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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
October 18, 2019
 

  In This Update  
 
  • REMINDER: Petition Drive to End Dismemberment Abortion Continues
  • Raise the Age Legislation Moves on to Governor Whitmer
  • MCC Opposes Legislation to Expand Payday Lending
  • MCC Opposes Near Elimination of Gun Free Zones
  • MCC Supports School Safety Building Code Change
 
  REMINDER: Petition Drive to End Dismemberment Abortion Continues  
 
Throughout October and Respect Life Month, many parishes are continuing to gather signatures on the Petition to End Dismemberment Abortion. If you have not yet signed this petition, please check with your parish for opportunities to sign or visit the Michigan Values Life website to request a petition form to sign and circulate among family and friends in your county: https://michiganvalueslife.org/request-materials/. MCC and the Catholic bishops of Michigan are strongly supportive of this initiative and are thankful for the enthusiastic response of the Catholic community to end dismemberment abortion!
 
  Raise the Age Legislation Moves on to Governor Whitmer  
 
This week, the legislature finished passing all of the House and Senate bills to "Raise the Age," which now go to the governor for her approval. Currently in Michigan, any 17-year old who commits a felony or a misdemeanor is automatically tried as an adult. Michigan is one of only four states who do not set this age at 18. This package of bills will bring Michigan in line with the rest of the nation.

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) has been supportive of these bills and involved in promoting this policy for the last three legislative sessions. MCC is thankful for the strong bipartisan leadership of Senators Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) and Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), along with Representatives Graham Filler (R-Ovid) and David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) and the numerous additional sponsors of the legislation. MCC is also grateful for being able to work with both the family courts and Michigan Association of Counties to arrive at a funding formula that allows this package to be presented to the governor with support from all stakeholders.
 
  MCC Opposes Legislation to Expand Payday Lending  
 
Two weeks ago, Michigan Catholic Conference promoted safeguards for payday lending customers. This week, also with consumer protection in mind, MCC staff testified in the House Regulatory Reform Committee opposing an expansion to payday lending products. House Bill 5097, sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township), would give payday lenders the authority to make small loans, up to $2,500, with no limit to the length of the loan. These small loans, as defined in the bill, are subject to an 11% monthly surcharge on the amount owed and cannot be paid back prior to 90 days. Currently, payday loans, also known as deferred presentment, are limited to a $600 loan for 31 days.

MCC testified against the bill in committee, raising concerns that these small loan products and payday lending entrap people in a cycle of debt. In particular, MCC noted:

 
Currently, 71% of these types of loans are taken out on the exact same day one is repaid. That is data from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and it seems pretty damning evidence of the cycle of debt for these types of tools. The payday loan industry markets deferred presentment as a one-time, sort of get out of a financial rough spot, but in practice that is not how it really works. The problem is, often times, many people get stuck in using these loans as an essential tool in their financial lives and they become dependent upon them.

MCC also highlighted alternatives to payday lending that are on the rise. For example, the St. Vincent de Paul Society has developed a new micro-loan program to help individuals through a financial crisis. It provides loans of $750 or less, for up to 18 months, with an interest rate of 3%. Borrowers also receive financial education and personal support, as needed, to help build credit and create solid financial footing going forward.

No vote was taken this week on House Bill 5097. MCC continues to advocate for safeguards on payday lending products to protect vulnerable people.
 
  MCC Opposes Near Elimination of Gun Free Zones  
 
MCC opposed two measures this week before the House Committee on Military Affairs, Veterans and Homeland Security. House Bills 4770 and 4771, introduced by Representatives Steven Johnson (R-Wayland) and John Reilly (R-Oakland), respectively, would eliminate all gun free zones in Michigan, except schools. The legislation would allow open or concealed carry of firearms in childcare centers, sports arenas or stadiums, bars and taverns, properties owned by houses of worship, entertainment facilities, hospitals, and college dormitories or classrooms. MCC is especially concerned with encouraging weapons in sensitive locations and, the fact that despite private property rights, the legislation sends the signal that guns are no longer prohibited in those locations. The committee did not vote on the legislation.
 
  MCC Supports School Safety Building Code Change  
 
House Bill 4689, introduced by Representative Scott VanSingel (R-Grant) would amend the Construction of School Buildings Act to allow temporary door barricade devices to be installed in school buildings. These are anchoring mechanisms installed on the interior side of a door that, when engaged, secures the door against forced entry. Schools would have to notify local law enforcement and fire departments before installing such a device and would have to provide training to staff members on how to utilize the devices during an emergency. MCC supported the bill this week in the House Regulatory Reform Committee as a means of increasing school safety. The bill was approved 15-0 and moves to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.

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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