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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
May 15, 2020
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • ACTION NEEDED! Catholic Schools Need Your Help
  • Bureau of Elections Resumes Vetting of Petitions to End Dismemberment Abortion
  • Funding for COVID-19 Response Clears Michigan Senate
  • State Revenues Down $3.2 Billion
 
  ACTION NEEDED! Catholic Schools Need Your Help  
 
Catholic schools have played an important role in educating children and emboldening their life of faith. During this time of uncertainty, Catholic schools urgently need help. Similar to their public school counterparts, Catholic schools are faced with immense financial pressures from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Additional hardships due to the temporary closing of houses of worship have led to decreased charitable contributions. Please take a moment to contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask for emergency aid to Catholic schools and families in the next COVID-19 legislative package, including: 
  • Equitable access to K-12 federal funds for Catholic schools, 
  • Direct funding to families for tuition aid and tax breaks for K-12 tuition payments.
By speaking with one voice, Catholics in Michigan can raise this problem with Congress and provide help for families. Thanks in advance for your action.  
 
  Bureau of Elections Resumes Vetting of Petitions to End Dismemberment Abortion  
 
Last year, Catholics and people of good will across the state participated in the Michigan Values Life petition drive to end the gruesome practice of dismemberment abortion in this state. In December, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and other groups submitted petition forms with over 379,000 signatures gathered from across Michigan. Yet in the midst of processing, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic response and Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders, the state's Bureau of Elections had to temporarily suspend non-essential functions and validation of the Michigan Values Life petition signatures. 

This week, the Michigan Bureau of Elections was able to resume processing and pulled a sample of 500 signatures, to determine the overall validity rate of the signatures. The Bureau also set June 1 as the deadline for any challenges to the signatures. At least 340,047 valid signatures are necessary and must be certified by the State Board of Canvassers before submission to the legislature. The legislature will then have 40 calendar days to approve, reject, or not vote on the measure. MCC is optimistic that the initiative will be approved and become law, without requiring the governor's signature. 

Lansing Update will continue to track closely the progress of this effort. Please stay tuned for updates and advocacy opportunities!  
 
  Funding for COVID-19 Response Clears Michigan Senate  
 
This week, the Michigan Senate unanimously passed a bill allowing $523 million to be used for response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic during the remainder of the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. Senate Bill 690 utilizes relief funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A few of the appropriations provided for in the legislation include:
  • $100 million to provide bonuses to municipal first responders.
  • $50 million to offer grants for personal protection equipment.
  • $11 million to hire 300 additional staff, on a temporary basis, to process unemployment claims.
  • $178.2 million to allow certain direct care workers to receive a temporary $3/hour raise.
  • $125 million to reduce child care rates for April, May, and June.
  • $15 million in the statewide summer school fund to aid students in credit recovery.
  • $20 million to help the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators purchase devices for K-12 schools.
  • $2.5 million to provide for a hospitality relief fund.
  • $12 million to offer grants for agriculture processing safety.
MCC appreciates the bipartisan cooperation on this critical funding bill, which now continues to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.
 
  State Revenues Down $3.2 Billion  
 
On Friday, May 15, the Senate Fiscal Agency, the House Fiscal Agency, and the State Budget Office all met for the May Revenue Estimating Conference to determine the status of revenue in the state. According to their projections, revenues are down $3.2 billion from January estimates for the current Fiscal Year (October 2019-September 2020): the General Fund revenues is down $1.98 billion, and the School Aid Fund is down $1.25 billion. For the 2020-2021 year, there will also be less available for spending than previously thought, with General Fund revenues decreasing by $1.92 billion and the School Aid Fund decreasing by $1.14 billion. These projections are important because they help to shape the budgets that provide funding for the state's programs and policy priorities. MCC is monitoring how the numbers will impact the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Fiscal Year state budgets.

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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