- A Blueprint for the Common Good: MCC Announces Advocacy Principles for 2015–2016
- Governor Introduces State Budget Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2015–2016
- Elder Abuse Bills Pass Senate Judiciary Committee
- Death Penalty Resolution Introduced in Michigan Senate
A Blueprint for the Common Good: MCC Announces Advocacy Principles for 2015–2016
At the beginning of each legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference’s Board of Directors approves the organization’s agenda for the coming two years. Specific legislative policies typically fall into the categories of Human Life and Dignity, Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies, Religious Liberty, Education, Children and Families, Health Care, Restorative Justice, and Immigration. Federal issues are addressed in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Michigan Catholic Conference issued the following statement regarding this session’s principles:
“The work of promoting the dignity of the human person involves policies that address the beginning and the end of life, with equal attention to the years in between. We’ve published A Blueprint for the Common Good to call attention to the Conference’s advocacy on behalf of all human life, including the sick and the destitute, the abandoned and the unborn. In the coming two years, we hope to further advance the common good in Michigan and contribute to sound public policies that foster a morally-sound society where every person is dignified.”
To learn more about these advocacy principles, visit http://www.micatholic.org/advocacy/advocacy-issues/.
Governor Introduces State Budget Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2015–2016
On Wednesday, February 11th, Governor Rick Snyder presented his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2016 (October 2015–September 2016) to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Within the $54 billion proposal, over $30 billion comes from the state and $22.7 billion comes from the federal government. Due to revenue shortfalls recently projected, the governor’s recommendations included more than $200 million in cuts.
MCC is pleased to see funding in the proposed budget at the same level as last year for the Tuition Grant program, which helps low-income individuals attend one of Michigan’s independent colleges and universities, and the Tuition Incentive program, which assists Medicaid recipients to attend public or independent colleges. The programs are funded at $33.5 million and $48.5 million respectively. Funding for dual enrollment, which allows non-public high school students to obtain college credits while still in high school, has also been kept at a consistent level at just over $1 million. Funding for the Real Alternatives program, which assists women in crisis pregnancies choose alternatives to abortion, was not included in the governor’s Fiscal Year 2016 proposed budget. MCC staff will work through the appropriations process to ensure funding is included. Staff will also keep members informed on key issues of concern as the Michigan House and Senate create their own budget proposals for the 2016 Fiscal Year over the next few months.
The Legislature also approved Governor Snyder’s executive order this week providing $102.9 million in cuts for the current Fiscal Year (October 2014–September 2015) to make up for a shortfall in the General Fund. A few of these cuts include $12 million to the film incentive program and $5 million to the Graduate Medical Education program.
Elder Abuse Bills Pass Senate Judiciary Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee considered Senate Bills 49 and 50 this week, sponsored by Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit), to prohibit the assault or abuse of elder and vulnerable adults and to prescribe penalties for those crimes. Michigan Catholic Conference supported the measures, which were approved by the committee and now will await further consideration by the full Senate.
Death Penalty Resolution Introduced in Michigan Senate
Earlier this month, Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) introduced a resolution aimed at reinstating the death penalty in cases where a police or corrections officer were murdered in the line of duty. Since Michigan’s prohibition against the death penalty is a constitutional amendment, the measure would need two thirds support in both the House and the Senate to be put before the people of Michigan for a vote. Michigan Catholic Conference strongly opposes capital punishment and issued the following statement after the Resolution was introduced:
“The death penalty is an antiquated and inhumane method of punishment representing nothing more than retaliation and more violence. It has no place in a civilized society. The prohibition against capital punishment in the 1963 Michigan Constitution is clear: the state has no right to decide who lives and who dies. For a government with the power to kill is a government with too much power. Society is strongly protected from those who commit murder with the life without the chance for parole sentence. Michigan Catholic Conference will devote the full weight of its organization to oppose and defeat any effort to allow for state-sanctioned murder.”
For more information about the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty, click here.
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