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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
December 7, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • ACTION NEEDED! Urge House to Vote on 'Raise the Age' 
  • Measure to Retain Webcam Abortion Ban Continues Forward
  • Senate Approves Sexual Assault and Child Protection Bills
  • Senate Next to Consider School Safety Measures 
  • Committee Widely Supports Charitable Giving Measures 
 
  ACTION NEEDED! Urge House to Vote on "Raise the Age"  
 
Seventeen-year-olds cannot legally vote in elections, rent a car, serve on a jury, or enter into a legal contract. However, in Michigan, they are automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system, regardless of the severity of the crime committed. "Raise the Age" legislation currently before the full Michigan House of Representatives would allow seventeen-year-olds to remain in the juvenile justice system, unless a prosecutor and judge agree in the most serious cases to charge them as an adult. This policy will help youth receive age-appropriate rehabilitative services and place them on a more productive path. Michigan Catholic Conference's Vice President for Public Policy spoke about the urgent need for "Raise the Age" policies this with 1380 AM WPHM and Michael Patrick Shiels of Michigan's Big Show.

However, TIME IS RUNNING OUT to pass these important measures. YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED. The Michigan House of Representatives must vote on the package next week in order for the bills to have any chance of passing this legislative session. Take a few minutes to urge a vote on these measures in the Michigan House. It's quick and easy, and it makes a huge difference!

 
  Measure to Retain Webcam Abortion Ban Continues Forward  
 
In last week's Lansing Update, MCC shared that Michigan law requires a physician to be physically present prior to the prescribing and dispensing of abortion drugs, in order to examine and diagnose the patient as pregnant. When the law was passed in 2012, however, a "sunset provision" was added that allowed it only to be effective until December 31, 2018. Senate Bill 1198, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), would remove the sunset and keep the current practice in place. The measure, which MCC supports, passed the House Health Policy Committee this week by a 8-5 vote. It has already passed the Senate and requires only a vote in the full House before it can go to the governor's desk. 
 
  Senate Approves Sexual Assault and Child Protection Bills  
 
Earlier in 2018, Michigan Catholic Conference supported several measures to address sexual assault and child protection. Staff was pleased to see this week that House Bills 5539, 5658, 5660, 5661, 5794, and 5798 passed the Senate without any opposition. These measures allow prior acts of sex crimes to be introduced in court as evidence (in certain circumstances), boost criminal penalties for child pornography, and allow more people to give victim impact statements in court. They will be sent shortly to Governor Snyder for his consideration. Many thanks to Kimberly LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp), Laura Cox (R-Livonia), Leslie Love (D-Detroit), Diana Farrington (R-Utica), Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp), Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), and the bipartisan co-sponsors for their action on this important issue.
 
  Senate Next to Consider School Safety Measures  
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four bill measures regarding school safety that have been supported by Michigan Catholic Conference. House Bills 5851, 5852, 5942, and 5943 would:
  • Require school districts and public school academies to report on prevented attempts or threats of violence on the school grounds or towards school employees or students.
     
  • Require new law enforcement officers, beginning on January 1, 2020, to receive active violence response training.
     
  • Create a two-tiered penalty structure for those making threats involving dangerous weapons against students or school employees.
Each of these measures, sponsored by Representatives Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe), and Scott VanSingel (R-Grant), have passed the House and now await final approval in the full Senate before going to the governor.
 
  Committee Widely Supports Charitable Giving Measures  
 
House Bills 6433 and 6434 amend the Income Tax Act to provide taxpayers a nonrefundable tax credit for contributions that help those in need, including contributions to food banks, homeless shelters, or community foundations. Both measures passed the House Committee on Regulatory Reform by a 13-1 bipartisan vote and continue now to the full Michigan House of Representatives. They are sponsored by Representatives Jeff Noble (R-Plymouth) and Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp) and supported by MCC.

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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