In This Week’s Lansing Update:
The State Senate and House of Representatives wrapped up their work this week as the 95th Michigan Legislature came to a close.
One issue which the Conference supported this week was a bill that will place regulations on the number of passengers allowed in a vehicle operated by a teen driver. MCC, along with Michigan Association for Non-Public Schools, advocated that the Senate maintain an exemption for those individuals who are driving either to school or to a school-sponsored event. The exemption was included in the final legislation, which now awaits consideration from the Governor’s office.
Legislative items that failed to receive consideration at the close of this session included mandated autism insurance coverage, allowing for the creation of a new Detroit-Windsor bridge, and reforming teacher tenure in the state. Pure Michigan, the state’s popular out-of-state tourism campaign, however, did see legislative action as $10 million was appropriated to ensure the campaign continues. MCC did not have a position on these matters.
When the 96th Michigan Legislature convenes next month, with at least 60 new members, no issue will be more critical than alleviating the state’s budget deficit, which currently sits at approximately $1.5 billion.
On Wednesday, December 8, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to debate immigration legislation that would allow for students brought into this country at a young age to apply for citizenship.
Visit the Catholic Legislative Advocacy Network [Link no longer available —Ed.] to send a message to your local congressperson in support of the DREAM Act.
Under the legislation, certain students would be eligible for conditional permanent residency if they meet certain criteria, including: entering the United States before age 16; living in the U.S. for at least five continuous years immediately before the bill becomes effective; graduating from high school or gaining admission into an institute of higher education; having "good moral character" and not committed certain crimes; and being younger than 35 when the bill becomes effective.
Click here to read more from Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez on the importance of the DREAM Act.