News Release: Catholic Conference Releases 2009–2010 Advocacy Priorities

Efforts to Protect Critical State Programs, Restrict Embryo Destruction, Top MCC Agenda

January 26, 2009

(LANSING)—Recognizing the tremendous budget difficulties that lie ahead, Michigan Catholic Conference today announced that protecting statewide programs that benefit Michigan’s poor population will top its advocacy efforts during the 95th legislative session. The Conference will also lend its support to any legislation that limits and regulates the destruction of human embryos following the passage of Proposal 2 in November.

“Michigan’s significant budget deficit in the coming fiscal year certainly presents a major obstacle to protecting critical programs, but it is the mission of our organization to give a voice in the legislative process to the vulnerable and those who live on the margins of society,” said MCC Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “These legislative priorities, including protecting the poor and regulating the embryo destruction business that was created in November, illustrate the Conference’s mission to protect the dignity and life of each and every human person from conception until natural death.”

Social welfare programs administered through the departments of Community Health and Human Services may come under fire as the state prepares to address a budget deficit of approximately $1.6 billion for the fiscal year that begins October 1. Last year Michigan Catholic Conference supported the preservation of Medicaid funding for 19 and 20 year old recipients and, within the Department of Human Services, supported the preservation of and increases for the State Disability Assistance Benefit grant, the Family Independence Program Benefit grant, and the Children’s Clothing Allowance grant. Of additional concern to the Conference is fully funding the Michigan Tuition Grant program, which benefits low-income individuals who wish to pursue higher education at private colleges and universities. MCC staff will closely monitor these essential funding dollars as proposals to balance the 2010 budget are put forth.

Michigan Catholic Conference’s advocacy agenda was approved in December by its Board of Directors and released through FOCUS, a periodic essay distributed to all Catholic parishes, schools, institutions and other locations and individuals across the state. Below is a detailed listing of additional public policy issues that are of interest to the Conference in the categories of Religious Freedom, Human Life, Children and Families, Health Care, Education, Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies, Restorative Justice and Federal Issues:

I. Religious Freedom

II. Human Life

III. Children and Families

IV. Health Care

V. Education

VI. Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies

VII. Restorative Justice

VIII. Federal Issues

When addressing federal legislative issues, the Michigan Catholic Conference works in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Only when the USCCB has taken a position on an issue will the MCC engage with the Michigan congressional delegation.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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