Lansing Update: November 11, 2016

In This Update:

ACTION NEEDED! Urge AMA to Continue Opposing Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

In June, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced it would consider changing the organization's long-standing opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia to a position of "neutrality." The AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) will study the proposed change and provide a recommendation at its June 2017 meeting. From November 12-15, 2016, delegates and alternates of the AMA will have the opportunity to offer their perspectives on the topic at the organization's interim meeting. The discussion and eventual decision are significant, as opposition to assisted suicide by national and state medical associations has been critical to preserving laws against the practice.

The Catholic Church and people of faith have continually stood against these laws because assisted suicide and euthanasia devalue the human person, undermine the medical profession, and leave the terminally ill, elderly, disabled, and indeed, all individuals, vulnerable. It is important that before any decisions are made, objections from Michigan and across the country are heard. Please take a few minutes today to contact the President of the AMA, Dr. Andrew Gurman, MD, and the Secretary of the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, Dr. Bette Crigger PhD, in opposition to such a change. Click here to learn more or visit Thank you for your action.

Analysis of the 2016 Elections

On Tuesday, November 8, voters chose the elected officials that will serve the nation, the State of Michigan, and their local communities. Michigan proved to be a battleground state in the presidential election, with Donald Trump winning seventy-five counties and narrowly edging out Secretary Clinton for the state's sixteen electoral votes with 47.6 percent of the vote. He and his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, went on to receive the necessary 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the nation's highest offices, much to the surprise of pollsters across the country. In a wave of Republican turnout and support, Republicans maintain a 9-5 advantage in the Michigan congressional delegation, with two newcomers joining seven incumbent lawmakers. In the State House of Representatives, too, Republicans maintained a 63-47 majority, the same breakdown as 2014. Almost forty percent of the members elected will be first-time lawmakers, and only one incumbent lawmaker, Representative Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe), lost.

Going forward into 2017, the state's executive and legislative chambers, as well as the nation's executive and legislative chambers, will all be controlled by a Republican majority. A more detailed analysis of the election results and the upcoming political landscape for Michigan is available on MCC's website. This piece includes information about the races for president, the U.S. House of Representatives, the State House of Representatives, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the State Board of Education. The Michigan State University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Regents, and the Wayne State University Governors are also included as they are decided by voters at the statewide ballot.

On Wednesday, November 9, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), congratulated President-Elect Donald Trump and others who were chosen by the American people. His statement also reminds people of faith that continued work is needed to promote peaceful dialogue, heal divisions, and engage with elected officials about issues facing their communities. Michigan Catholic Conference encourages all to continue working towards policies that defend human life and dignity, protect the vulnerable and the marginalized, and promote the common good of society. MCC staff is looking forward to working with the leadership and legislators of both parties to achieve these aims, for Michigan and for the United States.

Energy Legislation Passes Senate

Discussions about how best to meet energy capacity needs for Michigan have been taking place during the current legislative session. Earlier this week, the Michigan Senate considered legislation, Senate Bills 437 and 438, to amend the state's energy regulations. MCC had raised several concerns about the bills since their introduction by Senators John Proos (R-St. Joseph) and Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek):

MCC staff was grateful, however, to see incremental improvements made on the bill, including provisions that require utilities to obtain 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021 (up from 10 percent). The measures include an interim goal of 12.5 percent in 2019 to ensure progress is being made. Senate Bill 437 and 438 passed by a 26-11 and 26-10 vote, respectively, and now move to the Michigan House for further consideration. MCC will continue to seek further improvements in the House and update members with more details as they are available.

Application Now Open for School Safety Grant

Earlier this summer, Michigan Catholic Conference staff advocated for school safety grant funding to be included in the Fiscal Year 2017 (October 2016-September 2017) state budget. The final budget allocated $2 million for the Michigan State Police's grant, which can be distributed to public and nonpublic schools, school districts, and intermediate school districts who apply. The funding will specifically help recipients purchase technology and/or equipment and conduct assessments to improve building security. The application opened on November 2, 2016 and will close on December 15, 2016 at 12 p.m. EST. Applications are limited to $50,000 per application for individual schools and $250,000 for school districts or intermediate school districts. For more information, click here.

Happy Veterans Day and may God bless all of the men and women who have fought to defend our freedoms!