CCI Executive Director Robert Gilligan hosts the Catholic Conference Radio Hour on the third Monday of the month on Relevant Radio. Gilligan discusses current public policy issues affecting the Church with experts and newsmakers.
Cynthia Canary, executive director of the Independent Map Coalition, talks to Bob about the organization's effort to put on the November ballot an amendment calling for an independent commission to draw the state's legislative districts. Currently, lawmakers draw the lines, and whatever party is in power gets the honor. The result: gerrymandered districts that protect incumbents. Next, state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, discusses her efforts to protect juveniles in custody for homicide or sex offense cases by requiring minors under the age of 15 — now the age is 13 — to have a lawyer present. Senate Bill 2370 also calls for a simplified Miranda warning to be given to juveniles younger than 18. Then, Patrick Murray, a consultant for Granada Liturgical Arts, made national news recently with his “Church Madness” that was set up like an NCAA basketball tournament bracket. The event showed up on his blog, www.artandliturgy.com, in March as a competition for the most beautiful church in the Unites States. The winner — St. John Cantius of Chicago. Wrapping up the show, Joanna Arellano of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace & Justice talks to Bob about the national Social Action Summer Institute her office is hosting in July. Speakers include Fr. Michael Pfleger of Chicago, Fr. Larry Dowling of Chicago, and Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville.
Sr. Rosemary Connelly of Misericordia and Scott Mendel, an attorney and parent of a Misericordia resident, join Bob to talk about state legislation that would create a special state license to oversee the continuum of care for the developmentally disabled. The license would allow for a streamlining of operations at Misericordia, which offers a variety of living situations for the developmentally disabled. Next, state Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Westmont, talks about the extension of the All Kids health insurance plan to 2019, since the 10-year program initiated by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich will expire this coming July 1. House Bill 5736, which extends the deadline of the program to Oct. 1, 2019, passed out of committee last week and is ready to be called for a vote before the full House. The program is for children who do not qualify for the traditional Medicaid program. Then, state Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, discusses House Bill 5973, which would make it easier for ex-offenders to get occupational licenses — barber, cosmetologist, real estate, public accountant, etc. — unless their crime was connected to the profession. Closing out the show, Ralph Rivera, lobbyist for Illinois Citizens for Life, joins Bob to talk about House Bill 4013, which would allow taxpayer money to be used for elective abortions.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week will hear the Little Sisters of the Poor's case against the federal government regarding the mandate requiring insurance coverage of morally objectionable services. The sisters and others say the government's opt-out method still makes them complicit in offering the services. Chicago attorney Jim Geoly joins Bob for an update on the case in light of the recent death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, leaving only eight judges to hear the case. Fr. David Kelly of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago tells Bob about his work in restorative justice. Then, Andrew Walther of the Knights of Columbus discusses the organization's recent report documenting instances of genocide against Christians by ISIS in the Middle East. Finally, amidst a bruising Republican presidential primary election race, Michael Josephson joins Bob to talk about civility in politics. Josephson is the founder of a Los Angeles-based institute on ethics, as well as Character Counts!, a company that offers training materials to schools to teach character to students.
Monsignor Michael Boland, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Chicago, talks to Bob about the state owing the social services arm of the Church $25 million because of the state budget impasse, and the potential for program and staff cuts. Dr. Richard Dye of the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs discusses a report issued Feb. 15 that outlines the fiscal status of the state midway through this fiscal year without a budget. Considering the governor’s budget address last week, and the Democratic leaderships’ reaction to it, it appears the state is still stuck. Dyes’ report offers harbingers of what’s to come. John Maki, executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, offers his perspective on the recommendations issued in December by the Illinois Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. Maki is a member of the commission and former head of the John Howard Association. The only issue that has received bipartisan support in the legislature during the past year concerns corrections and sentencing reform. Eleanore Strong, a founding member of the new Chicago chapter of Young Catholic Professionals, wraps up the show by talking about future speaking guests after the chapter’s successful launch earlier this month.