Throughout the 2017–2018 Michigan legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference reviewed more than seven hundred bills, suggested bill language, testified in public committees, and represented the Church’s positions to elected officials and the media. The Word from Lansing column from December reflects on successes from the two-year session and the importance of continued work in 2019.
The Word from Lansing is a regular column written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) staff for Catholic news outlets. Through these columns, MCC outlines current advocacy issues of importance to the Conference and discusses the Catholic position and role in the political process. This publication complements the more regular updates provided by Michigan Catholic Conference’s Catholic Advocacy Network.
Bishops and other religious leaders gathered in Rome last month for a worldwide Synod. This gathering examined the gifts young people bring to the Catholic Church and the ways the Church can better accompany them. The discussions also highlighted the need to prepare young Catholics for engagement in the public realm.
At its September meeting, the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously voted to oppose Proposal 1, a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If adopted, Proposal 1 would not protect youth, improve health outcomes, improve communities, or make people better workers. The Word from Lansing column for October provides further insights into MCC’s position and the negative impact legalizing recreational marijuana will likely have on Michigan.
Every Catholic is called to engage in the political process, guided by a well-formed conscience. During this November 6 General Election, Michigan Catholics must make decisions about the issues and local, statewide, and national candidates on their ballot. The Word from Lansing column for September highlights Church teaching and questions to consider before voting.
In 1973, two Supreme Court decisions led to legalized abortion across the United States. Michigan had previously banned the practice for almost 130 years. In The Word from Lansing for August, Michigan Catholic Conference details the impact of these decisions on Michigan and what would happen here if they were overturned.
In June, Michigan lawmakers passed and the governor signed two measures into law that provide for the state’s October 2018–September 2019 budget. The Word from Lansing column for July highlights Michigan Catholic Conference’s advocacy during the budget process, as well as several key budget items that were included in the final version and were supported by MCC.
Two important dates are quickly approaching this summer. Monday, July 9 is the last day individuals can register to vote prior to the Michigan Primary Election, which will be taking place on Tuesday, August 7. The June column of The Word from Lansing speaks to the importance of these upcoming elections and why Michigan Catholics should take the time to get registered and prepared.
Current law requires seventeen-year-olds in Michigan to be charged as adults if arrested, even for minor, non-violent crimes. Recognizing this policy does little to divert youth from crime and keep communities safe, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are seeking to transform the way juveniles are treated in the criminal justice system. Michigan Catholic Conference advocates for these “Raise the Age” measures to be enacted in the State Legislature, and the May edition of The Word from Lansing explains why.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Annually, this month highlights the importance of protecting children, but the work of creating safe environments for kids is needed each and every day. The April edition of The Word from Lansing outlines what the Catholic Church has done to prevent abuse, assist victims, and promote child safety.
Rates of serious diseases, such as polio and measles, have significantly decreased in the United States over time, in part due to medical advances such as vaccinations. Parents and health professionals benefit from open discussions about these preventative tools, the risks of serious diseases, and the possibility of any risk that may occur after an immunization. In The Word from Lansing for April, Michigan Catholic Conference and encourage individuals and families to learn more about vaccinations, their impact on individuals and communities, and Catholic teaching regarding their use.