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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 14, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • "Raise the Age" Policies Fall Just Short in 2017-2018 
  • Measure to Retain Webcam Abortion Ban Passes House
  • With Bipartisan Vote, House Clears Charitable Giving Tax Credit 
  • Michigan House Approves Petition Bill Despite Concerns 
Note: The Michigan Legislature has one more week to bring the 2017-2018 legislative session to an end. Any bills that are not passed during this time will effectively "die" and would need to be reintroduced next year by the new Legislature. 
 
  "Raise the Age" Policies Fall Just Short in 2017-2018  
 
With time running out in the 2017-2018 legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is disappointed to report that the Michigan Legislature will not take any further action on "Raise the Age" legislation this year. The bipartisan package of bills would have allowed 17-year-olds to access and receive services in the juvenile justice system, except in the most serious cases. Throughout the 2017-2018 legislative session, MCC worked with lawmakers across the political spectrum, as well as with diverse groups as part of a larger coalition in support of "Raise the Age" policies. MCC staff stands ready to hit the ground running in the new year to continue advocating on these critical reforms for Michiganders. In a statement from the "Raise the Age" Coalition, MCC Vice President for Public Policy Tom Hickson reiterated the group's commitment to passing "Raise the Age" policies in 2019-2020: 

"Our charge for the New Year is clear, knowing that 83 percent of Michiganders back this common-sense policy change. This bipartisan package of bills can and will make a meaningful difference in preventing harmful, lasting effects on our at-risk youth while enhancing public safety."

MCC appreciates the engagement from Catholic Advocacy Network members on the issue throughout the past two years. Please stay tuned for further advocacy opportunities in 2019 to get this important policy enacted!
 
  Measure to Retain Webcam Abortion Ban Passes House  
 
As mentioned in previous Lansing Updates, Michigan law currently includes a prohibition against webcam (or telemedicine) abortions until December 31, 2018. Physicians are required to be physically present to examine and diagnose a patient as pregnant before prescribing and dispensing abortion drugs. MCC has advocated for the permanent adoption of this provision-especially as a matter of safety-through measures such as Senate Bill 1198. The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), removes the current December 31 sunset. It was approved in the House this week by a 62-47 vote and awaits a concurrence vote by the Michigan Senate.
 
  With Bipartisan Vote, House Clears Charitable Giving Tax Credit  
 
House Bills 6433 and 6434, sponsored by Representatives Jeff Noble (R-Plymouth) and Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp), amend the Michigan Income Tax Act. If enacted, the legislation would provide taxpayers a nonrefundable tax credit for contributions that help individuals in need, including those to food banks, homeless shelters, or community foundations. Both measures passed the Michigan House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin this week. Now the bills, which are supported by Michigan Catholic Conference, continue forward to the Michigan Senate.
 
  Michigan House Approves Petition Bill Despite Concerns  
 
Lawmakers have been considering a measure these final session days that would tighten the state's signature-gathering process for ballot proposals. House Bill 6595, sponsored by Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake), was introduced to limit out-of-state paid circulators and to ensure that ballot proposals represent the will of Michiganders. HB 6595 passed the House Elections and Ethics Committee and the full House of Representatives this week, despite numerous concerns raised by individuals and groups across the state. As introduced, the bill made the process more difficult for organizations like Michigan Catholic Conference and Right to Life of Michigan, who rely on all-volunteer petition gathering efforts for pro-life ballot efforts. MCC worked with legislative leadership to improve the bill for volunteer signature gathers, as well as to improve time frames for submission. Staff will keep Catholic Advocacy Network members informed as the measure continues now to the Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee.

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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