Lansing Update: March 4, 2011

In This Week’s Lansing Update:

  1. Legislation Banning Partial Birth Abortion Moves to Full Senate
  2. Polling Indicates High Public Support for Preserving EITC

Legislation Banning Partial Birth Abortion Moves to Full Senate

Michigan took a step toward banning the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion this week as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3–1 to support Senate Bill 160 and send the measure along to the full Senate.

Sponsored by Senator Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive), the legislation would place in state law language that mirrors the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed in 2003. That legislation was later found constitutional by the United State Supreme Court in 2007. Supporters of Senate Bill 160, including Michigan Catholic Conference, have argued that a state ban is necessary so the Office of Attorney General and county prosecutors do not have to rely on federal law enforcement to take action against those who violate the law.

Over the past fifteen years the Michigan Legislature has passed on four occasions legislation that would ban partial-birth abortion. But successful court challenges by pro-abortion groups rendered the measures unenforceable. In 2008 former governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed a bill that mirrored the constitutionally-sound federal ban. Governor Rick Snyder has stated he is pro-life, and with an overwhelming bipartisan pro-life majority in the Legislature, there appears to be greater opportunity to enact a partial-birth abortion ban in Michigan this session.

Click here for a press release from the Conference supporting SB 160, which also includes a timeline of partial-birth abortion ban legislation in Michigan. An interview between MCC President/CEO Paul Long and Michael Patrick Shiels, host of Michigan Talk Network’s “The Big Show” can be heard here [Link no longer available —Ed.].

Polling Indicates High Public Support for Preserving EITC

In the last two weeks public surveys from polling firm EPIC/MRA have indicated a sizeable majority of Michigan residents support protecting the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit. One poll [Link no longer available —Ed.] indicated 76 percent support while a differently worded question elicited 58 percent [Link no longer available —Ed.] support. More residents support preserving the state EITC than those who oppose the governor’s plan to begin taxing public and private pensions (53%).

Michigan Catholic Conference has made protecting the state EITC a top priority this legislative session and has begun an intense public relations and lobbying campaign in support of preserving the tax credit for the working poor. The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit is a welfare-to-work policy that helps to lift more children out of poverty than any other policy. The credit was enacted in 2006 and has since faced legislative challenges due to the credit’s cost to the state budget, which currently is facing a $1.4 billion deficit.

House Republicans earlier this year specifically called for the elimination of the tax credit and on February 17, at his executive budget presentation, Governor Rick Snyder also called for the credit’s elimination. Despite legislative efforts to eliminate the credit, the Conference is working diligently in concert with other organizations such as Michigan League for Human Services, AARP and Michigan United Ways to protect the policy.