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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 25, 2019
 

  In This Update  
 
  • REMINDER: Petition Drive to End Dismemberment Abortion Continues
  • Gun Free Zone Elimination Bills Move Forward
  • School Safety Building Code Change Before Full House
  • Dual Enrollment Bills Head to Senate
  • MCC Welcomes Legal Opinion in Faith-Based Adoption Case
 
  REMINDER: Petition Drive to End Dismemberment Abortion Continues  
 
Throughout Respect Life Month and into November, many parishes will continue 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!
 
  Gun Free Zone Elimination Bills Move Forward  
 
This week the House Committee on Military Affairs, Veterans and Homeland Security approved House Bills 4770 and 4771, introduced by Representatives Steven Johnson (R-Wayland) and John Reilly (R-Oakland). The legislation would eliminate all gun free zones in Michigan, except schools, allowing open or concealed carry of firearms in childcare centers, sports arenas or stadiums, bars and taverns, churches and church owned properties, entertainment facilities, hospitals, and college dormitories or classrooms. MCC opposes the legislation and is especially concerned with encouraging weapons in sensitive locations. Despite private property rights to regulate weapons on church property, the legislation sends the signal that guns are no longer prohibited in those locations. The measures now proceed to the House Judiciary Committee for further deliberation.
 
  School Safety Building Code Change Before Full House  
 
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 supports the legislation as a means of increasing school safety. The bill was approved unanimously this week by the House Committee on Ways and Means and moves now to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.
 
  Dual Enrollment Bills Head to Senate  
 
Dual enrollment allows students to obtain college credit and vocational training while still attending high school. As previously reported, House Bills 4546 and 4547, sponsored by Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Ben Frederick (R-Owosso), would also allow students to enroll in courses that are only offered when their high school is not in session (i.e. the summer). This week the House of Representatives approved the legislation 108-0, which now heads to the Senate Education Committee for review. MCC supports this effort to create additional educational opportunities for students in both public and nonpublic schools.
 
  MCC Welcomes Legal Opinion in Faith-Based Adoption Case  
 
Buck v. Gordon challenges the Attorney General of Michigan's attempt to shut down faith-based foster and adoption agencies in the state. In late September, the lawsuit filed by St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing and Chad and Melissa Buck, who are parents of five children with special needs, won a major legal victory in federal district court for the adoption agency and the families and children it serves. The court issued a preliminary injunction, allowing St. Vincent Catholic Charities to maintain its work and signifying that there is a likelihood they will prevail on the merits of their claim. The court noted that "the State's real goal is not to promote non-discriminatory child placements, but to stamp out St. Vincent's religious belief and replace it with the State's own."

Following the preliminary injunction, Attorney General Dana Nessel requested to halt the judge's decision while she appeals to a higher court. However, on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker denied her request, stating that "the state has offered nothing new and has failed to come to grips with the factual basis on the preliminary injunction record that supports the inference of religious targeting in this case." With the court's latest order, the preliminary injunction stands and allows faith-based child placement agencies to continue working with the State. MCC strongly supports these recent court decisions and looks forward to insuring the State's 2015 law that protects faith-based agencies continues to be recognized.

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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