale) establecería el Programa de Subsidio para la Vivienda Transicional para los Jóvenes Desamparados y proveería servicios residenciales y de consejería y acceso a recursos. El AB 586, (Holden, D-Pasadena) el Crédito Fiscal para Maestros, crea un crédito fiscal para los costos del desarrollo profesional de los maestros.

La CCC también se está enfocando en el proyecto SB 320, el cual requeriría que los planes de seguro médico que ofrecen los recintos escolares de la Universidad Estatal de California y los Colegios Comunitarios de California para sus estudiantes, incluyan cobertura para abortos como parte del plan de seguro médico para los estudiantes.

Esté atento para obtener mayor información y visite www.cacatholic.org para las noticias más recientes.  

 

Dedicación de Cesar Chávez a Cristo y a los pobres

Hoy se celebra el Día de César Chávez, y aunque la mayoría de las personas conocen a Chávez como un luchador que defendía a los trabajadores agrícolas migrantes, es menos conocido que su fe católica y amor a Cristo fueron lo que impulsó su compromiso inquebrantable de mejorar las condiciones para los pobres.

Fue un sacerdote católico que Chávez conoció, que servía a los trabajadores migrantes mexicoamericanos, quien encendió su pasión, la cual duró toda su vida. El sacerdote le platicó a Chávez sobre las enseñanzas católicas referente a los derechos de los trabajadores. Según el Catecismo católico para adultos de los Estados Unidos –  United States Catholic Catechism for Adults Chávez afirmó: “Haría lo que fuera para que el Padre me platicara más sobre la historia laboral. Empecé a ir a los campamentos de los braceros (trabajadores visitantes) con él para ayudarlo con la misa, a la cárcel de la ciudad para hablar con los presos, cualquier cosa para estar con él”.

El trabajo de Chávez incluyó fundar el sindicato de “United Farm Workers”, así como organizar un boicot masivo de los consumidores, donde pidió a los obispos estadounidenses que apoyaran el boicot. Chávez dijo una vez: “Estoy convencido que el acto más auténtico de valentía es sacrificarnos por los demás en una lucha totalmente no violenta a favor de la justicia” .

Más de veinte años después de su muerte, el legado de Chávez continua hoy en el Capitolio. Este año, los legisladores han presentado proyectos de ley que siguen la misma línea que el trabajo de Chávez incluyendo:  

El AB 71 (D-Chiu) que asignaría $25,000,000 para los proyectos de vivienda de los trabajadores agrícolas;

El SB 275 (D-Monning), requeriría que los empleados agrícolas que reciban capacitación sobre el acoso sexual, lo reciban en un idioma que entiendan los empleados y el AB 815 (D-Cooper) que ordena que la Dependencia Especial Encargada de los Contratistas Laborales dentro de la División de la Oficina de Aplicación de las Normas Laborales en Fresno, tenga suficientes recursos para procesar los exámenes, las licencias y las quejas.

 

Presidente de los Obispos de EE.UU. se opone a la orden ambiental ejecutiva

WASHINGTON—El Presidente Donald J. Trump expidió una Orden Ejecutiva el 28 de marzo de 2017 que anula y debilita numerosas protecciones ambientales, y efectivamente desmantela el Plan de Energía Limpia (CPP, por sus siglas en inglés), el programa nacional creado para reducir las emisiones de carbono de las centrales de energía eléctrica en un 32% en relación a los niveles del 2015 para el año 2030. Las centrales de energía eléctrica que usan combustibles fósiles son el sector más grande de emisoras de contaminantes, lo cual constituye casi una tercera parte de las emisiones totales de gases de efectos de invernadero en los EE.UU.  

