Catholic Charities’ Legislative Priorities
Every Legislative Session, Catholic Charities determines what bills will be a priority for the agency. During the 2017 Legislative Session, the four items below were the agency’s priority pieces of the legislation. To see other pieces of legislation that the Advocacy Department tracked, please click here for our tracking list.
2017 Legislative and Bugetary Priorities
This bill passed, but was vetoed by Governor Hogan.
Sponsors: Senator Middleton and Delegate Clippinger
Bill Numbers: SB 230/HB 1
Catholic Charities’ workforce development programs strive to place clients in full-time benefit eligible jobs with a salary over $10.00 an hour that allow the employee to earn paid time off. It is this type of “good job” that will help families build economic stability and transition out of poverty. The earned sick time bill would enable workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick and safe days from their employer and would be a positive step for the State in its struggle to end poverty.
This bill was incorporated into the HOPE Act, which was passed and signed by the Governor.
Sponsor: Senator Guzzone and Delegate Hayes
Bill Numbers: SB476/HB580
Community behavioral health providers are the backbone of the public mental health system. Availability of outpatient services prevents costly hospitalizations. However, community behavioral health providers have only seen 6 modest rate increases in the last 19 years. This bill would provide rate relief into the future so that our community providers, including Catholic Charities, can keep their doors open.
This bill did not pass the General Assembly
Sponsor: Senator Madaleno and Delegate Hixson
Bill Number: SB 14/HB 2
The Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a common sense tax credit that helps people make ends meet and stay in their jobs despite low wages. The EITC benefits families, communities, and local economies. However, under current law, a worker who is not claiming any dependents must be between the ages of 25 and 64 to claim the tax credit. The credit also is insufficient for minimum wage workers trying to move up the economic ladder. This bill would allow 18-24 year olds without dependents to claim the credit, increase eligibility for the credit to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, and would also increase the credit amount.
A significant portion of the Advocacy Department’s work is focused on the State’s budget. For the FY 2018 budget, Catholic Charities prioritized the following:
- Ensuring that Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and Food Supplement Program (FSP, known nationally as SNAP) benefit levels, when combined, are at least 61% of the Maryland Minimum Living Level, as required in statute.
- Increasing the Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) by $10/month, the first increase in over 15 years.
- Increases in provider rates so for community service providers, including Medicaid, Foster Care and Developmental Disabilities.
To see more bills that the Advocacy Team tracked, please click here for our tracking list.