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Session Outcomes

 

April 13, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington

 
 

Flurry of Bills as Session Ends

 

The 444th session of the Maryland General Assembly is now in the books (except for any possible vetoes by the governor).

 

We had a lot of great legislative wins this session – and one significant step back for women’s health. All of us at the Maryland Catholic Conference thank you for taking action as part of the Catholic Advocacy Network and keeping our legislators and priorities in prayer.

We are sorting through all of the bills, but here is a wrap-up of some of the many bills we advocated on, organized by our departments:

 

Respect for Life Legislation

 

These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

HB 1171 - opposed | bill failed 

Abortion constitutional amendment bill intended to enshrine abortion in the Maryland Constitution 

HB 0626 - opposed | bill failed

This bill would have allowed late-term abortion for any reason (even beyond health or fetal abnormality) and with no responsibility 

HB 83/SB 29 - supported | passed
This legislation increases the minimum legal age to marry 

HB 50 – opposed | bill failed
This bill would have required Catholic hospitals to perform abortions

HB 1080/SB 778 - supported | passed
Medical care and other health services will be provided to low-income noncitizen pregnant women to help them have healthy babies

HB 282 & HB 288 – supported | passed, signed into law by Governor
These bills exempt baby products and diapers from state sales and use taxes.


We opposed this bill, which sadly was passed by the General Assembly:

HB 937 - opposed | passed, Governor veto, override of veto
This new law allows non-physicians to perform abortions and expands insurance coverage of abortion for some employers

 

Education, Children and Families

 

These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

SB 290 - supported | passed

$10 million funding for BOOST scholarships that may be used at Catholic and non-public schools

SB 53/HB 269 - supported | passed, Governor veto, override of veto
Requires law enforcement to make an effort for parental notice and access to legal counsel when a child is charged with a crime

HB 459 /SB 691– supported | passed
Sets a minimum age for youth to be charged with nonviolent crimes and puts in place other common-sense youth justice reforms

 

Social and Economic Justice

 

These bills were wins, with the outcome matching our position:

SB 662/HB 724 – supported | passed
Directs abandoned property funds in FY 2024 to the “Access to Counsel in Evictions Special Fund,” which helps ensure access to legal counsel for low-income residents facing eviction proceedings

SB 369 – supported | passed and governor signed into law
Establishes a program to assist low-income residents obtain an earned income tax credit benefit if eligible

SB 121/HB 147 - supported | passed
Provides grants to food banks and non-profit emergency food providers to alleviate food insecurity, and establishes a farm-to-school grant pilot program to encourage use of local food 

HB 06/SB 150 – supported | passed
Provides dental coverage for low-income Marylanders

HB 492/SB 571 – supported | passed
Exempts oral hygiene products from state sales and use taxes 

 

Bills that were passed out of the General Assembly and have not yet gone to the Governor must do so within 20 days of the end of session. Governor Hogan then has 30 days to sign, to allow the bill to become law without signing, or to veto the bill.

The legislature can override a veto, with 3/5 vote of elected members in the House and in the Senate at the next regular or special session. However, this is an election year and the legislature may not override a veto during the first year of a new term so no overrides will occur when they meet next January.

 

Interested in the bills we testified on? You can find a list on our website.

 
Pontifical Good Friday Collection

Good Friday: Remembering Holy Land Christians

 

As we begin the Triduum and Easter, we will be praying for each of you, and ask you to join Cardinal Gregory and Catholics worldwide in praying for the Christians in the Holy Land, whose are the descendants of the first Christians.

On Good Friday, your parish collection will go to support Christians in the Holy Land. 
Please learn more and consider giving to ensure that Christians may remain in the places where Christ became man and where they are under political, economic, and social stresses today. 

 

Of Note

 

State legislative district challenge remains

While the congressional map has now been finalized for Maryland, the state legislative district map (General Assembly seats) remains under legal challenge. The current primary is July 19; state officials said this week that the latest a primary could be held is Aug. 16. 

Once the maps are finalized, we will contact candidates for our primary candidate survey (and let candidates know you will be looking for their responses). 

 

REMINDERS:

Tax filing dates

This year, your 2021 federal taxes must be filed by April 16, but individuals in Maryland have until July 15 to file their state forms.

BOOST scholarship applications due April 29
Families interested in a BOOST scholarship must apply by April 29 - the state does not permit exceptions - and must file their federal income tax return before applying. 

 

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

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Bills go to governor, bishops lead prayers, and utility assistance for low income

 

April 5, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington

 
 

Last full week of session will be busy

 

This is the last full week for the 2022 legislative session. Eight days may not seem like a long time, but in legislative time, a lot can happen. This next week will involve intensive discussions and voting up until midnight on April 11.

