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This Status Report Archive was updated 7/12/17

STATE LEGISLATION

Abortion Provider Funding Ban: [06/17 Report] The bill in Washington to repeal ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood is being worked on by the U.S. Senate after the House passed it on 5/4/17. If the Senate follows through, action on state level to defund PP might only need to affirm or facilitate the federal legislation. Senate leaders say they are pushing to pass the repeal bill in July.

[04/17 Report] With the U.S. House failing to move the legislation to defund Planned Parenthood on its first attempt, we will have to evaluate if Michigan must proceed on its own defunding strategy. Congress did act to reverse a last-hour Obama regulation that would prohibit (penalize) the states for defunding PP (see Federal Legislation). Thus, states now have the option to defund PP without federal penalty.

[03/17 Report] Senate Bill 162 and House Bill 4221 are identical bills introduced on 2/15/17 by Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Rep. Steve Johnson in their respective chambers. SB 162 was referred to the Senate Oversight Committee, HB 4221 was referred to the House Appropriations Committee. The bills will restrict funding to abortion clinics that receive “health program” grants or contracts. Yes… this is about the $12 million in federal funds that pass through the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and go to Planned Parenthood. No timeline for moving the state legislation has been established as we wait to see what Congress and President Trump accomplish in Washington.

Abortion Clinic Enforcement Fines: Senate Bill 164 was introduced on 2/15/17 by Sen. John Proos and referred to the Senate Oversight Committee. In 2012, Michigan passed a law requiring surgical abortion clinics to be licensed by the state. On their way to becoming licensed, some clinics engaged in a drawn out cat-and-mouse game with the state licensing department that required state regulators to return to the clinics numerous times before noncompliance issues were properly resolved. The 3-year license renewal process is about to begin and we anticipate some clinics have reverted to noncompliant behaviors. SB 164 will give the licensing department authority to assess reimbursement costs to the clinics if multiple visits are required. The department will also be given new authority to shut down the clinic until it is in compliance. No timeline has been set for moving the bill.

Choose Life License Plate: [07/17 Report] Governor Snyder vetoed SB 163 on 6/30/17 stating that Choose Life is a divisive message and not appropriate for a state license plate. There are not enough votes in House to override the governor’s veto, so there will be no override effort.

[06/17 Report] The full Senate approved SB 163 by a vote of 26-11 on 4/27/17. The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on SB 163 on 5/9/17. On 5/16/17 the Committee voted along party lines 9-4 to report the bill to the House floor. The House approved the bill by a vote of 65-43 on 5/25/17. The bill will be presented to Gov. Snyder any day now and there is no indication from the Governor as to what he will do. He has not supported the Choose Life plate in the past.

[04/17 Report] A hearing on SB 163 was held on 3/23/17 in the Senate Transportation Committee with only 4 testimonies offered, 2 for and 2 against the bill. On 3/30/17 the committee voted the bill out by a 3-1 vote. No time line has been set for a vote by the full Senate, but it is expected to pass when a vote does come up.

[03/17 Report] Senate Bill 163 and House Bill 4222 were introduced identically in the House and Senate on 2/15/17. Sen. Colbeck again sponsored the Senate bill, while Rep. Shane Hernandez is sponsoring HB 4222. Both bills were referred to their respective chamber’s  Transportation Committee. No time frame has been established for taking up either bill. The ongoing obstacle to passage of a Choose Life fundraising plate is opposition by Gov. Snyder. He dislikes all license plate bills and particularly believes that a Choose Life plate is “too political.” If there is any indication that the governor will sign a bill, there is little doubt the House and Senate would approve it.

Heartbeat-Miscarriage Awareness Act: [04/17 Report] Rep. Lana Theis introduced HB 4667 on 3/30/17 which was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. HB 4667 would require an abortionist to attempt to detect the unborn child’s heartbeat prior to an abortion. If detected he/she must offer the woman the opportunity to hear the heartbeat or see it on an ultrasound screen. Otherwise, she must be informed of natural miscarriage rate for pregnancies where no heartbeat has been detected. No timeline has been set for action on the bill.

Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Act: Senate Bill 367 was introduced by Sen. Jim Marleau on 5/9/17 and referred to the Health Policy Committee. The bill will require parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of a fatal or disabling condition to be given either a referral to perinatal hospice services or to a special website that will share life-affirming information and help parents connect to other families whose children have the same condition. A one-time appropriation of $150,000 has been inserted into the state health department budget for the creation of the website as it will provide expert information on approximately 30 conditions. Assuming the funding for the website is approved in the final budget, action on the authorizing legislation, SB 367, will need to take place by early autumn to allow for the website development to move forward.

