- Key Budget Priorities Move Forward to Appropriations Committees
- ACTION ALERT! Speak Out for the Protection of Life and Liberty in DC
- Michigan State Police Issues School Safety Grants; Several Catholic Schools Among Winners
- STEM Diploma Recognition Bills Await Action in Michigan Senate
Key Budget Priorities Move Forward to Appropriations Committees
This week, subcommittees in the Michigan House and Senate have continued discussions about funding priorities and have approved their recommendations for the 2015–2016 state budget. After passing the subcommittees, the budget proposals will receive further consideration from the Appropriations Committees in both chambers before they can be voted on in the full House and Senate.
- Real Alternatives
- Although the governor’s budget recommendation did not include funding for this program, which assists women in crisis pregnancies choose alternatives to abortion, the House and Senate Department of Community Health subcommittees have proposed continued financial support.
- Dual Enrollment
- $1 million has been included in the House and Senate General Government budget proposals for non-public school students to obtain college credits while still in high school. The governor’s recommendations included the same amount.
- Tuition Grant Program
- $33.5 million to help low-income individuals attend one of Michigan’s independent colleges and universities has been provided in the Senate Higher Education budget proposal, similar to the governor’s. The House Higher Education proposal includes 1 percent increased funding for the program, bringing the total up to $33.8 million.
- Tuition Incentive Program
- $48.5 million has been included in the House and Senate Higher Education budget proposals to assist Medicaid recipients to attend public or independent colleges. The governor’s recommendations included the same amount.
- Non-Public School Mandates
- $5 million has been included in the House School Aid budget to compensate non-public schools for state mandated health, safety, and welfare regulations. This funding has not been included in the Senate School Aid proposal, so more advocacy will be needed to ensure this important funding is preserved in the final version of the budget.
- Per Diem Rates for Private Foster Care Agencies
- Funding has been included to retain the per diem administrative rate for private foster care agencies, like Catholic Charities, at $40 in both the House and Senate Department of Human Services budget proposals. The governor’s proposal dropped the temporary rate increase, returning it to the $37 rate.
- Human Trafficking Intervention Services
- $200,000 has been included for human trafficking intervention services in the Department of Community Health budget proposals from the House, Senate, and governor.
The Michigan Legislature will now take a two week Spring Break recess before returning to Lansing the week of April 13 to restart budget and policy debates.
ACTION ALERT! Speak Out for the Protection of Life and Liberty in DC
The District of Columbia City Council recently passed two measures that threaten the right of religious institutions and pro-life organizations to live out their faith and moral beliefs, especially related to items of “reproductive health.” As the U.S. Constitution gives Congress ultimate control over the laws of DC, these acts, the “Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act” (RHNDA) and the “Human Rights Amendment Act” (HRAA) can be overturned by federal lawmakers within 30 days of their approval by the DC City Council and mayor.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked for Catholics to contact federal lawmakers and urge their support for life and liberty by adopting resolutions that overturn the bills mentioned above. Click here to learn more and to contact your federal lawmakers today.
Michigan State Police Issues School Safety Grants; Several Catholic Schools Among Winners
Last year, Michigan Catholic Conference staff supported the inclusion of one-time grant money in the Department of State Police budget to help schools implement safety improvements. This week, the recipients of those funds were announced, including fifty-six public school districts, fifteen non-public schools, eleven charter schools, and five sheriff’s departments. Several Catholic schools made the list of winners, including: All Saints Academy (Grand Rapids), Holy Spirit Catholic School (Norway), St. Joseph Catholic School (Howell), and West Catholic High School/Grand Rapids Catholic (Grand Rapids). To learn more and see a full list of winners, click here.
STEM Diploma Recognition Bills Await Action in Michigan Senate
The Senate Education Committee this week passed Senate Bills 169 and 170, sponsored by Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph). These measures allow individuals to receive a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) recognition on their diplomas if they meet certain eligibility requirements. The recognition would be awarded by the Department of Education and would be awarded to eligible students from public, non-public, and home schools. Michigan Catholic Conference supported the bills, which now await further consideration from the full Senate.
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