“La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU. (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés), conjuntamente con el Papa Francisco, apoya firmemente el cuidado del medio ambiente y ha llamado consistentemente a que nuestro país reduzca las emisiones de carbono,’” afirmó el Obispo Frank J. Dewane de Venice, Florida, presidente del Comité de Justicia Interna y Desarrollo Humano (Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development), en respuesta a la orden. “Esta Orden Ejecutiva pone en peligro diversas protecciones ambientales y aparta a los EE.UU. de un estándar nacional de carbono, todo sin adoptar un plan suficiente para garantizar que se cuide a las personas y a la creación adecuadamente. La acción de ayer significa que, tristemente, es improbable que los Estados Unidos cumpla sus metas nacionales e internacionales de mitigación”.  

La USCCB ha declarado que apoya un estándar nacional de emisión de carbono en años recientes, aunque la Iglesia no favorece un conjunto de criterios técnicos, económicos o políticos por encima de otros. El Obispo Dewane destaca que, aunque el CPP no es el único mecanismo posible para reducir las emisiones de carbono, la falta de una alternativa viable actualmente es una preocupación seria.

Continúe leyendo

31 de marzo de 2017
Tomo 10, No. 12

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/perspectivas-jornada-de-propugnaci%C3%B3n-cat%C3%B3lica-cr%C3%A9ditos-fiscales-y-asistencia-disponible

Insights: Catholic Advocacy Day; Tax Credits and Assistance Available

SF Mission District Landlords Exploiting Undocumented Immigrants

San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, where the city began in 1776 with the founding of Mission Dolores, today is a dense mix of people.

Affluent techies, long-time Mission residents, undocumented immigrants and even homeless people in tents can all be found living in a single block.

In that environment undocumented migrants feel especially pressured, and some landlords seem to be taking advantage of them to raise rents or push them out. The migrants fear being reported and deported, so they feel extremely vulnerable to landlord threats, real or perceived, to raise rents or threaten eviction.

The pressure is especially high in the Mission and Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Both have large populations of immigrants. Many have poor English, low job skills and limited experience with American cultural and economic practices.

At Catholic and other community workshops designed to help immigrants with their residence status, housing pressure is an increasing concern along with the fear of government action.

Continue Reading       

 

Tax Credits and Preparation Programs Ease Tax-time Hardships

This issue of Because We Are Catholic is available as a bulletin insert in both English and Spanish.

Taxes. They come each year with precise predictability, yet are met by many with angst and foreboding. The fear of having to pay an unexpectedly large tax bill or for tax preparation services can be budget crushing, especially for low-income wage earners and others who constantly face financial hardships.

However, there are some programs in place in California that are often overlooked that are designed to benefit working people with low to moderate income.

The state of California has enacted the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), which provides a rebate to low-income workers based on a percentage of their income. Unlike most tax credits, the CalEITC is refundable, and some may be eligible for refund of up to $4,824, depending on income and the number of children under their care.

CalEITC is a compliment to the Federal version – established during the Reagan presidency – which has been described by both sides of the aisle as the most effective poverty-fighting program in the U.S.

Continue Reading

 

Catholic Advocacy Day Bills Aimed at Improving Lives of Children

Mark your calendars – this year’s Catholic Advocacy Day will be taking place April 25 and the California Catholic Conference is focusing on bills that promote the health, education and well being of the state’s children.

Participants will be speaking to lawmakers about several bills including AB 1520 (Burke, D-Inglewood), the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act of 2017. The bill aims to cut childhood poverty in California by 50 percent over the next 20 years and provides a comprehensive framework of research-backed solutions to achieve it. 

Other bills include SB 257 and SB 68 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens), which both address education issues for undocumented individuals, giving in-state tuition rates to undocumented individuals who have attended school in the state, and allowing children of deported parents to remain in school.

SB 304 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge) would create specialized transition plans for students detained for more than four consecutive schooldays. AB 842 (Lackey, R-Palmdale) would establish the Transitional Housing for Homeless Youth Grant Program and provide residential and counseling services and access to resources. AB 586, (Holden, D-Pasadena) the Teacher Tax Credit, creates a tax credit for professional teacher development expenses. 

The CCC is also focusing on SB 320, which would require student health insurance plans offered by campuses of the California State University and the California Community Colleges to include coverage of abortion as part of the student health insurance plan.

