Published January 21, 2010
The Georgia Catholic Conference unveiled a new Web site just as the state lawmakers begin their work in crafting laws and dealing with red ink in state spending.
The Web site allows people interested in state politics to sign up for alerts about key legislation and other important events at the Georgia Statehouse.
The Georgia Catholic Conference is the public policy arm of both the Atlanta Archdiocese and the Savannah Diocese. The organization engages legislators on Catholic perspectives on laws and works with other advocacy groups to influence elected officials.
Pat Chivers, communications director for the Atlanta Archdiocese, said wrestling with state spending is the current focus for lawmakers.
Chivers said the conference is talking with representatives and senators and paying attention to proposals, but there is little being done besides budget issues, she said. “That’s all they can think of. It is a huge burden,” she said.
State agencies are being asked to trim spending by close to 9 percent before June to save about $1.2 billion.
Catholic lobbyists likely won’t be proposing new legislation with the belt-tightening climate because there is no money to start initiatives, she said.
Instead, the conference will keep watch on proposals to cut state spending and be attentive to proposals that may hurt families and children, she said. Often times if the state cuts costs, the people turn to private charities, like Catholic Charities Atlanta, but nonprofit organizations are struggling too, Chivers said.
“We cannot pick up the slack,” she said.
The state budget is key, she said. “Where the state puts its money speaks loudly about what the state values,” she said.
The Georgia Catholic Conference is once again hosting a Catholic Day at the Capitol. The daylong event gives people an up-close view of lawmaking. Those who attend will get an opportunity to hear the Catholic perspective on the legislative session. The annual event is scheduled for Feb. 25, starting at 8:30 a.m. The event is free, but registration is required. Participants can register at www.archatl.com/offices/communications/catholicday.php or call Joy Place at (404) 885-7201.
The Georgia Catholic Conference Web site can be found at www.georgiacc.org.