The 2017-2018 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly is now fully underway and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association are tracking a number of different legislative proposals.
PCC and PCHA formulate policy positions about state government programs, legislation, and policies that affect the common good and the interests of the Church. Areas of interest include concern for the poor, education, faith and politics, health care, respect for human life, religious liberty and social justice.
In each two-year legislative session, the Legislative Reference Bureau prepares about 70 million pages of bills, amendments, resolutions, and citations introduced by the members of the General Assembly. Only a fraction of them will ever become law, but each one has the potential for consideration.
The PCC and PCHA review hundreds of these bills with a Catholic lens. Some bills may affect the Church, and its Catholic schools, charities, and health care facilities as an institution; but many more deserve consideration because they concern the welfare of others. The Gospel calls us to support and defend the common good.
With so many proposals to consider, how do the PCC and PCHA prioritize what to track? Bills that promote these values may earn Catholic support; bills that may harm or contradict will be opposed.
- Protection of human life from conception until natural death.
- Support of programs that provide aid to nonpublic school students and their parents, including school choice.
- Health care and insurance reform that guarantees access to adequate health care, standard benefits, long-term care for all persons, and care that allows religiously-affiliated providers to deliver services in accord with their ethical and moral principles.
- Strengthening Pennsylvania families and working to uphold the stability of marriage between one man and one woman.
- Support for safe and affordable religious child care facilities.
- Advocacy for social justice and human rights for all Pennsylvanians, especially for programs that serve people in need.
- Protection of the right to religious freedom, whether within the Church walls or in the community.
Many bills that address important topics are introduced, but not all of them are likely to be considered. The PCC and PCHA include bills in its legislative review that seem to have “traction;” but things can happen fast in a legislative session. News and urgent calls to action are constantly updated on www.pacatholic.org.
Pray for our elected officials and their public policy deliberations. The well-being of Pennsylvania’s citizens depends on it!