Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

The Word from Lansing

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.

Earned Income Tax Credit Beneficial for Working Poor

Since 2006, Michigan has offered a refundable credit on state income tax called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Working in combination with its federal counterpart, the state EITC has been a critical and effective policy for working, low-income families since its inception. During the 2013 tax year, approximately 780,000 Michiganders benefited from the credit, which is often spent on items in the local community such as groceries, car repairs, school clothing, rent, or other bills. During the recent months, State House and Senate members have discussed cuts to the state EITC to provide further revenue for road and transportation infrastructure repairs. The Word from Lansing column for July outlines the importance of the state EITC and explains why it should preserved, not eliminated, in the State of Michigan. Read more…

Breaking the Cycle of Crime

In May, Governor Rick Snyder presented his special message on criminal justice, calling for improvements to address the issue of crime throughout the state. MCC was pleased to see attention drawn to several aspects, including the treatment of juvenile offenders, the importance of prisoner reintegration, and support for victims. The Catholic Church teaches that the justice system must address the needs of all impacted by crime, including rehabilitating offenders, restoring victims, and keeping the public safe. The Word from Lansing column this month discusses the importance of a criminal justice system that truly meets the needs of those impacted by crime and highlights the role the faith community can play in the process. Read more…

Month of May Promotes Foster Care Awareness

Throughout the month of May, Michigan celebrates all the individuals, families, and institutions that work to provide support and care to its 13,000 foster children. Whether these children will one day be reunited with their biological families or put in an alternative placement, each have faced trauma, abuse, and neglect that has separated them from their families. Foster Care Awareness Month also draws attention to the continued needs of these children. Individuals and families can make a difference for the state’s foster children in a number of ways: by becoming a foster parent, providing temporary respite care, serving as a volunteer mentor, recruiting other potential foster families, or donating supplies to local agencies that work with foster children. Read more…

Serving Michigan’s Greatest Gift—Our Children

Whether looking to be reunited with their biological family or looking to be placed with an adoptive family, Michigan’s 13,000 children in the foster care system require care and support during their time of need. Faith-based agencies, including those that are Catholic, have been a critical partner to the State of Michigan in this work, providing adoption and foster care services, recruiting quality families, and ensuring that the best interests of the child are being met. Unfortunately, in other states, Catholic agencies have been forced out of adoption and foster care services because they would not agree to abandon their religious beliefs. MCC’s latest The Word from Lansing column highlights the importance of legislation that would preserve the right of faith-based agencies to operate in accordance with their religious mission. Read more…

Policies Offer Increased Opportunities for Michigan Students

Already during the 2015–2016 legislative session, several of Michigan Catholic Conference’s education initiatives at the state and federal level are receiving attention from lawmakers. These measures include the Tuition Grant and Tuition Incentive programs, dual enrollment opportunities, and the federal Student Success Act, a reauthorization of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. The Word from Lansing column for March takes a closer look at these policies and their impact on students. It critical that policies continue to be supported and pursued that benefit all children, regardless of their geographic location or family income level. Read more…

A Blueprint for the Common Good

As the Michigan Legislature has begun its 2015-2016 legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference staff is continually analyzing the bills that have been introduced at the State Capitol through a lens of Catholic teaching. Nine issues areas have been chosen by the MCC Board of Directors as guiding principles for staff, including religious liberty, human life and dignity, education, children and families, health care, economic justice and regulatory policies, restorative justice, immigration, and select federal issues. The Word from Lansing column for February details the importance of Catholic solidarity and action as policies are debated that will impact all of Michigan’s residents. Read more…

2013–2014 Session in Review

The 2013–2014 legislative session came to a close in December, and MCC staff celebrated the passage of many bills during the two years that reflected the dignity of the human person. Measures addressing human trafficking, promoting student safety, expanding Medicaid access to low-income Michiganders, prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion coverage, and allowing for minimum standards of indigent defense were just a few of these important items. Much work is still needed, however, and as the new 2015–2016 session begins, MCC staff will continue to advocate for legislation that addresses the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. Read more…

Freedom of Conscience

The topic of religious freedom has been debated throughout the Lame Duck session, especially during consideration of measures that would create a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act and enact conscience protections for faith-based child placement agencies. Unfortunately, time ran out before these measures could be voted on in the Senate. MCC will continue to make them a priority in the 2015-2016 legislative session, as examples of individuals and agencies living out their beliefs in their daily work demonstrate the contributions faith makes to society, both in Michigan and around the country. This month’s The Word from Lansing addresses the value of greater protections of First Amendment freedoms. Read more…

The “Lame Duck” Legislative Session

With the November elections completed and the newly elected officials not beginning their terms until January, the Michigan Legislature has entered its “Lame Duck” legislative session. November’s The Word from Lansing column outlines the impact of the elections and the characteristics of the next two months, as lawmakers seek to accomplish remaining priorities before the end of the 2013–2014 session. Since Michigan is a full-time Legislature, any bills that have been introduced these past two years could be considered during this time. Michigan Catholic Conference staff will be looking out for measures, such as the recently introduced Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that impact significant priorities of the Church, such as religious liberty, economic justice, human life, education, families, and restorative justice. Read more…

Respect Life Month

On Sunday, October 5th, parishes and dioceses began promotion of the annual Respect Life Program, a month long series of events to highlight human dignity issues and to distribute materials developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). This year’s Respect Life Program specifically emphasizes topics such as advanced directives and end-of-life care, commercial surrogacy, and abortion and its connection to poverty. Through its teaching on these and other life issues, Catholic Church emphasizes the importance of standing up for all life, from conception until natural death. The Word from Lansing column for October delves into the Catholic teaching on human life and its relation to the public realm and the November elections. Read more…

More The Word from Lansing

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For a complete list of all The Word from Lansing columns, please visit the archives.

Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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