Legislative Update: Moral Objections, Failing Schools, Mixed Martial Arts | News
'Moral objection' health bill advances
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A bill advanced by a Michigan Senate committee would allow health care providers could use a "moral objection" or "matter of conscience" standard to refuse service to patients.
The Detroit Free Press and MLive.com report the legislation was passed Thursday in the Senate Health Policy Committee. The legislation is expected to get consideration by the full Senate after lawmakers return next month from a break.
It's the same proposal that passed the Senate during December's lame-duck session, but it didn't get a vote in the House last year.
State law allows hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals to assert objections to performing abortions on grounds of conscience or religion. The current proposal would allow employers and health insurance providers to decline offering other services and medications.
House OKs failing school oversight bill
The Republican-controlled state House has approved a bill that would expand a program to include more of the state's lowest-performing schools
The legislation (House Bill 4369) that passed 57-53 on a mostly partly line vote Thursday would expand the Education Achievement Authority program currently operating in 15 Detroit schools.
Schools could be under the program if they're in the bottom 5 percent of lowest-achieving schools for three straight years. The number of schools would be capped at 50.
Majority Republicans say the authority gives students at failing schools a chance of success.
Democrats say the program hasn't been in place long enough to know if it's working.
Democratic Rep. Rashida Talib of Detroit says Michigan "children are not experiments and shouldn't be treated as such."
Mandate sex crimes reporting for school workers
More people in Michigan would be required by law to report instances of sexual assault under a bill introduced in the state House this week.
Republican Rep. Klint Kesto of Commerce Township in Oakland County introduced a bill (House Bill 4493) Thursday that would add school employees and people who represent themselves as clergy to those mandated by law to report sex crimes.
Kesto says that under current law, school faculty and administrators are required to report instances of sexual assault. This would ensure that all school employees such as coaches and janitors would be held under the same requirements.
He says closing the loophole will help protect Michigan children. He says "families deserve protection from criminals who seek to take advantage of them."
House fails to vote on mixed martial arts
The Michigan House is starting a two-week break without acting on legislation that would impose regulations on amateur mixed martial arts events in the state.
The House had been expected to vote on the bills Thursday. Currently, only professional mixed martial arts shows are regulated.
Democratic Rep. Harvey Santana of Detroit says the lack of rules in amateur shows puts fighters at risk for injury and disease.
The legislation (House Bill 4166-4167) would require amateur fighters to submit blood tests to prevent spread of blood borne illnesses. It would also require promoters to provide fight insurance to competitors.
Mixed martial arts fighters use a variety of techniques including wrestling, boxing and jiu-jitsu.
If the House passes the bills later, they'll go to the Senate for consideration.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)