Stay tuned for more information and visit www.cacatholic.org for the latest.  

 

Cesar Chavez’s Commitment to Christ and the Poor

Today is Cesar Chavez Day, and while most know Chavez as a crusader for migrant farm workers, it is less known that it was his Catholic faith and love of Christ that drove his unyielding commitment to improving conditions for the poor.

It was a Catholic priest that Chavez met who ministered to Mexican American migrant workers who ignited his lifelong passion. The priest told Chavez about Catholic teachings concerning the rights of workers. According to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults Chavez said, “I would do anything to get Father to tell me more about labor history. I began going to the bracero (guest worker) camps with him to help with the Mass, to the city jail to talk to the prisoners, anything to be with him.”

Chavez’s work included founding the United Farm Workers union, as well as staging a massive consumer boycott, in which he asked the American bishops to support the boycott. Chavez once said, “I am convinced that the truest act of courage is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.”

Over twenty years after his death, Chavez’s legacy continues today at the Capitol. This year, legislators have introduced bills in the same vein as Chavez’s work including

AB 71 (D-Chiu) that would allocate $25,000,000 to farmworker housing projects,

SB 275 (D-Monning), would require agricultural employees who receive sexual harassment training is given in a language understood by the employee and AB 815 (D-Cooper) that mandates that the Labor Contractor Special Enforcement Unit within the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office in Fresno has sufficient resources to process examinations, licensing and complaints.

 

U.S. Bishops Chairman Opposes Environmental Executive Order

WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on March 28, 2017 that rescinds and weakens numerous environmental protections, and effectively dismantles the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest pollution-emitting sector, making up just under one-third of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.

“The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship and has called consistently for ‘our own country to curtail carbon emissions,’” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in response to the order. “This Executive Order places a number of environmental protections in jeopardy and moves the U.S. away from a national carbon standard, all without adopting a sufficient plan for ensuring proper care for people and creation. Yesterday’s action means that, sadly, the United States is unlikely to meet its domestic and international mitigation goals.”

The USCCB has voiced support for a national carbon emission standard in recent years, though the Church does not privilege one set of technical, economic, or political approaches over another.  Bishop Dewane stresses that, although the CPP is not the only possible mechanism for reducing carbon emissions, the lack of a current viable alternative is a serious concern.    

Continue Reading

March 31, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 12

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/insights-catholic-advocacy-day-tax-credits-and-assistance-available

Cesar Chavez’s Commitment to Christ and the Poor

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/cesar-chavez%E2%80%99s-commitment-christ-and-poor

SF Mission District Landlords Exploiting Undocumented Immigrants

San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, where the city began in 1776 with the founding of Mission Dolores, today is a dense mix of people.

Affluent techies, long-time Mission residents, undocumented immigrants and even homeless people in tents can all be found living in a single block.

In that environment undocumented migrants feel especially pressured, and some landlords seem to be taking advantage of them to raise rents or push them out. The migrants fear being reported and deported, so they feel extremely vulnerable to landlord threats, real or perceived, to raise rents or threaten eviction.

The pressure is especially high in the Mission and Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Both have large populations of immigrants. Many have poor English, low job skills and limited experience with American cultural and economic practices.

At Catholic and other community workshops designed to help immigrants with their residence status, housing pressure is an increasing concern along with the fear of government action.

Owners of rental units are telling tenants “you better get out,” says one caseworker.

Landlord pressure can be direct, increasing rents, or more subtle–failing to repair broken windows or plumbing, challenging the right of extended family members to live in a unit.

Threats to contact federal officials are sometimes implied. The fear among immigrants is palpable, with high uncertainty about how the policy will be carried out. A midnight knock-at-the-door seems to be a real risk to many immigrants.

In San Francisco 125 people from several parishes took training to form rapid response teams, which immigrants could call if federal authorities show up at their door. The team members will try to arrive fast enough to document the situation and provide help to families of people apprehended.

