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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
May 26, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Defer and Dismiss Measure for Human Trafficking Victims Becomes Law
  • Bills Aimed at Preventing Opioid Abuse Continue to Full House of Representatives
  • Knights of Columbus Fundraising Plate Considered in Senate Committee
  • Bills to Address Vaccination Waiver Rules Receive Much Debate in House Committee
  • President Trump and Pope Francis Meet at the Vatican
  • Memorial Day Mass Honors Ultimate Sacrifice of Service Men and Women
 
  Defer and Dismiss Measure for Human Trafficking Victims Becomes Law  
 
Over the past several months, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) has advocated for legislation to help victims of human trafficking "defer and dismiss" charges for prostitution-related crimes they were forced to commit while being trafficked. More details about the content of the legislation and MCC's position can be found by reading last week's Lansing Update. This week, Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4219 into law as Public Act 34 of 2017. Michigan Catholic Conference is thankful for the leadership of the bill's sponsor, Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), as well as for the action by the Michigan Legislature and governor, who unanimously supported the measure.
 
  Bills Aimed at Preventing Opioid Abuse Continue to Full House of Representatives  
 

The House Health Policy Committee considered a bipartisan package of bills this week to address the opioid epidemic in Michigan. House Bills 4403-4408 would, among other aspects, regulate pain management clinics, add requirements for teaching about opioid abuse in schools, and require parental consent for the first prescription of opioids to a minor. MCC is monitoring the legislation as it continues to the full House of Representatives. To learn more about the dangers of opioid addiction and the Church's response, read MCC's latest FOCUS.

 
  Knights of Columbus Fundraising Plate Considered in Senate Committee  
 

Senate Bill 354, sponsored by Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph), allows for the creation of a Knights of Columbus fundraising license plate. If passed, Senate Bill 354 requires the Secretary of State to issue a special plate that is available for purchase in lieu of a standard plate. The additional funds raised would be contributed to the Knights of Columbus. Given that the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization, Michigan Catholic Conference was proud to support this measure. The Senate Transportation Committee took testimony on the bill, but no vote was taken this week.

 
  Bills to Address Vaccination Waiver Rules Receive Much Debate in House Committee  
 

Currently in law, the State of Michigan allows for exemptions in its immunization rules for medical, religious, and philosophical reasons. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently issued an administrative rule that requires parents to receive education on the risks of opting out of immunizations before obtaining a waiver for nonmedical reasons. House Bills 4425-4426, sponsored by Representatives Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) and Jeffery Noble (R-Plymouth), would remove this education requirement and would limit the ability of the department to issue rules about immunization. Michigan Catholic Conference recognizes the value vaccinations have on the protection of public health. While supporting the rights of parents to opt-out, MCC does not find the administrative rules to be overly burdensome. Staff indicated opposition to the bills during debate in the House Education Committee this week. No vote was taken.

 
  President Trump and Pope Francis Meet at the Vatican  
 
On Wednesday, May 24, President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss issues of shared concern. Afterward the Vatican released the following statement:
 
"During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants. The discussions then enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities."
 
  Memorial Day Mass Honors Ultimate Sacrifice of Service Men and Women  
 
This upcoming Monday, May 29, 2017, the United States will celebrate Memorial Day to honor all U.S. service men and women who have died. EWTN will air a televised Memorial Mass at 11:30 am and midnight, and CatholicTV will show the Mass at 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Within his homily, Archbishop Tim Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Affairs reminds of the reason we celebrate Memorial Day:
 
"Fundamentally, this celebration charges us to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the values and safety of our Nation. We think of those who dramatically died on a battlefield, but also of those who succumbed to old age or bear the marks of battle in body and spirit and those who care for them...We also recommit ourselves to the families who lost loved ones or who care for those who still suffer the cost of war..."

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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