Catholics urged to act on local issues

Record Staff Report

As the Kentucky General Assembly began its last month or so of the 2018 regular session, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky (CCK) is asking Catholics to contact their legislators on a variety of issues.

Scholarship tax credits

The CCK, which serves as the public policy arm of Kentucky’s four bishops, issued an alert March 6 related to so-called scholarship tax credits. Catholics are urged to contact their state senators and ask them to ensure the state budget and revenue bills allocate funds for these credits.

If approved, state tax credits would be provided to those who make donations to groups that grant tuition assistance, such as the Catholic Education Foundation.

The CCK sees these tax credits as a way to help give more children — especially those with special needs and low income — access to Catholic education.

“Scholarship Tax Credits must be included in the budget and revenue bills so that more Kentucky families can choose the school that best fits their children’s needs,” a statement from the CCK said.

Death Penalty for Severely Mentally Ill

Senate Bill 107, which would prohibit the use of the death penalty for people with severe mental illness, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Before the Senate takes a floor vote on the measure, Catholics are urged to ask their senators and representatives support the measure.

Pregnant
Workers’ Rights

Senate Bill 38, which passed out of committee several weeks ago, has stalled on the Senate floor, the CCK said in its statement.

“This bill would ensure that women in the workplace receive reasonable accommodations during their pregnancy (with exceptions if doing so would cause a significant hardship on the employer)” the CCK said. “We know that only a few business owners are raising concerns behind the scenes. Most Kentucky businesses either support the bill or have no objection.

“We can easily balance those few voices with a strong show of support. Ask your state Senator to urge leadership to call SB 38 for a vote on the floor,” the CCK said.

Criminal
Justice Reform

House Bill 396 has been introduced in the House and is in the Judiciary Committee.

“This bill would do much to address our opioid crisis and reduce our prison population,” the CCK said. “A tremendous amount of research has been done into what leads to repeat offenses and this bill incorporates many of those recommendations. The U.S. bishops have long called for a Restorative Justice approach, and HB 396 would significantly move Kentucky in that direction.”

Catholics are urged to call their legislators at 800-372-7181.  The operator can help callers identify their senators or representatives.

The public can read these bills at lrc.ky.gov.

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