News Release: Catholic Conference Urging Governor’s Support for Pro-Marriage, Anti-Poverty FIP Legislation

SB 752 Has Passed Legislature With Wide Bipartisan Support

A young boy and his parents play with building blocks on their living room floor

December 21, 2018

(Lansing, Mich.) — Michigan Catholic Conference is encouraging Governor Rick Snyder to sign legislation that would remove unnecessary barriers to marriage for those receiving assistance in Michigan through the Family Independence Program (FIP). Senate Bill 752, sponsored by Senator Wayne Schmidt, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and Senate last night during the Legislature’s Lame Duck session.

SB 752 would disregard the income of a new spouse for a period of 18 months when determining a family’s eligibility for FIP resources. “We're grateful to Senator Schmidt, Speaker Leonard, Representatives Lauwers and Rendon, and the many Republicans and Democrats who voted in support of this pro-marriage, anti-poverty effort,” said Tom Hickson, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy. “Marriage is a societal stabilizer that provides an ideal setting in which to raise children and to teach values that help move the family toward self-sufficiency.”

Current policy effectively acts as a deterrent for marriage as a new spouse's income is likely to bring the family’s assets above qualifying limits established by the Department of Health and Human Services. The new spouse's income and assets, according to the legislation, would be disregarded beginning one month after the marriage until 18 months after that date. If signed into law by the governor, Senate Bill 752 would go into effect January 1, 2020.

The legislation first passed the Senate back in March with a 33–3 vote before passing the House of Representatives last night 102–6. The Senate then concurred with the House’s vote earlier this morning before ordering the bill enrolled for Governor Snyder’s consideration.

Organizations supporting the legislation in addition to Michigan Catholic Conference include the Michigan Family Forum, the Food Bank Council of Michigan, Michigan Association of United Ways, and the Michigan Poverty Law Program.

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

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