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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
May 17, 2019
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Petition Drive Likely as Gov Threatens Veto to Pro-Life Bills 
  • Pro-Life Resolution Adopted by Michigan House
  • Update on State Budget Recommendations for 2019-2020 
  • House Committee Approve Abuse Prevention Measures
  • Bills to Prohibit E-Cigs to Minors Sent to Governor
 
  Petition Drive Likely as Gov Threatens to Veto Pro-Life Bills  
 
Bills in both state legislative chambers advanced this week to ban the dismemberment abortion procedure. This brutal procedure (also known as dilation and evacuation) that would be prohibited under the legislation is often carried out in the second trimester of pregnancy, between 13 and 24 weeks of gestation. Specifically, dismemberment abortion involves tearing apart and removing a living baby inside the womb, limb by limb. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 1,777 dismemberment abortion procedures were performed in this state in 2017, accounting for 6.7 percent of all total abortions reported that year. On May 14, the Michigan Senate approved its package of bills by a 22-16 party line vote. The Michigan House of Representatives followed suit with its version of the measures later in the day by a 58-51 party line vote. Senate Bills 229-230 now continue to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration and House Bills 4320-4321 continue to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. MCC appreciates the legislation and the leadership of Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), Senator Kim LaSata (R-St. Joseph), Representative Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.), and Representative Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Twp.). 

Note: Governor Whitmer has indicated that she will veto these bills when they come to her desk. Right to Life of Michigan announced this week that, in light of that announcement, it is their intention to begin a citizen-initiated legislative petition this summer to approve the measures into law without needing the governor's signature. Further updates will be provided in the coming weeks.
 
  Pro-Life Resolution Adopted by Michigan House  
 
This week, the Michigan House adopted a resolution focused around the dignity of human life, which was sponsored by Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake). House Resolution 23 of 2019 recognizes the sadness and loss caused by abortion. The language also declares that it is the "legislative body's policy to protect life by preserving legal protections for unborn children under Michigan law and to recognize that any abortion is a tragic loss of human life." The resolution is not legislation, and is therefore not legally binding, but it signals a strong commitment to pro-life values by the Michigan House. Michigan Catholic Conference supported the resolution and is pleased to see its passage.
 
  Update on State Budget Recommendations for 2019-2020  
 
Governor Gretchen Whitmer presented her executive state budget recommendations for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year in March. Since then, the Michigan Senate and House offered their own proposals for the budget. In the budget process, the Senate and House proposals begin in their respective Appropriations Subcommittees, then are sent to the full Appropriations Committee for further review, and then are adopted by the full chamber. Any differences between the chambers' budgets will be resolved in conference committees, which contain three members each from both the Senate and the House. 

NOTE: The Senate recommendations have passed the Appropriations Subcommittees, the full Appropriations Committee, and now, this week, the full Senate. Some of the House recommendations have only passed the House Appropriations Subcommittees (and some await a vote in the subcommittee), so they still require at least two more steps to catch up where the Senate proposals are in the budget process. 

Each of the programs/items listed below are priorities for MCC advocacy:
  • Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program: provides support to pregnant women and promotes alternatives to abortion. Over 7,700 women and their babies have been helped by its services since it began in 2013. The Senate proposes $750,000 for the program, while the House Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee includes $700,000. The governor's proposal cuts the funding. 
     
  • Private Foster Care Administrative Rate: appropriates State funding for administrative rates to child placing agencies and residential service providers that serve foster children awaiting safe, permanent homes. Each of the three budgets-the Senate's, the governor's and the House DHHS Appropriation Subcommittee's-include a minimum administrative rate of $46.20 per day.
     
  • Children's Clothing Allowance: helps low-income families purchase clothing for the school year. Each of the three state budget proposals maintains the funding at $7.23 million.
     
  • Emergency Shelter Services: includes funding for the diem rates for emergency shelter services for the homeless. All three proposals include $1.9 million for homeless programs and maintain the increase in per diem rates for emergency shelter services from $16 to $18 per bed night provided by Public Act 618 of 2018.  
     
  • Human Trafficking Services: provides intervention, housing, and comprehensive services to survivors of human trafficking. All three proposals included $200,000 for intervention services for human trafficking victims. The House DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee also included onetime funding of $700,000 for two long-term shelters that address victim housing and service needs, but this funding was not included in the Senate or governor's proposal.
     
  • Nonpublic School Mandate Funding: reimburses nonpublic schools for expenses related to State health, safety, and welfare requirements, including criminal background checks and safety drills. The Senate recommends $250,000 for this item (which would be combined with carry-over funding not used during previous years), while the governor's proposal eliminated the item. The House K-12 School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
     
  • First Robotics Funding for Nonpublic Schools: proposes competitive grant funding for programs such as First Robotics or Science Olympiad in nonpublic schools. The Senate recommends $300,000 for this purpose, while the funding was not included in the governor's proposal. The House K-12 School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
     
  • Mental Health Funding: ensures nonpublic school students (like their public school counterparts) can access mental health counseling, educational awareness programs, and enhanced mental health and clinical services. The governor proposed reducing the current year funding of $31.3 million for school-based mental health services (which includes nonpublic school students upon request) by $8 million.  The Senate restored the funding cut. The House K-12 School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
     
  • Dual Enrollment: allows nonpublic high school students to enroll in a post-secondary institution class while still enrolled in high school. The Senate, the governor, and the House General Government Appropriations Committee retain last Fiscal Year's funding at $2 million.
     
  • Tuition Grant Program: provides financial assistance to help low-income students attend one of Michigan's independent colleges or universities. The Senate and the governor both retain funding at its current level of $38 million. The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
     
  • Tuition Incentive Program: helps Medicaid recipients attend a public or independent college. The Senate retains funding at its current level of $64.3 million, while the governor's proposal dropped funding down to $59.8 million. The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
     
  • Shared Time: allows a nonpublic student to enroll in "non-essential" elective courses at a public school and be considered a part-time pupil in the public school for state aid purposes. The Senate and the governor maintain last year's funding levels for this program. The House K-12 School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet issued its recommendations.
 
  House Committee Approve Abuse Prevention Measures  
 
Building on discussions from the previous legislative session, the House Judiciary Committee met and considered several bills this week related to abuse and sexual assault prevention. Michigan Catholic Conference supported three measures, which will do more to create safe environments for children and prepare individuals to recognize the signs of abuse. These bills include: 
  • HB 4376, sponsored by Representative Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), which would expand the mandatory reporters list to include physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and athletic trainers. Mandatory reporters are required to report any abuse or neglect of a child to the Department of Health and Human Services. 
     
  • HB 4377, sponsored by Representative Kristy Pagan (D-Canton), which would create comprehensive training materials for mandatory reporters and make them publicly available through the Michigan DHHS website. Employers and organizations with mandatory reporters as employees would be required to providing the training package to those employees, unless it already provides a similar training. 
     
  • HB 4382, sponsored by Representative Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), which would require reporting of unprofessional conduct by a job applicant, employee, or contract worker in a public or nonpublic school to the Michigan Department of Education. The Department would maintain a record of this unprofessional conduct, including "a listed offense involving a minor."
 
  Bills to Prohibit E-Cigs to Minors Sent to Governor  
 
This week, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bills 106 and 155 to regulate e-cigarettes as a new category of vapor products and prohibit their sale to minors. While MCC would have preferred for lawmakers to implement stronger protections for children by regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products (thereby bringing Michigan in line with federal Food and Drug Administration rules), MCC appreciates the intent of the legislation and the efforts of Senators Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes) and Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) to protect children. Governor Gretchen Whitmer will now consider both measures.

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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