In this update:
- Many MCC Spending Priorities Included In State Budget Approved By Lawmakers
- Prayer, Action for Life Still Necessary in Post-Roe Michigan
- MCC Examines Link Between Gun Violence, Abortion in Latest Op-Ed
- Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Praying Football Coach in Religious Freedom Case
- MCC Offers Prayer for America Ahead of Independence Day
Many MCC Spending Priorities Included in State Budget Approved By Lawmakers
The Legislature this week completed work on approving the state budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins in October. The total spending amounted to $76 billion for the general state budget and $19 billion in school funding, according to media reports.
The budget bills now to go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature, although she can line-item veto certain spending provisions.
Lawmakers purposely left $7 billion in available spending out of the budget with the idea that it may be included in a future deal on tax relief for Michigan residents, according to media reports.
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is pushing for an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to be included as part of that tax reform, and MCC joined a joint letter to lawmakers and the Governor urging them to make the EITC a top priority in tax relief decisions.
The following is a high-level summary of the state budget items of interest to the MCC that were included in the approved bills:
Supporting Pregnant Mothers in Need
- $4.4 million for diaper assistance grants for diaper banks, maternity homes, and other nonprofit agencies that distribute diapers for free.
- $4 million for grants for maternity homes to provide safe housing and comprehensive services to pregnant women.
- $3 million for maternal navigator programs that promote childbirth and alternatives to abortion.
- $1.5 million for pregnancy resource center grants.
- $700,000 for the Pregnant and Parenting Support Services Program.
- $50,000 to provide notice and info to health care providers and the public that the department shall not use state funds for any elective abortion.
- Budget language stating that state shall not contract with organizations that provide abortions, state money shall not be used for abortion counseling or referral, or for activities regarding human cloning or research that involves destroying or discarding human embryos.
- Limitations on family planning educational funds and that related media campaigns may not imply that abortion is a method of family planning or pregnancy prevention.
- $100,000 for informational materials regarding the state constitutional limits on embryonic stem cell research.
Promoting Adoption & Foster Care
- $10 million for an infant adoption marketing program.
- Maintains not less than $55.20 administrative rate for providers of foster care.
- Increases adoption subsidies and provides a 20% increase to foster family maintenance payment rates.
- $2 million adoption tax credit for adoptive parents.
- Boilerplate requiring state to explore allowing foster care maintenance payments to continue throughout a child’s adoption process.
Providing for the Poor
- Maintains $7.23 million for the annual clothing allowance.
- Maintains Heat and Eat program.
- Maintain at least $19 per diem rate per bed night for emergency homeless shelter programs.
- $50,000 for caseworkers to provide immediate assistance (food, clothing) to child trafficking survivors and children removed from dangerous environments.
Fighting Human Trafficking
- $1 million to create a human trafficking victims services expansion pilot program.
- $250,000 for county grants toward anti-human trafficking collaboratives.
- Provides an additional 3 months of food assistance for human trafficking/domestic violence victims.
- Maintain $170,000 to fund the state’s human trafficking commission and $200,000 for human trafficking intervention services.
- $18 million school safety funding through direct per-pupil funding to nonpublic schools.
- $3 million for dual enrollment.
- $1 million for health and safety reimbursements to nonpublic schools.
- $10,000 Future Educator fellowships for students attending public or private college teacher prep programs, provided they subsequently teach in a public or nonpublic school.
- $9,600 student teacher stipend paid to the public or private college teacher prep program to offset costs of student teacher working in a public school.
- Tuition Grant/Tuition Incentive programs funded as requested by MCC and the Michigan Association of Independent Colleges & Universities.
- “Grow Your Own” funding to public schools to encourage existing staff to obtain teaching degree. Recipient must subsequently teach in the school. If a position is not offered, the recipient may then teach in a nonpublic school.
- Stem cell research reporting by colleges restored to budget language.
- $5 million incentive for colleges performing ethical stem cell research.
Prayer, Action for Life Still Necessary in Post-Roe Michigan
Nearly a week since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is encouraging Michiganders to continue prayer and action to bring about a culture of life in this state.
In Michigan, the fate of our law that prohibits abortion is being challenged in court. Not only that, but another lawsuit is asking our Michigan Supreme Court to recognize a state constitutional right to abortion.
With these outcomes in the hands of our judicial system, we encourage the faithful to pray for a just decision in these Michigan cases as they did for the Dobbs case.
Pray for our Michigan Supreme Court justices and other judges who are tasked with deciding these cases. Pray that the courts may provide an outcome that respects and protects all human lives.
On another note, there is also a campaign to put abortion in the state constitution through the petition process. It’s not yet known if this proposal will be on the ballot this November. We continue to urge you to decline to sign this dangerous proposal that would take our state far beyond what was ever allowed for abortion even under Roe.
It’s also time for every Catholic who professes to be pro-life to follow through on that conviction.
Now is the time to get your parish to initiate Walking with Moms In Need so as to equip parishioners with how best to serve mothers in need who come to the church for help.
Now is the time to materially support your local pregnancy center with donations, diapers and baby formula.
There will always be mothers in need of help with their pregnancies, and perhaps now, more than ever before. Creating a culture that supports life from conception to natural death starts with every person of goodwill who is ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus to mothers and their children.
Let’s continue to work and pray for a society where abortion does not have to be the answer.
MCC Examines Link Between Gun Violence, Abortion in Latest Op-Ed
In our latest op-ed published in Bridge Michigan, we explain why the issues of abortion and gun violence are attacks on the dignity of human life and we call for holding the “sanctity of every human life in greater esteem than partisanship or politics.”
Click or tap here to read the op-ed and consider reposting it or sharing it with your friends and family.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Praying Football Coach in Religious Freedom Case
During this year’s annual recognition of Religious Freedom Week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a high school football coach who lost his job for leading after-game midfield prayers.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the high school coach’s prayers were protected by the First Amendment in the case Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, according to a recap of the decision written by SCOTUSblog.
According to coverage from SCOTUSblog, “the court rejected the public school district’s argument that allowing Kennedy’s prayers to continue would have violated the Constitution’s establishment clause...And it pushed back against the argument that students might have felt obligated to join Kennedy’s prayers.”
Religious Freedom Week is observed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and runs from June 22 to 29 each year.
MCC Offers Prayer for America Ahead of Independence Day
On Monday, we recall the day the United States of America declared its independence and reflect on the many blessings we enjoy as citizens of this nation. The following is a prayer to offer for our country as we continue striving to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans:
Father of all nations and ages,
we recall the day when our country
claimed its place among the family of nations;
for what has been achieved we give you thanks,
for the work that still remains we ask your help,
and as you have called us from many peoples
to be one nation,
grant that, under your providence,
our country may share your blessings
with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
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