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 12, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • Grassroots Advocacy Exposes Concerns with Payday Lending Bill
  • Sexual Abuse Prevention Measures Passed by Senate Committee
  • Legislation to Temporarily Institute Water Shutoff Pause Clears Senate 
  • Next Stop for Jail Reform Package: The Governor's Desk
  Grassroots Advocacy Exposes Concerns with Payday Lending Bill  
As Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) shared earlier in the week, the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee was set to consider House Bill 5097 on Tuesday, a measure to expand payday lending in Michigan. More specifically, House Bill 5097 would increase the maximum amount that can be borrowed from $600 to $2,500, resulting in an exorbitant annual interest rate that exceeds 130 percent on a maximum loan. MCC has frequently commented on the harm this bill would cause to individuals and families struggling with financial hardship.

Thanks to YOUR ADVOCACY, the bill was pulled from the committee agenda this week. That is a good sign, as it likely indicates that there was not enough support among lawmakers at that time to move the bill forward. With one week or so left in the session, keep up the good work to ensure that the measure is dead for the 2019-2020 session. YOUR VOICE IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE- EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY.
  Sexual Abuse Prevention Measures Passed by Senate Committee  
On Tuesday, December 8, members of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted in favor of a package of bills to address abuse. MCC supported thirteen bipartisan measures in the committee, which will help to prevent abuse, to increase awareness, and to hold abusers accountable, if passed. Among other aspects, the package of bills would:
  • Require public schools to provide information to students regarding sexual assault and harassment and to encourage related professional development for staff (SB 216).
  • Lengthen the time required for health professionals to keep medical records on procedures or treatments that involve rectal or vaginal penetration, with certain exceptions, require the creation of a pamphlet on proper protocols for such procedures, and implement new protocols (SBs 217-218 and HBs 4370-4371).
  • Enact sanctions for the crime of sexual penetration under the guise of medical treatment, including disciplinary action and a potential revocation of one's medical license (SBs 219-220 and HBs 4372-4373).
  • Prohibit the use of a position of authority to prevent the reporting of certain crimes (HB 4374), including reporting to a university Title IX coordinator (HB 4383).
  • Add additional occupations to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, including physical therapists and athletic trainers, and offer greater training and educational materials to all mandatory reporters (HBs 4376-4377).
The bills are sponsored by Senators Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Lana Theis (R-Brighton), Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.), and Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Representatives Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.), Roger Hauck (R-Mt. Pleasant), Annette Glenn (R-Midland), Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), Julie Alexander (R-Hanover), Sara Cambensey (D-Marquette), Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), and Kristy Pagan (D-Canton Twp.). Now all of the legislation continues to the full Senate. MCC is hopeful they will receive final passage before the end of legislative session.

For more information about the ongoing work within the Catholic Church to prevent abuse, to encourage accountability, and to promote healing, read MCC's latest column at
  Legislation to Temporarily Institute Water Shutoff Pause Clears Senate  
When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order to pause residential water shutoffs due to nonpayment, restore water service to occupied residences, and require public water suppliers to provide reports on the status of water service in their area. The order recognized that access to clean and affordable water is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19. More recently, however, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the governor's use of the Emergency Management Act of 1976 and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 beyond the initial phase of the pandemic, so the order is no longer in effect today.

The Michigan Legislature is currently considering writing temporary water shutoff protections into state law through Senate Bill 241. The measure, sponsored by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), is supported by MCC. Over 317,000 Michigan households could be impacted by a potential water shutoff if this legislation is not approved. This week, the Michigan Senate passed the legislation by a 30-8 vote, and it will continue to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
  Next Stop for Jail Reform Package: The Governor's Desk  
House Bills 5844, 5846-5847, and 5850-5857 which passed the Michigan House in September, would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for various misdemeanor offenses in the Motor Vehicle Code, School Code, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Railroad Code and Public Health Code. In the cases of several drunk or drugged driving offenses, the legislation would prohibit a judge from waiving the minimum sentence unless the offender completes a specialty court program. That component encourages rehabilitation and is supported by MCC. This week, the Michigan Senate also approved the legislative package, which is sponsored by Representatives Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe), Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), Luke Meerman (R-Polton Twp.), Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Tenisha Yancey (D-Detroit), Lori Stone (D-Warren), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming), Steven Johnson (R-Wayland), Jack O'Malley (R-Lake Ann). The measures will now continue to the governor for her final approval.

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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,