Catholic Advocacy Network Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram
CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
December 15, 2017
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Governor Signs Two Measures Eliminating the Law Enforcement Prostitution Exemption 
  • Unemployment Compensation Bills Continue to Governor's Desk
  • Legislature Approves Opioid Bills; Sends Package to Governor Snyder
  • House Widely Supports Medical Marijuana Warning Label for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers
  • Legislation Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault Passes Senate Committee
  • The Word From Lansing Column: Encountering the Poor This Advent and Beyond
Please Note: While state lawmakers will meet briefly on Thursday, December 28 to officially adjourn for 2017, this week's session was effectively the last time this year policymakers will gather to debate and to vote on policy measures. The Michigan House and Senate will both meet regularly again to continue the 2017-2018 legislative session on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.
 
  Governor Signs Two Measures Eliminating the Law Enforcement Prostitution Exemption  
 
Until this week, Michigan law allowed on-duty police officers to be granted immunity from prosecution, if they committed certain prostitution-related offenses (such as sex with a prostitute) during an investigation. On Wednesday, December 13, Governor Snyder signed two measures now law that eliminate this immunity. As mentioned in previous Lansing Updates, the Michigan State Police have said they do not use or encourage use of this tactic in police training or operations. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is thankful to the bill sponsors, Representative Gary Glenn (R-Larkin Township) and Senator Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan), for bringing this legislation forward. To read Governor Snyder's statement after signing the bills, click here.
 
  Unemployment Compensation Bills Continue to Governor's Desk  
 
This week, the Michigan Legislature gave final approval to House Bills 5165-5172, a package of bills reforming the state's unemployment compensation system. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously approved the measures, which were introduced in response to issues about fraudulent claims within the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). Between 2013 and 2015, the UIA mistakenly accused more than 40,000 Michiganders of fraud. These individuals not only were forced to pay restitution for fraud they were not committing, but also had to pay interest and other penalties. The state has or is refunding $21 million to these individuals. Some provisions of the legislation include:
  • Amended penalties for fraud, including lowered penalties for first-time offenders who receive an overpayment. Larger fines are kept in place for imposters.
  • A mechanism allowing employers and past employees to address falsely reported claims.
  • Individuals accused of fraud are eligible to receive help from an advocacy program.
  • Increased flexibility to waive restitution and interest for low-income claimants.
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is thankful to Representatives Joseph Graves (R-Linden), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores, Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit), Diana Farrington (R-Utica), Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), Joseph Bellino (D-Monroe), Phil Phelps (D-Flushing), and Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) for their leadership on this issue. The package now continues to the governor for final consideration.
 
  Legislature Approves Opioid Bills; Sends Package to Governor Snyder  
 
Additional measures were sent to Governor Snyder for his signature this week, including legislation aimed at curbing opioid abuse in the state. These bills would:
  • Require a licensed prescriber to review a patient's Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) report before prescribing a schedule 2-5 controlled substance (starting June 1, 2018).
  • Require prescribers to have a bona fide relationship with the patient (beginning March 31, 2018).
  • Allow Medicaid to cover opioid use disorders.
  • Require the Department of Education to make available age-appropriate instruction on prescription opioid drug abuse.
  • Limit prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids (as of July 1, 2018).
  • Require prescribers to provide information on substance use disorder services to patients treated for an opioid-related overdose.
 
  House Widely Supports Medical Marijuana Warning Label for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers  
 
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that marijuana be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This week, the House approved a measure requiring all medical marijuana sold in Michigan to include a health warning for pregnant and nursing women. House Bill 5222, sponsored by Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), received wide bipartisan support, passing by a 104-6 vote. MCC favors the legislation as a matter of safety. Consideration now moves over to the Senate.
 
  Legislation Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault Passes Senate Committee  
 
Currently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requires single mothers who seek financial assistance from the department to establish paternity and to obtain child support. As demonstrated in a recent court matter, this rule opens up the possibility of a victim of sexual assault having to share parenting time with her attacker. Senate Bill 650, sponsored by Senator Steven Bieda (D-Warren), would provide an exception from seeking paternity and child support from a father who committed criminal sexual conduct, when the child was a product of that act. This exception would apply if the father was convicted of criminal sexual conduct or a similar crime, or if the mother or child is a victim of domestic violence. The Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services voted 5-0 to send the bill forward to the full Senate. MCC supports this legislation.
 
  The Word From Lansing Column: Encountering the Poor This Advent and Beyond  
 
During the season of Advent, there are many opportunities to serve those in need, especially the poor. Pope Francis posed a challenge for Catholics in his November World Day of the Poor message, urging all not to be satisfied with the state of poverty in their midst. This month's The Word from Lansing column explains that the Holy Father asks for interaction with these individuals and families instead, encouraging us to look beyond stereotypes and create friendships. 

If this email was forwarded to you, please click here to join the Catholic Advocacy Network, which will enable you to receive regular electronic updates and alerts.
 
For other news and information, click here to follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, follow MCC on Instagram, or visit MCC's webpage
 
 
Share this with your friends!

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Be sure to visit our website at www.micatholic.org
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