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May 23, 2003 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-23

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May 28, 2003


oFswar.romer g.

Issue Date:
June 13, 2003

• Both houses of the Michigan
Legislature have passed bills that
would ban the procedure opponents
refer to as "partial-birth abortions,"
known as "dilation and extraction" in
the medical community. The bills
define a fetus as being born when any
portion of the body has left the
mother's body and shows signs of life
such as a fetal heartbeat or sponta-
neous movement. State Reps. Marc
Shulman, R-West Bloomfield, and
Shelley Goodman Taub, R-
Bloomfield Hills, voted for the legis-
lation; Reps. Andy Meisner, D-.
Ferndale, and Steve Tobocman, D-
Detroit, voted against. State Sen.
Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods,
and Lynn Brater, D-Ann Arbor,
offered an amendment to allow the
procedure when the mother's health
was in danger. The amendment was
defeated. Sens. Jacobs, Brater and
Burton Leland, D-Detroit, voted
against the legislation.
• Sen. Jacobs' first package of bills
unanimously passed the Senate. The
bills define how a cemetery must use
monies secured in endowment care
funds, protecting the rights of citi-
zens who have purchased burial plots.
The bills now go to the House for
• Rep. Tobocman has introduced
several bills that would amend the
Michigan Penal Code. Specifically,
the bills would repeal the laws that
make it a crime for a person to
engage in gross indecency in public
or private with someone of the same
gender. It also repeals sections of the
law that make it a crime for divorced
couples to live together; for any per-
son who blasphemes the "holy name
of God;" who curses, damns or
swears in the "name of God, Jesus
Christ or the Holy Ghost;" for
unmarried couples to cohabitate and
for married or unmarried couples to
openly display gross lewdness and las-
civious behavior. Rep. Andy Meisner
co-sponsored the bills. These bills
have been referred to the House
Committee on Criminal Justice.

• Rep. Taub introduced her first
House bill that would allow town-
ships and villages to create a business
improvement district. Current law
only allows cities to impose a special
assessment on property within a dis-
trict to pay for improvements. This
bill is necessary to implement the
Orchard Lake corridor group's strate-
gy for enhancing the Orchard Lake
Road corridor between Telegraph
Road and 1-696 in western Oakland
County. The bill is before the full
House of Representatives for a vote.

— Compiled by Susan Herman,
Michigan Jewish Conference

Washington,D. C.

• The U.S. Senate passed a tax
package 95-3 that includes $20 bil-
lion in relief for states, including
$520.5 million for Michigan. These
funds, which were not included in
the House version, include a tempo-
rary (18-month) increase in the
amount that the federal government
pays toward Medicaid (called the
FMAP) as well as other funds. Many
Jewish agencies, including JVS, JARC
and Jewish Home and Aging Services,
utilize Medicaid payments to provide
services to their clients. Both
Michigan senators, Carl Levin and
Debbie Stabenow, voted in favor of
the measure.
• The Charity Aid, Recovery and
Empowerment (CARE) Act provides
resources for social and human serv-
ice agencies. The Senate version con-
tains two important provisions for
Jewish agencies: allowing fully tax-
deductible IRA charitable rollovers
and full funding of the Social Services
Block Grant (SSBG), which pays for
services such as adult day care and
Meals on Wheels. The Senate version
calls for SSBG funding at the 1995
level of $2.8 billion over 2 years. The
House version (HR 7) contains no
SSBG funds at all.

— Compiled by Eric Adelman,
Jewish Community Council
of Metropolitan Detroit

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