Sep 2009

Legislature Praised for Maintaining Funding for FIP grant

Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long made the following statement Sept. 29 after the Legislature approved the conference report for the Department of Human Services budget, which maintains funding for the Family Independence Program and the children’s clothing allowance program. Read press release…



The first round in defending Arizona's new abortion laws was fought in both federal and state courts today.
While the federal court issued a 23 page opinion denying the abortion industry's request for a preliminary injunction, the state court issued a short minute entry that effectively blocked the immediate implementation of many of the provisions contained in the new abortion laws.
At this point in time the good news is that the state ban on partial birth abortions has not been challenged and will now become law, along with new statutory provisions codifying the procedures a minor must follow in order to obtain a judicial bypass for an abortion.
The state court injunction, however, blocks implementation of important provisions that would prohibit non-physicians from performing surgical abortions as well as the enhancements to Arizona's rights of conscience statute that were initiated by the Arizona Catholic Conference.
It appears that the 24 hour waiting period requirement before a woman can obtain an abortion will still become effective, but the state court's preliminary injunction sets aside the provision that the woman actually sees a doctor 24 hours before the procedure and receives the informed consent orally and in person.
Additionally, the new parental consent language requiring notarized signatures was set aside until the Secretary of State can meet certain standards set out by the court.
Despite the setbacks today, the litigation surrounding Arizona's new abortion laws is far from over and will continue for years to come.  Accordingly, the Arizona Catholic Conference will continue to closely monitor these developments and take whatever actions are necessary to defend these important laws protecting women, children and the civil rights of health care workers.
We are especially grateful to the Alliance Defense Fund, the Center for Arizona Policy and the Bioethics Defense Fund for working very closely with us in these efforts and assisting us in our efforts to intervene in both cases.
As important developments occur, we will keep you posted.  In the meantime, your prayers and support are always appreciated.

Round One

Charities Director Briefs Lawmakers On Payday Lending

The director of Catholic Charities of the La Crosse diocese joined several other experts in the State Capitol on September 16 to make the case for strong regulation of the payday lending industry in Wisconsin.
Deacon Richard Sage, whose agency operates family financial counseling services across the 19 counties of the diocese, informed over 50 legislators and staff of the hardship that individuals and families endure when they are "ensnared in unregulated payday loans."
Under current law, while the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) must license all payday lenders operating in the state, it currently does not have the authority to regulate the amount of a loan, the interest charged, or the number of times a loan can be "rolled over."  
Sage asked legislators to support Assembly Bill 392, which prohibits payday lenders from assessing finance charges that exceed 36% per year.  The bill also gives the DFI the authority to enforce the new regulations.  The bill is expected to have a public hearing in early October.

Lansing Update

The current issue of Lansing Update has been posted to the Michigan Catholic Conference Web site at:

1.  Multiple Budget Scenarios Arise After House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader Strike Target Agreement

“2009 State of Michigan Budget Countdown”

Michigan is currently facing a $2.7 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins October 1. Should legislative leaders fail to compromise on a solution, the state will be forced to discontinue services and shut down until revenues are agreed upon. MCC, whose position on the budget can be read here, will be posting daily updates on its Twitter page and list updated news reports below. Please take a moment to contact your State Representative and Senator through the Action Alert below, and urge them to fund services that protect Michigan’s poor and vulnerable population.


Arguing needy families in Wisconsin should not be abandoned to predatory practices most people us would find intolerable, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) is supporting legislative efforts to place stronger regulations on the payday loan industry.

Read more . . .

Lansing Update

The current issue of Lansing Update has been posted to the Michigan Catholic Conference Web site at:

1.  $2.7 Billion Budget Deficit Remains as September 30 Deadline Looms

2.  MCC Board of Directors Statement on State of Michigan Budget

3.  MCC Board of Directors Says No to 2010 Constitutional Convention

4.  Legislation Prohibiting Conscience Rights for Pharmacies Passes Committee

5.  Follow Us on Twitter @MiCatholicConf

Health Care Reform Conference

The North Dakota Catholic Conference's Annual Conference for Catholic Health Care Providers is October 15, 2009 in Bismarck.

The keynote address is "Health Care Reform: Questions and Answers" by Jeff Tieman, Senior Director of Health Reform Initiatives for the Catholic Health Association.

Go here to find out more and get registration information.

Poverty in Michigan

While legislative leaders seek to diminish further Michigan’s social safety net in an effort to balance the state’s $2.8 billion deficit, the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors today approved a statement calling for solidarity with the state’s poorest citizens and urges legislators to enact a budget that protects essential needs. Read press release…
Read more…

Two Bishops - Two Letters - One Teaching

Within days of each other, both bishops of North Dakota issued letters to their priests and the faithful of their respective dioceses on health care reform.
Read more…

MCC Calls for a Constitutional Convention

Michigan Catholic Conference has approved a statement that does not support the call for a constitutional convention in 2010. Michigan voters at the November 2010 general election ballot will decide whether or not the state will conduct a constitutional convention in 2011. Article 12, Section 3 of the 1963 Michigan Constitution calls for a vote of the people every 16 years to determine if delegates appointed from each House and Senate district should rewrite the state’s guiding document. Read press release…
Read more…