In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- New accreditation associate director ...
- Second special session begins ...
- Special statement in response to US Congress members ...
- And more!
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
On Tuesday the first special session of the 88th Legislature ended when the Senate adjourned Sine Die. (Special sessions may not be longer than 30 days.)
TCV readers may recall the House adjourned Sine Die on May 30 after passing HB 2, less than 24 hours after the governor’s call. This created a situation where nothing was going to pass unless the Senate accepted the House bill on immigrant smuggling and the property taxes bills without changes. They did make changes to HB 2 and heard Senate bills, but with the other chamber gone no bills could progress to the governor.
Governor Greg Abbott wasted no time in calling a second special session only a couple of hours after the end of special session #1. The agenda for the next 30 days is focused solely on property tax relief and the Governor’s proclamation indicated that he will not allow any other issues to be added to special sessions until the legislature passes his version of property tax relief.
To spur the legislature, Governor Abbott has exercised his veto power over bills. He vetoed a total of 76 regular session bills. For 46 of these bills, the veto statements are identical: although the bill is important, it is not as important as cutting property taxes. The bills can be reconsidered in a future special session, but only after property tax relief is passed. He also vetoed nine bills he will not reconsider until education freedom (also known as parental choice) is passed. It remains to be seen how this strategy will play out, but I think it fair to say that tensions among the leadership and members are not improving.
Although the bishops do not take a position on property taxes, we are still praying and working to pass parental choice, which we believe will be on the call for a special session this fall. This could happen immediately after property taxes bills are passed, but August is an incredibly busy time for families so September or later is more likely.
Amidst all this political drama, I would like to wish everyone a happy and fun-filled Independence Day!
Press conference denouncing federal government withholding Medicaid funding
On June 7, Senator Bryan Hughes and Senator Chuy Hinojosa held a bipartisan press conference to criticize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for questioning one of the ways Texas funds its share of Medicaid. CMS has delayed reimbursement and could potentially withhold federal matching dollars, thereby jeopardizing the healthcare of poor Texans.
Sen. Hughes and Sen. Hinojosa were joined by Senators Carol Alvarado, Donna Campbell, Nathan Johnson, Morgan LaMantia, Borris Miles, Tan Parker, Charles Perry, John Whitmire as well as Bishop James Dixon, pastor of the Community of Faith Church in Houston and founder of Saving Hospitals Saves Lives Coalition, and Father Mark Hamlet of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Austin, who spoke passionately on behalf of the TCCB.
We have responded to a proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the federal Department of Health and Human Services on May 3 that will critically weaken the health care safety net for Texans. "These changes jeopardize the healthcare of millions of children, disabled adults, and people living in poverty who depend on Medicaid," the letter states, and the DHHS is asked to "consider the human cost of these policy proposals and withdraw them from the Proposed Rule."
U.S. Bishops' President and Chairmen Rebuke Distortion of Church Teaching in Abortion Statement by Members of Congress
On June 24, the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, 31 Catholic members of Congress authored a public statement of principles, falsely invoking specific teachings of the Catholic Church to defend their support of a legal right to abortion. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, issued a corrective statement in response.
We are happy to announce Dr. Ashley Altizer will be joining the TCCB as associate director of accreditation beginning July 1. She has been a Catholic educator for 15 years as a teacher, campus minister and administrator. Dr. Altizer worked closely with the schools in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, guiding them through the accreditation process, professional development and academic programming. She is a product of Catholic education, having attended Mercyhurst University, served in the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps at Boston College, and completed the Remick Leadership Program through the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Altizer completed her doctoral program through Northeastern University in May 2022.
For the abolition of torture
Let us pray that the international community may commit itself concretely to abolish torture, guaranteeing support to victims and their families.
Prayer for the Legislature
Please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them wisdom and prudence to work for the common good of all the people of Texas.
No Upcoming Executions
The Texas bishops ask for clemency for all on death row in our country and pray for the abolition of the death penalty.