Catholic Charities is back in Annapolis for the 2019 Maryland General Assembly legislative session. 

Inspired by our values to teach and to work for justice, we are focused on the following priorities:

Time to care

It can be hard to take time off, even though people are healthier when workers take time to care for themselves or a loved one. We are advocating for legislation that establishes a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. This program would make paid leave available to Maryland workers for up to 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child and when needed to provide care for a family member or oneself. The leave would be funded through an insurance pool, into which workers and their employers contribute. The fact that it would be paid leave, and its funding structure, are what make it different from the existing FMLA program.

Child support changes

With a specific focus on low-income families, Catholic Charities advocates for tweaks to the program that will take into account both the custodial and noncustodial parents’ circumstances. This is so that what a judge orders as payment can be realistic enough that payment will be made. Right now, sometimes ordered payments are so much higher than a payer can afford that he or she simply doesn’t pay at all. A more realistic order may result in more frequent payments, rather than few or none. Legislation will be introduced this session to implement those recommendations.

The budget

The budget is the moral document of the state. It outlines the priorities of our society. When Gov. Larry Hogan’s appropriation is released on Friday, Jan. 18, our team will be ready to evaluate how it will affect the funding Catholic Charities receives from the state and the benefits our clients receive. Specifically, we’re watching Medicaid provider rates, funding of the Temporary Disability Assistance Program, and funding for the Homeless Youth Grant program.