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2024 Advocacy

2024 Advocacy

Five Issues Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is Watching at the Capitol in 2024

  1. Legislation Proposes to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Michigan
    Senate Bills 678 and 681 which are in the Senate Health Policy Committee would remove the state’s statutory protection against assisted suicide, which was affirmed by a vote of the people in 1998 when 71% voted to oppose a statewide proposal that would have permitted the practice.
  2. Surrogacy Package Raises Concerns for Children’s Rights, Mothers’ Welfare
    Surrogacy itself is not illegal in MI; however, the pending legislation would overturn a state prohibition on contracts and compensation for surrogacy which would commercialize that practice. This Bill in the House Package was passed by the Full House last fall and is now before the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.
  3. Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants in Michigan
    MCC is working with lawmaker on this legislation aligning with the Church’s principle of upholding the human dignity of immigrants and allowing the opportunity to acquire a driver’s license or state ID card. This legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate and awaits committee consideration.
  4. Protecting the Vulnerable from Predatory Payday Lending Practices
    MCC and other organizations are seeking to advance legislation under HB 5148 and 5149 to better protect those who are vulnerable and have low-income from predatory payday lending practices. Matching rate cap bills were introduced in both the House and Senate and await committee hearings.
  5. Legislation Would End Confidentiality in Closed Adoptions
    MCC and the state’s Catholic Charities agencies believe this proposed legislation under HB 5148 and 5149 would end confidentiality in a closed adoption process which could result in fewer mothers choosing adoption for their children. This legislation was introduced in October 2023 and approved by the full House. The bills are now
    before the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Other issues from the Catholic Advocacy Network (CAN) that need our voice…

Amend SB 500 to Expand School Meal Program for All Students
Send a pre-form letter to your Senator to include students in non-public schools urging them to amend the bill.

Support Child Tax Credit
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops encourage us to contact our Senators and representatives to support Child
Tax Credit to improve security for families.

Human Trafficking-related Legislative Issues

Urge Congress to protect children from online abuse.

Ask Congress to fund anti-trafficking programs.

Learn more about current anti-human trafficking campaigns: human trafficking and forced migration; equal-not-exploited; the Statement to U.S. Senate on the Judiciary Full Committee Hearing Protecting Children Online; and the EARN IT Act:

Protect Children Online
Urge Congress to support four bills (with one click!) related to keeping our children safe online.
Encourage Your Senator to Take Action: Protect Children Online Following 1.31 Big Tech CEO Hearing (

Click here for a pre-drafted letter to print and mail to your senator! (PDF)

Click here to download the letter in Word format

Current legislation that needs to get out of committee and onto the floor for a vote:

The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (S.1207 / H.R.2732) is a bipartisan bill that would confront the explosion of online child sexual abuse material, incentivize companies to create a safer online environment and help bring an end to online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). 

This legislation can be a beginning for achieving justice for victims, and can be a step forward in offering some level of addressing online exploitation and trafficking of children.

The EARN IT Act does several key things:  

  1. Clarifies there is no immunity for social media and technology companies that knowingly facilitate the distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). 
  2. Gives victims a path to justice and the possibility of restoring their privacy.
  3. Updates existing federal statutes to replace “child pornography” with the more accurate term “child sexual abuse material” (CSAM). This content is crime scene documentation; “child pornography” fails to convey the seriousness of the abuse. 
  4. Allows the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to update its tools. 

The Senate version has a significant additional component:  

  1. Establishes the National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, made up of survivors, technology representatives, civil rights experts, and other stakeholders. The commission must develop best practices for interactive computer services providers (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children—including enticement for sex trafficking.  

The Strengthening Transparency and Obligations to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act (S. 1199) is a comprehensive approach to close gaps in the law and crack down on the proliferation of child sex abuse material online.

This bill expands protections for child victims and witnesses in federal court; facilitates restitution for victims of child exploitation, human trafficking, sexual assault, and crimes of violence; and empowers victims by making it easier for them to ask tech companies to remove child sexual abuse material and related imagery from their platforms and by creating an administrative penalty for the failure to comply with a removal request. 

Learn more: Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Durb… | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

H.R. 5856 reauthorizes several programs that prevent trafficking in persons, which are managed by the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), and State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development over the 2024-2028 period.

The Kids Online Safety Act (S. 1409) is a bipartisan bill providing young people and parents with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against online harms. The bill requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first by providing an environment that is safe by default.

This bill sets out requirements to protect minors from online harms.  The requirements apply to covered platforms, which are applications or services (e.g., social networks) that connect to the internet and are likely to be used by minors. However, the bill exempts internet service providers, email services, educational institutions, and other specified entities from the requirements.

Covered platforms must take reasonable measures in the design and operation of products or services used by minors to prevent and mitigate certain harms that may arise from that use (e.g., sexual exploitation and online bullying).  Additionally, covered platforms must provide (1) minors with certain safeguards, such as settings that restrict access to minors’ personal data; and (2) parents or guardians with tools to supervise minors’ use of a platform, such as control of privacy and account settings.

Covered platforms must also:

  • disclose specified information, including details regarding the use of personalized recommendation systems and individual-specific advertising to minors;
  • allow parents, guardians, minors, and schools to report certain harms;
  • refrain from facilitating advertising of age-restricted products or services (e.g., tobacco and gambling) to minors; and
  • annually report on foreseeable risks of harm to minors from using the platform.

The Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution Act (S. 412/H.R. 3686) is a bipartisan bill that addresses the devastating impact of the nonconsensual distribution of explicit images online. The SHIELD Act will benefit child victims by criminalizing the distribution of visual depictions of a nude minor in instances where the images are exploitative, but do not meet the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct that constitutes child pornography.

This bill makes it a crime to knowingly mail or distribute (or attempt or threaten to distribute):

  • an intimate visual depiction of an individual with knowledge of the individual’s lack of consent, where what is depicted was not voluntarily exposed by the individual in a public or commercial setting, and where what is depicted is not a matter of public concern; or
  • a visual depiction of a nude minor with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade the minor or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to five years, or both—and mandatory restitution. Violators must also forfeit any material involved in the offense, property constituting or derived from the proceeds from the offense, and property used to commit or facilitate the offense.