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 28, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • Treat All Students Fairly, MCC President and CEO Writes in The Detroit News
  • U.S. Bishops Comment on Rejection of Health Care Law
  Treat All Students Fairly, MCC President and CEO Writes in The Detroit News  
Every student in Michigan should be educated in an environment that is healthy and safe, regardless of where they attend school, Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul Long wrote this week in The Detroit News. The column defends a spending policy approved by the Michigan Legislature in the past two budget cycles that reimburses nonpublic schools for conducting several dozen activities mandated by the State. These include tasks such as performing fire drills, conducting criminal background checks, and maintaining vaccination and attendance records, among others.
Before the state could distribute some $2.5 million in General Fund dollars to reimburse nonpublic schools, public school advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to stop the payments. While Michigan Catholic Conference has asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to join with the State in this case as a defendant, the merits of the suit have yet to be determined. This week, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens expectedly granted a preliminary injunction to prevent any dispersal of the funds until a final ruling is made. While public schools are reimbursed for the expense of conducting health and safety activities, nonpublic schools are currently prevented from receiving such funds.  
  U.S. Bishops Comment on Rejection of Health Care Law  
Late Thursday evening into Friday morning, the U.S. Senate held a vote on legislation that would repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act. A close vote was expected, which prompted Vice President Mike Pence to be present in the event a tie-breaking vote was necessary. After several hours, Arizona Senator John McCain's no vote was the deciding factor in the proposal's 51-49 defeat. Leading up to the vote, the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference in Washington D.C. encouraged members of the U.S. Senate to work together "to advance changes that serve the common good." Most Reverend Frank Dewane, bishop of Venice, Florida and chair of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, raised concerns with the latest bill while also expressing the need to remedy the ACA's shortcomings. Here is an excerpt from Bishop Dewane's statement:

"Despite the Senate's decision not to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last night, the task of reforming the healthcare system still remains. The current healthcare system is not financially sustainable, lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights, and is inaccessible to many immigrants. Inaction will result in harm for too many people... Any final agreement that respects human life and dignity, honors conscience rights, and ensures that everyone can access health care that is comprehensive, high quality, and truly affordable deserves the support of all of us. The greatness of our country is not measured by the well-being of the powerful but how we have cared for the 'least of these.'  Congress can and should pass health care legislation that lives up to that greatness."
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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,