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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
August 2, 2019
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Enthusiasm for Dismemberment Petition Drive Continues
  • MCC and Coalition Urge Support of State EITC Boost
  • FOCUS: Catholic Charities-Uniting Children With Loving Homes
  • U.S. Bishops Oppose Decision re Federal Death Penalty
Note: State lawmakers are still currently on legislative recess for work back in their home districts. While the Michigan Legislature is tentatively scheduled to resume regular session in August, House and Senate session may not resume fully until September.  
 
  Enthusiasm for Dismemberment Petition Drive Continues  
 
Since June 26, pro-life Michiganders have been gathering signatures for a citizen's initiative petition drive to end dismemberment abortion in this state. The brutal procedure, most commonly used during the second trimester of pregnancy, dismembers a living unborn child, removing him or her from the mother's womb limb by limb. A successful petition drive would send the legislative ban to the Michigan House and Senate. The policy will go into effect with a simple majority vote in both chambers and does not require the governor's signature. If state lawmakers vote against the petition language or take no action, it will go on the 2020 ballot to be approved or rejected by Michigan voters. As a reminder, Michigan Catholic Conference and the Michigan Catholic bishops strongly support this effort to end dismemberment abortion and encourage full participation. 

According to Michigan Values Life, the committee leading the petition drive effort, over 125,000 petition forms have already been requested and mailed out to volunteers. If each one of these forms were to be filled out fully and returned, the signature drive will realize over 1,000,000 signatures! Signed petition forms are starting to come back in now, each bringing Michigan citizens closer to the goal of 400,000 valid signatures. To learn about how to get involved, visit www.micatholic.org/MichiganValuesLife/. Take a few minutes to also check out answers to common questions and concerns, including: 
  • When are petitions due? 
  • Where can I sign? 
  • What about the governor? 
  • Will this mistake invalidate the petition? 
 
  MCC and Coalition Urge Support of State EITC Boost  
 
As state budget negotiations continue for the upcoming 2019-2020 Fiscal Year, one proposal that continues to be part of the discussion is doubling the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which provides tax relief for low-income workers. In March, as part of her executive budget recommendations, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed doubling the credit from six percent of the federal EITC to twelve percent. This pro-work, pro-family policy has typically enjoyed bipartisan support because it incentivizes employment, lifts children and families out of poverty, and benefits local economies. In early June, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) hosted a press conference with a broad coalition of organizations to advocate for a boost to the state EITC. This week, the coalition sent a letter to state lawmakers, urging them to include the proposal in the final version of the state budget. Stay tuned for further updates.
 
  FOCUS: Catholic Charities-Uniting Children With Loving Homes  
 
For decades, Catholic agencies have partnered with the State of Michigan to place children in loving homes. Despite their exemplary work in this area, some elected officials and other hostile organizations have sought to push Catholic adoption and foster care programs-in Michigan and across the country-out of the public realm. MCC's latest FOCUS publication delves into current religious freedom challenges for Catholic agencies and ways the Church is responding. 
 
  U.S. Bishops Oppose Decision re Federal Death Penalty  
 
Recently, after a sixteen-year hiatus from the practice, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would resume use of the death penalty as punishment for federal crimes. Five executions have already been scheduled for December and January. While Michigan has a constitutional amendment to ban the death penalty for state crimes, the prohibition would not apply to federal crimes committed here, as the state and federal legal systems are separate. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has expressed concerns with the policy shift and has strongly urged the Justice Department to reconsider. In a July 30 statement, USCCB stated: 

"In his address to Congress during his 2015 Apostolic visit to the United States, Pope Francis, echoing the views of his predecessors, called for 'the global abolition of the death penalty.' He further stated that, '[A] just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.' As the Catechism of the Catholic Church now provides, 'The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'...[we] urge...federal officials take this teaching into consideration, as well as the evidence showing [the death penalty's] unfair and biased application, and abandon the announced plans."

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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