Lansing Update: Righting a Wrong Against Foster Kids

Bill Supported by MCC Would Stop State Seizure of Foster Kids’ Benefits

The state would stop seizing benefits intended for foster children under legislation considered by a Senate committee and supported by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC).

Michigan is one of several states that began seizing certain benefits owed to foster children to defray the costs of caring for those children under state supervision. The practice was said to have begun a few decades ago under budget constraints.

Currently, on an annual basis, Michigan takes in about $3 million in foster children benefits that it uses to pay for the cost of caring for foster children. Under Senate Bill 872, the state would stop seizing and spending the money tied to foster children, which can include certain federal benefits like Social Security or Supplemental Security Income.

Instead, the state would keep those benefits in accounts that foster children could access after exiting state supervision, benefits that could help them get on stable economic footing.

MCC frequently supports legislation to improve the outcomes of children in foster care, who are among the most vulnerable members of society.

Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), received a hearing before the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee last week but has not been voted on yet.

Back to top ⇧

Driver’s License Access Bill Signed by Governor

The Governor recently signed MCC-supported legislation into law that will improve access to driver’s licenses.

House Bill 5103, sponsored by Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit), ends the three-year waiting period to receive a license for someone who had committed two or more moving violations when they were without a license.

The goal of the legislation is to end the punitive cycle of denying a license to someone who had committed a moving violation while unlicensed, which could lead to continued driving without a license out of necessity.

The bill received bipartisan support in both chambers before being signed by the Governor.

The Governor also signed legislation to increase public information about the predatory practices used by payday lenders on the poor and vulnerable. Click or tap here for more information about that bill, which MCC also supported.

Back to top ⇧

Legislature Expected to Finish Budget Before End of June

State lawmakers did not hold regular session this week due to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

The House and Senate have regular session days scheduled until the end of June, and completion of the state budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 is considered the primary focus of the next few weeks of session.

Back to top ⇧