Lansing Update: September 13, 2013
- Committee Hears Testimony on Conscience Rights for Faith-Based Child-Placement Agencies
- Increased Funding for Private Foster Care Agencies Passes House
Committee Hears Testimony on Conscience Rights for Faith-Based Child-Placement Agencies
This week, the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee held its first hearing on House Bills 4927 and 4928, which would protect the conscience rights of foster care and adoption agencies. This legislation would codify existing practice and preserve the public/private partnerships between the State of Michigan and faith-based agencies that have been effective for decades. These bills:
- Allow faith based agencies to operate as they always have,
- Prohibit the government from denying grants, contracts, or participation in a program because of moral or religious objections,
- Maintain the diverse nature of faith-based child placement agencies in Michigan.
Michigan Catholic Conference is expected to testify soon in support of these conscience protections. Thank you to all of those who have contacted his or her State Representative to urge support for this important religious liberty legislation thus far—it is important that your voices are heard. If you still have yet to do so, please consider sending an email or calling today [Link no longer available —Ed.]. Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to update members on this issue as developments take place.
Increased Funding for Private Foster Care Agencies Passes House
During the state budget process earlier this year, Michigan Catholic Conference advocated for increased funding for the administrative rates of private foster care agencies, such as Catholic Charities. The final budget passed by the Legislature and approved by Governor Snyder increased funding by $3 per child, per day (from $37 to $40). This week, lawmakers considered House Bill 4961, which would put this increase into Michigan law. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously and will now be sent to the Senate for its consideration. Michigan Catholic Conference is in strong support of the bill and will continue to advocate for its passage. House Bill 4961 will help agencies place Michigan’s most vulnerable children in loving and safe homes.
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