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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
June 23, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • House and Senate Agree on Education Funding in 2017-2018 State Budget
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Budget Approved by Lawmakers
  • Measure to Continue OK2SAY School Safety Program Passes the Michigan Legislature
  • Bill on Local Governments and School Sale Close to Governor's Desk
  • House Approves Measures Addressing Prostitution Exemption, Spina Bifida, and MI-POST
  • Shared Parenting Time Measure Continues Forward to the House of Representatives
  • Senate Opioid Package Approved by Full Senate
  • U.S. Bishops React to Health Care Reform, Possible Deportation of Iraqi Refugees
After this week, the Michigan Legislature is expected to adjourn for the summer recess as lawmakers return to work in their home districts. They are scheduled to come back to Lansing for several brief session days during July and August, but will resume a normal schedule in September. Lansing Update will not be reporting as frequently during this time.
 
  House and Senate Agree on Education Funding in 2017-2018 State Budget  
 
Throughout the budget process, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) worked closely with the chairmen of the House and Senate School Aid Appropriations Committees, Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) and Senator Goeff Hansen (R-Hart). Staff is appreciative of their consideration and hard work. MCC also is thankful for the efforts of Representative Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) and Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) on the Higher Education budget, as well as of the leadership of House Appropriations Chair Laura Cox (R-Livonia) and Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) throughout the process. The following education items are included in the proposed budget bill, House Bill 4313, which was approved by both chambers this week.
 
Nonpublic School Mandates: The proposal provides $2.5 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for state health, safety, and welfare mandates.
 
First Robotics Program and Science Olympiad: The budget proposal includes $300,000 in competitive grant funding for nonpublic schools for the First Robotics program and Science Olympiad.
 
Shared Time: Nonpublic students can access non-core classes from the local public school district through shared time-a policy which benefits both nonpublic and public schools. The state budget proposal includes $113 million for this purpose and includes a cap of 0.75 full time equivalent status per student.
 
Tuition Grant: Through this policy, low-income students receive financial assistance to Michigan's independent colleges or universities. Lawmakers agreed upon $38 million for the grant, an increase of $3 million from 2016-2017.

Tuition Incentive: The policy, funded at $58.3 million, provides Medicaid-eligible students with tuition assistance for the first two years of schooling at a public or independent college. This funding is up $5.3 million from last year's budget.
 
Dual Enrollment: Nonpublic students take community college or university classes for college credit during high school through dual enrollment. Lawmakers approved $2 million for this policy.
 
  Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Budget Approved by Lawmakers  
 
MCC is thankful to the diligent work of Senator Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion), chairman of the Senate DHHS Appropriations Committee, and Representative Ed Canfield (R-Sebewaing), chairman of the House DHHS Appropriations Committee. Throughout the process, they worked with MCC staff on the programs and policies mentioned below. MCC would also like to thank Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) and House Appropriations Chair Laura Cox (R-Livonia) for their leadership. Each of the items below are included in the proposed budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, House Bill 4323, agreed upon by the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate.
 
Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program: The proposed budget provides $650,000 to promote childbirth and alternatives to abortion for women in crisis pregnancies.

Heat and Eat: The policy provides state heating assistance to increase the federal food assistance low-income Michigan residents may receive. This budget, through a combination of new funding and carry over funding from the previous year, will provide $6.8 million in energy assistance ($20+ per family). As a result, over 338,000 low-income families will qualify for about $76 more monthly in federal food assistance.
 
Behavioral and Mental Health (Section 298) Funding: Currently, private health organizations manage Michigan's Medicaid funding for physical health services, while ten public community health networks manage the behavioral health dollars. The proposed budget includes four pilot programs to test integrated physical and behavioral health services, including the management of behavioral health funding by private health organizations. The proposal also cuts the number of community mental health networks down to four and requires any cost savings to be reinvested into behavioral health services. MCC opposed these changes because they move the state towards privatization of behavioral health funding.
 
Children's Clothing Allowance: The allowance helps Michigan's low-income families who qualify for the Family Independence Program (FIP) purchase clothing for their children as the school year begins. The budget bill allocates almost $6.3 million to maintain a rate of $140 per child per year. The governor and the House of Representative's original proposals raised the allowance amount to $200 and $160 per child per year respectively. MCC will continue to examine avenues to increase this rate in the coming year.
 
