Lansing Update
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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
March 3, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • Freedom to Serve Campaign and Website Launched This Week
  • Nonpublic and Public Schools Rally Against Potential Shared Time Cut
  • Criminal Justice Package Continues to Full House
  Freedom to Serve Campaign and Website Launched This Week  
Faith is more than an hour of worship at Mass each week. Faith informs and drives Catholics to love their neighbor, to be concerned for their well-being, and to provide assistance when possible. In order to highlight the role people and organizations of faith play in Michigan communities, MCC began a statewide advertising effort this week called the Freedom to Serve, which is supported by the state's seven (arch)dioceses. This effort highlights the Church's ability to provide services to the general public according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, without unnecessary and burdensome intervention from the state or federal government.  Three short videos and nine commercials have been produced for television and the internet to share with the public how faith informs the charitable, education, and health care activities of the Church.  Two of these commercials began airing across the state this week:
  • Little Simple Things- Catholic organizations like Mother Teresa House provide comfort and care to the terminally ill.  This film shares the important role the values of the Catholic faith have played in shaping this work.
  • Hands of Service and Healing- Catholic agencies heal and transform their local communities, motivated by the teachings of their faith. Staff and volunteers such as those from Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties enjoy being a part of that healing work.
To learn more about the campaign and to watch the videos, visit
  Nonpublic and Public Schools Rally Against Potential Shared Time Cut  
Both the Michigan House and Senate have begun hearing testimony to determine what programs and policies they would like to fund for the upcoming October 2017-September 2018 state budget. In February, Governor Rick Snyder introduced his  budget recommendations, which included a significant cut to the state's shared time program. Shared time allows nonpublic school students to access non-core classes, such as gym, art, music, or foreign language from the local public school district. The current budget includes $115 million for this program, while the governor's proposal caps the program at $60 million. This week, in the House School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee, members of the nonpublic and public school community testified in opposition to the proposed cap. These members spoke to the benefits the program provides to both the nonpublic and public schools involved. Several lawmakers on the subcommittee also expressed support for the state's shared time program. MCC is hopeful that lawmakers will retain similar funding to last year for shared time services, rather than adopt the governor's cap.  
  Criminal Justice Package Continues to Full House  
Over twenty bills cleared the House Competitiveness Committee this week to reduce crime and recidivism in Michigan, with many of the bills receiving bipartisan support.  According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, roughly half of the individuals that enter prison each year are probation or parole violators. By aiming to reduce crime and recidivism, these measures can help reintegrate offenders into society, increase public safety, and lead to savings in the criminal justice system. Among other provisions, the bills:
  • Modify penalties for probationers who commit technical probation violations,
  • Define recidivism,
  • Provide specialty programming to help rehabilitate younger prisoners,
  • Encourage parole and probation officers to implement evidence-based supervision practices that reduce recidivism, and
  • Expand participation in the "Swift and Sure" Probation Supervision Program, an intensive program for high-risk felony offenders with a history of probation violations or failures.
The bills continue now to the Michigan House, and House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) has indicated that the full House will consider the measures in the near future. The package, which is supported by Michigan Catholic Conference, passed the Senate in February.

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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,