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
May 29, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • With House Passage, Payday Lending Bill Requires Continued Opposition
  • MCC Publishes FOCUS, Webpage to Highlight Laudato Si' Anniversary
  • 2020 Census: Your Voice is Needed
  With House Passage, Payday Lending Bill Requires Continued Opposition  
Thank you to all the Catholic Advocacy Network members who emailed their Michigan Representatives this week, urging lawmakers to oppose bills that would expand payday lending-high-interest, short-term loans-in this state. The legislation would allow payday lenders to offer loans of up to $2,500 from the current cap of $600. As expected, House Bill 5097 passed the House Ways and Means Committee early in the week. Two amendments added during the committee make slight improvements to the bill, such as considering some factors of a person's ability to repay the loan before it can be issued and requiring a small assessment on payday lenders to assist in the improvement of financial literacy. However, these changes still do not protect individuals from entering a crippling cycle of debt, as: 
  • Payday lenders are not required to consider a person's housing expenses in a borrower's ability to repay the loan, which are significant expenses for most Michiganders.
  • The small assessment alone is not enough to improve financial literacy for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
Regrettably, on Wednesday, May 27, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 58-49 to support the bill. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is disappointed in the outcome of the House, especially when scammers and financial predators are increasingly taking advantage of vulnerable citizens during the pandemic. MCC staff will continue to advocate against the bill in the Michigan Senate. Please stay tuned for further updates and opportunities to urge a no vote on House Bill 5097. 
  MCC Publishes FOCUS, Webpage to Highlight Laudato Si' Anniversary  
Throughout May, Catholics worldwide have recognized the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis's second encyclical, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home. The pope's document adds to the Church's rich body of teaching on caring for God's creation, urging people of good will to join efforts to protect the environment and all living creatures. MCC has joined these efforts by developing and distributing materials for Catholic institutions, including:
  1. MCC's latest FOCUS publication, Care for Our Common Home: Reflecting on Laudato Si'
  2. A webpage with resources and ideas for absorbing the encyclical's themes on both an individual and an institutional level: The webpage also highlights local examples of how the Catholic faithful in Michigan have lived out this teaching. 
In a release this week, MCC expressed gratitude for the voice of the Holy Father in international dialogue concerning the environment: "Pope Francis's message about individuals having a shared responsibility for one another and for God's creation is particularly relevant during this time of global pandemic. It is the hope of this organization that our materials will help to support the message of the Holy Father and encourage Catholics to dive more deeply into his teachings."
  2020 Census: Your Voice is Needed  
The 2020 U.S. Census timeline has been shifted in order to better protect the health and safety of the general public and the U.S. Census Bureau employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michiganders now have until October 31, 2020 to respond. The Catholic Church in Michigan has promoted full participation in the count because of the ramifications it has for individuals and local communities:
  • The count influences legislative representation at all levels of government, where decisions about the common good and the most vulnerable are often made.
  • The Catholic Church relies on an accurate census to more effectively serve those in need.
  • Undercounting households leads to underfunding critical programs and services.
This week, The Detroit News featured the Church's efforts to increase census participation in an article about the partnership between the faith community and Michigan's 2020 "Be Counted" campaign.

Visit now to fill out the 2020 Census, which will take approximately ten minutes to complete. The process is safe, secure, and confidential, and your response will help direct how billions of federal funds for local communities are distributed over the next decade. THANK YOU!

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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,