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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
April 20, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • MCC Supports Child Protection Bills in House Committee
  • Discussions on HHS Appropriations Budget Continue in Both Chambers
  • Tuition Grant Restored in Both Budget Versions; Other Education Measures Await Vote
  • House of Representatives Votes 96-13 on Driver's License Bills 
  • Immigration Reform Resolution Continues to Have MCC Support 
  • Medicaid Work Requirement Passes Senate, Continues Forward 
 
  MCC Supports Child Protection Bills in House Committee  
 
This week, the House Law and Justice Committee heard testimony on over a dozen bipartisan bills to address sexual misconduct and child abuse. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) welcomed this action and supported the legislation in committee:

"The Michigan House has been engaged in developing positive, forward-looking solutions to combat the appalling and terrible presence of sexual abuse in society. For these efforts thus far to address the scourge of abuse, Michigan Catholic Conference is grateful. We look forward to supporting measures in committee intended to protect children, create safe environments, and produce structures and policies to ensure every person feels safe both in public and private environments."

MCC specifically supported measures that would:
  • Prohibit an individual from using their authority over another to prevent them from reporting child abuse or criminal sexual conduct.
  • Allow certain evidence of a defendant's commission of prior sexual assault to be admissible in a criminal action of sexual assault.
  • Increase penalties for the aggravated production, financing, distribution, possession, and access of more than one hundred images of child pornography. 
  • Extend retention of medical records, when they contain certain treatments. The bills also require informed consent before these procedures.
  • Increase penalties for health professionals misrepresenting medical procedures for the purpose of sexual misconduct.
  • Expand the list of people who may give a victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing. 
The House Law and Justice Committee will continue to hear testimony on additional legislation and is planning on voting on the measures in early May. Michigan Catholic Conference staff remain committed to supporting legislation that protects children and creates safe environments.
 
  Discussions on HHS Appropriations Budget Continue in Both Chambers  
 
This week, lawmakers continued to formulate their state budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2019 (October 2018-September 2019). With regards to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget, Michigan Catholic Conference continues to advocate for adequate funding for the Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program. This program provides support to women in crisis pregnancies and promotes alternatives to abortion.
  • The House Appropriations Committee approved its proposal for the DHHS budget this week, which included $650,000 for the Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program.
  • The Senate HHS Appropriations Subcommittee included $700,000 for the program, which will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee next week. 
MCC staff is thankful to House Appropriations Chair Laura Cox (R-Livonia), and the DHHS Subcommittee chairs: Representative Dr. Ed Canfield (R-Sebewaing) and Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) for their leadership.
 
  Tuition Grant Restored in Both Budget Versions; Other Education Measures Await Vote  
 
The Tuition Grant program provides low income students with financial assistance to help them attend Michigan's independent colleges or universities. In February, the governor's executive recommendations proposed decreasing the funding for this program in the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget by $6 million (to $32 million). The House and Senate Appropriations Committees both voted to restore the full funding to the program at $38 million. Michigan Catholic Conference supports this restoration and is thankful to the leadership of House Appropriations Chair Laura Cox (R-Livonia), Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell), House Higher Education Subcommittee Chair Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township), and Senate Higher Education Subcommittee Chair Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) for their work. The budget bills now continue forward to the full House and Senate floors.

Numerous other education measures of concern to MCC passed the House Appropriations Committee this week but still await action in the Senate Appropriations Committee: First Robotics grant funding; nonpublic health, safety, and welfare mandates; shared time; and dual enrollment. As the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to soon consider these measures, Michigan Catholic Conference will provide a full report of where both chambers' proposals stand in the coming weeks. In the meantime, staff will continue to advocate for full funding to be provided for all these initiatives.
 
  House of Representatives Votes 96-13 on Driver's License Bills  
 
Michigan Catholic Conference reported in last week's Lansing Update that House Bills 5686-5687 had passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. These measures, sponsored by Representatives Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) and Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), address state ID card and driver's licenses for individuals who reside in the United States on a temporary basis. Read more here about the measures and how MCC's concerns have been addressed during the legislative process. The House approved the measures by a 96-13 vote, which means the bills will go to the Senate for further consideration.
 
  Immigration Reform Resolution Continues to Have MCC Support  
 
House Concurrent Resolution 15 of 2017, sponsored by Representative Jim Lilly (R-Park Township), calls on the United States Congress to take bipartisan, comprehensive action on immigration reform. While the resolution is nonbinding and can only encourage action, it signals that this issue is important to Michigan. The resolution, agreed upon by the House of Representatives in September, was unanimously approved by the Senate Government Operations Committee this week. Michigan Catholic Conference has supported its passage throughout the legislative process. Now the resolution goes before the full Senate. To learn more about the Catholic Church's teaching on immigration reform, visit http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/
 
  Medicaid Work Requirement Passes Senate, Continues Forward  
 
Senate Bill 897, sponsored by Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake), would place work requirements on able-bodied, non-pregnant recipients of Medicaid between the ages of nineteen to sixty-four. The bill has been amended to consider a variety of extenuating circumstances and provide several exemptions, such as for those who are caretakers or full-time students. The requirement would call for Medicaid recipients to work, to pursue job training, or to participate in work-related education for an average of twenty-nine hours a week. This week, the measure was approved by the Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committee, and then the full Senate, with a 26-11 vote. SB 879 will next be considered by the House Committee on Appropriations. While MCC appreciates the inclusion of exemptions to protect the vulnerable, concerns remain with predicating one's health coverage on his or her employment status. Further updates will be provided in future emails. 

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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