Employers would be incentivized to provide paid adoption leave to their employees through a new tax credit proposed under a bill supported by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC).
House Bill 6070 was one of several bills MCC supported that are part of a broader package to improve the foster care and adoption process to help families who are caring for these children. The legislation was developed following recommendations issued by a bipartisan task force on how to improve the child welfare system and the adoption process.
The bills moved unanimously out of the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee earlier this week. Here are the bills MCC supported:
House Bill 6070 would provide that, starting with the 2023 tax year, a qualified taxpayer that voluntarily provides paid adoption leave to its employees may claim a credit against the tax in an amount equal to 50% of the amount of wages paid during the tax year to each qualifying employee during any period the employee is on adoption leave or $4,000 per qualified employee, whichever is less.
House Bill 5978 would provide that the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) must work with entities that perform family finding and engagement services to help foster youth who are separated from their family to connect to family and friends who may assist in the foster youth's care. The bill would also have DHHS make efforts in family finding and engagement services on behalf of all current foster kids. DHHS also would have to incorporate family finding and engagement services in all child abuse and child neglect investigations.
House Bill 5976 would require DHHS to submit to the Legislature an annual report identifying cost savings due to reductions in foster youth in foster care programs compared to the cost when the highest number of foster youth were in the foster care system in the immediate preceding 10 years.
House Bill 5977 would require DHHS to annually conduct a comprehensive needs assessment regarding residential treatment and the needs of youth who are referred to this type of treatment.
House Bill 5801 would create the Foster Care Improvement Commission to provide certain oversight, research, and advisory functions regarding child welfare and protection and children and youth services. The bill also would create the Children's Services Commission Fund.
House Bill 5980 would require DHHS to issue an extended license to a foster family home or foster family group home that has been licensed for at least one year and is in good standing with DHHS. An extended license would be effective for three years.
House Bill 5981 would provide that a qualified residential treatment program is a residential use of property under Michigan zoning law.
House Bill 5975 would require a lawyer-guardian ad litem to participate in trauma-informed training if provided by the State Court Administrative Office.
The June 1 deadline is fast approaching to add your signature to a petition to expand education opportunities for low-income students across the state, so we are encouraging all Catholics to join their bishops in seeking out the petitions and signing them if they haven't already.
Petition sheets associated with the Let MI Kids Learn proposal must be mailed back to the campaign ahead of a June 1 deadline to submit to the state for consideration. More than 340,000 valid signatures are needed to get the proposal before the Legislature for consideration, and it's critical to get many more than the minimum threshold as a cushion against any faulty signatures.
Funding from a national settlement would be directed toward helping people affected by substance use disorders, under a package of bills supported by MCC, approved by the Legislature and now headed to the Governor for her consideration.
Senate Bills 993, 994, and 995 set up a special fund to receive money from a national settlement reached with opioid distributors and an opioid manufacturer. Michigan is a participant and will receive almost $800 million out of the $26 billion total settlement.
The legislation would set up an Opioid Advisory Commission, which would be tasked with reviewing initiatives related to education, prevention, treatment and services for those affected by substance use and their families, so as to recommend to the Legislature how best to use the funds.
The U.S. Senate this week tried and failed to advance an extreme abortion expansion bill, just a few months after a previous vote on the bill also failed.
The so-called Women's Protection Health Act would have imposed abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute and would have eliminated pro-life laws at every level of government. While the bill was defined as codifying the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, it went much further than that.
In a statement issued after the vote this week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said "As a nation built on the recognition that every human being is endowed by its Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we implore Congress to stop pushing abortion as a solution to the needs of women and young girls, and instead embrace public policy that fully respects and facilitates these rights and the needs of both mother and child."
Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters both voted in favor of the bill. We thank anyone who responded to the call last week to contact our Michigan delegation to urge their no vote on this unfortunate legislation.
For our nation, for the integrity of our judicial system, and that all branches of government be dedicated to seeking the common good and protecting the dignity and rights of the human person, from conception to natural death.
For the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the Supreme Court's final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson.
For the conversion of the hearts and minds of those who advocate for abortion.
For a new commitment to building an America where children are welcomed, cherished, and cared for; where mothers and fathers are encouraged and strengthened; and where marriage and the family are recognized and supported as the true foundations of a healthy and flourishing society.
For Our Blessed Mother's intercession and guidance as the Church continues to walk with mothers and families in need, and continues to promote alternatives to abortion, and seeks to create a culture of life.