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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
November 20, 2020
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • ACT NOW! Urge Your State Senator to Oppose Payday Lending Expansion
  • The Word from Lansing: Catholics Emboldened to Fight Abuse, Encourage Healing
  • MCC Advocates For Protection Against Water Shutoffs During COVID-19 Pandemic
 
  ACT NOW! Urge Your State Senator to Oppose Payday Lending Expansion  
 
In 2005, Michigan legalized high-interest, short-term loans known more commonly as payday loans. House Bill 5097, a measure currently before the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, would expand these loans from $600 to $2,500 and charge borrowers an exorbitant 132 annual percentage rate. 

Expanding payday lending, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is bad public policy. Research shows that an overwhelming number of borrowers become caught up in a cycle of debt rather than assisted out of their financial hardship.

Proponents of the legislation claim that payday lending is the only solution for some low-income Michiganders who need immediate cash assistance. However, this claim simply is not true. Other options not only exist, but they also charge a much lower-interest rate and do a better job of keeping borrowers out of further financial difficulties (view several of these alternatives here).
 
As a result of the advocacy from Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), other statewide organizations, and concerned citizens like you, House Bill 5097 has remained in the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee without action after passing the House of Representatives in May. However, the bill might be considered when lawmakers return to session after the Thanksgiving break. Your continued advocacy is needed to prevent the Michigan Senate from passing this harmful expansion in our state. Email your State Senator today to urge a no vote.
 
  The Word from Lansing: Catholics Emboldened to Fight Abuse, Encourage Healing  
 
Within the Catholic Church, all are called to care for one another and to protect one another from harm. Sadly, a recent report released by the Vatican about abuse reminds of the need to be vigilant. The report addresses substantiated claims of abuse and misconduct by a former archbishop in the eastern part of the country, Theodore McCarrick. In light of the report's release, MCC has written a new column to share many of the protocols that have been implemented in the Church over the past two decades to protect against and to report incidents of abuse. Most recently, a system has been put in place to improve bishop accountability. The Word from Lansing column for November also provides leaders and lay members with a call to action, as all are needed in the work to create safe environments and to protect children and vulnerable adults.
 
  MCC Advocates for Protection Against Water Shutoffs During COVID-19 Pandemic  
 
Earlier in the year, Michigan's governor issued an executive order to pause residential water shutoffs due to nonpayment. The order recognized that access to clean and affordable water is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Since the executive order is no longer in effect due to a ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court, it is up to the Legislature to explicitly write the provision into state law. Michigan Catholic Conference has sent a letter to each member of the State Senate, urging passage of a temporary measure to assist Michiganders who cannot afford their water bills.

In the letter, MCC writes that "shutoffs not only endanger their lives, but the lives of those with whom they come in contact. This is a statewide matter and over 317,000 households could be impacted by a potential water shutoff." Staff urged members to pass Senate Bill 241, sponsored by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), as quickly as possible when they return to session.

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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