Citizen Accountability Act: House Bills 4592-4593 were introduced by Rep. John Reilly and Rep. Bronna Kahle on 5/4/17 and referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Sen. Rick Jones introduced identical versions, SB 376-377 on 5/10/17 in the Senate, which were referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. These bills will allow individuals who are aware of a woman seeking treatment for abortion complications to send a “triggering” notice to the physician or hospital treating the injured woman that an abortion complication report must be sent to the state health department. The abortion provider and the department will also receive a copy of the citizens notice. A hearing on the legislation is anticipated in early fall.

Dismemberment Abortion Ban: HB 4552-4553 were introduced on 4/27/17 by Rep. Laura Cox and referred to the House Law & Justice Committee. SB 391-392 were introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson on 5/18/17 and were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are identical bills to HB 4552 & 4559. These bills would ban the 2nd trimester abortion procedure known as the D & E abortion by amending the Partial Birth Abortion Ban to also prohibit dismemberment abortions. No time frame has been set for action on the bills.

Stillborn Child Tax Equity: HB 4522 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford on 4/25/17 and referred to the House Tax Policy Committee. This bill will allow parents who experience a stillbirth after 20 weeks of pregnancy to claim the child as a dependent for purposes of their Michigan income taxes. They can only claim the child one time for the year the stillbirth occurred. This bill would replace a similar tax credit that was in Michigan law from 2006 to 2011. The credit was eliminated with all other tax credits under Gov. Snyder’s major tax re-write when he came into office. HB 4522 is different in that it counts the child as a dependent rather than creating a specific tax credit.

Abortion Injury Statue of Limitations: HB 4620 was introduced by Rep. Klint Kesto on 5/17/17 and referred to the House Committee on Law & Justice. The bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for a malpractice lawsuit related to injuries caused by an abortion. The current limit is 3 years after the abortion. We know many women suffer infertility issues from abortion complications which do not become known until they attempt to get pregnant many years later.

 

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Repeal ObamaCare & One-year moratorium on federal funding of Planned Parenthood: [07/17 Report] The Senate Majority Leader’s efforts to hold a vote before the July 4th recess did not happen. Sen. McConnell has extended the July session into August with the intent of passing a bill before September.

[06/17 Report] After rounds of contentious wrangling, the House passed this legislation by the minimum vote needed, 217-213 on 5/4/17. The Senate is working on the bill behind the scenes and is targeting July for passage of the bill.

 [04/17 Report] The bill was brought to the precipice of a vote on 3/24/17. But the votes were not there, so Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the agenda. No strategy or timeline for revisiting the legislation has been announced.

[03/17 Report] What was two separate bills in Congress last session have been combined into this single, most-anticipated bill of the new congressional session. The bill was rolled out on 3/6/17 and action in committee began within 2 days. House and Senate leaders hope to move the bill quickly, before the Easter recess. The bill will repeal anti-life provisions of ObamaCare, especially the one allowing tax-supported insurance plans to cover abortion. In addition, the bill will cut off Planned Parenthood from federal funding for one year.

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion:  HR 7 was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith on 1/13/17. The bill would put into permanent law the Hyde Amendment, limiting Medicaid abortion coverage to cases of life of the mother, rape and incest. The bill would also eliminate abortion coverage from federal employee health care plans and restrict ObamaCare tax credits for a person receiving subsidies to buy health insurance that includes abortion coverage. The House approved HR 7 on 1/24/17 by a vote of 238-183. No timeline for Senate action has been announced.

Repeal Obama Planned Parenthood Protection Rules: [04/17 Report] The Senate approved HJR 43 in dramatic fashion on 3/30/17 by a 51-50 vote. Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote after Sen. Johnny Isakson cast the tying vote, entering the chamber using a walker while recovering from back surgery. The vote had to be held open for more than an hour while the Senate awaited Pence and Isakson’s arrival. With the Obama rules repealed, the states are free to prohibit funding to abortion providers without penalty.

[03/17 Report] In the waning days for the Obama administration, a rule was rushed through that would penalize states if they attempted to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Effectively states would not be able to cut off Planned Parenthood funding. Congress has the authority to overturn any rule crafted by an administration. Thus, the House voted on 2/16/17 to pass HJR 43 by a vote of 230-188. The Senate will have to also approve the resolution to rescind the rule. No timeline for that vote has been announced, though the resolution and rule may become moot if the Planned Parenthood funding moratorium is approved.

 

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