Connecticut Raised Bill 1098
Raised Bill 1098 is a bill in the Connecticut State Legislature that would apply solely to Roman Catholic parishes. The bill, introduced in March 2009, was sponsored by Democratic state senators Mike Lawlor and Andrew J. McDonald.
On March 10, 2009, the bill was tabled.
Senator McDonald and Representative Lawlor claimed that the bill was proposed as a response to the 2006 fraud case in which Rev. Michael Jude Fay, a priest from the Diocese of Bridgeport, was accused of stealing $1.4 million from his parish. However, since Raised Bill 1098 explicitly referred only to the Roman Catholic Church, and would require the creation of administrative corporate boards of lay people as heads of parishes, replacing the Church's normal oversight by priests and bishops, many recognized that the bill was probably raised largely to antagonize and harass the church, which had opposed certain legislative initiatives of McDonald and Lawlor. On March 11, 2009, a scheduled protest by 3500 marchers became a celebration following the news that the bill had been tabled. As the public outcry rose, McDonald and Lawlor issued several conflicting and inconsistent statements regarding the origins of the bill. At times they blamed each other, and at other times they said it was drafted by unnamed constituent(s). At a public hearing on the bill, experts such as then dean of Boston College Law School John Garvey and others said that Bill 1098 was the most obviously unconstitutional bill they had ever seen.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the bill "would force the Church to alter its structure in violation of its own religious principles." One of the sponsors of the Bill, Andrew J. McDonald, stated that the effort was an "attempt to create a forum for a group of concerned Catholic constituents to discuss their legislative proposals regarding parish corporate finances." Bridgeport Bishop William E. Lori described it as "unconstitutional," as a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has opened an investigation to "determine its intent and its possible violation of the constitution."
- "Text of Raised Bill 1098". Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- Dixon, Ken (March 11, 2009). "Catholics celebrate at Capitol Protest". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2009-03-13.[dead link]
- "Connecticut Bill Unconstitutional, Attacks Catholic Church". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. March 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
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