Advocacy

News Releases

Raise the Age Legislation Seeks a ‘Smart’ Approach to Juvenile Crime

Michigan would join 41 other states in the country that no longer automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults for a crime committed, according to legislation before the House Criminal Justice Committee supported by Michigan Catholic Conference. The multi-bill package, which would also prohibit juveniles from being housed with adult prisoners, is supported by both Republicans and Democrats and pursues a “smart on crime” approach to criminal justice. This legislation takes into account U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama, which recognize academic and scientific research showing the differences in cognitive development between juveniles and adults. The legislation also seeks to provide greater rehabilitation services to youth who have committed crimes. “Where possible, efforts should be made to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and present an opportunity for youth to positively contribute to their communities upon release,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson. Read more…

Catholic Church in Michigan Stands Ready to Assist Refugees

This past weekend following the terrorist attacks overseas Governor Rick Snyder issued a directive suspending Michigan’s effort to accept new refugees to the state. Gov. Snyder highlighted his priority to “protect the safety of our residents” and that state leaders will be in dialogue with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding security and future resettlement efforts. Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul A. Long responded today to the Governor’s direction by articulating the Church's readiness to continue assisting refugees and the most vulnerable once resettlement continues. Read more…

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Non-Profit Arguments Against HHS Mandate

This afternoon the United States Supreme Court announced it has agreed to hear arguments from non-profit religious organizations opposed to the mandated requirements of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to include morally objectionable services — including abortifacients and contraceptives — in their employee health benefit plan. As a separate litigant against the federal government on this matter, Michigan Catholic Conference offered the following response to today’s news from the Supreme Court: “We are very pleased that the nation’s highest court will hear from non-profit organizations as to how their First Amendment rights are being violated by this burdensome mandate. Michigan Catholic Conference looks forward to the day this matter is resolved in a manner that fully protects the rights of faith-based institutions to operate according to their conscience.” Read more…

Advocacy News

The Word from Lansing Column: Public Transportation and Communities in Need

Between October 2014 and September 2015, the Michigan Department of Transportation offered almost 89 million public transit rides, including 4.3 million rides for elderly passengers and 8.4 million rides for passengers with disabilities. In each county across Michigan, offering alternative transportation options helps keep individuals connected to the community and the services they need, especially those who are most vulnerable. Research has shown that without adequate transportation access, low-income patients and those with disabilities are more likely to have difficulty accessing health care. This month’s The Word from Lansing column for Catholic newspapers highlights the importance of public transportation and its ability to connect individuals to health care and employment, among other aspects. The column also mentions the economic benefits public transit can have for households. According to the American Public Transit Association, households who regularly use public transportation can save more than $8,000/year on average. Michigan Catholic Conference covered this topic in more depth in its July FOCUS called Transportation, Community, and the Common Good. Read more…

Fortnight for Freedom Draws Attention to Witnesses of Faith

Religious freedom has been a cornerstone value throughout America’s history. Pope Francis recognized in his 2015 visit to the United States that “freedom remains one of America’s most prized possessions” and must be preserved and defended “from everything that would threaten or compromise it.” Over the last several years, dioceses around the United States have highlighted the importance of defending religious freedom through a two-week period of special events called the Fortnight for Freedom. This year, the Fortnight begins with Mass in Baltimore on June 21—the vigil of the feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—and ends with a closing Mass in DC on July 4. These events will be televised nationwide on EWTN and the CatholicTV Network. The theme of this year’s event is “Witnesses to Freedom,” which highlights men and women of faith who have lived out their faith in the public realm, including the Little Sisters of the Poor. Read more…

New FOCUS Highlights Importance of Transportation

Individuals across the state rely on transportation daily to find opportunities and services, as well as to stay connected with others. Unfortunately, a lack of transit access can have a detrimental impact on one’s ability to access these goods, including employment, health care services, healthy food, and education, which are essential to the dignity of the human person. Low-income residents, the elderly, and the disabled can especially struggle without a variety of quality transportation options available to them. As a result, community discussions about the needs of residents benefit from input about public transportation infrastructure and route decisions, including input from those on the margins of society. Michigan Catholic Conference’s latest informational publication, FOCUS, explores the importance of vibrant transit systems, with emphasis on its impact for marginalized populations, the environment, and community growth. Read more…

Lansing Update

Lansing Update, June 24, 2016

ACTION NEEDED: Urge Governor Snyder to Support Health and Safety Mandate Funding; Bill Terminating Parental Rights Becomes Law; USCCB: Federal Agency Fails to Protect Churches from California Elective Abortion Mandate; USCCB Migration Chair Says Supreme Court Immigration Decision “Highly Disappointing”; Governor Snyder Approves Sibling Foster Care Placement Measures; The Word from Lansing Column: Public Transportation and Communities in Need. Read more…

Lansing Update, June 10, 2016

Coercive Abortion Prevention Act Signed Into Law; Legislature Passes Final Versions of the 2016–2017 State Budget; Cell Phone Measures for Victims of Domestic Abuse Continue to Governor; Michigan Senate Passes Restorative Justice Package; Vulnerable Adult Abuse Legislation Moves With Wide Support; Senate Approves Compensation Bill for Wrongful Imprisonment. Read more…

Lansing Update, June 3, 2016

Conference Committees Pass MCC-Priority Education & Safety Proposals; New Report Highlights Non-Public Schools in Michigan; House Approves Domestic Violence Cell Phone Bills With Wide Bipartisan Support; Bills Require Reasonable Efforts to Keep Siblings Together in Foster Placements. Read more…