New Maryland laws have gone into effect - Maryland Catholic Conference

New Maryland laws, respect life update and a new bishop

New Laws in Effect July 1

Image of the State seal from the Miller Senate Office Building

Hundreds of new laws are on the books in Maryland as of July 1. These include a repeal of the Civil-War-era state song, support for low-income and at-risk students to continue their education; tax credits for diaper donations; crisis support for service members, veterans and their families; expanded funds for legal aid; and more. Additional laws will go into effect later in the year, for a total of 809 resulting from the 2021 legislative session.

Among the July 1 laws are a number supported by the Maryland Catholic Conference, including:

  • Income tax modification to cover costs of living organ donors (SB 48/HB 10)
  • Establishment of a task force on oral health and availability and access of dental services (SB 100/HB 368)
  • Expansion of higher education tuition exemption for foster care recipients and homeless youth (SB 155)
  • Support access to healthy food in certain areas that are food deserts (SB 365)
  • Include crisis center helpline on higher ed student identification cards (SB 405)
  • Increase distribution of abandoned property funds for the Maryland Legal Services Corporation fund to assist with pro bono legal services (SB 413)
  • Require public schools provide free feminine hygiene products in women’s restrooms (SB 427/HB 205)
  • Provide support to pregnant and parenting students so they may continue their education and care for their new baby (SB 438/HB 401)
  • Expand funding for and availability of tax clinics for low-income Marylanders (SB 480/HB 421)
  • Establish educational programs for juveniles in residential facilities (SB 497)
  • Establish a matching grant program for nonprofits to provide behavioral health services for service members, veterans and their families (SB 550/HB 872)
  • Authorize state grants to increase availability of family childcare providers in areas with above average poverty and unemployment (SB 711/HB 944)
  • Continue a program that promotes college access for low-income Maryland high school students (HB 98)
  • Expand food access to households receiving or eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits (HB 101)
  • Provide a process and safeguards for new school hires during the background check period (HB 373)
  • Tax credit of up to $1,000 for donating diapers, certain hygiene products or funds for the items to qualified charities (HB 711)
  • Provide funding for the Guaranteed Access Grant program and to assist low-income public and nonpublic students in college and career awareness (HB 1245)

Watch Installation of Wilmington's New Bishop

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Celebrate with the Diocese of Wilmington, which includes the entirety of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as newly appointed Bishop-elect William Koenig is ordained as a bishop (by Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori) and also installed as Bishop of Wilmington on July 13, 2 p.m.

The livestream will start at 1:45 p.m. from St. Elizabeth Church, Wilmington. You can watch on the diocesan YouTube channel, on demand through the Catholic Faith Network (CFN) and on a delayed basis on EWTN (July 15, 3 p.m.). Learn more about Wilmington’s new bishop and this historic moment here.


State of Life Issues in Maryland

If you missed our June 8 webinar on the state of life issues in Maryland in 2021, the recording is now available.

Join Associate Director for Respect Life Advocacy Molly Sheahan with guests, Dr. Michael New and Michelle Williams, as they discuss the latest data, trends and the experience of pregnancy centers during COVID, plus ways you can help those in need. 


Internship Opportunity: Laudato Si’ Advocates

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Are you of college age and interested in environmental advocacy? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Environmental Justice Program offers a program for college-age individuals that equips them with the skills they need to advocate for legislation that promotes the integral ecology described in the encyclical Laudato Si’.

The program runs during the academic year. Laudato Si’ advocates earn a monthly stipend, attend a training summit in Washington, D.C., receive monthly formation, and are given instruction in advocacy. Learn more and apply here.


Of Note 

NEW! Did you know that the Maryland Catholic Conference provides advocacy, education, speakers and other resources on a range of topics for parishes, deaneries and Catholic groups? Download our new overview, with session highlights and resources, and contact us at [email protected].

STATE UPDATES

Governor Larry Hogan has announced the launch of a $72 million initiative to reduce maternal mortality and improve health care for mothers and children. Maryland ranks 22nd nationally in maternal mortality, according to the state.

The initiative is designed to increase access to care and to lower maternal and infant mortality and health complications. Among the components are expanded home visits for high-risk pregnant women and their young children, group prenatal care for low-risk pregnancies, and parenting and healthy development support for families with children up to age 3. Read more in Maryland Matters.

Maryland State Senator Doug Peters (D-23, Prince George’s County) has announced he is stepping down from office at the end of this month after being appointed to the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents. Senator Peters has been a steadfast advocate for Catholic issues including, but not limited to, support for the poor and vulnerable, environmental advocacy, access to Catholic schools, and the protection of life from conception to natural death.

State Senator Will Smith (D-20, Montgomery County), in Baltimore on July 2 to observe the 113th anniversary of the birth of Maryland native and Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, announced a portrait of the former Justice is being commissioned and will be placed in the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee Room. 

The deadline to file your 2020 Maryland state income taxes is July 15.

FEDERAL NEWS

The Department of Justice has issued a temporary stay on federal executions. Last December, the Maryland bishops urged a stop to the execution of a Maryland man, though, sadly, the federal execution went forward in January. Maryland has no state death penalty.

The Respect Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Catholics to contact Congress now to maintain the 45-year ban on using taxpayer funds for elective abortion. Learn more and take action here.

In June, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a number of decisions of interest to Catholics:

  • In Fulton v. Philadelphia, the Court unanimously ruled that the city’s foster care program should not have excluded Catholic Social Services from the program for following Catholic teaching. Read more.
  • The Court dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas, by a 7-2 decision, noting that states lacked standing to sue over the individual mandate for health care in the ACA.
  • The Court also dismissed Mayorkas v. Innovation Law Lab and ordered the lower court judgment be vacated as moot since the program in question, the Migrant Protection Policy (MPP), had been ended by the Department of Homeland Security on June 1. The USCCB had filed an amicus brief that opposed the MPP. Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville reacted to the decision.
  • In Jones v. Mississippi, the Court ruled that it is constitutional to sentence juveniles to life without parole. Maryland no longer allows life without parole sentencing for juveniles, following passage of bi-partisan state legislation in the 2021 session that was supported by the Maryland Catholic Conference.

 

IN HONOR OF BISHOP KOENIG

In honor of Wilmington’s incoming bishop, we offer a recipe for peach pie, the official dessert of his new state of Delaware.


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