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
November 12, 2021

  In This Update:  
  • TAKE ACTION NOW To Oppose Abortion Funding In Federal Government Spending
  • Governor Vetoes Student Opportunity Scholarship Bills
  • House Adoption and Foster Care Bipartisan Taskforce Release Report
  • MCC Supports Productivity Credits for Incarcerated Individuals
  • House Passes Legislation to Ensure Accuracy of Background Checks
  • Bipartisan Sexual Abuse Prevention Package Passes House
  • Nation Observes Veterans Day
  • Legislature on Break until November 30
  TAKE ACTION NOW To Oppose Abortion Funding In Federal Government Spending  

Since 1976, members of both political parties have supported the Hyde Amendment and other federal policies that have prevented taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. However, the Hyde Amendment and related pro-life provisions - in unprecedented fashion - have been left out of President Biden's annual budget recommendations and the proposed "Human Infrastructure" or social welfare budget reconciliation bill. If passed, these measures will allow billions in taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions in the U.S. and abroad. TAKE ACTION NOW!

  1. Tell Congress that Americans do NOT want their tax dollars to pay for abortions in the "Human Infrastructure" bill.
  2. Contact Congress and the President to encourage the Hyde Amendment be protected in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
  Governor Vetoes Student Opportunity Scholarship Bills  

As previously reported, the legislature recently passed legislation that would give Michiganders a state income tax credit for donating to organizations that would provide scholarships to students. Late last week, the bills were vetoed by Governor Whitmer. The Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) issued the following statement:

"We are disappointed the Governor vetoed bills to create Education Savings Accounts in our state. This legislation would have helped parents and students in both public and nonpublic schools enhance their opportunities for educational success. Far too often politics is prioritized over education-related policy in order to maintain an antiquated status quo that no longer benefits families or helps students achieve greater academic outcomes. We believe parents are best qualified and best positioned to determine the type of education necessary for their own children.

"In light of the ESA veto, we are hopeful that the Governor will keep an open mind regarding future efforts to enhance education policy in the state. Lawmakers have billions in federal dollars on the table that can help countless children in Michigan who lost an entire year due to the pandemic. We encourage the Legislature and the Governor to determine thoughtfully how this funding can best be used to help families put their children on the road to educational recovery."

A ballot question committee has now been formed to advance the Student Opportunity Scholarship legislation. Let MI Kids Learn (LMKL) will spearhead the effort to collect more than 340,000 valid signatures from registered voters for each of the two vetoed bills. Upon certification of the signatures by the Board of State Canvassers (likely next year), the House and Senate could enact the bills without the signature of the Governor. MCC supports this effort and will continue to provide updates.

  House Adoption and Foster Care Bipartisan Taskforce Release Report  

On Wednesday, the Michigan House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force Report was released during a press conference at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing. Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) initiated the task force and appointed Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) to Chair it in February 2021. Throughout the year, the bipartisan task force met with stakeholders and other experts, including adoption and foster care providers and the state Department of Health and Human Services, to consider ways to improve the child welfare system and the adoption process. Several ideas addressed within the report are the direct result of information provided by Catholic agencies in the state.

Among the recommendations include making "a significant investment in the marketing of adoption agencies, alternative pregnancy and parenting programs, pregnancy resource centers, maternity counseling, and post-adoption services." There was also a recommendation to "increase support for existing maternity homes throughout Michigan," as the report notes those homes "play an essential role in providing homeless, expectant mothers with a stable home environment, financial stability, and an array of services."

Several of the task force's funding recommendations were already included in the state's Fiscal Year 2022 budget and legislation to address policy recommendations is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.

Chair Whiteford also introduced House Resolution 191, to declare November 10, 2021 as Adoption Awareness Day in the state of Michigan. The Resolution recognizes the importance of adoption and notes that "communities across the nation observe National Adoption Month [in November] to raise awareness and encourage citizens to become involved in the lives of these youth as adoptive parents, volunteers, or mentors." For information on adoption and foster care, contact your local Catholic Charities agency: Catholic Charities of MichiganCatholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, or Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula.

  MCC Supports Productivity Credits for Incarcerated Individuals  

This week the House Rules and Competitiveness Committee approved legislation that allows prisoners to earn "productivity credits" that could be applied toward a prisoner's sentence and move up his or her parole eligibility and discharge dates. Productivity credits would be awarded for participation in and completion of educational programs, vocational programs, or other programs recommended or approved by the Department of Corrections as well as for the successful completion of a high school diploma, high school equivalency certificate, or higher education degree. The bill package would also require the prosecuting attorney, if requested by the victim of a crime, to give the victim notice as to whether the defendant may be eligible to earn productivity credits. The credits could only be earned by prisoners sentenced after the bills become law and would not apply to more serious offenders including those sentenced to life without parole or convicted of a listed offense under the Sex Offenders Registration Act. House Bills 4670-4673, sponsored by Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), Bryan Posthumus (R-Greenville), and Julie Calley (R-Portland), are supported by MCC.  The bills will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

  House Passes Legislation to Ensure Accuracy of Background Checks  

According to new rules issued by the Michigan Supreme Court, as of January 1, 2022, courts would be prohibited from releasing personal identifying information on publicly accessible court records, including a person's date of birth. This rule, however, has implications for employers and others who rely upon background checks and will make it very challenging to accurately verify an individual's record. To remedy this situation and ensure accuracy of background checks, Representative Graham Filler (R-DeWitt) sponsored House Bill 5368. The bill would require that records in Michigan courts must not redact a defendant's name or date of birth, unless otherwise required by law. On November 3, 2021, the measure passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 69-34. MCC supports the measure, which now awaits consideration by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

  Bipartisan Sexual Abuse Prevention Package Passes House  

Over the past couple of weeks, the House approved a number of bills to help prevent sexual abuse, mandate the reporting of abuse, and protect the identity of victims. House Bills 4851-4858 and House Bill 4880 were supported by MCC. The measures would add several provisions to the law, including:

  • Prohibiting an individual from intentionally using their professional authority over another person to prevent them from reporting child abuse and sexual assault crimes.
  • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to create comprehensive training materials for individuals required to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Adding physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers to the list of mandatory reporters. 
  • Exempting information from being disclosed via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which would reveal the identity of a party who proceeds anonymously in a civil action when alleging they were a victim of sexual misconduct. 
  • Lengthening the time required for health professionals to keep medical records on invasive procedures and treatments and requiring professional medical boards to provide guidance on proper protocols for such invasive procedures.
  • Enacting 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.

The bills have been referred to either the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, the Senate Families, Seniors, and Veterans Committee, or the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services for further consideration. 

  Nation Observes Veterans Day  

November 11 marked Veterans Day in the United States. In appreciation of those individuals who have served our nation in the armed forces, we share the following prayer offered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Lord God, Almighty Father, creator of mankind and author of peace, as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess, we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces. Give them courage, hope and strength. May they ever experience your firm support, gentle love and compassionate healing. Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light. To you be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever. Amen.

  Legislature on Break until November 30  

The Michigan House and Senate are currently in recess, with the legislative session scheduled to resume November 30, 2021.


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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,