Lansing Update
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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 6, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • House Approves Stillbirth Certificate Fee Waiver Bill
  • Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Offers Senate Invocation
  • The Word from Lansing: 2020 Census-Counting Our Communities
  • U.S. Supreme Court Considers Louisiana Abortion Case
  • Action Alerts: Contact Legislators Today Regarding Payday Lending and Abortion Measures
  House Approves Stillbirth Certificate Fee Waiver Bill  
The State House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill 5289 this week, which would prohibit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from charging a fee when a family requests up to two copies of a certificate of stillbirth. This documentation allows parents who have a stillborn child to claim an exemption on their state income tax. The exemption helps grieving families defray expenses after their loss such as those associated with prenatal care, previously purchased baby items, and funeral arrangements, beginning in the 2019 tax year. After the vote, HB 5289-sponsored by Representative Julie Alexander (R-Hanover)-continues to the Senate for further discussion. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is supportive of the assistance this policy provides to families. 
  The Word from Lansing: 2020 Census-Counting Our Communities  
Starting this month, individuals across the country will receive information about how to participate in the national census. The 2020 Census will set Michigan's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, guide emergency preparedness planning, and determine how much federal funding is allocated to communities for the next decade. The most recent The Word from Lansing column and FOCUS publication from MCC highlight the upcoming census and the importance of being counted. 
  Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Offers Senate Invocation  
Most Reverend Robert Fisher, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, provided the invocation at the start of Senate session on Wednesday this week. Below is the prayer Bishop Fisher delivered:

"Good and gracious God, You shower us with countless blessings for which we are forever grateful, and we approach you once again humbly asking for your grace and mercy. Bless the women and men who comprise the Senate of the State of Michigan. Give them sensitivity to the needs of the people of Michigan, especially the poor and the marginalized. Give them clarity of vision that looks to the future in a spirit of hope. Give them a spirit of cooperation that allows for listening even in the midst of disagreement. Help them keep political ambitions secondary to the noble cause for which they have been elected. Give them wisdom, the wisdom that comes from You alone. Give us the knowledge to protect our state, country and world from the Coronavirus and other illnesses that threaten humankind. Imploring your Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth, we make our prayer through Christ, our Lord.  Amen."
  U.S. Supreme Court Considers Louisiana Abortion Case  
On Wednesday, March 4, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in an abortion case from Louisiana, June Medical Services v. Russo. The case challenges a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) issued the following statement this week:

"Women, their bodies, and their babies are immeasurably valuable. The violent act of abortion not only destroys the lives of unborn children, but often severely harms women's physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Louisiana is right to prioritize women over abortion industry profits. All states, not only Louisiana, have a strong interest in regulating a procedure which is lethal to children and immensely damaging to women. It adds insult to injury, and speaks to the callousness of the abortion industry, that providers are seeking to overturn basic, standard protections for women seeking this life-altering procedure. The Catholic Church encourages all people of faith to pray about the outcome to this very important case. We also ask all to pray for the women who are compelled to seek abortion: that they may find alternatives that value their health and well-being, and the lives of their precious children."

The USCCB filed a joint amicus curie brief in the case along with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals urging the Supreme Court to uphold the law. 
  Action Alerts: Contact Legislators Today Regarding Payday Lending and Abortion Measures  
In recent weeks, MCC has asked Catholic Advocacy Network members for help in speaking out about critical issues, including payday lending in Michigan and the protection of human life. Your voice matters. If you haven't already, please take a few minutes now to contact your lawmakers.
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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,