After the workshop you could “see fears subside a little after seeing people walking side-by-side with them,” said Francisco Gonzalez, director of refugee and immigrant services for Catholic Charities in the archdiocese.

Recently Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrated Mass for 700 people crowded into St. Peter’s Church adjacent to the Mission neighborhood. The parish began in 1878 as an Irish immigrant community. Later Italians became a big part of the parish and today it is largely Latino.

In Oakland Catholic leaders and lay people join with community organizations to help educate and provide support for fearful immigrants.

The landlord pressure is not surprising from an economic perspective.

Much of the challenge is due to the rapid rise in Bay Area rents. Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission was $4,650 at the start of 2017. In Oakland and San Jose similar rents run about $2,500. But in Sacramento similar units average $1,200.

In the Mission district new apartments sell for nearly $1,000,000. Luxury buses conveniently pick up prosperous tech workers in front of their units and scoot them to Silicon Valley. The tech boom fuels demand for fashionable new units that replace cheaper apartments or old flats.  Yet million-dollar condos sometimes are across the street from a row of tents where the homeless live.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/sf-mission-district-landlords-exploiting-undocumented-immigrants

The Real Criminals of Human Trafficking

Photo Credit: CRS

“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.” – Pope Francis

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee took a strong stand in support of victims of human trafficking this week with a 14-0 vote on Senate Bill 554. The legislation would provide specialized services to victims of sex trafficking under the age of 18 instead of facing charges in the juvenile justice system. The bill would establish a statewide protocol to provide local services including safe and stable housing, access to education, employment and life-skills training, counseling, treatment for addictions, health care, and more. Rather than facing delinquency charges for prostitution, these children will get the help and support necessary to break free from enslavement.

Senators Stewart Greenleaf (R-Bucks, Montgomery) and Daylin Leach (D-Delaware, Montgomery), the prime sponsors of SB 554, wrote to their colleagues, “These children are victims, not criminals, and they deserve the protection of the child welfare system, not re-victimization and incarceration in the juvenile justice system. Not only is this the right thing to do by these exploited children, it is also the most effective way to help law enforcement target the traffickers and pimps who are the real criminals.”

Pope Francis believes, “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.” As Catholics, we believe in the dignity of every human life and vehemently oppose human trafficking and modern-day slavery as it contravenes basic human dignity. In addition to working to eradicate human trafficking, our nation should ensure that victims have the services and support they need to heal.

Urge your state Senator to support a better life for sex trafficking victims and vote YES on SB 554.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/the-real-criminals-of-human-trafficking/

Créditos fiscales y programas de preparación de impuestos atenúan las dificultades de la temporada

“Aliento a los expertos financieros y a los líderes políticos de nuestros países a que consideren las palabras de San Juan Crisóstomo: ‘El no compartir los bienes personales con los pobres es robarlos y privarlos de la vida.  Los bienes que poseemos no son nuestros, sino de ellos’ ” .                                              -Papa Francisco (16/5/13)

Impuestos. Llegan cada año con una previsibilidad exacta, no obstante, muchas personas sienten angustia y aprensión al llegar la temporada. El temor de tener que pagar una cuenta fiscal inesperadamente cara o pagar por los servicios de preparación de impuestos podría resultar abrumador para el presupuesto, especialmente para las personas de bajos ingresos y personas que constantemente enfrentan dificultades económicas.

Sin embargo, California cuenta con algunos programas que a menudo se ignoran y que fueron creados para el beneficio de personas que trabajan y que tiene ingresos bajos o moderados.

El estado de California ha promulgado el Crédito por Ingresos del Trabajo (CalEITC), el cual provee un reembolso a trabajadores de bajos ingresos basádose en un porcentaje de sus ingresos. A diferencia de la mayoría de créditos fiscales, el CalEITC es reembolsable, y algunas personas podrían reunir los requisitos para un reembolso de hasta $4,824, dependiendo de sus ingresos y cuántos hijos tengan a su cargo.

