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Evansville, Indiana
March 15, 1996     The Message
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March 15, 1996

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""3 16, 1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana of state surplus was top priority of ICC Conference Catholic Confer- 'rapped up its as the Assembly session h represents at the given a fo- board of di- scs- for ch to be tire partici- of public is Desmond lye director Short ses- of how the play a role." of the ICC state sur- to pass a cautioned of the surplus, -'essity of re- antici- human ser- could result budget de- level. COncern was announce_ eak plan by and Re- Indiana early in the of the tax cuts, and r parents rats raised roposals ed Such as free earned in- low-income one sena- at it seems a new or breaks in by the which legisla- at the Statehouse. The Democrats' pro- posals and the college credit were not approved this session. In other areas, the ICC gave high priority to several issues affecting families and children. Legislation which would have extended funding for ISTEP remediation to non- public schools was defeated in the Senate. A modified.version of the remediation bill was at- tached to other legislation in a Senate committee Feb. 22, but was removed while in the full Senate the next week. The Legislature approved a bill that addresses state caseload standards for child and family caseworkers, a long-supported issue of the ICC. The bill would require the state Division of Family and Children to issue semi-annual reports to the Legislature de- scribing county caseworker caseload averages. If child pro- tection and welfare caseloads exceed statewide standards in the bill, then a plan would have to be designed to address the situation. Legislation was also ap- proved which aims to encour- age adoption by expanding the amount of support adoptive parents could provide to the birth mother such as mater- nity clothing, adoption-related psychological counseling, travel expenses, additional liv- ing expenses during the preg- nancy, and lost wages due to a pregnancy-related medical con- dition. The adoption bill became an issue late in the session when questions surfaced about the proper extent of the extra re- sources included in the bill. The ICC was asked to play a role in tightening the language to prevent "baby-selling," or profiting from an adoption, through limiting the levels of support allowed for additional living expenses and lost wages. The caseworker and adoption legislation move to the gover- nor for final action. Legislation recently signed into law by the governor ex- pands to maternity benefits for new mothers and their infants by allowing longer hospital stays after delivery. Under the new law, various insurance plans that provide maternity benefits will be required to cover recommended minimum stays of 48 hours for a normal delivery or 96 hours for a Ce- sarean delivery. The mother's doctor could approve a shorter stay if certain medical condi- tions are met and a follow-up visit is made within 48 hours of release from the hospital. A measure that would have increased existing penalties for knowingly or intentionally killing a fetus stumbled this session when a discussion arose over its closeness to the abortion debate, though the bill specified that it did not apply to legal abortions. The feticide bill was defeated in a Senate committee after a con- cern was raised that the status of a fetus would be elevated to a person under the bill. Later attempts to amend the concept into other legislation also failed. Another issue raised this session would have regulated surrogate motherhood con- tracts made in Indiana. Cur- rently surrogate parenting agreements are not recognized by the state. The legislation, opposed by the ICC, passed the retrea Meinrad Archabbey.: The retreat was hosted by the St. Meinrad College for the : homily during the re- treat Mass. House but was not heard in the Senate. However, it is likely to resurface in a summer study committee. Legislators also considered a proposal which would have cre- ated a new public assistance system in Marion County. The "Indianapolis Independence Initiative" bill would have re- placed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with a privatized job training and placement program. The ICC expressed concerns about passing sweeping welfare re- form in a short session. Repre- sentatives defeated the plan in two separate votes. e movie line, public service ads funded by bishops 113,000 calls since it was un- veiled late last year. The other, the "Good Values Make Great Kids" public ser- vice announcement series, reached 34 percent of the na- tion's TV audience in its first four months, according to media monitoring services. The funding decisions were announced March 4. The movie review line, (800) 311-4222, will be continued through February 1997 with (CNs) last Paigns funding Commu. e. review (812) 254-2641 SAVINGS BANK, FSB 200 E. Van Trees St., Washington 500 Main St., Petersburg i t Street 254-3612 ER &: MILLER "A family name you can trust" 424-9274 the $350,000 of new funding. The toll-free number offers reviews of six recent movies, plus a "family video of the week" and information about other Catholic communication efforts. It is available to people with either push- button or ro- tary-dial phones. The capsule reviews come from the U.S. Catholic Confer- ence Office for Film and Broad- casting, which reviews movies, videos and TV shows on the basis of moral suitability. The movie review line has attracted the interest of the national media since its debut last September, including cov- erage by The Associated Press, The New York Times, and the syndicated entertainment show "Extra." An expanded version of "Good Values Make Great Kids" will receive $600,000. It will go toward the production and distribution of TV, radio and print announcements in both English and Spanish. The first wave of new "Good Values Make Great Kids" ads are expected by May. "We're using the media to urge people to make value- laden decisions, and they're re- sponding," said Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello of Syracuse, N.Y., chairman of the bishops' Communications Committee, in a statement. "Our '800' movie review line helps people choose quality movies and videos for the faro- , H tJ t t DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Merpber FDIC YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK i ily. Our PSA (public service announcement) campaign helps adults remember that children learn values at home," he said. "Helping families use media intelligently is a priority issue of the church," Bishop Costello added. "Media convey values .... We want those values to sup- port families and enhance their dignity." The committee also voted to fund production of a documen- tary, "Diary of a Parish Priest," to be produced by State of the Art, a Washington production company. It also voted to let Journey Communications, of Alexan- dria, Va., produce a documen- tary about modern moral and ethical dilemmas confronting terminally ill individuals and their loved ones. The committee also ear- marked $30.000 for production of an Easter Mass on Easter Sunday, April 7.