Jan. 12, 2022 | Annapolis, MD
Maryland Legislative Session Opens
Maryland's General Assembly first met in 1634. Today marks the opening of the 444th session, which will continue through April 11. In addition to what we anticipate will be a busy legislative session, Marylanders will head to the polls in 2022. Every General Assembly seat, statewide offices such as Governor, a U.S. Senate seat and all eight congressional seats will be on the ballot.
COVID again is a factor in how the legislative session will be conducted. While lawmakers are back in Annapolis, changes include virtual committee hearings, a ban on large group events in government buildings, requirements for visitors to have appointments, and other adjustments.
On the Agenda
Redistricting will dominate the early days of the session as lawmakers change state legislative district boundaries to reflect population changes from the U.S. Census.
We anticipate more than 2,000 bills will be filed this session, with hundreds already pre-filed. Proposed laws are wide-ranging and include a proposal to remove conscience protections for faith-based hospitals; reforms of the youth justice system; proposals to address food insecurity, housing and transportation access for lower income residents; suicide prevention efforts; right to counsel for immigration hearings; funding for BOOST scholarships and school nurses; environmental protection; and a number of bills related to life issues, from the start of life to the end.
Our staff will read every piece of legislation, submit testimony on nearly 200 bills (to be published here) and work with other organizations and lawmakers to advocate for our Church, schools and ministries, and the people we serve.
We encourage you to follow our testimony. We also will provide updates in our weekly email.
Your Voice Matters
If you aren't already a member of the Catholic Advocacy Network, join now! Network members from across Maryland receive email updates, action alerts, resources for this year's virtual Catholic Advocacy Day on Feb. 16, and election information for the primary and general elections to be held later this year.
Click below, go to mdcatholic.org/joincan or, if you prefer text alerts, text CATHOLIC to 1-443-764-8765 (you will be asked a couple of follow up questions). And, please share this with Catholic friends and parishioners. Thank you!
Youth Justice Reform Town Hall Tonight
with Archbishop Lori, State Legislators, and Others
The Maryland Catholic Conference is holding a virtual town hall on the critical issue of reform for the state's youth justice system tonight, 7-8 p.m. Watch on Facebook Live or YouTube. Get details and links: www.mdcatholic.org/youthjusticereform.
Participants include Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori; State Senator Jill P. Carter (D-41); Delegate Sandy Bartlett (D-32); James Dold, CEO of Human Rights for Kids; and Krystal Williams, with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.
Andre Hepkins of WBAL-TV will moderate the conversation.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is Jan. 17, and his legacy advocating for equality and an end to racism will be commemorated at Mass with Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell on Jan. 22, 7 p.m., at St. Thomas More, 4275 Fourth St. SE, Washington, DC 20032. Download the flyer here.
Respect Life Activities: This Jan. 22 marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion. The outdoor National March for Life will take place on Jan. 21 (the Maryland March for Life is Feb. 3). Please pray for mothers and children in a special way this month:
- 9 Days for Life novena is Jan. 19-27; sign up for text or email intentions to pray daily
- Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori will be the principal celebrant for the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Jan. 20, 5:30 p.m., from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. Mass will be followed by virtual holy hours led by bishops from around the country. Get the schedule here and watch online at the Basilica website
- Join the Archdiocese of Washington's annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life virtually on Jan. 21, 8:30 a.m. for the Rally and 10 a.m. for Mass. Cardinal Wilton Gregory will be principal celebrant.
Also in January
Yesterday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. We have resources online, including information on reporting suspected trafficking, and parish resources. Feb. 8, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, also is International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking and an opportunity for parishes and schools to raise awareness.
January also is Poverty Awareness Month. Approximately 1 in 10 Marylanders lives in poverty. See resources here.
Pray for Our Elected Officials
As the General Assembly meets over the next 90 days to create and enact laws that will impact our Church, the vulnerable, and life, please keep the senators and delegates in prayer, along with our governor.
Join us weekly as, each Monday, a Catholic from Maryland will lead us in prayer, to be posted here, on our website, and on Facebook and Twitter (@mdcatholic).
To start the legislative session, Jenny Kraska, our executive director, is this week's prayer leader.
This Advocacy & News Update is now posted on our website, making it easy to share and use content in bulletins and Flocknote.
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