CalEITC es un complemento a la versión Federal – establecido durante la presidencia Reagan – programa descrito por ambos partidos políticos como el programa más eficaz para combatir la pobreza en los EE.UU.

Adriana Trujillo participó en el programa de EITC el año pasado.

Trujillo, quien ha sido víctima de la violencia intrafamiliar y que es propietaria de un pequeño negocio que provee recursos a otras víctimas y a sus familiares, actualmente se encuentra en una batalla judicial y dice que su reembolso “se usó directamente para pagar los honorarios del abogado que no hubiera podido pagar sin ese dinero”.  

“Hubiese sido bueno ahorrar ese dinero para algo más, pero fue necesario usarlo ahora y recibirlo fue una gran bendición”.

Se calcula que aproximadamente 600,000 familias se beneficiarán de recibir CalETIC este año. En el gobierno federal, aproximadamente cuatro millones de familias solicitarán un crédito similar este año. Aunque ambos programas son idénticos en general, tienen diferentes requisitos en relación a los ingresos, así que la exclusión de un programa no significa que sería excluido del otro.  

Las agencias de Caridades Católicas de California también participan intensamente en brindar ayuda fiscal a la población de bajos ingresos en California, y diversas parroquias por todo el estado también ofrecen servicios gratuitos de preparación de impuestos y ayuda de elegibilidad para el EITC. Tan solo la agencia de Caridades Católicas de Santa Clara ha ayudado a más de 15,000 familias para presentar su declaración fiscal en los últimos 11 años.

Esta ayuda se brinda por medio del programa de Asistencia Voluntaria Para los Impuestos (VITA, por sus siglas en inglés), el cual ofrece ayuda gratuita para la declaración de impuestos para personas que generalmente ganan $54,000 o menos, para personas con discapacidades, y contribuyentes que tienen un inglés limitado y necesitan ayuda para preparar sus formularios de impuestos. Los voluntarios, certificados por el Servicio de Rentas Internas (IRS), proporcionan la preparación gratuita de los formularios de impuestos básicos con registro electrónico para personas que califiquen.

“Hemos participado en el programa VITA desde hace varios años porque vimos que había una enorme necesidad de servicios para los impuestos”, afirmó Leif Ozier, coordinador regional de los Servicios para la Familia y la Comunidad de Caridades Católicas de San Bernardino.

“Nos reuníamos con los clientes para ayudarlos con sus presupuestos y en el 99% de los casos, tenían que pagar por servicios de impuestos y no podían costear esos servicios. No soy capaz de explicar cuán valiosos son estos programas para la comunidad”, afirmó.

Trujillo también es voluntaria de VITA, y a menudo pasa sus fines de semana ayudando a otras personas para quienes presentar su declaración fiscal es una tarea abrumadora.

“He ido a ayudar y me he quedado horas adicionales a las programadas porque teníamos a demasiada gente que atender”, comentó.

La preparación de impuestos en si puede ser un proceso complicado y confuso, con los múltiples formularios que hay que llenar y cálculos que hay que determinar. Los créditos fiscales como CalEITC pueden pasarse por alto frecuentemente, así que es importante evaluar su elegibilidad, ya sea por su cuenta o preguntándole a su preparador de impuestos. Para saber si califica para el CalEITC, visite www.CalEITC4me.org.

Para garantizar que siga existiendo este crédito, todas las personas elegibles deberían participar. Lo más importante es regresar el dinero a los bolsillos de las familias que mayor necesidad tienen, por lo tanto, las personas elegibles deberían solicitar los créditos que se han ganado.

Trujillo sabe cuánta ayuda han recibido otras personas que han solicitado el CalEITC.

“Conozco a una madre soltera que usó su reembolso CalEITC para comprar un automóvil barato que tanto necesitaba”, dijo. “Un vecino a quien ayudé a través del programa VITA usó su reembolso para por fin darle mantenimiento a su casa que estaba infestada de ratas”.

