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Messenger Article on 2018 Elections18 Oct

The October 19, 2018 Issue of The Messenger features an article titledCapitol Dome “Kentucky voters encouraged to meet with candidates, can have a significant influence on legislation”.  You can find the article here. Please read it and share with friends and family.

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2018 Elections05 Oct

On November 6, 2018, Kentuckians will cast votes for every seat in the state House of Representatives and several seats in the Senate. The candidates that prevail will begin their work as legislators in January for the 2019 term of the Kentucky General Assembly.  Capitol Dome

You have an important role to play in this process.  Legislators will soon have to grapple with significant issues related to health care, education, tax policy and the criminal justice system. Candidates for office need to hear from you now in order to start the conversation on issues that they will consider during the next legislative session and beyond. No matter who wins on Election Day, a large number of seats will be held by first time candidates who may be new to the work of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky (“CCK”).

To help start these conversations, CCK has prepared a one-page handout that highlights those issues in which we have an opportunity to make an impact in the near future.  You can view it by clicking here.

Please study the document and engage with candidates on issues that will be in play during the 2019 legislative session.  More importantly, share the document  with friends and distribute copies at your schools and parishes.  

Thank you for your faithful citizenship!

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Pregnant Workers’ Rights Act Draws Increasing Support19 Sep

Pregnant Workers Press Conference

Photo Credit: Kate Miller

Earlier this morning, Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr (Lexington) held a press conference announcing her decision to pre-file the Pregnant Workers’ Rights Act, in advance of the 2019 General Assembly.

Joined by Reps. Melinda Prunty (Belton) and Kim Moser (Taylor Mill), and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Sen. Kerr leads a bipartisan coalition attempting to make Kentucky’s workforce a safer place for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Also speaking in support were Police Officer Lyndi Trischler, who was denied light duty during her pregnancy, Elizabeth Gedmark of A Better Balance, which advocates for working families, and Katrina Thompson, Director, Maternal and Child Health, for the Kentucky/West Virginia March of Dimes.

The bill, currently identified as BR 51, would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, and also provide a sanitary space for expressing milk. These mandates would only apply if they did not place an unreasonable hardship on the employer, and would not be binding on businesses with only a few employees. Such accommodations might include lighter duty, more frequent breaks, or a bottle of water at the employee’s workstation.

CCK enthusiastically supports this bill for two reasons. One reason is economic justice. Work is an important aspect of the human person, but it should always serve the family. It is unjust for a woman to have to choose between her job and her child.

The second reason logically flows from the first. The data is clear that economic anxiety is a major reason women consider abortion. It certainly isn’t the only one and, of course, modest accommodations in the workforce won’t eliminate abortion. But, approaches like this certainly will reduce abortion rates. If a woman is confident that she will not lose her job or face serious medical consequences for carrying her pregnancy to term, she will be much more likely to choose life.

We are all called to work for a world of greater respect for the dignity of the human person, to help build a Culture of Life. The way we treat pregnant women, new mothers and their children, says more about us as a society than perhaps any other metric. No one should feel they have to choose between their livelihood and their child.

Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Kerr and a broad coalition of legislators, political leaders, and advocacy organizations, with the Pregnant Workers’ Rights Act Kentucky has a golden opportunity to show how much we value the unborn and economically vulnerable families.

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Death Penalty – Important Hearing Next Week!29 Jun

Capitol DomeNext week presents a great opportunity to express your support for ending the use of capital punishment in Kentucky. On Friday, July 6, the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Commitee on Judiciary will be holding a hearing on the death penalty, including a 30 minute presentation by Representatives Jason Nemes and Chad McCoy on why the death penalty should be abolished.

The interim joint committee includes the Judiciary Committee members from both the House and Senate, so this is a very significant opportunity.

You can help by taking one or both of the following actions.

