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
July 3, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • MCC Applauds SCOTUS Decision Against Blaine Amendments
  • SCOTUS Ruling Prioritizes Abortion Business Over Women's Safety
  • REMINDER: Share Concerns About Payday Lending with Senators
  • MCC Wishes All A Happy Independence Day
  • Catholic Conference Honored with Three PR Awards
  MCC Applauds SCOTUS Decision Against Blaine Amendments  
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in Espinoza v. Montana, finding unconstitutional that state's policy to prohibit religious schools from equal access to a public education benefit. The full impact of the ruling on the State of Michigan and Article 8 Section 2 of the state constitution - Michigan's "Blaine Amendment" - will require additional review and study. Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) issued a statement following the decision, saying:

"We're pleased with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and believe it is an important step toward bringing an end to 50 years of systemic and state-recognized discrimination and injustice against Michigan's non-public schools, students and families. While the decision will require a full review for its impact in Michigan, it is clear that the Court has handed down a path forward toward educational freedom and opportunity for all."

In 1970 the Michigan Constitution was amended to prohibit state aid to nonpublic schools and is considered among the most prohibitive "Blaine" amendments in the country. Such amendments are named after James G. Blaine, a former U.S. Senator from Maine, who sought a federal constitutional amendment in the late 19th Century to prohibit state aid to Catholic schools. Although Blaine was unsuccessful at the federal level, his legacy endured at the state level as 37 states, including Michigan, prohibit aid to religious schools.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also commented on the ruling, saying that "this is good news, not only for people of faith, but for our country. A strong civil society needs the full participation of religious institutions. By ensuring the rights of faith-based organizations' freedom to serve, the Court is also promoting the common good."
  SCOTUS Ruling Prioritizes Abortion Business Over Women's Safety  
While the decision in Espinoza v. Montana from the U.S. Supreme Court was welcome news, another ruling issued this week tragically disregarded the health and safety of women. In June Medical Services v. Russo, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled to strike down a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decried the decision, while also renewing its commitment to support mothers and children:

"Abortion violently ends the life of a child, and often severely harms women. Abortion becomes even more destructive when basic health and safety standards are ignored, and profit margins are prioritized over women's lives. As Catholics, we condemn abortion as a grave injustice that denies the fundamental human right to life. Yet even as we seek to end the brutality of legalized abortion, we still believe that the women who seek it should not be further harmed and abused by a callous, profit-driven industry. The Court's failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women's health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent. As we grieve this decision and the pregnant women who will be harmed by it, we continue to pray and fight for justice for mothers and children."
  REMINDER: Share Concerns About Payday Lending with Senators  
While state lawmakers remain on a brief recess, please continue sending messages to your state senator in opposition to House Bill 5097, which would expand payday lending in this state. Your efforts are critical in helping to educate lawmakers and to speak out on behalf of those who are financially struggling. If you have not yet reached out to your lawmaker, email him or her now. MCC will continue to keep members updated if a hearing on the legislation is scheduled.
  MCC Wishes All a Happy Independence Day  
Happy Independence Day (on Saturday) from Michigan Catholic Conference! As Americans celebrate this holiday, MCC would like to share this prayer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which calls on the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of this country:

"O GOD OUR CREATOR, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society. We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome- for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us- this great land will always be 'one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
  Catholic Conference Honored with Three PR Awards  
Michigan Catholic Conference is honored to have received from the Central Michigan Public Relations Society of Michigan (CMPRSA) three awards that recognize the organization's efforts to communicate its public policy work. The awards include a first-place Pinnacle Award for an annual legislative report and two second-place Excellence Awards, one for an op/ed column and one for MCC's FOCUS publication. Award winners were announced the evening of June 23, 2020 at an online ceremony. 

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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,