In This Week’s Lansing Update:
- 2013–2014 Advocacy Priorities Released—Key Focus on Religious Liberty
- U.S. Bishops: HHS Proposal Falls Short in Meeting Church Concerns
Earlier this week, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) announced its advocacy priorities for 2013-2014, which were approved by the MCC Board of Directors in December. These priorities will guide MCC’s agenda as staff review and work on legislation at the State Capitol. This session, Michigan Catholic Conference is continuing to place a strong emphasis on protecting constitutional religious liberty rights for faith-based entities as well as excluding abortion coverage in health care plans. To view priority policies MCC is working towards this legislative session in each of the nine categories, click here:
- Religious Liberty
- Human Life and Dignity
- Children and Families
- Health Care
- Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies
- Restorative Justice
- Select Federal Issues
These categories, and priorities listed under each, were developed with a concern for the common good of Michigan. It is important to note that while this list includes the best guiding principles for MCC’s agenda during 2013-2014, other policies of interest might come forward that the MCC will consider at that time. For further information about any of the abovementioned priorities, make sure to check out Michigan Catholic Conference’s FOCUS document, “2013-2014 Advocacy Priorities.”
While MCC staff is working to accomplish this agenda throughout the session, we also hope you will consider active participation in the Legislative Advocacy Network. Why?
- Catholics are instructed to love and care for all people, just as Jesus did. One way Catholics are called to do this is by “promoting the common good” and “[taking] an active part in public life,” guided by the teachings of their faith. (CCC, Nos. 1913-1915)
- By talking with legislators, testifying in public hearings, signing petitions, and participating in public discussion with one another, you can work towards bringing about a more just and loving society that takes care of all its members.
- Your elected officials want to hear from you. Last session, legislators told MCC staff that they were receiving emails on issues important to the Conference. It is important for officials to see real constituents in their districts care about the issues they are voting on.
- It is a quick and easy way to keep updated on legislative issues and to connect with your elected officials.
His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement yesterday to explain why new proposed rules regarding the HHS mandate “fall short of addressing the bishops’ concerns.” The HHS mandate requires employers to provide objectionable services such as contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health care plans.
According to Cardinal Dolan’s statement: "Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks. Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration's invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all. At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary."
Michigan Catholic Conference legal counsel is analyzing the proposed rule to determine the impact it may have on the organization, and additional comment will be provided at the appropriate time.
If you haven't done so already, please join the Catholic Advocacy Network to receive regular public policy updates—including Lansing Update—via email. For other news and information, follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, or visit MCC’s webpage.