In This Week’s Lansing Update:
- Your Voice is Needed on 3 Key Issues
- Attend Lobby Day December 6th in Support of Pro-Life Legislation
- Additional MCC Legislative Priorities
This week Michigan lawmakers began the first week of their “lame duck session,” the legislative period after the fall election and before the end of the two-year legislative session. For the next two weeks, lawmakers will be voting on many bills, including several that impact the advocacy agenda of Michigan Catholic Conference in the fields of religious freedom, human life, children and families, and legal protections for indigent persons. Please help us in our advocacy by contacting your legislators on the following three issues that are important to the common good of the state.
1. Pro Life Omnibus Legislation (House Bill 5711)
Requires all abortion clinics to be licensed and inspected, prohibits abortion coercion, and prescribes the humane disposition of fetal remains, among other policies. This bill is awaiting action by the full Senate, and a vote could take place early next week.
MCC encourages all Legislative Advocacy Network members to send their state senators a message in support of this pro-life legislation. To learn more about this bill and to contact your state senator, click here. [Link no longer available —Ed.] Please also find information below about a Lobby Day at the State Capitol in Lansing on December 6th to promote the passage of this bill and other pro-life legislation.
2. Religious Liberty Rights for Faith Based Agencies (House Bill 5763-5764)
Puts into place conscience protections for faith based foster care and adoption agencies so they would not be required to recommend, refer, or participate in a placement that violates their religious beliefs. These agencies also could not be denied grants, contracts, or participation in programs because of their religious beliefs under this legislation. This past Monday, MCC asked for Legislative Advocacy Network members with representatives on the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee to send a message of support for the bills. Thank you for all who acted on our request. MCC testified in favor of this legislation Tuesday in the committee. No vote was taken, but MCC is hoping for a vote next week.
MCC is now encouraging all Legislative Advocacy Network members to contact their representatives in support of the bill. For more information, as well as to email your state representative to urge his or her support for the bill, click here. [Link no longer available —Ed.]
3. Concealed Weapons in Churches (Senate Bill 59)
Allows concealed carry permit owners to ask the county sheriff for permission to carry weapons in “gun free zones,” which includes churches, schools, hospitals, bars, and stadiums. In the past, these owners had to ask permission from the property owner in order to carry in these places. The Senate voted yesterday in support of this bill 27-11.
MCC will continue efforts to oppose the provision of the bill addressing gun free zones, and the bill will now be considered by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation. Please click here for more information on the bill [Link no longer available —Ed.] and to urge your state representative to oppose Senate Bill 59.
Right to Life of Michigan will be holding a lobby day at the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, December 6 to encourage lawmakers to take action in support of House Bill 5711 and other pro life issues (see below). The event will have briefing sessions with materials on the legislation in the morning at 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, and 11:30 in Room 426 at the State Capitol, with time available afterwards for you to communicate with legislators. If you are able to attend, this would be a great chance to advocate for policies that protect human life. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For parking information, click here.
Michigan Catholic Conference is also advocating for support of the following bills during these last weeks of the 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act (Senate Bill 975)
Expands conscience rights so those who provide and pay for health care do not have to provide or pay for services that violate their beliefs. Click here to read a news release after the bill passed the Senate Health Policy Committee yesterday. The bill will now be before the full Senate.
Abortion Opt Out Legislation (House Bill 4143, 4147)
Excludes abortion coverage from health care plans in the state health care exchange, which would be created as a marketplace for buyers of health coverage by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Health Care Sharing Ministries (House Bill 5805)
Permits Health Care Sharing Ministries in the state, which are faith-based nonprofit entities that allow individuals of a similar faith to provide for the financial or medical needs of other participants, through voluntary contributions. On Tuesday, with a 77-30 vote, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5805. Now the bill will be sent over to the Senate for a committee hearing.
Indigent Defense Legislation (House Bill 5804)
Establishes the Indigent Defense Commission, which would create minimum standards for indigent defense across the state. This bill is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
MCC will continue to send updates and alerts as new information arises on these bills. You may email your state senator [Link no longer available —Ed.] or email your state representative [Link no longer available —Ed.] by clicking on these links. Thank you for your attention during this busy time at the State Capitol and please know that your support and action is much appreciated.