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 10, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • Have You Watched Our TV Commercials Yet?
  • Final Approval Close for Senate Criminal Justice Package
  • New Human Trafficking Measures Move Forward to Full House
  • Safe Delivery Law Update Returns to Michigan Legislature
  • U.S. Bishops Urge Consideration of Moral Criteria in Congressional Health Care Debate
  Have You Watched Our TV Commercials Yet?  
Last week, with the support of the seven arch/dioceses of in the state, Michigan Catholic Conference launched a statewide advertising effort called Freedom to Serve. The project highlights employees of Catholics agencies integrating their faith into their professional lives of service. The commercials also highlight the Church's ability to provide services to the general public according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, without government intervention. Two commercials that focus on the charity work of the Catholic Church are currently up on television and online at

The first, Hands of Service and Healing, shows how Catholic agencies heal and transform their local communities, motivated by the teachings of their faith. Staff and volunteers promote the dignity of every person they see, whether they are providing water to people in need, giving out personal care items, or providing adoption and foster care services, just to name a few. The second, Little Simple Things, highlights efforts to provide comfort and care to the terminally ill. The Freedom to Serve project is expected to run on television and the Internet through May, with additional television commercials added to the rotation. Please take a few moments to watch the videos and share them with your family and friends.

  Final Approval Close for Senate Criminal Justice Package  
Over twenty bills passed the House of Representatives and were concurred in by the Senate this week to reduce crime and recidivism in Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, roughly half of the individuals that enter prison each year are probation or parole violators. The measures recently approved by the Legislature aim to reintegrate offenders into society, while protecting public safety. More can be found on the legislation in last week's Lansing Update. Since both chambers have approved Senate Bills 5-13, 15-24, and 50, the bills will now be sent to Governor Snyder for his consideration. One measure that was also an original part of the package, Senate Bill 14, did not pass the House this week. The legislation would have given employers grants to hire parolees and probationers. House members amended the bill to provide employers grants only on positions that had been open for six months or more to the general public, but there was not enough support among members for this change to move Senate Bill 14 forward. As the Senate approved the original language in the measure by a 34-1 vote, its fate remains to be seen.
  New Human Trafficking Measures Move Forward to Full House  

The House Committee on Law and Justice met this week, considering two measures related to human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. House Bill 4211, sponsored by Representative Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Township), would allow for expert witness testimony in human trafficking cases. This measure is significant because at times, the behavior of a victim, due to their trauma, might differ from societal expectations. The legislation would allow for judges and juries to hear from expert witnesses and gain greater insight into the behavioral patterns of human trafficking victims. The committee approved the bill on an 8-1 vote, with three lawmakers abstaining. Lawmakers in the committee also considered House Bill 4219, sponsored by Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian). Under the measure, trafficking victims would be allowed to defer and dismiss multiple state or local prostitution-related offenses. Currently under a law passed several years ago, victims may only be eligible to discharge one prostitution-related offense that they were forced to commit as victims of trafficking, as long as they comply with all the conditions of their probation. Committee members unanimously approved the measure. Michigan Catholic Conference is looking forward to advocating for both measures as they continue to the House floor.

  Safe Delivery Law Update Returns to Michigan Legislature  

In the State of Michigan, parents may surrender an infant without risk of being charged with abandonment to an emergency service provider, such as a fire department, hospital, or police station, within the infant's first three days of life. Lawmakers approved the Safe Delivery law in 2000, and since then, over 150 safe deliveries have taken place. This legislative session, Senator Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan) has introduced Senate Bill 215, a bill that would provide anonymity for parents under the Safe Delivery law. Parents would be listed as "unknown" on the birth certificate and the newborn would be listed as "Baby Doe." Michigan Catholic Conference indicated its support in the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee this week and supported a similar bill last session. The measure was approved by the committee by a 4-0 vote and will continue now to the full Senate.

  U.S. Bishops Urge Consideration of Moral Criteria in Congressional Health Care Debate  
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have been discussing changes to the federal Affordable Care Act, which could have a significant impact on the U.S. health care system. In a long session this week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a new proposal, which the U.S. bishops are still reviewing. As health care is a critical issue for the American people and for the Catholic Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling for lawmakers to consider several moral principles in any new proposed measure. In a letter to Congress, the U.S. bishops encourage lawmakers to prioritize a federal health care policy that respects life and dignity, honors conscience rights, provides comprehensive and high-quality access for all, and that is truly affordable.

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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,