- Senate Passes Medicaid Expansion on 20–18 Vote
- Testimony Begins on Juvenile Life Without Parole Legislation
- Labor Day Statement Highlights Dignity of Work
- America Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
After much deliberation, the Michigan Senate passed legislation late on Tuesday that would extend Medicaid coverage for approximately 450,000 working poor in this state. Michigan Catholic Conference was pleased to see House Bill 4714 adopted, which will improve access to primary care and preventative services. The legislation was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives earlier in the summer on June 13. MCC’s Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy issued the following statement after the vote:
“Today the State Senate recognized the moral necessity of providing health care access to a greater number of uninsured residents. Reforming the state’s Medicaid program will benefit future generations of Michigan workers, families and children. Michigan Catholic Conference praises those who worked toward the passage of this policy and further extends its appreciation to Governor Snyder for his leadership and dedication to ensure this significant measure becomes law.”
Thanks to all who sent messages to their Senator in support of House Bill 4714—your voices were heard! The bill now returns to the Michigan House of Representatives for approval of the changes made by the Senate. If approved as expected, the legislation will then be sent to Governor Snyder for his signature.
Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that the mandatory sentence of “life without parole” for juvenile offenders who commit serious crimes is unconstitutional. This week, the Senate Judiciary and House Criminal Justice Committees met jointly to discuss legislation (House Bills 4806–4809) that would implement this decision for future juvenile criminal cases in Michigan. The bills also would allow “juvenile lifers” sentenced prior to Miller the possibility to receive a new sentence that would include parole eligibility. Michigan Catholic Conference indicated support for the bills, which will hold offenders accountable for their crimes while at the same time considering age, maturity, and other factors described in the Court’s decision in the sentencing process.
The Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued its annual Labor Day Statement, which speaks to the dignity of work and the various situations that deny workers honor and respect.
“Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Earlier this year, Pope Francis pointed out, ‘Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person… It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's own nation.’ Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation…The pain of the poor and those becoming poor in the rising economic inequality of our society is mounting. Therefore, on this Labor Day 2013, let us renew our commitment to promote the dignity of the human person through work that is honorable, pays just wages, and recognizes the God-given dignity of the working person.”
To learn more about the topic of income inequality, check out the USCCB’s new interactive slide show.
On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington was held, bringing together individuals from all races and faiths to march for civil rights and an end to segregation. In honor of the anniversary observed this week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement celebrating all that has been done for civil rights and calling for continued work:
“Marking this 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we join our voices to those who call for and foster continued dialogue and non-violence among people of different races and cultures, and who work tirelessly for the transformative, constructive actions that are always the fruit of such authentic dialogue. We rejoice in the advances that have occurred over the past 50 years, and sadly acknowledge that much today remains to be accomplished. However, we must always view the task that remains from the perspective of the continued call to hope and in the light of faith.”
Click to read more of the statement on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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