8/14/2013 11:08:00 AM At Legislature: Some hits, some misses
Wikimedia Commons photo
The Oregon Capitol
At the start of the 2013 Oregon Legislature, the Archdiocese of Portland urged Catholics to support a set of bills in keeping with moral and social standards. The Archdiocese also asked voters to oppose initiatives that ran counter to church teaching.
There were successes.
The archdiocese was glad to see the failure of a bill that might have discouraged clients from entering pregnancy resource centers and hailed unanimous passage of a bill that increased penalty for facilitating sex tourism and prostitution.
The archdiocese supported an extension and increase of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which aids families of low-wage workers. A related bill increased funding for employment-related day care, helping working parents.
The church welcomed the failure of attempts to reduce Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The 60-month limit for benefits was retained and an addition $5 million went into a linked jobs program.
The archdiocese tallied success on passage of stiffer anti-discrimination laws in affordable housing and approved of passage of a bill that would deter construction firms from withholding wages from workers.
The archdiocese backed three bills helping immigrants and all passed. They include in-state tuition for immigrants who entered the country outside legal circles as children, driver's licenses for immigrants without papers and a tax credit for farmers who upgrade migrant worker housing.
There were also "misses," as the archdiocese's letter called them. Efforts to place restrictions on abortion after the 20th week except in case of medical emergency did not make it out of the House Judiciary Committee. The same fate came for a bill to repeal and prohibit the death penalty.
Catholics were asked to urge their state legislators pass bills that would prevent foreclosures, another bill that never emerged from committee.
Narrowly losing in a Senate committee vote was legislation to increase awareness of environmental hazards to children. The measure passed in the House.