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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
January 6, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Wrongful Imprisonment, School Transportation, Fetal Tissue, and Energy Bills Signed Into Law
  • 99th Legislature Begins Next Week With Swearing-In Ceremony
  • USCCB Task Force Issues Report and Recommendations for Promoting Peace
  • January Highlights Needs of Migrants, Human Trafficking Victims
 
  Wrongful Imprisonment, School Transportation, Fetal Tissue, and Energy Bills Signed Into Law  
 
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law several bills of interest to Michigan Catholic Conference from the 2015-16 legislative session, including:
  • Wrongful Imprisonment: The legislation provides compensation and re-entry services for the wrongfully imprisoned. For these individuals, who are convicted of a crime and later cleared of all charges, their time in prison denied freedom, career opportunities, and harmed family relationships and friendships. Senate Bill 291 and House Bill 5815 are a step toward helping the wrongfully convicted rebuild their lives. The bills, sponsored by Senator Steven Bieda (D-Warren) and Representative Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), now become Public Acts 343-344 of 2016. 
     
  • School Transportation: This bill clarifies existing law about transportation services for nonpublic school students. Currently under the Michigan School Code, public school districts that provide transportation services to their students must also provide transportation to those who attend a nonpublic school. Since 1994, however, the School Aid budget has not included funding specifically to reimburse public schools for student transportation, which has created confusion.  House Bill 5753, sponsored by Representative Amanda Price (R-Holland), removed the unclear language and now becomes Public Act 428 of 2016.
     
  • Fetal Tissue Sale Ban: The legislation ensures no person receives financial benefit or compensation for fetal tissue from an elective abortion. Senate Bills 564-565, sponsored by Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), now become Public Acts 386-387 of 2016.
     
  • Energy: Significant changes to the provision of energy across Michigan is the intent of this legislation. The final version of the bills eliminated fees and restrictions on alternative energy suppliers and choice customers, increased the percentage of energy required to come from renewable sources by 2021, and removed a surcharge on those who generate their own power and sell the excess back into the grid, removing most of MCC's opposition. Senate Bills 437-438, sponsored by Senators John Proos (R-St. Joseph) and Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), now become Public Acts 341-342 of 2016.
Several bills still await the governor's consideration, including measures that expand the definition of vulnerable adult abuse (House Bill 5422), amend the way the Unemployment Insurance Agency deals with potential fraud cases of unemployment benefits (House Bill 4982), and address the issue of sex tourism (House Bills 5838-5839). More information will be provided as it becomes available.
 
  99th Legislature Begins Next Week With Swearing-In Ceremony  
 

Next week, lawmakers will meet to begin the 2017-2018 legislative session. The Michigan House of Representatives will welcome 43 first-time and 67 returning members, and the Michigan Senate will see the return of all 38 of its members from the 2015-2016 session as the upper chamber was not up for re-election. On Wednesday, lawmakers will take their oath of office and will formally select leadership positions. Later this month, Governor Rick Snyder will present his annual State of the State speech and his vision for the year.

 
  USCCB Task Force Issues Report and Recommendations for Promoting Peace  
 

This week, a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Special Task Force issued a report and recommendations for promoting peace in communities. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, then-President of the USCCB, called for the task force in July 2016, following violent incidents and racial tensions around the United States. The conference's recommendations recognize the important role the U.S. bishops can play in promoting peace, as well as the need for prayer, ecumenical and interfaith collaborations, and models of engagement, especially for at-risk youth. For more resources and information, visit www.usccb.org/racism/.

 
  January Highlights Needs of Migrants, Human Trafficking Victims  
 
Every year in January, the Catholic Church celebrates National Migration Week, which is an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances that surround migrants, immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking. With the theme of "Creating a Culture of Encounter," this year's week will begin on Sunday, January 8, and end on Saturday, January 14. Prayers and information from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can be found at www.usccb.org.
 
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month also takes place in January, and the federal Office on Trafficking in Persons is calling for the public to take a closer look at human trafficking and potential situations of the crime. If you would like to learn more about human trafficking and what you can do about it from many great experts, sign up for MCC's conference on February 11, titled From Darkness to Light: Human Trafficking and Our Response. Learn more at www.micatholic.org/fromdarknesstolight/.
 
 
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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940, publicpolicy@micatholic.org