Per Diem Rates for Foster Care Agencies: This funding raises the per diem administrative rate for private foster care agencies contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services (such as Catholic Charities). This rate for 2017-2018 would be $46.20 (up from $45.00), and the proposal holds the county harmless from contributing to this rate.
 
Homeless Emergency Shelter Per Diem Rate: The funding provides emergency shelter and transitions those who are homeless into permanent housing. With the additional $3.7 million in the 2017-2018 state budget, the State Legislature is able to increase the per diem rate for emergency shelters from $12 to $16 per bed night.
 
Human Trafficking Intervention Services: The $200,000 in funding supports initiatives of the Human Trafficking Health Advisory Board, helps develop strategies to eliminate human trafficking (or modern-day slavery), and provides necessary care services for victims. The budget also provides $390,000 to help fund the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission.
 
  Measure to Continue OK2SAY School Safety Program Passes the Michigan Legislature  
 

Michigan law created a program in 2013 to connect children, parents, and school personnel to law enforcement. The OK2SAY program and supporting hotline encourages individuals to break their silence and to address the culture of violence and harmful behavior. Confidential tips have reported activities such as bullying, suicide threats, drugs, weapons possessions, and sexual misconduct. A sunset provision in the original law would repeal the act-and therefore the program-on October 1, 2017. Senate Bill 267, sponsored by Senator Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan), extends the program until October 2021. After this week, the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives have both unanimously supported the measure to continue the program. Senate Bill 267 will be sent to Governor Snyder for his consideration.

 
  Bill on Local Governments and School Sale Close to Governor's Desk  
 

Under current law, school districts may not prevent buildings they are selling, leasing, or renting from being used for other legal educational purposes, if that is the sole reason for denying the property transfer or use. This policy would include the use of a building as a school, owned or operated by a private or charter entity. Senate Bill 249, introduced by Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), would extend this same policy to properties owned by local governments. Under the bill, a local government could not prevent, nor be required, to sell, lease, or rent property to an educational institution or private school solely because of its intended use for a lawful educational purpose. The bill passed the Senate back in May and this week, the House of Representatives approved the measure by a 60-47 vote. MCC supports SB 249, which will soon go before the governor for his consideration.

 
  House Approves Measures Addressing Prostitution Exemption, Spina Bifida, and MI-POST  
 
The Michigan House of Representatives voted to continue forward six MCC-supported bills. House Bill 4355, which eliminates the exemption allowing on-duty police officers immunity from prosecution if they have sex with a prostitute during an investigation, passed by a 93-14 vote. House Bill 4584, which ensures parents receive up-to-date, evidence-based information when their child is diagnosed with spina bifida, received a 64-43 vote. An amendment added this week recommends that any person who receives a positive test result for spina bifida take another test to confirm they did not receive a false positive. House Bills 4170, 4171, 4173, and 4174, which create the Michigan Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (MI-POST) program to help with end-of-life treatment decisions, also continued to the Senate after near unanimous votes. More details can be found in last week's Lansing Update and in the 6/2 Lansing Update.
 
  Shared Parenting Time Measure Continues Forward to the House of Representatives  
 

House Bill 4691, sponsored by Representative Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), would presume joint custody and equal parenting time as the starting point in child custody disputes. The legislation recognizes that in most cases, children benefit from a relationship with both their mother and their father, and it also helps responsible parents receive time with their children. The legislation includes provisions that protect children from unfit parents and domestic violence situations. Michigan Catholic Conference worked with the bill sponsor to improve these protections, so that children are kept safe. The measure passed the House Judiciary Committee and now awaits further consideration in the full House of Representatives.

 
  Senate Opioid Package Approved by Full Senate  
 

The Michigan Senate approved measures this week to curb opioid abuse, including bills that would require licensed prescribers to run and review a report on a patient's prescription history before prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance to that patient. The package also requires, among other provisions, a licensed prescriber to have a bona-fide relationship with the patient and to provide follow-up care if possible. Senate Bills 47, 166-167, 270, 273-274, and 360 continue now to the House of Representatives. Michigan Catholic Conference appreciates the desire for legislative action to address the opioid crisis and is currently monitoring both the Senate and House opioid packages.

 
  U.S. Bishops React to Health Care Reform, Possible Deportation of Iraqi Refugees  
 

This week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reiterated the need for action to remove unacceptable flaws in a new draft of federal health care legislation. The USCCB also sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, urging him to defer deportation of those persons to Iraq, particularly Christians and Chaldean Catholics, who pose no threat to U.S. public safety.

 

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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