Lansing Update: October 21, 2016

In This Update:

Visit Michigan Catholic Conference's Election Page

In the first year of his papacy, Pope Francis reminded people of faith that "a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern." More recently, Pope Francis instructed American Catholics to "study the proposals well, pray, and vote your conscience." To help Catholics "study, pray, and vote" in the November 8th election, Michigan Catholic Conference offers resources for reflection at The website includes information to assist in conscience formation, questions to consider when evaluating candidates at all levels of government, political guidelines for parishes, and Election Day logistics. Please take time today to consider these resources.

The Word from Lansing Column: Calling for Dignity in the Public Square

Frustrated or tired of the 2016 election? While many people are ready to "check out," now is the time to engage in voting and political advocacy. By participating in the discussion, people of faith have the opportunity to promote the common good at all levels of government and draw attention to the needs of the vulnerable in society. The Word from Lansing for October highlights why Catholics should head to the ballot box on November 8, armed with a well-formed conscience, and should vote on all local, state, and federal races and issues.

President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Urges Respect for Religion

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has released a video message encouraging all to reflect upon one of the founding principles of our republic: the freedom of religion. In the video, Archbishop Kurtz builds on a statement released last week in which he notes recent political comments seeking to interfere with the internal life of the Church for political gain. He called these comments troubling if true and reminded all that "the Gospel serves the common good, not political agendas." Archbishop Kurtz also spoke to the need for better debate and greater civility, as "too much of our current political discourse has demeaned women and marginalized people of faith."

Student Transportation Measure Passes Full Senate

Under current la w, public school districts that offer transportation for students attending their schools must also offer it to district residents that attend nonpublic schools within the district. Legislation that passed in the 1990s, however, has caused confusion regarding the eligibility of nonpublic students to receive transportation services similar to that of their public school classmates. Michigan Catholic Conference testified in support of legislation this week that would clarify the law and ensure nonpublic school students are treated fairly. This legislation is identical to language approved by the House in September (House Bill 5753). Senate Bill 1046, sponsored by Senator Patrick Colbeck, (R-Canton), passed the Education Committee by a 3-1 vote, as well the full Senate by a 28-8 bipartisan vote. The legislation now continues forward to the Michigan House for further consideration.