Once bills pass, what happens?


Once bills are  passed by the General Assembly, they go to the governor who can veto them – except for the budget.

If the governor vetoes a bill sent to him in session (by last Friday), he has this week to veto a bill. If he does, the General Assembly can then try to override his veto during the current legislative session that ends April 11.

Any other bills  passed by the General Assembly must be presented to the governor within 20 days of the end of session. If the governor vetoes a bill, the General Assembly can try to override the veto at the next regular or special session. This year is a little different, however, because Governor Hogan is term-limited. A new governor will be elected in November and the General Assembly is not permitted to override any vetoes during the first year of a new term.

What about bills on which we advocated?


Among the bills passed by the House and Senate last week are a number the Maryland Catholic Conference advocated for or against, including:

Youth justice reform (supported)
SB 53 – The Child Interrogation Protection Act requires parental notification and consultation with an attorney prior to law enforcement interrogation of a child.

 

SB 691 – This youth justice reform bill provides preferential policies toward restorative justice for youth and limits the minimum age at which children can be charged with less serious offenses.

 

Support  for new parents (supported)
SB 316 – Sales and use tax exemptions for diapers and baby products helps make essentials, such as diapers and car seats, more affordable for parents.

 

Public safety – ban ghost guns (supported)

HB 425 is the “ghost gun” bill we supported on Catholic Advocacy Day that bans untraceable firearms with no serial number, among other provisions.

 

Mental health support (supported)

SB 937 establishes an Access to Mental Health Advisory Committee through the Maryland Higher Education Commission to study policies and procedures, identify obstacles to providing mental health services for students, review best practices and make recommendations.

 

Transportation equity (supported)

HB 141 requires equity be considered in the development of state transportation plans, reports and goals, and calls for equity analyses and community consultation before reducing or cancelling certain capital expansion projects.

 

Abortion by non-physicians (opposed)

HB 937 authorizes non-physicians to perform abortions, provides $3.5 million in state funding for training, and expands private insurance coverage of abortion. This is separate from HB 1171, which seeks to enshrine abortion in the Maryland Constitution and remains in the Senate.

 

Sine Die, the final day of this session, is Monday, April 11. Please keep our state lawmakers in mind as they are still considering a number of challenging bills for life, justice and education.

 
Prayer vigil for life and lawmakers

Maryland bishops pray for women, legislators

 

Bishops and parishioners from across Maryland gathered at St. Mary’s in Annapolis - and online - on March 30 for a Prayer Vigil for Life and Lawmakers.

 

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori spoke to the value of life in his remarks, asking those present and watching the livestream to “consider all that has happened in just a few short years to remind us how valuable life is, how precious it is, how utterly incumbent it is on each of us to respect and dignify all human life.…our society has been challenged to value life, to preserve life, to refuse to let life—any life—succumb to illness, to injustice, to marginalization.

 

“Yet here we are. Gathered to pray that those elected to preserve what’s good for us, what’s good for our State won’t enact legislation that seeks to make it easier for an innocent and helpless life to be extinguished, easier for the light of life to be darkened.”

 

He pointed out the ways the Church provides “emotional, physical, material and spiritual care” for women facing an unexpected pregnancy, asking those present to imagine if the State of Maryland did the same “so that a woman would not feel like she had only one option for managing an unexpected pregnancy. She wouldn’t feel alone.…She wouldn’t feel like she and her baby had no other choice.”

Prayer: "powerful force for good"

 

Jeanne Mancini, president of National Right to Life, spoke to the power of prayer for women and children, and for lawmakers "that their minds and hearts will be touched so that they might find the courage and compassion to say ‘yes’ to life.”

 

“Prayer is a powerful force for good. Let us always pray that the Lord of Life will always have the final vote, the final say. May our prayers tonight be answered on behalf of those whose hearts we ask the Blessed Mother to open anew,” she added.

 

Read more about the prayer vigil in the Catholic Standard, along with reflections from a number of participants about the importance of prayer and action to protect all life. Join in praying weekly for lawmakers. Download the prayer (English and Spanish).

 
 

New congressional redistricting map goes forward;

report issued on challenges to state districts

 

The redistricting map for federal congressional districts was redrawn and voted upon by the General Assembly after a judge ruled the legislature’s first map was unconstitutional, among other concerns. Governor Larry Hogan signed the new map into law on April 4 and appeals to the map were withdrawn, meaning new congressional boundaries are final. Check whether your congressional district has changed on this interactive map.

Also on Monday, Special Magistrate Judge Alan Wilner issued a report recommending several challenges to the state legislative district map be rejected. The judge's report will now go to the full Court of Appeals.

