SACRAMENTO—With a special emphasis on state legislation that impacts families, Catholic Advocacy Day on Apr. 30 saw 12 of our diocesan faithful travel to Sacramento to meet with legislators and their staff members.
From the Diocese of San Bernardino the participants were Abraham Joven (Diocesan Director of Advocacy and Justice for Immigrants), Sister Hortensia Del Villar, S.A.C. (Diocesan Director of Community Services and Outreach), Sister Chilee Okoko, D.M.M.M. (Director of Life, Dignity and Justice), Anna Hamilton (Associate Director of Restorative Justice), Jose Luis Elias (Director of Education and Formation Programs), Mary Huber (Director of Respect Life and Pastoral Care), Nel Rabe, Virginia Juloya Balanga, Cynthia Ronquillo, Robert Clamor, Arturo Orozco and Nick Ewell.
The Diocesan group broke into small teams to conduct 14 different legislative briefings. They advocated on the following pieces of legislation:
Senate Bill 24 – Opposed this bill that mandates access to abortion on college campuses.
Senate Bill 360 – Opposed this bill that would require disclosure of information revealed during Catholic Sacrament of Confession in order to investigate child abuse.
Senate Bill 298 – Supported this bill that seeks to reduce child poverty by 50 % in the next 20 years.
Senate Bill 456 – Supported this bill that would provide protections for places of worship or other faith-based organization from the disclosing personal information of volunteers to a third party without a court-issued subpoena, warrant or order.
The teams also advocated for a state budget proposal to make the continuing education credits for teachers in K-12 schools tax deductible.
The legislators (or a staff representative) that met with the advocacy teams were: Assembly Member Phillip Chen, Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, Assembly Member Jose Medina, Assembly Member Eloise Gomez-Reyes, Assembly Member Chad Mayes, Assembly Member Tom Lackey, Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes, Assembly Member Randy Voepel, Assembly Member Chris Holden, Senator Connie Leyva, Senator Scott Wilk, Senator Jeff Stone, Senator Mike Morrell, and Senator Anthony Portantino.
“We also encouraged our teams to talk about local issues such as the proliferation of warehouses in our area and the impact that has on the environment as well as the need for better job opportunities in the region,” Joven, who coordinated diocesan participation in Catholic Advocacy Day.
All of the parishioners met for a morning opening prayer service led by Bishop Gerald Barnes, and a legislative update from the California Catholic Conference staff. In all, more than 100 Catholics from throughout the state took part in Catholic Advocacy Day.