Maryland Catholic Conference
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    Session Outcomes


    April 13, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
    Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington


    Flurry of Bills as Session Ends


    The 444th session of the Maryland General Assembly is now in the books (except for any possible vetoes by the governor).


    We had a lot of great legislative wins this session – and one significant step back for women’s health. All of us at the Maryland Catholic Conference thank you for taking action as part of the Catholic Advocacy Network and keeping our legislators and priorities in prayer.

    We are sorting through all of the bills, but here is a wrap-up of some of the many bills we advocated on, organized by our departments:


    Respect for Life Legislation


    These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

    HB 1171 - opposed | bill failed 

    Abortion constitutional amendment bill intended to enshrine abortion in the Maryland Constitution 

    HB 0626 - opposed | bill failed

    This bill would have allowed late-term abortion for any reason (even beyond health or fetal abnormality) and with no responsibility 

    HB 83/SB 29 - supported | passed
    This legislation increases the minimum legal age to marry 

    HB 50 – opposed | bill failed
    This bill would have required Catholic hospitals to perform abortions

    HB 1080/SB 778 - supported | passed
    Medical care and other health services will be provided to low-income noncitizen pregnant women to help them have healthy babies

    HB 282 & HB 288 – supported | passed, signed into law by Governor
    These bills exempt baby products and diapers from state sales and use taxes.

    We opposed this bill, which sadly was passed by the General Assembly:

    HB 937 - opposed | passed, Governor veto, override of veto
    This new law allows non-physicians to perform abortions and expands insurance coverage of abortion for some employers


    Education, Children and Families


    These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

    SB 290 - supported | passed

    $10 million funding for BOOST scholarships that may be used at Catholic and non-public schools

    SB 53/HB 269 - supported | passed, Governor veto, override of veto
    Requires law enforcement to make an effort for parental notice and access to legal counsel when a child is charged with a crime

    HB 459 /SB 691– supported | passed
    Sets a minimum age for youth to be charged with nonviolent crimes and puts in place other common-sense youth justice reforms


    Social and Economic Justice


    These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

    SB 662/HB 724 – supported | passed
    Directs abandoned property funds in FY 2024 to the “Access to Counsel in Evictions Special Fund,” which helps ensure access to legal counsel for low-income residents facing eviction proceedings

    SB 369 – supported | passed and governor signed into law
    Establishes a program to assist low-income residents obtain an earned income tax credit benefit if eligible

    SB 121/HB 147 - supported | passed
    Provides grants to food banks and non-profit emergency food providers to alleviate food insecurity, and establishes a farm-to-school grant pilot program to encourage use of local food 

    HB 06/SB 150 – supported | passed
    Provides dental coverage for low-income Marylanders

    HB 492/SB 571 – supported | passed
    Exempts oral hygiene products from state sales and use taxes 


    Bills that were passed out of the General Assembly and have not yet gone to the Governor must do so within 20 days of the end of session. Governor Hogan then has 30 days to sign, to allow the bill to become law without signing, or to veto the bill.

    The legislature can override a veto, with 3/5 vote of elected members in the House and in the Senate at the next regular or special session. However, this is an election year and the legislature may not override a veto during the first year of a new term so no overrides will occur when they meet next January.


    Interested in the bills we testified on? You can find a list on our website.

    Pontifical Good Friday Collection

    Good Friday: Remembering Holy Land Christians


    As we begin the Triduum and Easter, we will be praying for each of you, and ask you to join Cardinal Gregory and Catholics worldwide in praying for the Christians in the Holy Land, whose are the descendants of the first Christians.

    On Good Friday, your parish collection will go to support Christians in the Holy Land. 
    Please learn more and consider giving to ensure that Christians may remain in the places where Christ became man and where they are under political, economic, and social stresses today. 


    Of Note


    State legislative district challenge remains

    While the congressional map has now been finalized for Maryland, the state legislative district map (General Assembly seats) remains under legal challenge. The current primary is July 19; state officials said this week that the latest a primary could be held is Aug. 16. 

    Once the maps are finalized, we will contact candidates for our primary candidate survey (and let candidates know you will be looking for their responses). 



    Tax filing dates

    This year, your 2021 federal taxes must be filed by April 16, but individuals in Maryland have until July 15 to file their state forms.

    BOOST scholarship applications due April 29
    Families interested in a BOOST scholarship must apply by April 29 - the state does not permit exceptions - and must file their federal income tax return before applying. 



    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
    1 Peter 1:3

    Read more

    Bills go to governor, bishops lead prayers, and utility assistance for low income


    April 5, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
    Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington


    Last full week of session will be busy


    This is the last full week for the 2022 legislative session. Eight days may not seem like a long time, but in legislative time, a lot can happen. This next week will involve intensive discussions and voting up until midnight on April 11.

    Once bills pass, what happens?

    Once bills are  passed by the General Assembly, they go to the governor who can veto them – except for the budget.

    If the governor vetoes a bill sent to him in session (by last Friday), he has this week to veto a bill. If he does, the General Assembly can then try to override his veto during the current legislative session that ends April 11.

    Any other bills  passed by the General Assembly must be presented to the governor within 20 days of the end of session. If the governor vetoes a bill, the General Assembly can try to override the veto at the next regular or special session. This year is a little different, however, because Governor Hogan is term-limited. A new governor will be elected in November and the General Assembly is not permitted to override any vetoes during the first year of a new term.