 

Of Note

 

State assistance with water and energy bills

The Office of Home Energy Programs (Maryland Department of Human Services) assists low-income residents with water and electric bills and referrals for assistance in weatherizing and improving energy efficiency for homes. Learn more here.

 

Tax filing date reminder

This year, your 2021 federal taxes must be filed by April 16, but individuals in Maryland have until July 15 to file their state forms.

 

Stolen tabernacle replaced

The tabernacle stolen from St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, Md., has been replaced with one donated from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur’s Villa Julie.

 

Relics of St. Bernadette coming to Maryland

The relics of St. Bernadette will be in Maryland, May 13-15, for veneration at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. This is through the efforts of the Order of Malta. Mass, confession, and anointing of the sick will be offered.

Reconciliation Monday
Parishes across the Diocese of Wilmington, which includes the eastern shore of Maryland, will be open on Monday, 3-8 p.m., for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  

 

Holy Week is coming – and so are hot cross buns

Catholic Rural Life offers a recipe for hot cross buns. While popular with many families throughout Lent, this has always been a Triduum to Easter tradition for one of our staff.

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Prayer vigil, social justice bills and redistricting lawsuit

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Crossover plus youth justice, housing, abortion bill

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Md Bishops' Baltimore Sun op-ed, ghost guns, and BOOST

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Md. Bishops Urge Support for Women, Not Unnecessary and Harmful Abortion Amendment

In a commentary published by the Baltimore Sun, the three (arch)bishops who lead the Catholic dioceses in Maryland urged support for women and their children, not an "unnecessary, symbolic" bill that would enshrine abortion in Maryland's Constitution.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, Washington Archbishop Wilton Cardinal Gregory, and Wilmington Bishop William Koenig wrote in part about HB 1171:

"Maryland is already one of the most abortion-permissive states in the nation. And even if the United States Supreme Court were to strike down the current federal standard for abortions, the laws in states like Maryland would remain in effect. From COVID to racist acts of violence to crime in our communities, our nation and our state have spoken with a united voice in calling for greater respect for human dignity and for human life. Yet, the legislature is wasting time and resources on an unnecessary, symbolic gesture to make it harder to protect life... shouldn’t we...be investing resources into helping those women who feel they have no option but to choose abortion by providing them and their babies with those basic necessities that will allow them to live justly and with dignity?"

The bishops went on to call for the state to join the work the Catholic Church already does to support women and families through multiple ministries, noting, "As a state, we must find ways to overcome racial, economic, and emotional barriers that cause women to believe their only response to pregnancy is abortion."

Read the full op-ed here and join the effort against HB 1171 by signing our petition to lawmakers.

 

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Cardinal Gregory town hall, Ukrainian Archbishop, Respect Life Update

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Take action today!

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The Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee will vote on three abortion bills, including enshrining abortion in the Maryland constitution, today, Friday, March 4.

Maryland residents: Contact the members TODAY to OPPOSE HB 1171, HB 952, and HB 937.

 

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Ukraine Prayers, Advocacy Alerts & Town Hall

 

March 1, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington

 

Benedictine sisters at their monastery, Zhytomyr, Ukraine, July 2021

Pray for Ukraine

 

As we begin our Lenten journey this week, Pope Francis has asked us to reflect on St. Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians: “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity (kairós), let us do good to all” (Gal 6:9-10). 

This message is especially poignant as we witness the devastation of war in the Ukraine; we must never underestimate the good that can be done in the form of prayer. 

I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time in the Ukraine this past July and experience the incredible hospitality and love of the Ukrainian people. Most of my visit was spent with the Benedictine nuns in Zhytomyr. My life has been enriched because of their goodness, witness, and love. 

As Ukraine struggles under a cloud of war, my prayers go out to the people in the Ukraine who have not given up and continue to do good. Please pray for Ukraine and her people, and in a special way please remember in your prayers the Benedictine sisters of Zhytomyr.

Jenny Kraska
Executive Director, Maryland Catholic Conference

 
Wilmington Bishop William Koenig Leads Prayer for Md. General Assembly

Pray for our elected officials 

 

We are happy to welcome Most Reverend William Koenig, Bishop of Wilmington, as he leads us in prayer this week at the start of Lent. The Diocese of Wilmington includes nine Maryland counties on the eastern shore, as well as three counties in Delaware. This is Bishop Koenig's first Lent with us; he was appointed, ordained and installed as bishop in 2021

Pray along with them and get the prayer text in English and Spanish.

 

Sign the petition against Md. abortion amendment

 

Thank you to everyone who has been responding to our action alerts! We are hearing that your emails are being noticed!

THIS WEEK: Please encourage friends and contacts who are residents of Maryland to sign the online petition against an abortion amendment and encourage your parish to use our respect life resources - prayers for Mass and materials for Flocknote, bulletins, and social media. Get the resources here.

