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
October 29, 2021

  In This Update:  
  • House and Senate Send Student Opportunity Scholarship Bills to the Governor
  • MCC Opposes Elimination of Gun Free Zones for Schools and Churches
  • MCC Supports Community Solar Energy Legislation
  • MCC Supports School Drinking Water Safety Bills
  • House Passes Vulnerable Child Abuse Prevention Bills
  • Bill to Expand Mandatory Reporters of Suspected Abuse Passes House Judiciary Committee
  • Mark the Calendar: November 18 "Pray for Dobbs" Nationwide Prayer Event
  • Respect Life Resources Available Throughout the Year
  House and Senate Send Student Opportunity Scholarship Bills to the Governor  

Legislation giving Michiganders a state income tax credit for donating to organizations that would in turn provide scholarships to students is on its way to the desk of Governor Whitmer, despite her stated intention to veto the proposal. On party-line votes this week, the legislature approved Senate Bills 687 & 688 and approved House Bills 5404 & 5405. As reported last week, the legislation would provide educational assistance to students at public and nonpublic schools. Urging Governor Whitmer to sign the legislation, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) issued the following statement:


"While this legislation was introduced and acted upon quickly, MCC has now had the opportunity to evaluate the bills and is offering its support. The legislation will provide parents with greater tools to ensure academic success for their children regardless of the educational setting, represents an important and meaningful policy change, and is a step forward toward helping Michigan catch up to dozens of other states - including almost every state in the Midwest - that are much further along in offering school choice options to parents. In the Catholic tradition, parents are the primary educators and have the right to determine which school is best for their children. We commend the leadership of the Michigan Legislature for passing these bills and encourage the Governor to sign them into law, thereby providing parents with an important tool to help toward their children's educational success."

  MCC Opposes Elimination of Gun Free Zones for Schools and Churches  

Under current law, an individual with a concealed weapon license is allowed to "open carry" the weapon in a "gun free zone," which include schools, childcare centers, any property or facility owned by a house of worship, sports arena, bars, hospitals, entertainment facilities, or college dormitories. House Bill 5367, introduced by Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), would allow holders of a concealed weapons permit to carry that weapon concealed into a gun free zone. MCC testified in opposition to the measure this week (as it has with similar legislation going back to 2012) before the House Military, Veterans, and Homeland Security Committee. The proposed change to current law would make it difficult for churches and nonpublic schools (which have the right to ban all weapons in that they are private property) to enforce their prohibition of weapons if the weapon is hidden. It would also imply to the holder of a concealed permit that such a policy does not apply to them.

  MCC Supports Community Solar Energy Legislation  

The House Energy Committee held a hearing this week on House Bills 4715 & 4716, introduced by Representatives Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) and Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton). The legislation would foster "community solar" projects and purchasing programs in which multiple customers, including individuals, businesses, and nonprofits, can benefit from energy generated by solar panels, typically located at an off-site location. The projects would add locally produced energy to Michigan's power grid. In that this proposal connects Catholic Social Teaching regarding Care for Creation with public policy,  MCC supported the legislation which fosters participation of residential, especially low-income, individuals in renewable energy projects, and to encourage competition in energy production.

  MCC Supports School Drinking Water Safety Bills  

The Senate Committee on Environmental Quality reviewed Senate Bills 184 and 185 this week, which were introduced by Senators Curtis VanderWall (R-Ludington) and James Ananich (D-Flint). The proposed "Clean Drinking Water Access Act" would require schools and childcare centers to create drinking water safety plans, install filtered bottler-fillers and water faucets by the end of the 2024-25 school year, and conduct annual sampling and testing. These requirements would only be in effect if the state provides funding for these items for all schools, and for childcare centers located in low-income communities. MCC supports the legislation and appreciates the inclusion of funding for nonpublic schools. 

  House Passes Vulnerable Child Abuse Prevention Bills  

This week, the state House of Representatives passed House Bills 4071 and 4072 with wide bipartisan support. The bills are sponsored by Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Julie Calley (R-Portland) and would create enhanced penalties for childcare or health professionals who abuse vulnerable children under their care. The term "vulnerable child" would be defined as an individual under the age of eighteen with a developmental disability, mental illness, physical disability, or who is nonverbal. MCC supports the measures, which now move to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety for further consideration.

  Bill to Expand Mandatory Reporters of Suspected Abuse Passes House Judiciary Committee  

In Michigan, individuals within certain professions are required by law to report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect that they hear about or see. These "mandatory reporters" include law enforcement officers, members of the clergy, school counselors or teachers, school administrators, physicians, nurses, physician's assistants, dentists, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, social workers, and regulated childcare providers, among others. House Bill 4880, sponsored by Representative Roger Hauck (R-Mount Pleasant), would add physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers to the list of mandatory reporters. MCC supports the change. This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill with strong bipartisan support. It now continues to the House floor.

  Mark the Calendar: November 18 "Pray for Dobbs" Nationwide Prayer Event  

On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This case will address the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban passed into law in Mississippi and may reconsider the legal precedent of Roe v. WadePlease join individuals around the country in praying for the court and a just decision. A virtual, nationwide prayer event has been scheduled for November 18th at 8PM. More information and resources to share with your family, friends, church, schools, and ministries are available at

  Respect Life Resources Available Throughout the Year  

While this Respect Life Month concludes, please remember that prolife resources remain available for parishes and individuals to use throughout the year. Get ideas for prayer and action with these Action Guides for the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Divine Mercy Sunday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. As October now comes to a close, let us again call upon the intercession of St. Joseph, defender of life:


Dearest St. Joseph,
at the word of an angel,
you lovingly took Mary into your home.
As God's humble servant, you guided
the Holy Family on the road to Bethlehem,
welcomed Jesus as your own son
in the shelter of a manger,
and fled far from your homeland
for the safety of both Mother and Child.

We praise God that as their faithful protector,
you never hesitated to sacrifice
for those entrusted to you.
May your example inspire us also
to welcome, cherish, and safeguard
God's most precious gift of life.

Help us to faithfully commit ourselves
to the service and defense of human life
-especially where it is
vulnerable or threatened.
Obtain for us the grace
to do the will of God in all things.


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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,