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Conference Legislative Issues and Testimony – 2019

Conference Legislative Issues and Testimony – 2019 2019-02-28T17:54:14+00:00

Pregnancy Care Centers

Position:  Oppose legislation if it does not contain changes recommended by the CPCC.

Background:

The pro-abortion groups are again pushing legislation aimed at intimidating and limiting pro-life pregnancy care centers. The legislation seeks to create a special deceptive advertising law aimed at these centers. The effort in Connecticut began in 2015, with the first legislative proposal in 2018. The Conference and the CT Pregnancy Care Coalition (CPCC) defeated the 2018 proposed bill in the Public  Health Committee.

          Status:  H.B. 7070 had a public hearing before the Public Health Committee.  The Conference testified in opposition to the bill. The  CPCC also testified against the bill and suggested alternative language in a letter to the committee.

Education

Position:  Support: Establishing an educational savings account for parents. Oppose: Legislation effecting busing and nursing services for parochial school students, and efforts to override the new Federal 529 regulation that allows funds placed in savings account to be used for private elementary and high school      education cost.   

Background:

The Conference has consistently opposed legislation that eliminates the public services Catholic schools receive. This year, we are being strongly challenged on maintaining those services that include transportation, security and health care. We will also be aggressively promoting legislation to allow parents to effectively save for Catholic education.

          Status:  Several proposed bills have been introduced in the Education and FinanceCommittees that could impact Catholic schools.  The Conference sent a letter concern to the Education Committee asking to preserve the current mandate that requires towns to provide transportation to nonpublic schools within their borders that are local students.  Another letter has been sent to the Finance Committee relating to eliminating a new provision that allows 529 (CHET) account funds to be used for sending children to nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, not just college.  The Conference will also be providing testimony in opposition to H.B. 7150 which would eliminate state reimbursement to towns that provide school nursing services to nonpublic schools as currently required by law. The Governor’s budget would make the parents reimburse the town for these services.

Expansion of Gambling    

Position:  Oppose expansion of gaming.

 Background:

Efforts have been underway for several years to expand all forms of gambling in Connecticut, primarily with the creation of a new casino and legalization of sports betting.  In March 2017, the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut released the statementA Catholic Perspective on Expanded Gambling in Connecticut outlining our  opposition to expansion of gambling in Connecticut.                                       

Status:  Several proposed bills have been introduced in the Public Safety and Security Committee. The Conference provided Testimony on Gambling Bills in opposition to the proposed legislation. The Conference is a member of the Coalition Against Casino Expansion, along with other faith-based organizations. 

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Position:  Oppose all pro-PAS legislation.

Background:

The Conference and many other groups have been successful in keeping physician-assisted suicide (PAS) laws from becoming a reality in our state. Last   year, our efforts kept PAS proposals from emerging from committee.  The leading national PAS organization – Compassion and Choices – has not been very active in our state, but the changing political make-up of the General Assembly keeps the issue alive.

          Status:  The Public Health Committee has directed that language be drafted.              

 Statute of Limitations

Position:  Oppose increasing the civil statute of limitations. Support efforts to expand  statute of limitation for criminal offenses.

Background:

Current Connecticut law creates two categories for statute of limitations relating to sexual assault of minors: 1) Civil law – a person can sue in civil court 30 years from their 18th birthday, 2) Criminal – The standard limitation for the state to file charges is five (5) years. However, if a sexual assault of a minor includes the use of force, or the minor is under 13 years of age, there is no limitation on the time to bring criminal charges.

         Status:  Several proposed bills have been introduced to expand the criminal time limit and recent laws passed in New York State may inspire further civil parameters.

Paid Family Leave

Position: Support legislation that establishes a new account at the state level, funded by employee contributions.      

Background:

Paid family and medical leave will be one of top three legislative debates this year but the final product may differ from a 2018 proposal that would establish a special state fund to pay for family or medical leave. The Conference testified in favor of paid family and medical leave last year because of its positive effect on the family.  

            Status:  The Conference provided Testimony on SB 1 – Family Leave .                    

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Position: Oppose legalization.

Background:

The use of recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia – each of these jurisdictions has slightly different legal provisions concerning age, sales, amount possessed, number of plants an individual can possess, taxation and other control provisions. It is significant to note that the legalization of recreational marijuana occurred through the referendum process in nine of these states, only one, Vermont, was adopted by the legislatureThe General Assembly would have to adopt legislation legalizing recreational marijuana, since the state does not have a referendum process.

    Status:  Several bills have been proposed to legalize recreational marijuana. Gov. Lamont and Democratic leadership strongly support the proposal. The driving factor is the tax revenue it would create, given the reality of Massachusetts reaping millions in sales revenue from marijuana purchases. There are several well-funded national organization promoting the legalization. There are many non-Catholic clergy and organizations that are opposed. The Conference is awaiting a public hearing on legislation before the Judiciary Committee.

Religious Liberty

Position: Oppose any efforts to mandate services against religious beliefs. Support efforts to assist making places of worship safe from acts of violence.

Background:

Connecticut has a history of including language in legislation that could force mandates on religious organizations that violate their moral teachings (i.e., mandatory birth control coverage). The Conference has worked diligently to insure this language is placed in such legislation. 

    Status:  The Conference gave testimony  on S.B. 339 requiring insurance coverage for fertility preservation treatments to insure religious employers were exempt. The Conference also gave testimony  on H.B. 6570 which would help develop safety protocols for places of worship.     

Additional Legislation

The Conference has also provided testimony in support of the following legislation: 

Proposed H.B. 6931 – “An Act Concerning Domestic Workers” – H.B.-6931-Testimony      

Proposed H.B. 5181 –  “An Act Exempting Certain Facilities From The Natural Gas Demand Use Charge” – Testimony H.B. 5181 

Proposed H.B. 5142 – “An Act Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation” –