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A potpourri of updates

As a kid, and now as an adult, there are few smells that I hate more than potpourri. Why? Well, I can’t give you a good answer. But Grandma—God rest her soul—always had something in her house that smelled like potpourri, and I never liked it. And, now, occasionally when my wife compels me to make a trip into Michael’s craft store, that hatred for potpourri returns.

But as much as I hate the smell, the word itself is about as good of a description as any for this week’s column. There are a garden variety of updates worth providing, so I’ll tackle them one-by-one.

Save the Date: Pro-Life Conference. The Nebraska Catholic Conference is happy to announce this year’s pro-life banquet and conference dates and theme. The theme is “A People of Life, and For Life: The Next 25 Years of Evangelium Vitae.” The year 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s famous encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). In light of that, this year’s banquet and conference will reflect on that incredible document and how it can be lived into the next 25 years, especially in light of the new threats and challenges the culture of death poses.

The banquet will take place Friday evening, Sept. 17. The conference will be Saturday, Sept. 18. It will take place in Lincoln at the Embassy Suites.
Mark your calendar. Be there with your family, friends, fellow parishioners, and whoever else needs a celebration of the Gospel of Life… or be square!

The End! Sine die are the beautiful Latin words that everybody involved with the state legislature wants to hear at this point in the year. The words mean, as one online dictionary puts it, “without fixing a day for future action.” So when the legislature adjourned sine die on Thursday, May 27, it was that glorious moment when the January-through-May legislative sprint/marathon reached its conclusion for the year.

Under usual circumstances, the legislature would reconvene in January. However, this year, the legislature will need to meet again sometime early fall. At this time, they will undertake a special session to conduct redistricting, which occurs every 10 years after a new population census. Redistricting ensures that election boundary lines are such that Nebraskans are equally represented by their representatives in Congress, the state legislature, the State Board of Education, among some other public bodies. The redistricting process is highly contentious as it is a fight over political power for the next decade. Pay attention to this process as it develops.

Veto Overrides. Many bills were passed by the Unicameral and many bills were signed into law by the Governor. But not all of them. Two bills the legislature passed but were vetoed by the Governor were bills to assist those living in poverty. One bill (LB108) would increase the income eligibility guidelines for two years for those needing food assistance. The other bill (LB306) would also increase income eligibility guidelines but for those needing low-income energy assistance.

At the time I write this column, these bills are scheduled to have a veto override debate and vote by the legislature. By the time you read this column, that event will have happened. I will write more about this next week and recap the arguments for why the Governor vetoed these legislative bills, how the veto override debate went, and why the Nebraska Catholic Conference supported both LB108 and LB306 as important steps for helping the poor as Christ commanded us to do.

The End of Roe. The United States Supreme Court has granted review of a major abortion case. This case will be heard and decided in their next term, which begins in October. The Court’s ruling will likely not be issued until early summer 2022.

The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which deals with a Mississippi law banning abortions at 15 weeks of gestation for the unborn child. The issue the court will decide is “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

The ultimate question for those on both sides of the abortion debate is whether Dobbs will signal the end of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. In a future column Marion Miner, the NCC’s Associate Director of Pro-Life & Family Policy, will dissect this case more in-depth.

Not only should you keep track of this case, but also pray regularly for the Supreme Court. Pray for the Justices, that they would courageously protect unborn human life.

In the meanwhile, continue to bear the light of Christ in the public square!

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