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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
June 29, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Governor Signs 2018-2019 State Budgets into Law
  • Medicaid Work Requirement Becomes Law 
  • Second DACA Measure Defeated in U.S. House
  • USCCB Applauds SCOTUS for Upholding Free Speech in NIFLA v. Becerra
  • U.S. Bishops Express Concerns with SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling
  • USCCB Expresses Disappointment in SCOTUS Janus v. AFSCME Ruling
  • Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Announces Retirement 
 
  Governor Signs 2018-2019 State Budgets into Law  
 
Two bills that provide for the upcoming 2018-2019 state budget have recently been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. House Bill 5579, also known as the "education omnibus bill," contains the budget for community colleges, universities, and K-12 schools and becomes Public Act 265 of 2018. Senate Bill 848, or "the omnibus bill," contains the funding for most of the State departmental budgets and becomes Public Act 207 of 2018. Read a full listing of the budget items of interested to MCC provided in the final law by clicking here. 

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is thankful to the governor and the Michigan Legislature for all the hard work done on these proposals. Staff would especially like to thank HHS Appropriations Chairs Ed Canfield (R-Sebewaing) and Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford), School Aid and Education Chairs Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) and Goeff Hansen (R-Hart), Higher Education Appropriations Chairs Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp) and Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton), and Appropriations Chairs Laura Cox (R-Livonia) and Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) for their leadership.
 
  Medicaid Work Requirement Becomes Law  
 
Senate Bill 897, which introduces work requirements on able-bodied recipients of the expanded Medicaid program, was recently signed into law by Governor Snyder. Public Act 208 of 2018 requires Healthy Michigan recipients ages nineteen to sixty-two to show they are working, pursuing job training, participating in work-related education or an internship, participating in substance abuse treatment, performing community service, or searching for jobs for at least eighty hours a month. Those who are exempted from the work requirement include individuals such as pregnant women, former foster children twenty-years-old or younger, caretakers of a disabled dependent or incapacitated individual (only one parent may claim the exemption), full-time students, those who are "medically frail" or have a disability that limits their ability to work, and those who have been incarcerated within the past six months.  Over the course of the legislative process, MCC appreciated the willingness of the bill's sponsor, Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake), to expand exemptions to the requirement but remains concerned with predicating one's health coverage on his or her employment status.
 
  Second DACA Measure Defeated in U.S. House  
 
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted and did not approve the first of two proposed measures to address the status of Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants brought to America as youth. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposed H.R. 4760, as it did not include a pathway to citizenship for the limited number of DACA recipients eligible for protection, failed to adequately address family separation, and heightened the asylum "credible fear" standard. On Wednesday, June 27, the U.S. House failed to pass the second measure, H.R. 6136 (the Border Security and Immigration Act of 2018), by a 121-301 vote. The USCCB opposed the measure because it failed to adequately address family separation and heightened the asylum "credible fear" standard. The measure also would have led to increases in child and family detention and would have undermined existing and critical protections for unaccompanied children. Thanks to all who sent messages to their U.S. Representatives to express concerns with this proposal. The Michigan delegation voted 8-5 in favor of the defeated bill. Supporting the measure were Representatives Jack Bergman, Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga, Paul Mitchell, John Moolenaar, Dave Trott, Fred Upton, and Tim Walberg. Opposed to H.R. 6136 were Representatives Justin Amash, Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, and Sander Levin. Continued advocacy will be needed for the passage of bipartisan reform that provides Dreamers with a path to citizenship, maintains family-based immigration, and does not make it more difficult for individuals to seek asylum.
 
  USCCB Applauds SCOTUS for Upholding Free Speech in NIFLA v. Becerra  
 
On Tuesday, June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra. The case challenged a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. The USCCB and several other groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court supporting the pro-life pregnancy centers in this important free speech case. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor that the law violated the free speech rights of NIFLA. New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement praising the ruling:

"In an important victory for the free speech rights of pro-life organizations, the Supreme Court today has affirmed that that the First Amendment protects the right of all organizations to choose for themselves not only what to say, but what not to say. This includes allowing pro-life pregnancy care centers to continue providing life-affirming support to both mother and child without being forced by governments to provide free advertising for the violent act of abortion in direct violation of the center's pro-life convictions.  The decision is an important development in protecting pro-life pregnancy centers from future efforts to compel speech in violation of their deeply held beliefs."
 
  U.S. Bishops Express Concerns with SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling  
 
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court also decided the case of Trump v. Hawaii, which involves a challenge to the president's proclamation restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling upheld the travel ban. In a statement, the USCCB wrote:

"The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country's core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith. We are disappointed in the Court's ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government.  The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries."
 
  USCCB Expresses Disappointment in SCOTUS Janus v. AFSCME Ruling  
 
Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME. The 5-4 decision struck down an Illinois law that required non-union workers to pay fees that go to collective bargaining, overturning a 1977 law that required employees to pay "fair share" fees. Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:

"It is disappointing that today's Supreme Court ruling renders the long-held view of so many bishops constitutionally out-of-bounds, and threatens to 'limit the freedom or negotiating capacity of labor unions.' Caritas in Veritate, no. 25. By reading the First Amendment to invalidate agency fee provisions in public-sector collective bargaining agreements, the Court has determined-nationwide, and almost irrevocably-that all government work places shall be 'right-to-work.' Now that such agency fee agreements are outlawed, state and federal legislators should explore alternative means 'for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights' (Caritas in
Veritate, no.25)."
 
  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Announces Retirement  
 
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced this week that he will be retiring, effective July 31. President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate a replacement, who will then be subject to Senate confirmation. The new justice, once confirmed, would join Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Neil Gorsuch, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas on the bench.

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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