(LANSING)—The Michigan Catholic Conference today announced its Board of Directors has approved the organizations’s advocacy priorities for the 2005–06 legislative session. Religious freedom, human life, education, health care, economic justice and regulatory policy, and children and families are among the major issues for which the Michigan Catholic Conference will advocate in the 93rd legislative session.
“The Catholic community is first and foremost interested in the common good and the role government plays in creating a culture that respects and cherishes life and the dignity of every human person,” said Paul A. Long, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy. “These advocacy priorities provide a philosophical outline and foundation for our involvement in specific legislation. While the range of issues is diverse, the Church not only has a right, but a serious obligation to speak out on public policy matters that affect our entire human community.”
Specific public policy issues for which the Michigan Catholic Conference will advocate this legislative session are:
A consistent pro-life ethic, which includes legislation protecting the lives of unborn children; state initiatives that provide alternatives to abortion and assistance to pregnant women; and upholding the state’s ban on assisted suicide, capital punishment and human cloning—including embryonic stem cell research.
The creation of a state Religious Freedom Protection Act, which recognizes the free exercise of religion as an unalienable right and includes protecting the conscience right of faith-based health care and social service providers.
Creating a state Earned Income Tax Credit in an effort to increase the effectiveness of the federal earned income tax credit within the state, further encourage work, boost after-tax income and increase the number of jobs in Michigan. (A Hand Up for Michigan Workers: Creating a State Earned Income Tax Credit is available at www.micatholic.org)
Economic justice and regulatory policies, which includes the allocation of scarce budget resources to preserve essential services for vulnerable persons.
Upholding the traditional definition of the family, amending Michigan’s no-fault divorce laws and supporting policies that streamline foster care payments to ensure critical services are provided to children.
Protecting and expanding existing public school choice for all parents, and the protection of nonpublic schools from excessive state regulation.
Providing equitable, accessible and ethical health care as an essential safeguard of human life. This includes necessary health coverage for low income, uninsured individuals and families; as well as the protection of adequate Medicaid funding.
“We look forward to working with the Legislature and the administration to ensure the above mentioned policy issues are implemented in an effort to promote and protect the common good of our society,” said Long. “The State of Michigan has a longstanding tradition of preserving the dignity and respect of the human person, and the Michigan Catholic Conference is eager to help carry on that tradition this legislative session.”
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.