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
July 14, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • Female Genital Mutilation Now Illegal in State Law
  • Governor Approves Local Government and School Sale Bill
  • OK2SAY Efforts to Promote School Safety Signed into Law
  • The Word from Lansing Column: Promoting the Common Good-A Look Back
  • USCCB: Senate Health Care Reform Bill Still Unacceptable
  • U.S. Bishops Urge Administration to Raise Cap on Refugee Admissions
NOTE: The State Legislature was in session this week to consider a package of economic development bills. MCC did not have a position on these measures. After session on Wednesday, July 12, both chambers adjourned for the summer and are not scheduled to return to Lansing until August 16. As a reminder, Lansing Update will not be reporting as frequently during this time.
  Female Genital Mutilation Now Illegal in State Law  

This week, a package of bills became law to punish those who engage in female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice of painfully cutting female genital organs. Prior to these laws, the practice of FGM was prohibited in federal statute, with up to a five year prison sentence, but there was no corresponding state prohibition. Female genital mutilation has gained national attention in recent months due to alleged cases involving children in the Detroit area.


The newly approved laws prohibit FGM on a minor in state statute, create felony sentencing of up to fifteen years in prison for any violations of the law, and prohibit a person from knowingly transporting someone in Michigan for the purpose of performing FGM. The measures also revoke the medical license of a doctor found to have conducted the practice and encourage education within communities about the harm FGM causes.


Michigan Catholic Conference supported the package and the impact these policies will have on protecting minors. Staff would like to thank the sponsors of the bipartisan bill package, which included Representatives Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton), Diana Farrington (R-Utica), Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township), Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Pam Faris (D-Clio), Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), and Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), as well as Senators Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage), Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton), Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan), and Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton). Governor Rick Snyder signed the measures into law on July 12 as Public Acts 68-79 and 81.

  Governor Approves Local Government and School Sale Bill  

This week, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 249, a measure regarding the sale, leasing, or renting of local government property, into law as Public Act 98 of 2017. The new law ensures that local government property is not prohibited to be sold, leased, or rented to an education institution or private school solely because of its intended use for an educational purpose. Previously, this provision only applied to school districts under the law. Michigan Catholic Conference supported Senate Bill 249.

  OK2SAY Efforts to Promote School Safety Signed into Law  
For the past few years, the State of Michigan has offered the OK2Say program and support hotline for children, parents, and school personnel, to contact law enforcement with confidential tips about potential violence or harmful behavior. These tips have led to information about bullying, suicide threats, drugs, weapons possessions, and sexual misconduct. A sunset provision in the original law would have repealed 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. Michigan Catholic Conference supported extending the program and its efforts to protect student safety. The governor signed the bill into law this week as Public Act 100 of 2017.
  The Word from Lansing Column: Promoting the Common Good-A Look Back  

The Catholic Church and people of faith are called to meet and to serve those on the peripheries of society. Throughout the 2017-2018 legislative session, the Michigan Catholic Conference has brought to the State Capitol a concern for those in need, seeking to protect human dignity and to uplift those who are struggling. The Word from Lansing column for July reflects on a number of MCC-supported policies that have been approved by lawmakers during the first half of this year.

  USCCB: Senate Health Care Reform Bill Still Unacceptable  
In June, the U.S. bishops examined and commented on a health care reform proposal in the U.S. Senate, the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" (BCRA). During that time, the bishops expressed concerns with the draft bill, including provisions that negatively impacted the poor and vulnerable. The U.S. Senate recently revised the package, but Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed continued concerns:
"The USCCB is reviewing carefully the health care bill introduced by Senate leadership earlier today. On an initial read, we do not see enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable. We recognize the incremental improvement in funding the fight against opioid addiction, for instance, but more is needed to honor our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters living in poverty and to ensure that essential protections for the unborn remain in the bill."
  U.S. Bishops Urge Administration to Raise Cap on Refugee Admissions  
This week, refugee admissions into the United States reached the historically low cap of 50,000, a number that was put in place by the administration's March 6th Executive Order 13780. In a statement from Most Reverend Joe Vasquez, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration and bishop of Austin Texas, the bishops urge the administration to allow 75,000 refugees to arrive in the next fiscal year:

"I note with sadness that the new U.S. refugee admissions cap of 50,000 individuals has been reached this week. While certain refugees who have 'bona fide relationships' will still be allowed to arrive, I remain deeply concerned about the human consequences of this limitation and its impact on vulnerable refugees such as unaccompanied refugee children, elderly and infirm refugees, and religious minorities."
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