Correction: In a recent article about the Nebraska Catholic Conference’s soon-to-be newest staff member, Jeremy Ekeler, who will serve as our Associate Director for Education Policy, I mistakenly reported that Jeremy will be only the NCC’s second full-time staff member exclusively dedicated to education policy. My good and faithful predecessor, Jim Cunningham, gently reminded me that Jeremy will actually be our fourth such education policy staffer. So, my apologies—especially to those two other former staff members—for my mistake.
When it comes to public policy efforts, the month of January is one of those that makes the ol’ adage, “When it rains, it pours,” sound like an understatement. There is the beginning of the legislative session, the introduction of hundreds of new legislative bills to read and analyze, the commencement of committee hearings, National Migration Week, National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Religious Freedom Day, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Pro-Life Mass, the Nebraska Walk for Life, the National March for Life, National School Choice Week, Catholic Schools Week, U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, among other activities.
This January has been no exception to the general rule of busy-ness. But, like so many other things that are offered to us by the Lord, I count it all as a blessing.
These diverse activities are a stark reminder of the beauty of Catholicism: Christ came to redeem every aspect of our humanity. Being Catholic is truly a universal endeavor and experience. There is nothing under the sun that does not belong to the Kingship of Jesus Christ. All of these events and activities are to be celebrated and memorialized because they are intended to serve the common good, which Christ would have us pursue as a civil society.
In the midst of all this busy-ness, there are two recent events to which I particularly want to draw our attention.
Introduction of LB1202. This year, the Unicameral will again see the introduction of school choice legislation. Sen. Linehan, chairwoman of the Revenue Committee and an ardent champion of school choice, has re-introduced scholarship tax credit legislation with LB1202, the Opportunity Scholarships Act.
This legislation is a continuation of last year’s school choice efforts with LB670. LB1202 reintroduces a policy that would provide more scholarship opportunities to low-income students to pursue an education at a parochial or private school that is best for them. It does this by providing a tax credit to donors to direct some of their state income tax liability to scholarship-granting organizations.
Scholarship tax credit policies exist in 18 states across the country. And our neighbors in Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas all have a scholarship tax credit program. It cannot be repeated enough times: these programs transform lives. Children experience greater educational outcomes. Low-income families are truly able to exercise real educational choice. And the state’s taxpayers save millions of dollars because of their initial investment in education.
Be on the lookout for this legislation and its progress. Visit www.InvestInKidsNebraska.org to learn more!
Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Our nation tragically marked Jan. 22 the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case that has legalized the unjust killing of nearly 62 million unborn children. Thousands gathered for the annual Nebraska Walk for Life. Hundreds of thousands gathered in D.C. for the annual March for Life. These events are an awesome reminder that the unjust regime of Roe v. Wade will not be tolerated. As we work toward the overturning of Roe, pro-lifers across the country will continue to love them both, the mother and the unborn child!
In a first-in-the-country moment, Governor Pete Ricketts declared Jan. 22 a “Statewide Day of Prayer to End Abortion.” The Governor noted the criticism of opponents who sneered at this proclamation, claiming that “prayer is not action.” As the Governor recognized, there is no greater action than to humbly come before God, seeking His help to make abortion unthinkable in Nebraska.
On the legislative front, continue to pray and advocate for the passage of LB814, introduced by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln. This legislation would ban dismemberment abortion, which is a second trimester abortion procedure that barbarically tears apart the living unborn human child limb by limb. This is a procedure that has no place in a modern, civilized society, and it is a procedure that fundamentally undermines the beauty of the medical profession.
As always, follow our work more closely by joining our Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska at www.necatholic.org and find us at Facebook for regular updates.