Lansing, Mich. — Enacting common sense gun safety measures, increasing access to affordable homes, and allowing undocumented immigrants and refugees to obtain driver's licenses are among the measures Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) will pursue this legislative session, as outlined in Blueprint for the Common Good, the Conference’s policy document for the 2023-24 Michigan legislative session.
All three policies – gun safety, affordable housing, and driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and refugees – have received support from MCC in previous legislative sessions. As noted in its Blueprint document, the Catholic Conference remains fully committed to opposing any expansion of abortion, protecting religious liberty rights, and promoting choice in education for all of Michigan’s students and families.
"It is the mission of the Conference to promote human dignity from conception through natural death with care and concern for the poor and vulnerable among us,” said Paul A. Long, president and CEO of Michigan Catholic Conference. “We look forward to building on six decades of advocacy with members of both political parties to speak on behalf of the unborn, the marginalized, the immigrant, and people of faith who bring their religious principles to the public square to serve others.”
Blueprint for the Common Good, approved by the MCC Board of Directors, is issued at the beginning of each legislative session and provides a framework on which MCC will advocate through the two-year session. The policies are divided into nine advocacy principles that originate from Catholic social teaching and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. MCC’s Board of Directors includes the seven diocesan Catholic bishops in Michigan, five lay persons, a woman religious, and a diocesan priest.
Every policy and principle detailed in the Blueprint is proposed by MCC to promote the common good in Michigan, which the Conference believes is rooted in the bedrock principle of protecting and upholding the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death and at every point in between. Because human life and dignity is the common thread that runs throughout its advocacy principles, MCC will continue to advocate for measures that protect and promote the flourishing of human life, such as:
- Opposing any efforts to overturn abortion restrictions following Proposal 3 while at the same time encouraging more care and resources for mothers and children in need,
- Protecting First Amendment rights afforded to religious people and institutions to serve others, primarily the poor and needy, within their faith-based principles, and
- Promoting choice in education, as well as fairness and equity for nonpublic schools in state policy and funding.
Following the horrific tragedies at Michigan State University and Oxford High School where innocent people were shot and either killed or seriously injured, MCC looks forward to supporting as a human life issue common sense gun safety legislation with the goal of reducing unreasonable and deadly access to firearms.
“Common sense gun control policies that include locking away a firearm to protect children or other vulnerable persons from harm or even death are necessary in Michigan,” said Long, in a statement MCC issued after Gov. Whitmer's recent State of the State address where she called for legislation on gun safety measures.
MCC has supported and will continue to advocate for gun safety measures including safe storage laws, which would require gun owners to store their guns securely and institute criminal charges against gun owners who fail to do so, particularly if a child gains access to the weapon and is caught with it or inflicts harm on others. Currently, there is no such requirement for gun owners to lock up their guns at home.
Last session, MCC joined a coalition supporting a $1.6 billion investment into improving and expanding access to affordable housing, as the Conference believes access to housing is a basic human right. The proposal would use surplus state and federal money to build new, affordable and low-income housing as well as housing catered to middle class homebuyers. MCC intends to continue its advocacy for the affordable housing coalition's proposal this legislative session.
“Having the security to live in a stable, healthy home is a basic need and is crucial to work, to go to school and to protect your family,” said Tom Hickson, vice president of public policy and advocacy for MCC, in a press call promoting the proposal last year.
MCC will continue its long-running advocacy to provide state identification cards and driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants awaiting their documentation. MCC’s support for the policy is rooted in the belief that it upholds immigrants’ and refugees’ dignity by allowing safe and legal transportation to work, to take children to school and church, and to drive to the grocery store and doctor, activities on which all citizens of the state participate and rely.
Click or tap here to read the entire Blueprint for the Common Good, MCC’s public policy document for the 2023-24 legislative session. In addition, MCC recently published its Advocacy Report on the 101st Michigan Legislative Session – An Analysis of the 2021-22 Legislative Session. The publication revisits and provides commentary and analysis of those policies on which Michigan Catholic Conference advocated for or against in the previous session. Click or tap here to read the document.