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
February 23, 2018

  In This Update:  
  • Monday, February 26 is a National Call-in Day for Dreamers
  • Pro-Marriage Policy, Supported by MCC, Passes Senate Committee 
  • Changes to Do-Not-Resuscitate Law Continue to Michigan Senate
  Monday, February 26 is a National Call-in Day for Dreamers  
Federal lawmakers have not yet reached an agreement regarding a solution for Dreamers, or immigrants who came to America as children without documents. Back in September, the Trump Administration announced termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which had provided 800,000 of these Dreamers temporary work authorization and protection from deportation, and it gave Congress a deadline of early March to adopt a fix. Unfortunately, with the deadline approaching, Dreamers are still left without legislative relief. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is encouraging Catholics to contact Congress this upcoming Monday, February 26 and to urge their immediate action. In a statement, the U.S. bishops say:

"We will be asking the faithful across the nation to call their Members of Congress to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process. Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters. We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way."

Individuals can find talking points for encouraging their U.S. senators and representatives to act by clicking here. Please note that continued work and legislative advocacy will be needed on this important issue, beyond Monday's call-in day. Michigan Catholic Conference remains in regular conversations with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives consider specific bills on this issue, the USCCB will evaluate each proposal, and Michigan Catholic Conference will send out an alert regarding any action that might be needed from Catholic Advocacy Network members. Please stay tuned and engaged! Thank you.
  Pro-Marriage Policy, Supported by MCC, Passes Senate Committee  
Marriage is a vital factor in overcoming poverty. Unfortunately, Michigan law disincentivizes marriage for those who receive state assistance through the Family Independence Program (FIP). When a person receiving benefits marries, their spouse's income is factored into the eligibility calculation. If their total income is above the required level, benefits can be immediately eliminated or reduced. This change may be difficult financially for lower-income couples starting married life, and it may lead to individuals delaying or foregoing marriage to retain the assistance needed for their children. 

To address this issue, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) testified this week in support of Senate Bill 752 with its sponsor, Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City). The legislation would "disregard" a new spouse's income in FIP eligibility calculations, up to family income levels of 275 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, for eighteen months. The policy will help children grow up in a more stable environment and hopefully begin to break the cycle of poverty in their family. The Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services voted unanimously (5-0) in favor of the legislation, which continues now to the full Senate. More about this policy can be found in this month's The Word from Lansing column.
  Changes to Do-Not-Resuscitate Law Continue to Michigan Senate  
Senate Bills 784, 786, and 827, sponsored by Senators Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), would allow a parent to execute a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order on behalf of his or her medically frail minor child. The legislation would allow a DNR for children under 18 who have been diagnosed with an advanced illness by a physician, and the DNR order must be signed by the parent(s), the minor's physician, and two witnesses over 18 years of age. Additionally, the legislation provides rules for school districts about receiving, filing, and storing a minor's DNR orders. During the drafting of the legislation, Michigan Catholic Conference, in consultation with the National Catholic Bioethics Center, worked closely with the bill sponsors to ensure that necessary safeguards were in place to protect children and to prevent abuses. This week, MCC supported the measures, which were reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee. They continue now to the full Senate. 

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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,