- Bipartisan Juvenile Justice Bills Receive First Consideration in House Committee
- Updates on Legislation That Would Restrict Energy Choice
- ACTION NEEDED! Stand Up for Conscience Rights
Bipartisan Juvenile Justice Bills Receive First Consideration in House Committee
Under current law, Michigan is one of just nine states that automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults for a crime committed. The House Criminal Justice Committee this week heard testimony on a bipartisan package of bills that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 and prohibit juveniles from being housed with adult prisoners. Michigan Catholic Conference supports these measures, which would help shift Michigan toward a “smart” approach on crime and place greater emphasis on providing opportunities for rehabilitation while individuals are held accountable for their crimes. House Bills 4947-4966 have been introduced by lawmakers from both political parties, including Representatives Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township), Martin Howrylak (R-Troy), Dave Pagel (R-Berrien Springs), LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit), Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township), Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills), Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids), Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), Vanessa Guerra (D-Bridgeport), Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), Klint Kesto (R-Walled Lake), Bob Kosowski (D-Westland), Leslie Love (D-Detroit), and Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).
Updates on Legislation That Would Restrict Energy Choice
Last month, the House Energy Policy Committee approved a bill that would place severe restrictions on energy choice in the state and adversely affect current and future energy choice customers, especially public and non-public schools that benefit from the policy. The bill as written would:
- Prevent individuals who switch to a traditional utility from an alternative energy supplier from going back to the alternative energy supplier for a period of 15 or 20 years, depending on certain conditions;
- Require customers on a waiting list for service from an alternative energy supplier to wait an additional 20 years if the customer turns down the option when offered;
- Require those who want to return to the traditional utility from an alternative energy supplier to provide 6 months to 3 years written notice or pay an increased utility rate in certain circumstances; and
- Require new choice customers of an alternative energy supplier to continue paying certain fees to the traditional utility.
Michigan Catholic Conference opposed House Bill 4298 in the House Energy Committee. Staff has been working with lawmakers and other interested parties on an amendment that would remove these restrictions. Such an amendment to the legislation could be considered as early as next week, so stay tuned for further updates.
ACTION NEEDED! Stand Up for Conscience Rights
Each year, the United States Congress considers and reauthorizes legislation such as the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits government agencies that receive federal health care funds from discriminating against those who decline to take part in abortion. Unfortunately, loopholes in current policy have made it difficult for those whose conscience rights have been violated to voice their concerns. To address this concern, legislation must be adopted to allow for a private right of action so individuals are able to defend their conscience rights in court. For those who have not already sent a message to their federal Representative and Senators on behalf of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act and the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, please take a few minutes to do so now.
To learn more about the need for conscience protection, read background pieces on the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act and on the Health Care Conscience Rights Act from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
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