Crossover is here! March 21 was "crossover day" in the Maryland General Assembly. This is the date by which each chamber (Senate and House of Delegates) sends bills it has passed to the other chamber for consideration and action.
Bills can be sent after this day, but the process is much more involved. Crossover day also marks three weeks until the end of the legislative session. The General Assembly added hearings this past Saturday as time grows short. Expect to see more of those!
She writes, “It’s time to accept that youth incarceration is not a public safety measure; rather, it’s a threat to public safety. Kids in detention experience a sense of excommunication, lack of family and peer connection, severe correctional measures like restraints and solitary confinement and, too often, abuse. As a result, incarceration has a criminogenic effect on kids – put simply, it makes them more likely to commit crime in the future.”
Three of the juvenile justice bills backed by the Maryland Catholic Conference have crossed over to the opposite chamber for action. These include SB 53 (Child Interrogation Protection Act), which has a hearing in the House later this week; HB 877, which ensures youth charged as adults are placed in youth facilities, not adult prisons; and SB 691, which passed out of the Senate on Monday.
SB 691, which is heading to the House of Delegates, will raise the minimum age for criminally charging a child to 13, promote the use of alternative remedies and rehabilitations, and establish a Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform, among other changes.
Housing bills move to House
Two housing bills designed to assist families at risk of eviction and backed by the Maryland Catholic Conference, SB 384 and SB 662, passed out of the Senate and are heading to the House of Delegates.
SB 384 puts a hold on certain eviction proceedings pending the outcome of a good-faith application for rental assistance, while SB 662 would allocate $11.8 million of abandoned property funds to the "Access to Counsel in Evictions Special Fund" for the 2023 fiscal year.
"Standing with moms in need"
We are continuing to monitor bills that would expand access to abortion in Maryland, including HB 1171, a constitutional amendment bill. Parishioners are encouraged to continue getting names for the Petition Against HB 1171.
On Monday, the U.S. Bishops issued a statement, "Standing with Moms in Need," that is a recommitment to supporting women and children and calls for "a vision for our society that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children. We exhort our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children, and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child."
Ory Docal, Fr. Zack Crowley lead prayers
Ory Docal, an 8th-grade student at St. Louis School in Clarksville, and Fr. Zack Crowley, associate pastor, lead us in praying for our state lawmakers this week, whose work week began with World Down Syndrome Day on Monday, March 21.
Don't forget you can see all of the prayers from this session and download our prayer text (English and Spanish) on our website.
Maryland bishops join worldwide consecration of Russia and Ukraine
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, 5:30 p.m., Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., Baltimore; he alsoinvites all parishioners to offer a rosary for those suffering and an end to the war
Washington Archbishop Wilton Cardinal Gregory, 12 noon, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC (livestream link)
Wilmington Bishop William E. Koenig, 12 noon, Cathedral of St. Peter, 500 N. West St., Wilmington, DE (livestream link)
Look for candidate surveys and resources for parishes from the Maryland Catholic Conference prior to the primary and general elections.
Apply for BOOST scholarships Income-eligible families may use Maryland state BOOST scholarships to choose a Catholic-school education for their children. Apply by April 29 for the 2022-23 school year. Details and an application are available in English and Spanish. Please note: To apply, applicants must have filed their 2021 federal tax return or, if not required by federal law, have completed the alternative income verification form on the BOOST website.
This Friday, March 25, is Maryland Day, the observance of the founding of Maryland. It was on this day 388 years ago that Fr. Andrew White, SJ, celebrated the first Mass in the English-speaking colonies, at Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County.