The Michigan Supreme Court on Dec. 28 issued a split 3-3 ruling that will require the state Court of Claims to finalize review of a now-constitutional state appropriation that reimburses nonpublic schools for costs associated with state-mandated health and safety mandates. Michigan Catholic Conference has supported the reimbursement policy for at least three legislative sessions and is now encouraging the Court of Claims to move quickly in order for the funds to be reimbursed.
Legislation that would prohibit public water suppliers from shutting off water to residents for nonpayment has been signed into law and will protect residents through March 3, 2021. Michigan Catholic Conference supported the measure, sponsored by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) as it moved through the legislative process. According to a release from MCC after the bill was enacted, “The new Act will ensure that no Michigan resident, particularly those who are low-income or facing imminent financial hardship, will lose the ability to wash, drink, or cook for their family during the ongoing pandemic.”
As the immunization process has begun across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan bishops are addressing moral questions that have arisen about the Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines. While the three options are in various phases of use and development, the bishops have written that “it is morally permissible to receive the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna”, especially in light of the “serious health risks” that “are present due to the current pandemic.” The bishops also have reaffirmed the Catholic responsibility to call for vaccines that have no connection to abortion.
The Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this afternoon regarding a state policy supported by MCC to reimburse nonpublic schools for dozens of state-mandated expenses that include protections for safe water, lock-down training and immunization records, among others. At issue is whether or not Article 8, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution (known as the “Blaine Amendment”) approved at the ballot in 1970 allows for the state to reimburse nonpublic schools for expenses unrelated to education, instruction or curriculum.
Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed from the state’s 2020–2021 fiscal year budget a $100 placeholder that would fund an appropriation to reimburse nonpublic schools for health and safety regulations mandated by the State of Michigan. Michigan Catholic Conference responded with the comments below, stating that while the veto was expected, “just and fair, it certainly was not.”
As the level of civility and respect for others with differing opinions has diminished with each passing political campaign season, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) has undertaken an advertising effort encouraging Catholics and residents of the state to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion when discussing and debating candidates and politics. To promote the nonpartisan Civilize It effort, a one-minute television commercial featuring a diverse range of Catholics taking the pledge has been produced and will begin to run today in various television markets across Michigan.
Michigan Catholic Conference released the following comments after a federal judge ruled against the U.S. Department of Education’s rule clarifying CARES Act funding to nonpublic schools to help deal with the impact of COVID-19. As an ardent supporter of nonpublic schools and school choice both in Michigan and across the country, MCC provided for the California court an amicus brief in support of the federal policy.
In an effort to support the funding provisions of the federal CARES Act that recognizes the impact of COVID-19 on all students, Michigan Catholic Conference has joined a legal brief filed today in federal court opposing national litigation from Attorney General Dana Nessel, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Michael Rice that seeks to withhold millions of CARES Act dollars earmarked for nonpublic schools in Michigan and across the country.
Right to Life of Michigan has announced that it is ending its effort to place citizen-initiated legislation before the Michigan House of Representatives and State Senate that would prohibit the second trimester dismemberment abortion procedure due to an insufficient number of valid signatures. According to MCC: “It goes without saying that after countless hours and with myriad people volunteering at hundreds of Catholic parishes across the state to collect signatures that this outcome is disappointing. Each and every person who assisted in this petition drive is cherished and thanked.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and State Superintendent Michael Rice announced a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education, seeking to withhold needed pandemic relief from Michigan students in nonpublic schools. MCC decried the action’s utter disregard for families and students, simply because of the school they attend.