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Legislative session commences

Pro-Life Mass & Nebraska Walk for Life. The Annual Pro-Life Mass and Nebraska Walk for Life are only a few weeks away. Pro-life work can be taxing, so let the Lord pour over you His love and graces at the annual Pro-Life Mass before the Nebraska Walk for Life at 9 a.m. Jan. 29 at St. Mary Church in Lincoln. Bishop Hanefeldt of the Diocese of Grand Island will celebrate the Mass. Father Justin Fulton, vicar general of the Diocese of Lincoln, will deliver the homily.  The Mass will be live-streamed on the NCC Facebook page. *Please note that we will be observing any DHMs in place at the time of the event.
Immediately following the Mass, the annual Nebraska Walk for Life, sponsored by Nebraska Right to Life, begins at 10 a.m. on the North steps of the Capitol. Find more information at the Nebraska Right to Life website or Facebook page. We hope to see you at the largest annual demonstration in our great state!

Legislative Session Commences. The 2021 Nebraska Legislative session convened the second session of the 107th Legislature Wednesday, Jan. 5. This second session marks the 60-day “short” session, which will run through approximately mid-April.

During the first 10 legislative working days, senators are introducing bills for consideration. Earlier this week, they returned to debating important carryover legislation from last year as well. Early next week, the Legislature will debate LB364, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would help give more low-income families school choice. In just over a week, committee hearings will begin and all the introduced legislation from the first ten days will get an opportunity to be heard. The Legislature will spend half their day in floor debate and half their day in committee hearings, eventually completing all hearings and moving to full-time floor debate.

The next four months of this legislative session will be chock full of robust debate, good and bad ideas, many opinions, and many different actors. Your legislators, your neighbors and the NCC need help from you this session. What can you do?

Pray. With many important issues on the table, including the right to life of the preborn child, poverty prevention, education policy, the rights of migrants and more, your senators have a lot of work ahead of them. If you’re not sure who your senator is, use the Legislature’s Find Your Senator tool. Please pray for senators, for legislative staff and others who work at the Capitol to help ensure the proper functioning of government and good policymaking.

Please pray for us, too, as we advocate on behalf of the Church in Nebraska and bear the Light of Christ in the public square. Last but certainly not least, pray for other governmental officials, like our Governor, who will work closely with the State Legislature to help develop and influence policy.

Take action. Your advocacy will be critical this legislative session. Stay in the know by joining the Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska (CANN). Through CANN e-mails, we will provide regular updates on the major issues taking place at the Capitol. We will also alert you when it is time to contact your State Senator and ask them for their support or opposition to legislative bills important to us as Catholics.

You can also keep up with important legislation with ease using our Legislative Bill Tracker, where we track the legislation that is relevant to Nebraska Catholics. We’ll give you the latest on an important bill, including the name and introducer, a brief description, the status of the bill in the legislature, our position, and our testimony. This tool is free to use and is updated regularly to keep you in the know.

Invite. Do you know someone interested in state politics? Personally invite a family member or friend to join our network at www.necatholic.org. As Bishop Hanefeldt regularly says: “There is strength in numbers.” 

As I mentioned above, the legislature will be dealing with important, and at times, controversial legislation. Last week, Senator Julie Slama reported threats of violence to authorities that came on the heels of the introduction of a pro-life bill. The Nebraska Catholic Conference, Nebraska Family Alliance, and Nebraska Right to Life released a joint statement condemning the threats, and I want to share part of it with you: “No public official, or any person regardless of their stance on any issue, deserves to have their human dignity degraded and disrespected… [We] implore all people on both sides of the issue to civility, decency, and charity as we consider the fundamental question in front of us. It is not only the outcome that will test us, but how we treat one another.” You can read the full statement on our website.

I mention this incident to remind us all that in a robust debate, there is room for passionate expression, data, principles, even for intense emotions. We know that there is no room for personal attacks, threats, and violence, no matter the person or the issue at hand. I implore you to approach this and every legislative session with an abundance of civility, decency, and charity.

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