Name
Michigan Catholic Conference
Phone
(800) 395-5565
Fax
(517) 372-3940
Address
510 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

April 24, 2015

  1. ACTION ALERT! Encourage Your Senator to Support Faith-Based Adoption Bills
  2. Budget Proposals Now Move to Full House and Senate
  3. Faith Leaders Stand Up for Marriage, Religious Freedom Prior to Supreme Court Marriage Case
  4. New FOCUS Publication Explains Proposal 1 — May 5th Road Funding Proposal

ACTION ALERT! Encourage Your Senator to Support Faith-Based Adoption Bills

On Wednesday, April 22, the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee approved legislation that would protect a diverse range of child placement agencies in Michigan by recognizing the faith-based mission of adoption and foster care providers. Michigan Catholic Conference testified in favor of the legislation before the committee, along with the agency directors from Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties and St. Vincent Catholic Charities and two adoptive families. MCC released the following statement after the hearing:

“This is practical legislation that will ensure a diverse range of child placement agencies continue to operate in collaboration with the State on behalf of vulnerable and neglected children. While a greater number of placements are needed now more than ever, it makes for good public policy to protect the faith-based agencies’ successful relationship with the State in order to ensure more rather than fewer options are available to families.”

HBs 4188–4190 now await further consideration from the full Senate, which MCC expects in the coming weeks. Take a few minutes now to let your senator know this legislation is important for Michigan.

Budget Proposals Now Move to Full House and Senate

This week, the Michigan House and Senate Appropriations Committees each approved their respective state budget proposals. Now, each proposal will be considered by the full House and Senate. Here is where funding for some of MCC’s priority programs stands:

Dual Enrollment
$1 million has been included in both the House and Senate 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 Incentive Program
$48.5 million has been included in the House and Senate budget proposals to assist Medicaid recipients to attend public or independent colleges. 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 proposal, similar to the governor’s. The House budget proposal includes 1 percent increased funding for the program, bringing the total up to $33.8 million.
Real Alternatives
The House and Senate have retained funding in both of their budget proposals to help women with unexpected pregnancies choose alternatives to abortion.
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 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 budget proposals from the House, Senate, and governor.

The House Appropriations Committee did not retain the $5 million to compensate non-public schools for health and safety regulations imposed by the state. This new budget item had been approved previously in the House Appropriations School Aid subcommittee under the leadership of Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township). MCC is very pleased with Representative Kelly’s efforts to champion this fairness measure to ensure the health and safety of all students, regardless of where they go to school. While MCC was disappointed to see this line item stripped out of the K–12 budget proposal of the larger education budget bill (HB 4115), discussions continue on this important policy item both in the House and Senate for this current budget. MCC will continue to advocate on this issue and will be sure to keep members updated on any developments.

MCC also wishes to thank those members who contacted their representative on this issue. Your contacts have made an impact, as this policy item represents the most significant budget discussion on funding to non-public schools since the 1960s.

Faith Leaders Stand Up for Marriage, Religious Freedom Prior to Supreme Court Marriage Case

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments addressing state policies that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, including Michigan’s 2004 Marriage Amendment case. As marriage is the foundation for a just society and is the only institution that unites children with their mother and father, this is a critical decision for the court.

This week, in advance of the oral arguments in the case, over thirty faith leaders have issued an open letter affirming marriage and religious liberty. The letter, “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” highlights marriage as “integral to a healthy and free society” because it brings children together with their mother and father. Additionally, the letter calls for civility and mutual respect during the discussion to ensure that people of faith will be able express their beliefs and convictions about marriage without fear of intimidation or marginalization. Several Catholic leaders signed onto the letter, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

New FOCUS Publication Explains Proposal 1 — May 5th Road Funding Proposal

On Tuesday, May 5, Michigan voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in a special statewide election and weigh in on a measure regarding funding for Michigan’s roads and transportation infrastructure. MCC does not have a position on Proposal 1 but instead seeks, through its May FOCUS, to present Catholics with a background on the measure, arguments from supporters and opponents, and the official language that will appear on the ballot for informational purposes.

If you haven't done so already, please join the Catholic Advocacy Network to receive regular public policy updates—including Lansing Update—via email. For other news and information, follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, or visit MCC’s webpage.

Name
Michigan Catholic Conference
Phone
(800) 395-5565
Fax
(517) 372-3940
Email
Address
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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