Remembering MLK, Youth Justice Reform, & Respect Life

Pregnancy support, raising the age of marriage & youth justice

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Jan. 26, 2022 | Annapolis, MD


 

Pregnancy Support, Youth Justice, Tax Exemptions, among Bill Hearings this Week 

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The Maryland General Assembly has a full week of hearings scheduled. The Maryland Catholic Conference will be providing testimony on more than 15 bills in the House or Senate. Among them:

  • Protection for pregnant college students, and new mothers, so they can continue their studies, and a requirement that institutions of higher education have a written policy on pregnancy discrimination awareness. HB 164 was introduced by Del. Anne Healey (D-22).
  • Setting the minimum age for marriage at 17. SB 29/HB 83 is an important step to protect teens and reduce human trafficking.
  • Authorizing a state income tax exemption for persons with a permanent physical disability of $1,000 per year (SB 235).
  • Providing an exemption from energy and property taxes for community solar programs that meet certain requirements, including reduced cost energy for lower-income households (SB 264).
  • Ensuring parents are notified if their children are going to be interrogated and that children will be afforded their constitutional right to counsel and be read their Miranda rights in a manner commensurate with their development age (SB 53)
  • Ending the automatic charging of youth, ages 14-17, as adults so cases begin in the juvenile court system. Juvenile judges would have discretion to waive cases to the adult system (SB 165).

 

Last week, the Conference also testified in support of state income tax credits for disabled veterans, Marylanders who are 100 years old or above, and for energy efficient upgrades to homes.

Education funding in Governor's proposed budget

Our staff also combed through the proposed 2022-23 budget that Governor Larry Hogan submitted to the General Assembly. Among the proposed budget items that now are before the General Assembly:

  • $10 million for BOOST scholarships for students from low-income families
  • $2.5 million for nursing at non-public schools
  • $6 million for the textbook and technology program
  • $3.5 million allocated for school security at nonpublic schools
  • $3.5 million for the DeGrange Nonpublic Aging Schools Program

Join Catholic Advocacy Day (Virtually) Feb. 16 

With many critical pieces of legislation in front of the General Assembly, we need you more than ever for this year’s Virtual Catholic Advocacy Day, which will be held Feb. 16.

The Maryland Catholic Conference will provide action alerts on three issues – on respect for life, education and youth justice, and social and economic justice – and all you have to do is click, sign and send.

Visit our Catholic Advocacy Day page to sign up, learn more and please invite your friends and parishioners to be part of Catholic Advocacy Day in Maryland! 


Pray with Sr. John Elizabeth!

Our lawmakers need our prayers! Spend one minute in prayer for our elected officials as they consider laws that will impact our state. Sr. John Elizabeth Callaghan, OSFS, is this week’s prayer leader. Sr. John Elizabeth is principal of Mount Aviat Academy in Childs, Md. (District 35), and a member of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales. Thank you, Sister, for representing more than 140 Catholic schools across Maryland as we prepare for Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 5).

The prayer text (English and Spanish) and links to all prayers for this session are online.


Of Note

Catholic Schools Week is almost here

The annual celebration of Catholic schools in Maryland and across the nation is Jan. 30-Feb. 5. If you are thinking about a Catholic pre-K – grade 8 school for your children (or grandchildren), this is the time to visit an open house to choose the best school for your children, and apply for next fall.

 

Time to Care Act Webinar

Catholic Charities of Baltimore and the Catholic Labor Network are hosting a one-hour webinar on “Paid Family Leave and the Catholic Church,” on Feb. 7, 3 p.m. Register here.

Prayers for Ukraine

Pope Francis has asked for a Day of Prayer for Peace in Ukraine today, Jan. 26. Most Catholics in Ukraine are eastern-rite and Maryland is home to four Ukrainian Catholic parishes.

From Caritas International: “We have all witnessed high-level meetings between officials in attempts to de-escalate the situation and return to a path of diplomacy,” said Tetiana Stawnychy, president of Caritas Ukraine. “And we wholeheartedly hope and pray that these efforts will succeed.” 

Global Child Thrive Act Anniversary

Catholic Relief Services is marking the first anniversary of the Global Child Thrive Act (GCTA) this week. This law directs the U.S. government to integrate early childhood development (ECD) interventions, such as early learning programs, age-appropriate mental stimulation for children, and interactive caregiving practices, into U.S. foreign assistance programs that serve vulnerable children and their families.

Events for Life Recap

Last week, Catholics across Maryland and the U.S. observed the anniversary of Roe v. Wade with prayer and a peaceful presence. Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori delivered a beautiful homily for the National Vigil Mass for Life on Jan. 20. The next morning, the Archdiocese of Washington held its popular Youth Rally and March for Life, with a small in-person group and a global audience via livestreaming. Enjoy the event here, including Mass with Cardinal Wilton Gregory.  

Recipe for the week: To mark the Day of Prayer for Peace in Ukraine, here is a Ukrainian borscht recipe.


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We need you!

The General Assembly is in session. The more people in our network, the stronger our voice!  Network members will get Catholic Advocacy Day and other alerts throughout the legislative session. Sign up below or, if you prefer text, text CATHOLIC to 1-443-764-8765 (you will be asked a couple of follow up questions). Thank you!


The Maryland Catholic Conference is the public policy entity for the Maryland Catholic Church, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archdiocese of Washington, and Diocese of Wilmington.

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