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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
March 8, 2019
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • MCC Reacts to Executive State Budget Recommendations 
  • "Raise the Age" Package Receives First Senate Hearing
  • Join Us: Pray for an End to Infanticide
 
  MCC Reacts to Executive State Budget Recommendations  
 
This week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented their Executive State Budget Recommendations for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The majority of Governor Whitmer's first set of budget recommendations to the Legislature focused on a forty-five cent fuel tax to fix Michigan's crumbling roads. She stated her goal was to bring ninety percent of Michigan's roads up to a "good" or "fair" condition by 2030.  After the presentation, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) issued a statement regarding some of the positive and negatives staff noted within in the proposal:

"As an organization that worked diligently to create the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2006 and fought for its preservation in 2011, MCC applauds the governor's recommendation to double the credit to 12 percent of the federal EITC. MCC will support legislative efforts to meet if not exceed the governor's proposed EITC increase which, by all accounts, does more to lift the working poor out of poverty than any other policy. Regrettably, in the same proposal, Governor Whitmer has recommended cutting state funding to the Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program, which supports women in crisis pregnancies from conception until the child's first birthday. This policy is effective toward reducing abortions in Michigan while providing necessary material and parenting support to low-income women. Cutting funding for this policy is counter-productive toward helping vulnerable women care for themselves and their unborn or newborn child."

MCC was also pleased the governor's recommendations drew attention to the need for clean water in Michigan and allocated funding to the dual enrollment budget, so all eligible students-public, nonpublic, and homeschool-can enroll in a post-secondary institution class while still in high school. However, MCC was disappointed to see elimination of reimbursements to nonpublic schools for complying with state health, safety, and welfare mandates, as well as elimination of a grant for nonpublic school students to participate in the state's First Robotics program. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will now formulate their own state budget proposals. MCC will advocate for the budget to restore funding for vulnerable women, children, and nonpublic school students. 
 
  "Raise the Age" Package Receives First Senate Hearing  
 
This week, the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee began discussion on a package of bills that would "Raise the Age" in Michigan. Currently, all seventeen-year-olds are automatically treated as adults when they commit a crime, even for a first-time, non-violent offense. The "Raise the Age" policy would instead treat most seventeen-year-olds in the juvenile system, except in the most serious cases. By transferring these cases to the juvenile system, children will be able to access age-appropriate rehabilitative services, to receive greater family participation in treatment, and oftentimes, to remain within their own communities and schools. In committee, two of the sponsors of the package-Senators Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp) and Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit)-spoke to the need for this legislation. Representatives from the Macomb County Juvenile Court also provided important background at the hearing about the juvenile justice system and current caseloads as they testified in support of the package. No vote was taken, and more testimony will be heard by the committee next week. MCC is hoping to share its support of the measures at that time. 

Note: MCC has advocated for this policy during the past two legislative sessions. In the 2015-2016 Legislature, the bill package passed the House of Representatives but did not make it through the Senate. Last year, the package was approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee but was not considered in enough time to pass the full House of Representatives. 
 
  Join Us: Pray for an End to Infanticide  
 
As MCC has written in previous updates, the U.S. Senate recently failed to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This legislation would have prohibited infanticide by ensuring that a child born alive following an attempted abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her or his life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. Please join us in prayer for an end to infanticide:

"Jesus, Lord of Life, transform the hearts of our elected leaders to recognize that infanticide is wrong and must not be tolerated. We especially pray for Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. Open their hearts and minds to recognize and defend the precious gift of every human life."

Thanks for your continued prayers and efforts to build a culture of life.
                                                                              
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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