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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 20, 2020
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Catholic Liturgy Updates, Resources in Light of Coronavirus
  • State Legislature Approves $125 Million to Combat Virus
  • Education Supplemental Budget Awaits Further Action
  • USCCB Raises Considerations for Federal Coronavirus Support
  • 2020 Census: It is Time to Be Counted!
 
  Catholic Liturgy Updates, Resources in Light of Coronavirus  
 
As the Lenten season continues, much is rapidly changing across Michigan communities with the spread of the Coronavirus. This virus is a highly contagious respiratory illness that often produces a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. To learn more about its impact on Catholic parishes, schools, and services, and to find other spiritual resources, visit the following pages from your local dioceses:
As a reminder, more information on the Coronavirus and tips for reducing its spread can be found at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus  and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
 
  State Legislature Approves $125 Million to Combat Virus  
 
On March 17, the Michigan Legislature approved $125 million of additional state funding -on top of $25 million passed last week- to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The new round of state funding will be allocated in the following ways, if signed into law:
  • $50 million to distribute resources to critical health care providers in the state and to expand capacity for the health care response to Coronavirus. 
  • $40 million for virus monitoring, infection control, and other immediate needs. 
  • $35 million for the Coronavirus Response Fund, which can be used for undetermined future needs with the permission of the State Legislature.
Lawmakers are scheduled to meet once a week for the next four weeks to address any immediate needs.
 
  Education Supplemental Budget Awaits Further Action  
 
One of the budget bills mentioned in last week's Lansing Update, Senate Bill 373, continues to remain in the Senate awaiting further action. It is likely that this bill will be the vehicle for any extra education funding that may be needed during the 2019-2020 state budget year as a result of the closure of all Michigan schools. Education appropriations could include costs associated with potentially extending the school year or ensuring hourly school employees continue to be paid. The supplemental budget bill also includes two other items concern to MCC:
  • $250,000 to reimburse nonpublic schools for the cost of health, safety, and welfare mandates from the State of Michigan, such as conducting safety drills and performing background checks. Mandate funding from prior state budget cycles has not yet been distributed to schools, as the issue is currently before the Michigan Supreme Court. 
  • $300,000 to help nonpublic schools participate in First Robotics by covering expenses such as registration fees for competitions and stipends for coaches.  
 
  USCCB Raises Considerations for Federal Coronavirus Support  
 
The U.S. Congress has been working on legislation to support the needs of the nation during the Coronavirus outbreak. As this discussion is taking place, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been urging U.S. Representatives and Senators to 1) prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and resources for health care providers, 2) provide equitable consideration for needs of non-profit and for-profit employers and employees, and 3) ensure equal access to aid for private schools and flexible aid for education expenses.
 
On March 18, federal lawmakers passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law by President Trump. The new law establishes requirements to provide free Coronavirus testing (without co-pays or deductibles), expands food assistance and unemployment benefits, offers temporary childcare leave and paid sick leave for certain employees, and increases Medicaid funding for states, among other aspects. This legislation follows passage of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which included funding provisions for items such as the development, manufacture, and procurement of a vaccine; emergency preparedness efforts at U.S. embassies and other State Department facilities; and humanitarian assistance for health systems in affected countries. Lawmakers are still considering aid packages for other industries and individuals.
 
  2020 Census: It is Time to Be Counted!  
 
Families have already been receiving requests from the federal government to participate in the 2020 Census- have you received yours? Participation matters, as the census will impact whether Michigan has fair political representation in Congress. It will also impact whether the state's roads, hospitals, schools, and fire departments have the funding they need to support Michigander's health and well-being for the next decade. Please take the time to respond online, by mail, or by phone- all great and safe options if you're at home right now! A full and accurate count is needed to help our communities and families thrive. More information is available at www.micatholic.org/2020Census and www.census.gov

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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