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 24, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • Merry Christmas from Michigan Catholic Conference
  • THANK YOU! Your Advocacy Helped Block Payday Lending Expansion
  • Michigan Strengthens Water Protections for Citizens
  • MCC Applauds Global Child Thrive Act Passage, but Uncertainty Remains After Presidential Veto
  • DNR Orders for Medically Frail Minors One Step Away From Becoming Law
  Merry Christmas from Michigan Catholic Conference  
From the Catholic bishops in Michigan, staff, and the Board of Directors at Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), may the gift of faith, blessing of hope and peace of His love be yours this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

For those that have a nativity scene in their home, here is a helpful blessing from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

"God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love: when our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary. To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love. Lord, bless all who look upon this manger; may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus, and raise our thoughts to him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen (Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers).


NOTE: Although the 2019-2020 legislative session is finished, MCC will continue to update members about final bills of concern and advocacy achievements, especially as the governor considers the measures that have been sent to her desk (and hopefully signs several into law). Stay tuned.
  THANK YOU! Your Advocacy Helped Block Payday Lending Expansion  
With the 2019-2020 session finished this week, MCC is happy to announce that a measure to expand payday lending opportunities in Michigan, House Bill 5097, has been defeated. THANK YOU for raising your voices. In addition to the thousands of grassroots voices that used the Catholic Advocacy Network to oppose HB 5097, MCC is also grateful to the dozens of senators of both parties who helped ensure that the legislation did not receive a vote in the committee. The defeat is also the result of effective testimony and collaboration from other concerned organizations, such as the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Habitat for Humanity, Lake Trust Credit Union, The Michigan Credit Union League, and United Ways around the state. As a new legislative session begins in 2021, MCC will remain ready to oppose similar bills that are introduced to expand payday lending or that will cause harm to individuals struggling with financial hardship. However, for now, MCC celebrates this achievement and your advocacy that helped us get here! 
  Michigan Strengthens Water Protections for Citizens  
This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Senate Bill 241, sponsored by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). Newly enacted Public Act 252 of 2020 creates the Water Shutoff Restoration Act to prohibit a public water supplier from turning off service to an occupied residence for nonpayment until March 31, 2021. MCC supported this bill through the legislative process and expressed its appreciation as the bill offers protections for vulnerable residents and ensures all people have access to a basic necessity of life during the pandemic:

"We're grateful to Senator Chang for marshalling this bill through the legislature, for encouraging support from a wide range of organizations, and for her ongoing concern for poor and vulnerable communities. The new Act will ensure that no Michigan resident, particularly those who are low-income or facing imminent financial hardship, will lose the ability to wash, drink, or cook for their family during the ongoing pandemic. Access to clean and affordable water is a basic necessity of life, especially during COVID when handwashing is so critical to maintain a healthy and safe home environment."
  MCC Applauds Global Child Thrive Act Passage, but Uncertainty Remains After Presidential Veto  
Back in August, MCC asked members of the Catholic Advocacy Network to email their U.S. Senators in support of the Global Child Thrive Act (S. 2517/HR 4864), which would assist millions of children around the world who have suffered from war, violence, and malnutrition. Michigan Catholic Conference staff actively advocated for the measure over the last two years, including through multiple in-person visits and other meetings with Michigan's Congressional Delegation and their staff.

More specifically, the Global Child Thrive Act would require Early Childhood Development activities to be incorporated into U.S. government-funded international programs for children. These activities include creating opportunities for children to play and explore, as well as providing the nurturing care to feel safe and loved. The analysis of the legislation lists its goals: to "(1) prevent unnecessary family-child separation, (2) assist families with children with disabilities, and (3) help countries transition from childcare protection systems that rely on residential care to ones focused on family-based care." This month, the measure's language was incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act which passed the U.S. House and Senate. Unfortunately, the president vetoed the bill this week. It remains to be seen if lawmakers will override the veto.

Graphic by Catholic Relief Services.
  DNR Orders for Medically Frail Minors One Step Away From Becoming Law  
Last week, the Michigan Senate widely approved House Bills 5417-5419, which would allow a parent to execute a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order on behalf of his or her medically frail (minor) child. The bills, which are sponsored by Representatives Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), would:
  • Allow a DNR for a child under 18 who is diagnosed by a physician with an advanced illness that is not reversible and that is anticipated to progress towards death despite attempts at curative therapists.
  • Require the DNR order to be signed by the parent(s), the minor's physician, and two adult witnesses.
  • Provide rules for school districts about receiving, filing, and training teachers and employees to follow a minor's DNR orders. 
Now the package will continue to the governor for final consideration. MCC supported the legislation, after diligently working with the sponsors and the National Catholic Bioethics Center to ensure the language respected the dignity of the human person, protected children, and prevented abuse. 

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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,