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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
January 5, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Michigan Takes Action Against Opioid Crisis as New Laws Are Enacted 
  • Governor Signs Unemployment Compensation Measures Into Law
  • Competitive FIRST Robotics Grants Awarded; Nonpublic Schools Receive $157,700
We hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Michigan Legislature is scheduled to return next week for regular session, but here are a few updates about measures that were awaiting the governor's signature at the end of 2017.
 
 
  Michigan Takes Action Against Opioid Crisis as New Laws Are Enacted  
 
In 2016, Michigan saw 1,689 deaths from overdoses involving opioids, or drugs that help individuals manage pain (in 1999, there were 99). While managing pain is an important goal of health care, the rapid growth of opioid abuse made legislative action a priority. At the end of 2017, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley signed ten measures into state law to combat the opioid crisis (note: the lieutenant governor may sign legislation when the governor is out of state). Each of these measures came from the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force, which studied the issue extensively and issued recommendations in a 2015 report. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is pleased to see these efforts to address those struggling with substance abuse and to combat the opioid crisis, which continues to have a devastating effect on Michigan families. The newly enacted legislation, Public Acts 246-255 of 2017:
  • Requires parental consent before a minor can be prescribed an opioid for the first time.
  • Requires prescribers to have a bona fide relationship with the patient before prescribing a controlled substance and to provide/refer that patient for follow-up care.
  • Requires licensed prescribers to review a patient's Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) report before prescribing a controlled substance, which protects against "doctor shopping" for prescription pills and allows prescribers to assess patient risk for abuse.
  • Requires physicians to provide any patients being treated for opioid-related overdoses with information on services for substance use disorders.
  • Limits the amount of Schedule 2 controlled substances (substances with a high potential for abuse) that can be prescribed for a patient with acute pain. Additionally, the measure also allows pharmacists to fill prescriptions in increments so less medication goes unused.
  • Allows Medicaid to cover detoxification for opioid use disorders.
  • Provides for the creation of age-appropriate instruction for schools about prescription opioid abuse.
MCC is thankful to the bill sponsors-Representative Joseph Bellino (D-Monroe), Senator Steven Bieda (D-Warren), Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton), Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), Senator Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), Senator Dale Zorn (R-Ida), Representative Andy Schor (D-Lansing), and Representative Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan)-for their leadership. 
 
  Governor Signs Unemployment Compensation Measures Into Law  
 
On December 20, Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bills 5165-5172 into law as Public Acts 225-232 of 2017. These measures enact reforms to the state's unemployment compensation system, in response to an error by the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) that falsely accused more than 40,000 Michiganders of fraud between 2013 and 2015. Among other provisions, the new laws amend penalties for fraud, offer a mechanism for employees and past employees to address falsely reported claims, allow individuals accused of fraud to receive help from an advocacy program, and allow for increased flexibility to waive restitution and interest for low-income claimants. MCC supported the package, which passed with unanimous support in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate.

Staff appreciates the leadership of the sponsors: 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).
 
  Competitive FIRST Robotics Grants Awarded; Nonpublic Schools Receive $157,700  
 
In 2017, Michigan Catholic Conference advocated for nonpublic schools to have the opportunity to apply for the FIRST Robotics Program competitive grant, similar to their public school counterparts. This grant funding helps schools with robotics or Science Olympiad programs cover registration fees for competitions, stipends for coaches, and other such expenses. The final budget signed into law included language that allowed nonpublic schools to apply for the grant for the first time in history. This week, the Michigan Department of Education announced the winners of the grant funding. Overall, 1,375 teams received grant funding, including $157,700 for 75 FIRST Robotics and Science Olympiad teams at nonpublic schools. Michigan Catholic Conference would like to congratulate all of the nonpublic and the public school winners!

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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