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
September 7, 2018

  In This Update:  
  • Newborn Safe Delivery Device Legislation Passes Senate Committee
  • Senate Committee Approves Objective Parole Bills
  • Michigan Legislature Approves Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Proposals
  Newborn Safe Delivery Device Legislation Passes Senate Committee  
All fifty states have safe delivery laws, which allow for the anonymous surrender of a newborn child, to prevent the child from being abandoned or otherwise harmed. Michigan's Safe Delivery of Newborns Law was enacted in 2000 and has saved 221 newborns. It currently allows for the voluntary surrender of a newborn, within their first three days of life, to uniformed emergency service providers at either a hospital, police department, or fire station. Some states have considered and implemented further measures, amending their laws to allow for safe delivery devices (safe haven baby boxes) for greater anonymity. These devices allow a newborn to be comfortably placed inside, locking automatically to secure the infant. The device would also immediately trigger an alarm to notify the emergency service provider. 

House Bills 5750, 5751, 5953, and 5954, sponsored by Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), outline manufacturing requirements, as well as procedures and policies for the voluntary use of safe haven baby boxes. Specifications require the device be padded and temperature-controlled. It must also trigger a 911 call and provide notice to a centralized location in the facility within thirty seconds of placement, so the infant can be immediately retrieved and transferred to the hospital. Additionally, the legislation redefines newborn, to extend those eligible for surrender from a baby of not more than three days old to a baby believed to be not more than thirty days old. The House of Representatives approved all the measures, by a wide margin. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) supports these pro-life bills, which has also passed the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee this week.
  Senate Committee Approves Objective Parole Bills  
Michigan Catholic Conference supported House Bill 5377, sponsored by Representative Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township) in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Currently, the Michigan Department of Corrections is required to develop parole guidelines and criteria, which assist the Michigan Parole Board in making decisions about the release of offenders. These include factors such as the individual's criminal record, the completion of mental health programming in prison, and institutional conduct, among other aspects. Under the policy, however, the Parole Board may deny release to offenders for "substantial and compelling reasons," without providing evidence. This measure would define "substantial and compelling reasons" to reduce subjectivity in the parole process. These reasons include: 
  • A prisoner's refusal to participate in a program ordered to reduce his or her risk of re-offending. 
  • Verified objective evidence of substantial harm to a victim that could not have been available for consideration at the time of sentencing. 
  • If the individual threatened to harm another person if he or she is released.
  • Objective evidence of post-sentencing conduct that the person would likely be a danger to society. 
Additionally, denial of parole-outlining the reasons for denial-would have to be given in writing. The measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this week with MCC support and cleared the full Senate by a 36-1 bipartisan vote.
  Michigan Legislature Approves Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Proposals  
Under Michigan's Constitution, the people have the right to initiate laws through a petition process. If enough signatures are submitted, the Legislature has the option of adopting the proposal. If they do not act, the issue is placed on the ballot.

This week, Michigan lawmakers voted to approve two initiative petitions that were brought forward by voters. The first, Initiated Legislation 3 of 2018, creates the Earned Sick Time Act. Under the Act, all Michigan workers-full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal-will accrue paid sick leave for themselves or to care for family members, subject to certain conditions. This also includes time for domestic violence or sexual assault victims (or their family members) who need to miss work for medical care, counseling appointments, legal proceedings, or relocation. The second, Initiated Legislation 4 of 2018, gradually increases the state's minimum wage to $10.00 per hour in 2019 and $12.00 per hour by 2022. By 2024, the proposal requires the tipped employee's minimum wage to be raised and equal to 100 percent of the minimum wage, or $12.00 per hour. This law also requires annual adjustments for inflation beginning in 2023. Both proposals received a 24-13 vote in the Michigan Senate and a 78-28 vote in the Michigan House of Representatives. They are likely to take effect in March or April of next year.

Discussion has taken place from the Republican majority in both chambers about amending the proposal later this year or next session to address certain concerns with the language of the new laws. Further updates will be provided as they are available.

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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,