Lansing Update: April 23, 2010

In this week’s Lansing Update:

  1. Senate Passes Human Embryo Research Transparency Bills
  2. House Judiciary Committee Schedules Statute of Limitations Hearing for Next Week

Senate Passes Human Embryo Research Transparency Bills

Michigan Catholic Conference this week praised the State Senate for passing legislation that would create a statutory framework for the human embryo research constitutional amendment, Proposal 2 [Link no longer available —Ed.], passed by voters in November 2008.

Senate Bills 647-652, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, are a major policy issue for the Conference this legislative session as the bills would ensure those who conduct human embryo research in the state, either at public institutions or private companies, are doing so in a legal and transparent manner.

“While human embryo experimentation represents a direct attack on human life itself, the fact that voters approved Proposal 2 in 2008 should not prevent the Legislature from passing common sense provisions that penalize those who operate outside of the law,” said MCC Vice President for Public Policy Paul Long in a statement released after the Senate passed the bills.

In order to uphold the integrity of the state’s ban on human cloning, the legislation would also ban the trafficking of cloned human embryos into Michigan. Additionally, the bills would outlaw the gruesome practice of creating human-animal hybrid embryos—known as chimeras; ensure informed consent is obtained from those receiving services at IVF clinics; and require human embryo researchers to file a one-page annual report with the Department of Community Health stating how many embryos have been destroyed or are located at the research institution or company.

Senate bills 647-652 have been referred to the House Health Policy Committee [Link no longer available —Ed.]. This committee has a pro-life majority, so it will be important that the bills receive a fair hearing and a vote. Just as the people opposed Proposal 2, they also elected a pro-life majority in both the State Senate and the House of Representatives, and expect that Michigan's laws will be fair and transparent in the area of human embryo research.

House Judiciary Committee Schedules Statute of Limitations Hearing for Next Week

The House Judiciary Committee [Link no longer available —Ed.] has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, April 28 at 10:30 am in Lansing to address House Bill 5699, which would amend the state’s statute of limitations on criminal sexual abuse. The statute of limitations is a part of the law that imposes a time limit on the filing of a legal claim.

The legislation is sponsored by State Representative Deb Kennedy (D-Brownstown Twp.), and would open a two-year “look back” window for allegations of criminal sexual abuse to be brought forth for civil litigation, regardless of how far back the abuse may have taken place. If signed into law, the bill would pose tremendous financial difficulties for churches, hospitals, mosques, synagogues, or any institution where adults and children are present. The legislation is discriminatory in nature in that it does not address public schools and government institutions.

More information, including how Michigan’s seven dioceses are protecting children from abuse, is located on the Conference’s homepage at