The Congregation Action Network advocates at federal, state and local levels of government for policies that support our mission. Please see below for current opportunities to advocate for our moral priorities.
Maryland 2023 General Assembly
HB363, HB588/SB365 Access to Care Act
Everyone should have access to the highest attainable standard of non-emergency health services. All Marylanders should have access to affordable health insurance regardless of immigration status.
More than 40% of undocumented residents are uninsured. These residents are not currently eligible to use the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. Opening up the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, including subsidies, to all Marylanders, regardless of immigration status, would reduce health inequities while reducing pressure on emergency services.
HB363 will require a report comparing options for offering affordable health care coverage to State residents who are ineligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program, the Maryland Children's Health Program, or qualified health plans due to the individuals' immigration status by October of this year. This is an important first step in providing equitable health care in Maryland. See CAN's written testinony in support of HB363 here.
HB588/SB365 will require the state to actually expand eligibility to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange regardless of immigration status, provide funding for the expanded access, and require the state apply for a federal waiver to set up the expanded program. See CAN's written testimony in support of SB365 here.
How you can help:
Thanks in part to your support and activism, the Maryland Access to Care Act, extending access to the Maryland Health Insurance exchange to all state residents irrespective of immigration status, passed the House of Delegates 100 - 38! It has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Stay tuned for more actions to ensure the Senate also passes this bill that will help so many of our immigrant neighbors, and sends it to the governor for his signature. Thank you again!
House Bill 136 - Expand Opporunities for Occupational Licenses
Current Maryland law requires all applicants for occupational licensure to provide a Social Security Number; however, this requirement is not aligned with the constitutionally established jurisdiction of licensing authorities, with Maryland’s economic interest, with national trends, and with the state’s investment in the immigrant community. The Congregation Action Network strongly supports House Bill 0136 as a means of expanding occupational licensure to our immigrant community, of recouping investment in educational opportunities our state has funded, and of equitably serving our increasingly diverse population. Read CAN's testimony here.
There is a similar bill to expand access to healthcare occupation licenses (SB187/HB454).
How you can help: HB454 has passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 130-8! Stay tuned for opportunities to help push this bill through the Senate (SB187) and into law.
HB193/SB211 - Probation Before Judgement
House Bill 193 will amend Maryland’s Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) statute so that all Maryland residents, regardless of their immigration status, have access to the benefit of probation.
Right now, a Maryland PBJ is considered a conviction under federal immigration law. The proposed legislation adds an additional method that would make probation accessible to all Marylanders without risk of deportation and detention for noncitizens. This proposed amendment promotes justice, fairness, and will keep Maryland families together. Read CAN's testimony here.
How you can help:
Thanks in part to you and your activism, the Maryland Probation Before Judgement bill, which will amend Maryland’s Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) statute so that all Maryland residents, regardless of their immigration status, have access to the benefit of probation, passed out of the House Judiciairy committee on a vote of 19-2!
Meanwhile, over on the Senate side, the companion bill passed unanimously out of the Judicial Proceedings committee, and has already passed its second reading in the full Senate.
Let your state Senator know you want SB211 passed on third reading and sent to the House, by taking this easy action.
Make EITC Expansion Permanent
In the 2021 General Assembly session, eligibility for the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was expanded to all Maryland taxpayers, regardless of immigration status. This is right and fair, and helps immigrant taxpayers pay their bills. Many immigrants, those without a social security number, are not eligible for the federal EITC. However, the expansion passed in 2021 had a sunset in this year. Without removing that sunset clause, and making the expansion permanent, many immigrant taxpayers in Maryland will lose the credit they have earned.
Governor Moore has introduced the Family Prosperity Act of 2023 (HB547), which would expand access to the earned income and child tax credits, and make permanent access without regard to immigration status.
How you can help: House Bill 547 passed the House 101-35! Stay tuned for opportunities to help push this bill through the Senate (SB187) and into law.
People of faith around the country are asking Congress to put DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) into law right now, before the next Congress takes office in early January. This will protect Dreamers from pending court actions, and provide stability and a real future. Background on the current status of DACA can be found here.
Please contact your Senators and Congressman and ask them to support inclusion of DACA in the upcoming continuing resolutions or authorization bills. You can do this in minutes with the CAN e-mail DACA Now! action.
If you are clergy, please also consider signing on to the national Faith in Action clergy letter to Congress.