    What about bills on which we advocated?

    Among the bills passed by the House and Senate last week are a number the Maryland Catholic Conference advocated for or against, including:

    Youth justice reform (supported)
    SB 53 – The Child Interrogation Protection Act requires parental notification and consultation with an attorney prior to law enforcement interrogation of a child.


    SB 691 – This youth justice reform bill provides preferential policies toward restorative justice for youth and limits the minimum age at which children can be charged with less serious offenses.


    Support  for new parents (supported)
    SB 316 – Sales and use tax exemptions for diapers and baby products helps make essentials, such as diapers and car seats, more affordable for parents.


    Public safety – ban ghost guns (supported)

    HB 425 is the “ghost gun” bill we supported on Catholic Advocacy Day that bans untraceable firearms with no serial number, among other provisions.


    Mental health support (supported)

    SB 937 establishes an Access to Mental Health Advisory Committee through the Maryland Higher Education Commission to study policies and procedures, identify obstacles to providing mental health services for students, review best practices and make recommendations.


    Transportation equity (supported)

    HB 141 requires equity be considered in the development of state transportation plans, reports and goals, and calls for equity analyses and community consultation before reducing or cancelling certain capital expansion projects.


    Abortion by non-physicians (opposed)

    HB 937 authorizes non-physicians to perform abortions, provides $3.5 million in state funding for training, and expands private insurance coverage of abortion. This is separate from HB 1171, which seeks to enshrine abortion in the Maryland Constitution and remains in the Senate.


    Sine Die, the final day of this session, is Monday, April 11. Please keep our state lawmakers in mind as they are still considering a number of challenging bills for life, justice and education.

    Prayer vigil for life and lawmakers

    Maryland bishops pray for women, legislators


    Bishops and parishioners from across Maryland gathered at St. Mary’s in Annapolis - and online - on March 30 for a Prayer Vigil for Life and Lawmakers.


    Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori spoke to the value of life in his remarks, asking those present and watching the livestream to “consider all that has happened in just a few short years to remind us how valuable life is, how precious it is, how utterly incumbent it is on each of us to respect and dignify all human life.…our society has been challenged to value life, to preserve life, to refuse to let life—any life—succumb to illness, to injustice, to marginalization.


    “Yet here we are. Gathered to pray that those elected to preserve what’s good for us, what’s good for our State won’t enact legislation that seeks to make it easier for an innocent and helpless life to be extinguished, easier for the light of life to be darkened.”


    He pointed out the ways the Church provides “emotional, physical, material and spiritual care” for women facing an unexpected pregnancy, asking those present to imagine if the State of Maryland did the same “so that a woman would not feel like she had only one option for managing an unexpected pregnancy. She wouldn’t feel alone.…She wouldn’t feel like she and her baby had no other choice.”

    Prayer: "powerful force for good"


    Jeanne Mancini, president of National Right to Life, spoke to the power of prayer for women and children, and for lawmakers "that their minds and hearts will be touched so that they might find the courage and compassion to say ‘yes’ to life.”


    “Prayer is a powerful force for good. Let us always pray that the Lord of Life will always have the final vote, the final say. May our prayers tonight be answered on behalf of those whose hearts we ask the Blessed Mother to open anew,” she added.


    Read more about the prayer vigil in the Catholic Standard, along with reflections from a number of participants about the importance of prayer and action to protect all life. Join in praying weekly for lawmakers. Download the prayer (English and Spanish).


    New congressional redistricting map goes forward;

    report issued on challenges to state districts


    The redistricting map for federal congressional districts was redrawn and voted upon by the General Assembly after a judge ruled the legislature’s first map was unconstitutional, among other concerns. Governor Larry Hogan signed the new map into law on April 4 and appeals to the map were withdrawn, meaning new congressional boundaries are final. Check whether your congressional district has changed on this interactive map.

    Also on Monday, Special Magistrate Judge Alan Wilner issued a report recommending several challenges to the state legislative district map be rejected. The judge's report will now go to the full Court of Appeals.


    Of Note


    State assistance with water and energy bills

    The Office of Home Energy Programs (Maryland Department of Human Services) assists low-income residents with water and electric bills and referrals for assistance in weatherizing and improving energy efficiency for homes. Learn more here.


    Tax filing date reminder

    This year, your 2021 federal taxes must be filed by April 16, but individuals in Maryland have until July 15 to file their state forms.


    Stolen tabernacle replaced

    The tabernacle stolen from St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, Md., has been replaced with one donated from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur’s Villa Julie.


    Relics of St. Bernadette coming to Maryland

    The relics of St. Bernadette will be in Maryland, May 13-15, for veneration at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. This is through the efforts of the Order of Malta. Mass, confession, and anointing of the sick will be offered.

    Reconciliation Monday
    Parishes across the Diocese of Wilmington, which includes the eastern shore of Maryland, will be open on Monday, 3-8 p.m., for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  


    Holy Week is coming – and so are hot cross buns

    Catholic Rural Life offers a recipe for hot cross buns. While popular with many families throughout Lent, this has always been a Triduum to Easter tradition for one of our staff.


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    Prayer vigil, social justice bills and redistricting lawsuit

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    Crossover plus youth justice, housing, abortion bill

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