Lansing Update: Hidden Guns in Schools and Churches and more…

In this update:

MCC Remains Opposed to Bills Allowing Concealed Weapons in Schools, Churches

A bill allowing concealed pistol holders to carry their guns hidden - instead of out in the open - in churches and schools was advanced by a committee this week despite prior opposition from Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC).

MCC previously testified against House Bill 5367 when it was presented to the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee in October 2021. This week, the committee voted to advance the bill to another committee, House Judiciary Committee, for further consideration.

The legislation would remove the general requirement that a person obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL) to carry a concealed pistol in most places in the state.

That would also mean CPL holders could carry a concealed pistol in places currently designated as gun-free zones, which includes schools, churches, day care centers, bars, sports stadiums and more. Right now, CPL holders are allowed to open-carry in gun-free zones.

In adherence with the Church's commitment to protecting human life, MCC supports measures that reduce gun violence and opposes measures such as these that could increase the risk of gun violence in places like schools and churches.

Further, MCC believes the state should not be setting weapons policies for private property owners. A policy such as this would make it difficult for churches and schools to enforce weapons bans if the weapons are allowed to be hidden.

House Bill 5367 is sponsored by Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain).

Help for Low-Income Students Attending Private College Maintained in House Spending Plan

Funding help for low-income students to attend private college would be maintained under a budget plan advanced by a House committee this week.

Within House Bill 5785, the House kept funding for the Tuition Incentive Program at the current level of $71.3 million and declined to adopt a $6.1 million reduction proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her budget proposal.

Elsewhere in the proposed spending plan, the Tuition Grant Program stays at $42 million, the same amount suggested by the Governor. However, the grants were raised from current $2,800 per student to $3,000 in the House plan, compared to a proposed Governor increase to $2,900.

Both aforementioned programs assist low-income students with attending private colleges and universities in Michigan.

Other provisions of note in the House higher education budget included:

The higher education spending proposal advanced from a House appropriations subcommittee to the full House Appropriations Committee, where it will await further action.

The House spending plan comes in response to the Governor's budget recommendations she presented earlier this year.

In other budget-related news,House Bill 5790, the House budget for the Michigan State Police, includes $50 million ($25 million of which is federalCOVIDfunds)to support the cost of resource officers in schools, whoassist school administrationin ensuring the physical safety of school buildings and the people in them.

Grants would be for developing safety procedures, counseling and mentoring students, and de-escalating aggression between students, as well as between students and staff.

That budget bill also advanced from a House appropriations subcommittee to the full House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

MCC Extends Holy Week, Easter Greetings

Today marks the beginning Church's observance of the Holy Triduum, when we remember the Lord's Last Supper with His disciples, followed by His passion and death upon the cross on Good Friday, His burial, and finally, His glorious resurrection from death on Easter Sunday.

On behalf of MCC staff and the Board of Directors, we wish you a prayerful Holy Week and a joyful and hope-filled celebration of Easter and Our Lord's triumph over sin and death.