1. If you are able to attend the hearing, please do! It will be held at 10:00 AM in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex Building in Frankfort. It will be approximately a two hour meeting, with one hour devoted to discussion of the death penalty. While there will not be an opportunity for those in attendance to testify, you will be able to show your support with your visible presence and will have the opportunity to speak to members of the committee before and after the meeting.

2. If you are not able to attend, please take a few moments to write to the members of the committee expressing your support for abolition. You can find the list of members of this committee at this link. Click on a legislator’s name for their individual contact information. If your legislator is on the committee, it is especially important that you reach out to him or her to thank them for the hearing and encourage them to support abolition. If you would like to reach out to members of the committee who do not represent your district, you can send them a letter or postcard. Click here for a list of their addresses.

Also, even if you do not live in his district, please reach out to Rep. Joe Fischer, the House Judiciary Chair, who put this topic on the agenda for this meeting. Let him know how much you appreciate his efforts to highlight the ongoing debate on this important issue.

Remember to pray for all of our legislators, that they be given wisdom and a deeper commitment to the common good.

Thank you for your continuing commitment to Faithful Citizenship!

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KY General Assembly Fails to Act on Scholarship Tax Credit Bills to Help Families15 Apr

IMG_3888Unfortunately, the General Assembly failed to pass Scholarship Tax Credits as a standalone measure during the 2018 session.  They also failed to fulfill their commitment to include Scholarship Tax Credits in their tax reform proposal. In the end, this means thousands of low and middle income families will continue to be denied the opportunity to choose the school that best meets their children’s needs.

This happened despite the following facts:

  • Thousands of you contacted your legislators by phone and email in support of the legislation;
  • Over 60 members of the 100 member House of Representatives committed to voting in favor of Scholarship Tax Credits;
  • Over 20 of the 38 members of the Kentucky Senate committed to voting in favor of Scholarship Tax Credits.

At the beginning of the session, many legislators argued that the state could not afford Scholarship Tax Credits. Yet, that argument became moot when the General Assembly raised new revenue through the expansion of the sales tax and increased state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars.  Nevertheless, the leadership within the General Assembly was not willing to fund a small school choice program that would have helped as many as 7,000 families afford tuition at a nonpublic school of their choice.

Why did this happen?  School Choice is an issue that is supported by the vast majority of Kentuckians, regardless of party.  However, there is a vocal minority that opposes this issue. Unfortunately, the leadership in the General Assembly seemed to be okay with “kicking the can down the road” on school choice in order to avoid push back from some very vocal opponents who oppose Scholarship Tax Credits.

Despite all this, we are so proud of you and your efforts. You have made a difference. You were a voice for the children and families who are too often ignored.

So what comes next? The first step is to contact your state senator and state representative’s offices at 502-564-8100 and ask to speak with them about the failure of the General Assembly to pass this important legislation. The operator will help with connecting you to the right legislators.  You can find their email addresses here by entering your home address.

Take time and show up to local legislative forums that they will be holding over the next few months and be a voice for the children who need options.  Nothing will change unless you take these steps. They need to hear about your disappointment so that they can begin the work of making this situation right.

There is still hope. It is entirely possible that the General Assembly will be called back to a special session given the many issues left on the table. Even if that doesn’t happen, the 2019 session will be here soon and the work of passing a program starts now.

Although we are disappointed and upset with the outcome of this session we know the effort must continue because ALL Kentucky families deserve to have a choice in their children’s education.

 

Latest news

Messenger Article on 2018 Elections
The October 19, 2018 Issue of The Messenger features an article titled “Kentucky voters encouraged to meet with candidates, can have a significant influence on legislation”.  You can find the article here. Please read it and share with friends and family.

2018 Elections
On November 6, 2018, Kentuckians will cast votes for every seat in the state House of Representatives and several seats in the Senate. The candidates that prevail will begin their work as legislators in January for the 2019 term of the Kentucky General Assembly.  You have an important role to play in this process.  Legislators […]

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