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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
September 18, 2020
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Election-Related Civilize It Advertising Launches in Michigan 
  • Committee Discusses Education Assistance for Prisoners, Those Impacted by COVID
  • Election Webpage Offers Information Resources for Catholic Voters
  • State Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Humiliation to Be Held Next Week
 
  Election-Related Civilize It Advertising Launches in Michigan  
 
As the level of civility and respect for others with differing opinions has diminished with each passing political campaign season, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) has undertaken an advertising effort encouraging Catholics and residents of the state to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion when discussing and debating candidates and politics. To promote the effort, a one-minute television commercial featuring a diverse range of Catholics taking the Civilize It pledge has been produced and began running this week in various television markets across Michigan. In a statement, MCC wrote:

"It has become all-too-normal to hear family, friends, and colleagues speak with fatigue and frustration about elections and how candidates and citizens speak about and to one another. It is our hope with this effort that an element of civility and respect for others will begin to return to our collective political dialogue."

The larger Civilize It campaign highlighted in the ad, which originated in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, encourages Catholics and all people of goodwill to re-orient their political conversations with others. It places an emphasis on listening to those with whom we may disagree, respecting their dignity as human persons, and rising above personal attacks. Individuals are encouraged to visit www.CivilizeItMichigan.com to take the brief pledge for themselves. 

Watch other MCC Civilize It videos available online here:
 
  Committee Discusses Education Assistance for Prisoners, Those Impacted by COVID  
 
MCC supported three measures in the House Education Committee this week regarding scholarship assistance that impacts Michiganders, especially in light of the pandemic:
  • House Resolution 234, sponsored by Representative Rodney Wakeman (R-Saginaw Twp.), would urge the U.S. Congress to repeal the federal ban on Pell grants for prison-based education. Pell grants are federal grants awarded to individuals with financial need that help with college expenses, such as tuition and room and board. Currently, those in prison cannot be eligible for these grants, although they were prior to 1992. As postsecondary education and training have been found to lower rates of recidivism, or individuals committing further crimes upon release, MCC supports this resolution.
     
  • House Bill 6171, sponsored by Representative Scott VanSingel (R-Grant), would allow two extra semesters of eligibility for certain recipients of the Tuition Grant program. These recipients include qualifying undergraduate students enrolled in private colleges and universities for the 2020 spring term and the 2020-2021 academic year. This change would help offer assistance to those impacted by COVID-19 disruptions.
     
  • House Bill 6172, sponsored by Representative Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), would amend eligibility standards for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship program. Currently for a student to be eligible, he or she must demonstrate a financial need, possess a high school diploma or equivalent certification, and achieve at least a 1200 on the SAT. Under the bill, for the 2020-2021 academic year, scholastic achievement could be used as an alternative to the required SAT score. Additionally, those eligible for the 2020-2021 academic year have eleven years to use their scholarship, rather than the usual ten years. This change would help offer assistance to those impacted by COVID-19 disruptions.
The resolution passed out of committee this week unanimously, while HBs 6171-6172 did not receive a vote. MCC will continue to monitor the progress of the resolution and the other two bills.
 
  Election Webpage Offers Information Resources for Catholic Voters  
 
This election, Michigan voters will cast ballots to determine the outcome of numerous local, state, and federal races. Voters will also decide the fate of several issue proposals, including two statewide ballot proposals. At a new webpage launched last week, MCC offers resources to help Catholics develop a well-formed conscience, to take the Civilize It pledge, to learn from the lives of the saints, to prepare their voting choices, and to find information about voting logistics. The webpage divides resources into five easy sections for voters:
  1. Check your voter registration status or register to vote
  2. Study and reflect on Catholic social teaching
  3. Review your ballot and voting choices
  4. Take the time to pray and ask for God's direction
  5. Vote absentee or in-person on Tuesday, November 3
Visit www.micatholic.org/2020Election to view these resources today.
 
  State Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Humiliation to Be Held Next Week  
 
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives approved House Resolution 302 to declare September 24, 2020 as the "Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Humiliation" in the State of Michigan. The resolution was sponsored by Representative John Reilly (R-Oakland Twp.) and enjoyed bipartisan support. Take a few minutes next Thursday to join in commemoration of this statewide observance. 
 
 
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Be sure to visit our website at www.micatholic.org
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