Catholics at the Capitol planned

For the fifth consecutive year, Catholics will make their voices heard in the halls of the Legislature as the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) hosts Catholics at the Capitol March 27 in Lincoln. 

 This half-day program is “an opportunity to educate, engage and empower our Catholic laity from across the state concerning issues of importance to Catholics and the church, and equip them to have discussions with their state senators,” said Tom Venzor, executive director of the NCC, which represents the public policy interests of the Catholic Church in Nebraska.

The event begins with Mass at 8:15 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 1420 K St., and registration at 8:45 a.m. in the church basement. Beginning at 9:15 a.m., NCC staff will give legislative updates and instruct people on how to request meetings and effectively communicate with their senators.

Then it’s on to the Capitol, Venzor said, where participants will observe the Legislature in session and meet with their state senators to discuss issues and legislation important to them as Catholics.

There are several bills for which the NCC is seeking to build support this year, Venzor said.

Once again, the Opportunity Scholarships Act, LB670, is a priority, he said. It would grant tax credits for donations to nonprofit, scholarship-granting organizations to help children from low- and middle-income families attend private schools. The bill advanced to the floor of the Legislature last year but fell victim to filibuster.

Also, the NCC is supporting LB209, the Abortion Pill Reversal Act, which would require abortion providers to inform women seeking a chemical abortion about the availability of treatment to reverse the abortion should they change their minds.

Another important issue is the continuation of state budget restrictions on federal Title X funding for organizations offering or referring for abortion services, Venzor said. 

 Like last year, people also will have the opportunity for conversation and relationship building with state senators over an optional lunch – this year at the Newman Center on the University of Nebraska campus, he said. Transportation there and back to St. Mary Church will be provided.

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