In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- SB1 on parental choice moving forward ...
- Oppose SB 11 on immigration ...
- Worldwide call to fast and pray for peace Oct. 17 ...
- Respect life ...
- And more!
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
Right around midnight Thursday night, the Senate passed SB 1, to establish an Education Savings Account (ESA) program. The bill includes prioritization of the lowest income families (annual income of $55,000 for a family of four) but only up to 40% of the available positions. A second priority group includes families with an income between 185% and 500% of the federal poverty level (annual income of $150,000 for a family of four) may apply for 30% of the available positions. The third priority group, children with disabilities, is capped at 20%. Current private school and homeschool families can be in the last 10% of the positions, which is also open to all income levels.
We understand Sen. Creighton’s desire to create a framework that includes representation from a variety of backgrounds. However, we must advocate for prioritizing the lowest income families. We testified in support of the bill while urging improvement to the prioritization of the most poor and vulnerable.
We anticipate the priority House bill will be filed soon and hope the hearing will be scheduled for next week. We encourage the House to improve the prioritization and create a parental choice program that can be implemented effectively to meet the needs of Texas students. Once Chairman Buckley files the priority House bill, we will send out an action alert with information on how to engage, based on the content of the bill.
WE NEED PARENTS IN AUSTIN!
Jenny Andrews, TCCB Parental Engagement Director, is available to assist parents and parent organizers in coming to the Capitol. It would be tremendously helpful if a staff member in the Catholic schools office or other diocesan staff member could assist Jenny with recruiting 10 parents to come to Austin over the next three weeks. Please contact Jenny Andrews at email@example.com.
If you cannot make it to Austin, please tell everyone to call their representative and ask him or her to support parental choice. E-mail and phone scripts are available on our website in addition to many other resources to spread the word in your schools and parishes and on social media. A bilingual pdf of this content can be downloaded.
Please continue to pray for the intercession of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in this effort!
PLEASE URGE HOUSE COMMITTEE TO OPPOSE SB 11
SB 11, which creates a state criminal offense of entering the country anywhere but a lawful port of entry, has passed the Senate and will be heard on Monday in the House State Affairs Committee.
The bill mimics the offense in federal code, but making it a state crime is problematic for a host of reasons. Most importantly, it would significantly delay the federal process for asylum seekers as the penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail. The asylum process is already long and arduous and to delay its initiation is unjust.
Moreover, the cost to the state to implement this legislation could be enormous, considering the tens of thousands of migrants who encounter state and local law enforcement every year. The courts and detention facilities will be overwhelmed. If your representative is on the House State Affairs Committee, please call and urge him or her to oppose SB 11.
A Prayer for St. Elizabeth's Intercession
Lord God, thank you for blessing
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton with great faith, hope, joy, and charity.
We pray that her timeless example will guide us.
We look at her humility to help us accept your will for our lives.
Let her grateful heart remind us to thank you
for the joys and challenges of life.
May her courage and perseverance inspire us
To serve others, our church and our country.
Thank you, God, for Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton,
a loving and glorious saint who is always by our side.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us. Amen.
Oct. 17: Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace
The Assembly of Catholic ordinariates of the Holy Land is urgently asking all to join them in a day of prayer and fasting for peace on October 17. More information is here.
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.
Texas named Will Speer as the first Inmate Coordinator for the Death Row Faith Based Program. His execution is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Oct. 26 – William Speer
Nov. 9 – Brent Brewer
Nov. 16 – David Renteria
The Texas bishops ask for clemency for all on death row in our country and pray for the abolition of the death penalty.
For the Synod
We pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a lifestyle at every level, and allow herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the peripheries of the world.