Inside this issue
  Candidate Questionnaire Project Now Underway  

Earlier this month, all U.S. Congressional and Florida legislative candidates appearing on the ballot in the primary and/or general elections were invited to participate in a questionnaire. Candidates were asked to identify whether they support or oppose a range of concerns that are important to our faith community and are anticipated to come before lawmakers in the coming term. 

Candidate responses are now arriving and will continue to be posted as received on the FCCB website. Please encourage any candidates with whom you have contact to complete the questionnaire.

Summaries of candidate responses for distribution in parishes will be posted on the FCCB website on Thursday, August 4 for the primary election and on Thursday, October 13 for the general election.

You can view the eight question surveys with a brief background on each question for U.S. Congressional candidates and Florida Legislative candidates.


  U.S. House Passes Conscience Protection Act; Further Action by Congress Urged  
  On July 13, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 on a vote of 245-182. The measure provides legal protection from government discrimination for all health care providers, entities and health insurance plans that choose not to participate in abortions based on moral or religious objections. 

Members of Congress heard from our advocacy network and others around the country who called for passage of this critical bill that protects the civil right of conscience. We are grateful to all those who 'raised their voices' to make their support for this vital legislation known.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, respective chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) committees on pro-life activities and religious liberty, commended the U.S. House of Representatives on the vote and urged Congress to move the legislation forward.

If enacted into law, the Conscience Protection Act "will ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced to help destroy innocent unborn children," the chairmen wrote. "It will also provide an effective remedy to victims of abortion coercion."


  KidCare Expansion for Immigrant Children Becomes Law  
  On July 1, 2016, approximately 17,000 low-income, lawfully-residing immigrant children became eligible to participate in Florida's KidCare insurance program. Passed by the legislature during the 2016 legislative session and signed by Governor Scott, the law eliminates the five-year waiting period previously required to qualify for the program. 

A multi-year Catholic Days at the Capitol issue and FCCB priority, this new law promotes healthier children and families in Florida. It not only allows for health insurance coverage and preventive care during the first critical years of a child's development, but will reduce emergency room visits and the cost of uncompensated care across the whole health system.

Undocumented immigrants of any age remain ineligible for the program.

For more information about the Florida KidCare program including eligibility and how to apply, click here.


  Judge Issues Stay on Two Provisions of Florida Abortion Law  
  On June 30, the day before it was scheduled to go into effect, a federal judge issued an injunction on two provisions of a law that establishes certain regulations for abortion clinics. HB 1411 was passed earlier this year by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

In June, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the constitutionality of the new law. FCCB supports the law, which includes a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges or a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital, ensuring women seeking abortions receive the same level of care as those who undergo comparable procedures at outpatient surgical facilities. This provision of the law was not included in the legal challenge and went into effect on July 1.

The two provisions on hold are:
  • A section of the bill preventing state agencies, local governments and Medicaid managed-care plans from contracting with organizations that own, operate or are affiliated with clinics that perform elective abortions
  • A requirement that the state Agency for Health Care Administration inspect at least 50 percent of abortion-clinic patient records each year


  Make Plans to Attend the State Respect Life Conference, October 14 & 15  

Registration is now open for the 30th Annual State Respect Life Conference, hosted by the Diocese of Orlando. 

Theme: "Merciful Like the Father"
Date: October 14 & 15, 2016
Location: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 5300 Old Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL 

To help energize, educate and engage, this conference will provide hope and inspiration for people of good will who seek to reawaken in all hearts a zeal for life. An impressive array of national speakers will deliver powerful and impactful messages of mercy that can guide our efforts to promote, nurture and instill the Gospel of life into our world. Important and relevant topics such as human trafficking, pornography, abortion and bioethics will be explored through the lens of God's merciful love for each of us.

All ministry leaders, parishioners, and community members who seek to become more effective witnesses to the Gospel of life and the Father's love are invited to this special event that is designed to engage all Catholics on the mission of mercy in the life of the Church.

For more information and to register, visit the Diocese of Orlando website.


  Voter Registration Deadline for Primary Election Approaching  
  In order to vote in Florida's primary election, you must register to vote by August 1. Florida is a closed primary state. Only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for respective party candidates in a primary election - unless there is no opposition in the general election. All registered voters may vote in non-partisan races.  

Visit the website of the Division of Elections to register to vote, change your party affiliation, or update your address.


  Recent News from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  

July 18, 2016: USCCB President Calls for Dialogue, Peace in the Midst of Violence

July 13, 2016: Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori Commend House Passage, Call on Congress to Enact the Conscience Protection Bill

July 12, 2016: USCCB Chairmen Urge Support for the 'First Amendment Defense Act'

June 27, 2016: Bishops' Pro-Life Spokeswoman Laments High Court Decision Rejecting Abortion Clinic Safety Law

June 23, 2016: USCCB Migration Committee Chairman Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Immigration


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July 20, 2016

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Words of Wisdom

"The summertime offers many people an occasion for rest. It's also a favorable time to take care of our human relationships."

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July 4, 2016


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