Lansing Update: Tax Dollars Won’t Go to Abortions and more…

In this update:

MCC Presents the Latest Edition of FOCUS: How Catholics Walk with Moms in Need

Our latest edition of FOCUS shows how Catholics in Michigan and beyond are responding to the call to walk with mothers in need and helping them and their children flourish.

While there's a misperception that the Catholic Church cares more about unborn babies and not the mothers who carry them, the reality is that the Church has a heart for both the mother and the baby, and that has transformed into action.

From the U.S. bishops' conference down to the parish level, to Catholic Charities, the Knights of Columbus, and more, the Church is continually available to assist mothers in difficult situations.

Read more in the latest edition of our FOCUS publication.

Print copies have arrived or will soon be arriving at parishes and other Catholic institutions on our mailing list. If you cannot find any, ask your parish to contact Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) at (800) 395-5565 to order free copies.

FOCUS is MCC's quarterly publication that examines social or public policy issues through the lens of Catholic social teaching. FOCUS has a mailing list of 4,200 and typically distributes 50,000 - 75,000 copies to Catholic institutions across the state. Read more of our past FOCUS publications here.

U.S. Bishops Applaud Budget Bill Shielding Tax Dollars from Funding Abortion

A congressional agreement on a federal budget bill will maintain longstanding, bipartisan lifesaving provisions preventing tax dollars from paying for abortions and protecting people from having to participate in abortion against their consciences, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said earlier this week.

After concerns were raised by USCCB that Congress would leave behind these provisions - including the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon Amendments - the USCCB said the 2022 budget bill recently approved by the U.S. House did retain these measures. The legislation is now before the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The Hyde Amendment - which blocks taxpayer dollars from subsidizing abortions - has been signed into law every year since 1976, which has seen both Republicans and Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House in that time. But last year, President Joe Biden's official budget proposal did not include the Hyde Amendment.

The Helms Amendment bans the use of foreign aid pay for abortion, and the Weldon Amendment prevents states receiving federal funds from discriminating against health plans for not covering or paying for abortions.

The USCCB also commended other provisions of the congressional budget agreement, including:

Catholic Schools Get Access to Post-Graduation Information Thanks to MCC Advocacy

Catholic and other nonpublic schools will be included in receiving state-provided packets about dual enrollment and other postgraduation opportunities for students under a bill backed by MCC.

House Bill 4953, sponsored by Rep. David Martin (R-Davison), requires the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to provide the annual informational packet to schools.

Nonpublic schools were not originally included in the bill, but at MCC's request, they were added to the bill before it was approved unanimously by the Senate Education Committee last week. The bill is now on the Senate floor for further consideration.

In addition to dual enrollment opportunities, the MDE packets also include information like early/middle college programs, testing centers that administer advanced placement or college-level tests, and other information pertaining to postgraduation opportunities.

Bill Requiring More Mandatory Reporters of Abuse Headed to Governor's Desk

A bill requiring more professional occupations to report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect is on its way to the Governor for her consideration.

House Bill 4880, sponsored by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Mount Pleasant), would add physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.

MCC supports the change in keeping with the Church's commitment to preventing abuse of children. The bill has now cleared both chambers of the Legislature, including the Senate, where it passed unanimously.

Governor Signs Last of Three-Bill Package Reducing Unnecessary Incarceration

The last of a three-bill package designed to cut down on unnecessary incarceration bills supported by MCC was signed into law recently by the Governor.

House Bill 4152, sponsored by Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch), joins House Bills 4149 and 4151 as new laws signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which together reclassify fishing and hunting misdemeanors as civil infractions, so violators would receive civil fines rather than jail time.

MCC supported these measures to ensure Michiganders are not forever criminalized and to offer judges more discretion to determine the appropriate response to a crime.

House Rejects Proposal to Remove Taxes from Diapers

In an unusual move, the House voted to reject two bills that would have removed taxes on children's diapers, adult briefs and incontinence pads.

Both House Bill 5611 and House Bill 5612 were put up for a vote on the House floor but received more nay votes than yay votes. It's not often that a bill without a majority of support is put up for an actual vote on the House floor.

MCC supports the bills, as diapers and incontinence products are essential health items for both children and older adults to maintain proper hygiene. It is estimated that children's diapers cost approximately $80 per month per child, along with a $5 tax burden. MCC supports alleviating this tax burden and recognizing the additional costs regularly borne by both families with young children and older adults.

The bills - both sponsored by Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Hanover) - had previously advanced from a House committee unanimously.