- Third Commercial From Michigan Celebrates Marriage Now Available Online
- Road Funding Discussions Continue; House Republican Plan Announced
- Revenue Estimating Conference Shows Increased Revenues for State
- Bill to Stop Expansion of Nude Bars in Michigan Passes Senate Committee
- E-Cigarette Legislation Approved by Senate Committee
- USCCB Report on Immigrant Detention Calls for Reform
- U.S. House Passes Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Third Commercial From Michigan Celebrates Marriage Now Available Online
As Michigan Catholic Conference and the Catholic dioceses across the state continue to celebrate the Year for Marriage, video spots have highlighted marriage as a unique relationship between a man and a woman. The latest video, Marriage Gives Strength to Handle Life’s Changes, focuses on the ability of marriage to bring couples closer together and provide mutual support during all obstacles. To see the two previous videos, visit Michigan Celebrates Marriage’s YouTube page.
Road Funding Discussions Continue; House Republican Plan Announced
Last week, voters rejected by an 80%-20% margin a measure to address road and transportation funding in Michigan. Members of both political parties in the House and Senate have indicated the importance of finding a solution for the required funds. The State Senate has scheduled tentative session dates throughout the summer to address this issue. Meanwhile, the Michigan House Republicans unveiled their plan to raise $1 billion for roads, while other proposals are still forthcoming. Some elements of this plan include:
- Raising the diesel tax from 15 to 19 cents to match the gasoline tax,
- Levying a user fee on hybrid, electric, and other alternative-fuel vehicles,
- Eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families,
- Shifting funds from economic development to transportation, including funding from tobacco settlement revenue, tribal gaming compacts, and the film incentive.
As various other road funding plans are proposed over the next few months, Michigan Catholic Conference will keep Catholic Advocacy Network members advised of any further developments, including any position the Conference may take on components of the plans.
Revenue Estimating Conference Shows Increased Revenues for State
The House Fiscal Agency, Senate Fiscal Agency, and the Michigan Department of Treasury met this morning to determine the status of the State of Michigan’s revenue. Estimates show that overall there is more revenue than expected for the 2015-2016 year. According to their findings, there is approximately $223.5 million more in the General Fund than what was projected at the January conference, though estimates for the School Aid Fund have gone down by $5.9 million. Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to monitor the impact the adjusted revenues will have on the budget process and policies of interest.
Bill to Stop Expansion of Nude Bars in Michigan Passes Senate Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Tuesday, May 12 that prohibits full nudity in an establishment that sells alcohol. Senate Bill 302, sponsored by Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), addresses the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Michigan’s liquor rules banning full nudity are unconstitutional as written, while reinstating long-standing policy. Michigan Catholic Conference supports the bill, which awaits action from the full Senate.
E-Cigarette Legislation Approved by Senate Committee
The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee voted in favor of a measure this week to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Senate Bill 231, sponsored by Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), mirrors legislation from the 2013-2014 session that regulates e-cigarettes as vapor products, rather than as tobacco products, like regular cigarettes. Michigan Catholic Conference joined with a number of medical groups to send a letter in opposition to the bill, noting that while the sale of e-cigarettes to children should be prohibited, this bill does not go far enough to regulate the product and protect children. The bill will now await action from the full Senate.
USCCB Report on Immigrant Detention Calls for Reform
On Monday, May 11, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Migration Studies released a report on the U.S. immigrant detention system. The report examines flaws in the U.S. immigrant detention system and offers recommendations for reform. The report highlights the need for due process protection, minimized detention, and respect for human dignity. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, chair of the Center for Migration Studies, spoke about the importance of reforms:
“There are ways to create a humane system and also ensure that immigrants are complying with the law. But we have created a detention industry in this country which preys upon the vulnerability of our fellow human beings, the vast majority of whom are not criminals.”
The report was mentioned in a New York Times editorial this morning, which also highlighted the need for changes to the immigrant detention system.
U.S. House Passes Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Earlier this week, U.S. lawmakers voted in favor of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Medical research has shown that unborn children can feel pain by this time in their development. To read a quick summary of the bill, click here. The bill will now continue to the U.S. Senate to await further consideration. To see how your U.S. Representative voted, click here.
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