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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
November 10, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Interfaith Conference Highlights Value of Religious Freedom and Collaborative Efforts
  • New FOCUS Publication: Promoting a Respect for Life
  • MCC Testifies Against Allowing Concealed Carry in Gun-Free Zones
  • House of Representatives Votes to Move Sentencing Bill Forward 
  • Employment Security Package Supported by MCC Passes House Unanimously
  • MCC Presents on Shared Time in House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee
 
  Interfaith Conference Highlights Value of Religious Freedom and Collaborative Efforts  
 
On Tuesday, November 7, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Detroit Chapter sponsored an Interfaith Religious Freedom Conference to explore the importance of religious freedom and ways to defend this cherished right. Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, and Elder Von Keetch, General Authority and Executive Director of Public Affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined with several scholars of religious freedom in addressing the crowd of over three hundred people at SS. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit. The event included representatives from almost a dozen faith traditions. To see pictures, media coverage, and resources from the event, visit the Michigan Interfaith Religious Freedom Conference page on Facebook. (Photo by Dave Frechette)
 
  New FOCUS Publication: Promoting a Respect for Life  
 
Creating a society that recognizes the dignity of every person is a task for all people of faith. The Catholic Church and Catholics across Michigan live this teaching by providing alternatives to abortion for expectant mothers, post-abortive counseling, and compassionate and life-affirming care at the end of one's life. Michigan Catholic Conference's latest FOCUS publication examines these services, highlights legislative successes that protect human life, and offers ways that Michiganders can recognize the dignity of all persons. 
 
  MCC Testifies Against Allowing Concealed Carry in Gun-Free Zones  
 
The Michigan Senate considered Senate Bills 584 this week to address concealed weapons in gun-free zones. The bill would allow an individual who receives a total of sixteen hours firearms training (eight hours are currently required in order to obtain a concealed pistol license) to carry concealed in these zones (including schools, religious facilities, stadiums, daycare centers and hospitals). The open carry of weapons in gun free zones by those who possess a concealed permit, currently allowed, would be prohibited.  Language was added to the introduced version of the bill which makes it clear that private property owners, including churches, can still prohibit weapons on their premises under the criminal trespass statute.  While this is an improvement to the bill, a "no gun" policy may be difficult to enforce if private property owners cannot see the weapon.  MCC testified in opposition during the Senate Committee:

"The state should not be setting any kind of weapons policy for private property owners.  The presumption should be that guns are not allowed on private property unless affirmatively permitted by the property owner, and not the other way around."  
 
  House of Representatives Votes to Move Sentencing Bill Forward  
 
House Bill 4500, sponsored by Representative Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp), allows for an embryo or fetus to be counted as a victim in addition to the mother, when determining a criminal offender's sentence. In Michigan law, most criminal offenses list the maximum sentence an individual can be given if they are convicted of that crime, while the court determines the appropriate range of time for the sentence. To do so, judges examine a variety of factors in the case to determine a person's criminal sentence, including various elements of the crime, that person's record of prior convictions, and the number of victims impacted, among others. MCC supports the bill, which passed the Michigan House of Representatives by a 63-44 vote and continues to the Senate.
 
  Employment Security Package Supported by MCC Passes House Unanimously  
 
Measures to reform the state's unemployment compensation system and address issues within the Unemployment Insurance Agency passed the Michigan House unanimously this week. House Bills 5165-5172 address imposter unemployment claims, amend penalties for fraud, and provide access to advocacy services for those falsely accused of fraud. The package also creates a mechanism in the Michigan Employment Security Act for employers and affected employees to report fake claims of unemployment. MCC supports the bills, which continue now to the Senate Committee on Oversight and must all be passed by the Legislature for any of the measures to go into effect.
 
  MCC Presents on Shared Time in House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee  
 
This week, MCC staff gave a presentation regarding shared time services before the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.  This program enables nonpublic school students in grades K-12 to receive instruction from a public school in "nonessential" courses. Nonpublic school students are not allowed to receive what might be deemed "core curriculum" (e.g., English, math, writing, reading, science, etc.) instruction from a public school. The public school providing instruction under a "shared time" arrangement is eligible to receive state aid through the state's per-pupil foundation allowance program. MCC appreciated the opportunity to explain that recent growth in decades old shared time funding has been with the support of the Legislature and recent governors, who have expanded opportunities for  partnerships between public and nonpublic schools.  

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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