Wednesday, Apr 04, 2018

The Catholic Conference of Illinois will join advocacy groups on April 26 at the state Capitol for an Environmental Lobby Day that will in part celebrate Pope Francis' ground-breaking encyclical Laudato Si'.

Participants will be encouraged to visit their state representatives and senator at their Springfield offices to ask that they co-sponsor a legislative resolution honoring the 2015 encyclical that offers a frank look at what the pope perceives to be man’s lack of care for creation and calls for an “integral ecology” to remedy the current condition of the Earth.

UPDATE: Watch this short video for a fun recap of the day!

The resolution will be introduced separately in both the House and Senate. The Senate version has been filed in the form of Senate Resolution 1606, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, and the House version has been filed in the form of House Resolution 1010, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Oak-Lawn.

The Catholic Conference is also supporting legislation spawned by the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan. House Bill 5044 and Senate Bill 3080 each call for the state to create a program to help low-income individuals get access to clean, affordable water. The initiative also requires communities to develop a plan that will remove all public and private lead-pipe service lines connected to the water main within 10 years.

Additionally, CCI is advocating for House Bill 4469, which ensures that eligible voters being held in a county jail are given the opportunity to vote via an absentee ballot. The measure also requires the Illinois Department of Corrections to inform inmates, upon their release, of the re-instatement of their voting rights. This legislation relates to environmental concerns since Illinois' Future Energy Job Act targets former inmates to fill new jobs in the alternative energy industry.

Download this fact sheet on the issues we are supporting for Environmental Lobby Day.

The lobby day is hosted by the Illinois Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, and Faith in Place, who have arranged for buses to travel to Springfield on April 26 from several locations, including the Chicago Loop and South Loop, Chicago's South Side, River Forest, Schaumburg, Waukegan and Urbana. The cost is $30 per person and includes a T-shirt ($15 for pick-up in Urbana). Free tickets are available on the sign-up page if you are unable to afford a ticket at this time. Pack your own lunch. Click here to register for a bus trip, and when asked what organization you are affiliated with, write "Catholic Conference of Illinois."

If you are coming to Springfield on your own, click here to register for the day's events, and when asked on the form what organization you are with, check "other" and write in "Catholic Conference of Illinois."  Distribute this flier to promote the lobby day.

A rally will be held in front of the Capitol at noon, and then participants can visit their state lawmakers. (Don't know who your state representatives and senator are — find out here.)

The resolution honoring Laudato Si' is written as follows:

WHEREAS, Laudato Si’, the groundbreaking encyclical by Pope Francis written in 2015, is devoted to the care for our common home and offers important teachings for all Illinoisans to read and reflect upon as policies are developed to address serious challenges to our environment; and

WHEREAS, the encyclical notes that with these challenges, we are faced with one crisis that is both social and environmental, and solutions to this crisis require an integrated approach that focuses on both the person and nature; and

WHEREAS, Laudato Si’ reminds all of us, including government leaders, of our moral responsibility to care for our common home; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY (THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES/THE SENATE) OF THE ONE HUNDRETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that the members of the General Assembly come together in a bipartisan manner to discuss and develop just policies for the State of Illinois that consider both our environmental and social systems in addressing the various issues that affect our common home.