La Iglesia católica, y la Conferencia Católica de California (CCC) de manera particular, abogan por programas que directamente ayudan a las personas que enfrentan dificultades económicas. La CCC trabajó incansablemente para apoyar las iniciativas para promulgar el CalEITC, y continua siendo un pilar de apoyo para que este programa se siga renovando.

Para obtener mayor información sobre VITA y otros servicios económicos para la preparación de impuestos, visite www.irs.gov.

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/noticias-en-espanol/cr%C3%A9ditos-fiscales-y-programas-de-preparaci%C3%B3n-de-impuestos-aten%C3%BAan-las

Tax Credits and Preparation Programs Ease Tax-time Hardships

(PDF bulletin inserts in English and Spanish.)

“I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: ‘Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.’ ”                                            -Pope Francis   (5/16/13)

Taxes. They come each year with precise predictability, yet are met by many with angst and foreboding. The fear of having to pay an unexpectedly large tax bill or for tax preparation services can be budget crushing, especially for low-income wage earners and others who constantly face financial hardships.

However, there are some programs in place in California that are often overlooked that are designed to benefit working people with low to moderate income.

The state of California has enacted the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), which provides a rebate to low-income workers based on a percentage of their income. Unlike most tax credits, the CalEITC is refundable, and some may be eligible for refund of up to $4,824, depending on income and the number of children under their care.

CalEITC is a compliment to the Federal version – established during the Reagan presidency – which has been described by both sides of the aisle as the most effective poverty-fighting program in the U.S.

Adrianna Trujillo participated in the EITC program last year.

Trujillo, who is a victim of domestic violence and owns a small business providing resources to other victims and their families, is currently involved in a related court battle, and says her refund “went straight to pay attorney fees I couldn’t otherwise afford.”

“It would have been nice to save for something, but that’s what needed to be done right now and it was a huge blessing.”

It is estimated that approximately 600,000 families will benefit from CalETIC this year. In the federal government, approximately four million families will apply for the in credit this year. While both programs are identical in nature, the wage requirements are different, so exclusion from one program does not dictate exclusion from the other.

Catholic Charities of California are also heavily involved in tax help for California’s low-income population, and several parishes throughout the state also have free tax preparation services and EITC eligibility assistance. Catholic Charities of Santa Clara alone has helped over 15,000 families in filing taxes over the last 11 years.

That assistance is provided via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

“We’ve been involved in the VITA program for a number of years because we saw there was a enormous need for tax services,” said Leif Ozier, Regional Coordinator for Family and Community Services for Catholic Charities San Bernardino.

“We would meet with clients to help them with their budgets and 99% of the time they were having to pay for tax services and couldn’t afford it. I can’t even explain how valuable these programs are to the community,” he said.

Trujillo is also a VITA volunteer, and often spends her weekends helping those for whom filing taxes is daunting.

“I’ve gone in to help and stayed hours later than I was scheduled because we had so many people come in,” she said.

Tax preparation in itself can be a convoluted and complicated process, with multiple forms to file and calculations to determine. Tax credits like CalEITC can often be overlooked, so it is important to assess your eligibility, either on your own or by asking your tax preparer. To find out if you qualify for the CalEITC, visit www.CalEITC4me.org.

To ensure its continued existence, all eligible persons should participate. Most important is putting money back in the pockets of those families that need it most, so those who are eligible should be sure to claim the credits they’ve earned.

Trujillo knows just how much others have been helped by claiming the CalEITC.

“I know a single mom who used her CalEITC refund to purchase an inexpensive car she badly needed,” she said. “A neighbor of mine who I actually helped in the VITA program used his refund to finally do some maintenance on his home, which had rats running around.”

The Catholic Church, and the California Catholic Conference (CCC) in particular, advocates for programs that directly help those facing financial hardships. The CCC worked tirelessly to support the efforts to enact the CalEITC, and continues to be a pillar of support for its renewal.

For more information on VITA and other economical tax preparation services, visit www.irs.gov.

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/tax-credits-and-preparation-programs-ease-tax-time-hardships