Michigan is known as the first government in the English-speaking world and first American state to abolish the death penalty. While Michigan’s constitutional ban remains in effect, the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it would resume the death penalty for federal crimes. The Word from Lansing column for December examines the new federal policy and why it is the wrong response for America.
The Word from Lansing is a regular column written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) staff for Catholic news outlets. Through these columns, MCC outlines current advocacy issues of importance to the Conference and discusses the Catholic position and role in the political process. This publication complements the more regular updates provided by Michigan Catholic Conference’s Catholic Advocacy Network.
At least 241 babies have been saved in this state over the past two decades, thanks to Michigan’s Safe Delivery of Newborns Law. Public Act 232 of 2000 allows for parents to surrender anonymously and voluntarily their newborn child—up to three days old—to an emergency service provider without fear of legal charges. Michigan enacted the Safe Delivery Law, with the support of Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and Right to Life of Michigan, to protect newborns from being abandoned or otherwise harmed
Until recently, seventeen-year-olds arrested in this state had no option to receive juvenile justice services, even for first-time, non-violent offenses. Newly enacted “Raise the Age” laws, however, change the way these individuals are treated in Michigan’s criminal justice system. The Word from Lansing column for October reflects on the bipartisan measures, MCC’s advocacy in support of the package, and the importance of continued reform.
A state’s budget reflects how it cares for its citizens, especially those who are struggling. As lawmakers continue formulating the final 2019–2020 budget, Michigan Catholic Conference is advocating for the inclusion of policies that benefit low-income workers, such as the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Word from Lansing column for September address why the EITC matters and should be restored.
Currently, a citizen’s initiative petition drive is underway to ban the brutal dismemberment abortion procedure, and the signatures of 400,000 registered Michigan voters are needed by December 26. In the drive’s first month, pro-life citizens ordered over 125,000 petitions, demonstrating wide support for the measure. The Word from Lansing column for August explains why the Michigan bishops encourage full participation in signature gathering efforts.
Emerging public conversations regarding abortion have demonstrated the need to highlight the dignity of the human person. In The Word from Lansing July column, MCC offers several ideas for supporting pro-life values in the public realm: signing a statewide petition to end dismemberment abortion, assisting women in crisis pregnancies, attending pro-life events, and advocating on behalf of measures to protect women and children.
When it comes to issues surrounding water, safety and affordability are two primary concerns for the Catholic Church. In its June column of The Word from Lansing, MCC shares Church teaching on ensuring and providing access to safe, drinkable water for all people. The column also shares a number of examples of how Catholic groups and parishes have provided needed water support to those in need, especially during times of crisis.
For decades, Michigan has partnered with a diverse array of agencies—including faith-based—to provide excellent foster care and adoption services. This system has helped to recruit new families and to foster greater community outreach. The Word from Lansing delves into a recent State settlement that harms the work of faith-based child placement agencies, as well as two lawsuits that fight back to preserve critical services for children and families in need.
The Catholic Church strongly believes in protecting religious freedom, not just for Catholics but also for those of other faiths—or no faith at all. An important component in this protection is also standing up against incidents of religious bigotry in society. The Word from Lansing for April shares examples of religious bigotry today and encourages people of goodwill to instead take the lead in fostering a climate of respect and religious tolerance.
On March 5, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented their Executive State Budget Recommendations for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. These recommendations included several positive elements, including a doubling of the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Word from Lansing from MCC delves further into these elements, as well as budget items not included in the governor’s proposal but that MCC will continue to advocate for during the budget process.