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
December 4, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • MCC Urges Opposition to Predatory Lending Expansion
  • November Recognized as Adoption Awareness Month in Michigan
  • Bill to Aid Providers of Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Sent to House 
  • Legislation Clarifying Food Assistance Stalls in House Committee
  • Jail Reform Package Pushes Forward With Wide Support
  MCC Urges Opposition to Predatory Lending Expansion  
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) testified this week before the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, sharing that expanding the payday lending industry in Michigan would take advantage of vulnerable and suffering people in order for payday lenders to benefit financially. House Bill 5097 would increase the maximum amount that can be borrowed from $600 to $2,500, resulting in an annual interest rate on a maximum loan that exceeds 130 percent. After the hearing, MCC commented:

"People in the state may be unaware that charity agencies and low-income lending opportunities exist to assist those who are in dire circumstances and need quick access to cash. High-interest loans that add greater financial burden to poor people should be opposed, as they contribute to an economy of exclusion rather than serving the dignity of the human person.  The legislation before committee today is a form of modern-day usury; it would exploit individuals and families facing hardship and poses a danger to the common good."  

House Bill 5097, sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo), passed the House of Representatives back in May. Thankfully, the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee did not vote on the measure this week. MCC staff continues to advocate against the bill's passage and appreciates the emails sent by Catholic Advocacy Network members to urge opposition in the Michigan Senate. 

YOUR CONTINUED ACTION IS NEEDED to prevent the measure from becoming law. Email your State Senator TODAY.
  November Recognized as Adoption Awareness Month in Michigan  
The Michigan House adopted House Resolution 326 of 2020 this week to declare November as Adoption Awareness Month in this state. The resolution states it is "important to recognize the choice of adoption for women as a loving option when faced with unplanned pregnancies." 

MCC encourages Catholic Advocacy Network members to carefully consider in what ways they might be called to support children in need, adoptive families, or organizations that facilitate adoptions, including Catholic agencies. Staff would like to thank Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and the resolution's bipartisan cosponsors for drawing attention to this important issue.
  Bill to Aid Providers of Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Sent to House  
The House Ways and Means Committee considered a measure to require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to establish a fee-for-service payment for services related to alcohol use disorder. The measure also would allow non-physician care providers to treat the disorder and receive Medicaid reimbursements. House Bill 5408, sponsored by Representative Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), passed unanimously in committee this week with MCC support. The legislation, which helps Catholic agency providers to assist struggling Michiganders with the care they need, will continue to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.
  Legislation Clarifying Food Assistance Stalls in House Committee  
MCC has been supportive throughout the legislative process of Senate Bill 1006, a measure to revoke Michigan's existing law that prevents individuals with multiple drug felonies from participating in federal food assistance. SB 1006 also clarifies that individuals with drug convictions would be allowed to receive food assistance only, not cash assistance. MCC supported the bill, sponsored by Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint), because it eliminates unnecessary barriers for those who have served their time and are working to rebuild their lives. The measure was considered this week in the House Families Committee and, unfortunately, received a 4-4 split vote. Unless the vote is reconsidered, the bill will not become law this session.
  Jail Reform Package Pushes Forward With Wide Support  
This week, the Senate voted to move several jail reform bills forward to the House of Representatives with nearly unanimous support. Senate Bills 700, 893, 894, and 1046-1051 would, among other aspects:
  • Limit how long juveniles could be detained for offenses or actions that are only crimes for juveniles.
  • Incentivize sentences that include community corrections solutions and seek to reduce the amount of people who receive jail time for probation and court order violations.
The bills are sponsored by Senators Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), Roger Victory (R-Georgetown Twp.), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Twp.), and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan). MCC has advocated for these measures throughout the legislative process and will continue to do so as they are sent next to the House.

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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,