We want to continue to advocate for life, education, and economic and social justice. Please continue to share our action alerts from Catholic Advocacy Day and on the five abortion bills we alerted you about last week.

New! Federal Legislation Stopped

Also in the news, the U.S. Senate voted against H.R. 3755 on Monday. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops notes, "The bill would have imposed abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute and would have eliminated pro-life laws at every level of government -- including parental notification for minor girls, informed consent, and health or safety protections specific to abortion facilities."

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the bishops' Respect Life Committee, and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the Religious Liberty Committee, said after the vote, "Women deserve better than this. We implore Congress to promote policies that recognize the value and human dignity of both mother and child.”

PETITION AGAINST ABORTION AMENDMENT
 

Cardinal Gregory hosts March 9 environment town hall  

 

Wilton Cardinal Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, is hosting our newest town hall on Care for Our Common Home, on Wednesay, March 9, 7:30 p.m. 

Participants include Maryland Secretary of the Environment Benjamin Grumbles; State Sen. Will Smith (Dist. 20-Montgomery County); Delegate Brooke Lierman (Dist. 46-Baltimore); and Jose Aguto, executive director, Catholic Climate Covenant. 


WJLA-7 reporter John Gonzalez will be the moderator. You can watch on YouTube or Facebook Live.

TOWN HALL
 

Of Note

 

Born 23 Weeks after Conception, Baby Thriving thanks to Holy Cross Hospital

Holy Cross Health in Silver Spring, Md., where 10,000 babies are born every year, recently cared for a baby girl who weighed just nine ounces and was born 23 weeks after conception. Baby Heaven, now four pounds, should be heading home soon. Read and watch the story here on WUSA-9.

Meanwhile, the nurses and staff at Ascension St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore made sure an engaged couple got married, even though the groom was in the neurology and stroke unit. Read more in the Baltimore Sun.

Vatican initiative focuses on inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Church

The Vatican's Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has launched a series of five videos that focus on inclusion through the experience of Catholics with disabilities. You can see the #IamChurch videos on the Dicastery website or YouTube

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect for the dicastery, is a former auxiliary bishop of Washington.

 

Be a voice for hope and justice

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410.269.1155 | 301.261.1979
10 Francis St. | Annapolis, MD 21401

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Respect Life Action Alert; Care for Creation on Demand

 

Feb. 22, 2022 | Annapolis, Md.
Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese of Washington | Diocese of Wilmington

 

Respect Life - Take Action Now!

 

This week, the House of Delegates and Maryland Senate will hold hearings on five abortion bills - three in the House and two in the Senate. 

Our advocacy team has prepared two action alerts, one for the House and one for the Senate. We also have an ONLINE petition against enshrining abortion in the Maryland constitution.

The action page also links to new resources for parishes, from Flocknote graphics and messages, to general intercessions, respect life quotes and other materials.

Please join Marylanders in opposing these bills and advocating for life-affirming support for women and their children.

Also this week: We will provide testimony on bills regarding child tax credits, youth justice, restorative justice, and the environment. Our testimony list is updated regularly (bills are posted after a hearing).

RESPECT LIFE ACTION & PETITION
 
Praying for our Maryland lawmakers

Pray for our elected officials 

 

The Chandler family from the Archdiocese of Washington leads our prayer this week, for legislators (and lobbyists) advocating for "just laws for our families and for the dignity and protection of human life."

Pray along with them and get the prayer text in English and Spanish.

 

Catholic Advocacy Day was a success! 

 

We had a fantastic turnout for this year's Catholic Advocacy Day. Thank you to everyone who emailed, called, and sent a video message to your legislators, and shared the link with your friends. 

It's not too late if you missed out! Maryland residents can sign, click, and send pre-written messages to their elected officials on five topics: opposing a constitutional amendment on abortion, supporting bonding between incarcerated mothers and their babies, funding BOOST scholarships, banning untraceable "ghost" guns, and supporting comprehensive climate solutions.

ADVOCACY DAY ALERTS
 
Caring for our common home: environmental responsibility in Maryland

Missed the town hall on the environment?  

 

We had a great virtual town hall last week with Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, State Senator Jill Carter (District 41), Delegate Benjamin Brooks (District 10), and others to discuss environmental responsibility in Maryland. Watch the recording here, and join us on March 9, 7 p.m., for a town hall with Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington and state legislators from the Archdiocese of Washington. Details coming soon!

TOWN HALL
 

Be a voice for hope and justice

Join the Catholic Advocacy Network

JOIN NOW
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410.269.1155 | 301.261.1979
10 Francis St. | Annapolis, MD 21401

www.mdcatholic.org

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