Two Weeks Left in Legislative Session
The General Assembly wraps up its annual legislative session in just two weeks. Right now, the main focus is on committees. Most bills have passed from one legislative body to the other (Senate to House or House to Senate) and are being considered by committees in the second chamber.
Others have moved on to conference committees. A conference committee has six members, pulled from House and Senate, who work to resolve differences in a bill. The committee issues a report. If it is accepted by both chambers, the bill goes on to a final vote. If not, the bill may be sent back to conference committee or left to fail.
After passage by House and Senate, most legislation goes on to the Governor. He has 30 days to veto a bill. If he doesn’t within that time frame, a bill becomes law. There are a couple of exceptions to this process. Budget bills become law upon final passage and cannot be vetoed. Also, the governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.
The process can get complicated, so here are some great resources from the Maryland General Assembly:
If you are interested in a bill, you can click on a bill to watch its progress. Testimony from the Maryland Catholic Conference is online here, and includes a link to the bill page. Click “history” to see how it has moved along.
Legislation we are still monitoring include a number of bills on education (including BOOST funding), environment, juvenile justice, police reform and pro-life issues.
New Mass Vaccination Site in Maryland
Maryland is opening another mass vaccination site on April 5 at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College. Anyone 60 or older and other eligible residents (categories are here) can pre-register online or by phone at 855-634-6829 for this or any of the state’s mass vaccination sites, including Six Flags America Theme Park, Regency Furniture Stadium (Blue Crabs Stadium), Wicomico Civic Center, Hagerstown Premium Outlets and M&T Bank Stadium. You will be notified when an appointment is open.
As of Monday, March 29, over 911,500 Marylanders were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 2.6 million doses had been administered, according to the state’s vaccination dashboard.
In the news this week: Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Bruce Lewandowski was quoted in an Associated Press article on efforts by churches to help make vaccines accessible to all. From the article:
“’This community has been decimated by the pandemic. We want people to get through the red tape,’ said Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, an auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, where vaccinations are taking place, is in one of Baltimore’s hardest-hit ZIP codes, a mostly Hispanic neighborhood where as many as 48% of COVID-19 tests were positive at one point.”
Join Fr. Francisco Aguirre in Prayer
This week’s prayer for elected officials is led by Father Francisco Aguirre, pastor of St. Catherine Laboure, a vibrant parish in Wheaton, Md. (District 18). St. Catherine is one of several parishes partnering with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to provide COVID testing as part of the Latino Health Initiative.
Join Fr. Francisco by clicking the image above or visiting our prayer page, where you can access all of the video prayers from this session and read or download the prayer (in English and Spanish). The prayer also is posted on Twitter and Facebook (@mdcatholic) every Monday at 10 a.m.
Of Note this Holy Week
Easter bread: This is a favorite recipe recommended by one of our staff. Enjoy!
Prayer resources: As we reflect upon the suffering of Christ during Holy Week, may we also keep in prayer the suffering of the poor and vulnerable. Check with your parish and (arch)diocese for Holy Week liturgies, and consider some of these options:
- Pope Francis: Holy Week and Easter schedule
- Stations of the Cross (several options: life, overcoming racism and more): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Children’s Stations of the Cross coloring book (Knights of Columbus)
- Stations based upon Laudato Si from Trocaire (Ireland)
- Solidarity with the suffering from Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services
- Holy Land liturgies with the Holy Land Franciscans in Jerusalem, including the Stations of the Cross (booklet has multiple languages). Please also remember the Christians in the Holy Land through the Good Friday Collection.
Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.
JOIN THE CATHOLIC ADVOCACY NETWORK
The Catholic Advocacy Network gives you a voice on important issues in Maryland. Learn more and join our network.