In this update:
- MCC-Released Poll Numbers Show Most Michigan Voters Support Abortion Limits
- Governor Signs Bill Creating Abortion Coverage Mandate on Employers
- Improving Access to Food for the Needy Approved by House Committee
- Bill Making Juneteenth a State Holiday Clears State Senate
- State Estimates Less General Funds, More School Funds Both This Year and Next
MCC-Released Poll Numbers Show Most Michigan Voters Support Abortion Limits
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) released polling numbers this week that confirm most Michigan voters support long-standing regulations on abortion, such as parental consent for minors’ abortions, 24-hour waiting periods to provide women informed consent on abortion, and state health and safety standards for most abortion clinics.
The data show that not only do most Michigan voters support those regulations, but so do voters who say they are pro-choice, as well as voters who say they voted for Proposal 3 last year.
MCC released the poll numbers in light of reports of a renewed push by abortion advocates to end these regulations on abortion. MCC also pointed out that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is on record for preserving parental consent for their children’s abortions.
To read the full press release MCC issued this week, click or tap here.
Governor Signs Bill Creating Abortion Coverage Mandate on Employers
The Governor this week signed a bill that MCC has said will create an abortion mandate on some Michigan employers by equating abortion to childbirth when it comes to employer-provided benefits.
Senate Bill 147 would require a range of employers to pay for elective abortion benefits as part of their employee benefit plans if they are also providing benefits related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Under previous laws, Michigan employers did not have to treat elective abortion the same as pregnancy and childbirth regarding employee benefits. SB 147 breaks from this precedent to require elective abortion benefits to be comparable to any employer-provided pregnancy and childbirth benefit.
The legislation specifically states that “a term, condition, or privilege of employment” includes “a benefit plan or system.”
In addition to that, Detroit Catholic recently published an MCC-authored column that urges public policymakers to stop making expanding access to abortion the focus of their lawmaking and to work together to address the root causes of why women seek abortions in the first place.
While this was not the desired outcome, we still want to thank members of the Catholic Advocacy Network like you for sending nearly 1,200 messages to lawmakers advocating against this bill. It is important to keep lawmakers informed about where their constituents stand on these issues, regardless of the outcome.
Improving Access to Food for the Needy Approved by House Committee
Legislation that would remove barriers for people trying to receive food assistance has been sent to the House floor.
The House Economic Development and Small Business Committee approved Senate Bill 35, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), which would remove the asset test requirement for people who need food assistance.
Currently, a food assistance recipient would have to show he or she has below a certain amount of countable assets, which includes resources like savings accounts. By removing the asset test, it ensures people can qualify for food assistance without having to drain their savings accounts to do so.
The bill awaits consideration by the full House.
Bill Making Juneteenth a State Holiday Clears State Senate
The Senate approved a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday, which has received MCC backing due to its significance in American and African-American history.
Senate Bill 50 would make June 19 an annual state holiday, which marks the day in 1865 when African Americans in Galveston, Texas learned they had been freed from slavery two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation.
The bill was referred to the House Government Operations Committee for further consideration.
State Estimates Less General Funds, More School Funds Both This Year and Next
State officials agreed today that the state has roughly $1 billion less to spend in general funds this year, but $105 million more in school funds.
Those numbers were agreed on by state officials as part of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC), when state officials gather to review revenue numbers and update how much money the state is expected to have on hand for both this current fiscal year as well as next fiscal year.
For next fiscal year — which the Legislature is currently creating a budget for — the state officials estimated that state general funds will be down $1.85 billion, while school funds were increased upward by $42 million.
The revised estimates typically mean the Legislature must adjust both this year’s current spending, as well as the budget plans that are being crafted for the fiscal year that starts in October.