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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
October 13, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Conversation on MI-Post Returns; Moves to Full State Senate
  • More Opioid Measures Approved in Senate Committee
  • Michigan Senate Passes Prohibition on Local Food Excise Taxes
  • U.S. Bishops Call for Congressional Action to Protect Dreamers
  • USCCB Calls for Renewed Carbon Emissions Solutions
 
  Conversation on MI-Post Returns; Moves to Full State Senate  
 
Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives approved a package of bills to create the Michigan Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (MI-POST) program. The program helps health care professionals honor the wishes of their seriously ill patients who voluntarily document their treatment decisions on the standardized MI-POST form. House Bills 4170, 4171, 4173, and 4174 will allow for discussion and certain medical decisions to be made prior to a crisis so that a patient's wishes can be followed regarding treatment or non-treatment. The measures included a number of necessary protections. There is strong bipartisan support for the package, which is sponsored by Representatives Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston), Laura Cox (R-Livonia), Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), and Leslie Love (D-Oak Park). The package continues to the full Senate.
 
  More Opioid Measures Approved in Senate Committee  
 
Much discussion continues at the State Capitol concerning measures that seek to prevent opioid abuse. House Bill 4408, sponsored by Representative Joseph Bellino (D-Monroe) would require a prescriber to provide certain information about opioids, including the risks, and to obtain consent from a parent before prescribing them to a minor. The Senate Health Policy Committee unanimously approved the bill. Senate Bill 460, sponsored by Senator Dale Zorn (R-Ida), also received approval in the committee. This measure would increase penalties for those who deliver a Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance, or drugs with a high potential for abuse (including heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl), and cause harm to another person. Both bills continue to the full Senate for further consideration. Michigan Catholic Conference has encouraged the State Legislature to take action in addressing this important issue. To read more about the impact of the opioid crisis on the state, view Michigan Catholic Conference's June FOCUS.
 
  Senate Passes Prohibition on Local Food Excise Taxes  
 
The Michigan Senate passed a prohibition on local excise taxes for food this week by a 30-5 vote. Michigan Catholic Conference supports the measure (see more in last week's Lansing Update). House Bill 4999, sponsored by Representative Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker), has passed both chambers and will soon be sent to Governor Snyder for his consideration. 
 
  U.S. Bishops Call for Congressional Action to Protect Dreamers  
 
On Sunday evening, the White House released Immigration Principles and Policies that are a proposed list of priorities to be considered when working on legislative protection for Dreamers, or individuals brought to the country at an early age without documentation. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, issued a statement urging Congress to "ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all." Here is an excerpt of that statement:

"The Administration's Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country's immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church... we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all."
 
  USCCB Calls for Renewed Carbon Emissions Solutions  
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced the EPA will formally seek to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by thirty-two percent in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed disappointment about the decision and called on leaders to "hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." While Bishop Dewane recognized the CPP may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, he writes that the U.S. bishops are concerned that an adequate alternative has not been proposed.

"Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction. Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, making this decision even more difficult. Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', calls us to action in caring for our common home. A national carbon standard is a critical step for the U.S. at this time."

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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