Legal and Legislative Update

Here is our Justice Center update on important legal and policy matters impacting family, life, and freedoms of Christian people. 

Legal Update

  • The Justice Center continues to file many briefs on behalf of Christian people in various cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Most recently, we responded to an attack on a Christian Cross. The Bladensburg WWI Memorial is a 40-foot-tall concrete Christian cross standing on a large pedestal.  Leftist activists challenged the cross contending it violated the Establishment Clause. The Great Lakes Justice Center defended the Cross, submitting a legal brief on behalf of the American Association of Christian Schools, the Michigan Association of  Christian Schools, and the Christian Educators Association International.  The good news is that a 7-2 majority of the Court held that the cross did not violate the Establishment Clause.  While we celebrate the victory, we have some concerns about the reasoning the Court used to reach its conclusion.  
  • Michigan’s governor, attorney general and Civil Rights Commission continue to defy the rule of law.  Michigan law properly prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, and religion. The Michigan legislature repeatedly voted not to add special classifications used by authorities to infringe on religious conscience and expression (e.g., gender identity).  The executive branch continues, with no legal authorization, to operate as if the legislature amended the law to allow for religious persecution.
    • The Justice Center participated in hearings and legislative oversight of the AG and MCRC in connection with their misuse of power here.
    • The Justice Center currently represents a Christian family business being investigated by the MCRC for exercising their sincerely held religious beliefs by choosing not to participate in a same-sex wedding.
  • Williamston School Board enacted politically charged sexuality policies.  These policies substantially infringe on the free exercise of religious conscience and expression. The policies also authorize things like men using the girls’ bathroom and showers and allowing men to identify as girls in scholastic athletic events. The Justice Center assisted parents and the community in responding to the abuse of governmental power. We also filed a federal law suit against the school board.
  • Planet Fitness revoked the membership of a woman who complained about the presence of a man she encountered in the woman’s locker room. The Justice Center continues to assist in a lawsuit against this national corporation, battling all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court for the right to go to trial.  With a recent victory in the Supreme Court we expect a trial soon.
  • When government leaders abuse power others follow in their footsteps. The Justice Center currently represents another Christian family whose Christian statue on their own private property is under attack.  This case is receiving a lot of national media attention so please pray for those on the front lines here.
  • When a former pastor distributed fliers with a political message on a public sidewalk, government officials arrested him when they disagreed with the message.  The Justice Center assisted on this case where the former pastor won a dismissal of the most serious felonies. The case is currently in the Michigan Supreme Court on the remaining misdemeanor.
  • The Justice Center continues to represent a Christian businessman facing millions of dollars in fines for his exercise of religious conscience.  His unwillingness to participate in abortions of his employees and government mandate collided. Some similar cases around the country have “settled” on terms that fail to protect Christian conscience in the future.  We are determined to ensure Christian people and their business are protected.

Legislative Update

United States Congress

HR 5, a bill before Congress, targets Christian people and our sincerely held Christian values. It  compels Christian people to endorse, accept, and embrace anti-Biblical sinful sexual conduct. Now before the House of Representative, HR 5 forces churches to wed same-sex couples and hire cross-dressing teachers. It permits men to use women’s restrooms and dressing rooms, If your church refuses, it loses its tax-exempt status. Under the bill Churches also face expensive litigation, fines and financially crippling court judgments. Most troubling, under the provisions of HR 5, your free exercise of religion is no longer a defense.

Under HR 5 Churches must host same-sex ceremonies. Nonconforming Churches lose tax-exempt status. Nonconforming Colleges lose accreditation. The bill prohibits nonconforming educational institutions at all level rom receiving students loans. Inevitably, Christian institutions will either cease to exist or bow to a secular god by compromising their core Christian mission.

The implications are real. If Christians schedule a mission trip, the proposed law prohibits the Christian organization from separating rooms by biological sex. Thus, men must have access to the women’s showers and bathrooms.  Additionally the proposed law prohibits churches from following Biblical precepts on sexuality when hiring church ministry and staff. Thus, it violates the proposed law to consider whether a candidate openly engages in sinful sexual conduct. The bill allows lawsuits by someone who believes a church did not hire or select them due to their sexual lifestyle. Thus, even if the church denied the job for other reasons, it could face costly “damages” in a court judgment.

Last Action:

5/17/ 2019 – HR5 -This bill passed in the House with virtually every Democrat voting for the measure. Now before the Senate for consideration.

 

Michigan Legislation

Here is an update of the current bills before the state legislature impacting Christian people:

(House actions in lowercase, Senate actions in UPPERCASE)

HR 0072  

  • A resolution to declare May 2, 2019, as Holocaust Remembrance Day 

Last Action: 5/2/2019 – HJ 42 Pg. 488 – adopted

 

HB 4076

  • Crimes; internet; penalties for coercing vulnerable adult into providing sexually explicit visual material; provide for. Amends 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.1 – 750.568) by adding sec. 145g.

Last Action:

1/23/2019 – HJ 7 referred to Families, Children, and Seniors

6/19/2019 – HJ 63 referred to Committee on Judiciary, with subs H-2

 

HB 4112 of 2019

  • Liquor; licenses; posting to warn of the potential problems of drinking alcohol during pregnancy; require on premises of retail liquor licensees. Amends 1998 PA 58 (MCL 436.1101 – 436.2303) by adding sec. 905a.

Last Action:

3/12/2019 – HJ 25 passed; Roll Call # 14 Yeas 100 Nays 10 – transmitted

3/13/2019 – SJ 26 REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON REGULATORY REFORM

 

HB 4262

  • Labor; youth employment; parent or legal guardian of a minor being educated at the minor’s home; allow to issue a work permit for the minor (Allows parents of homeschool students to sign work permit). Amends sec. 2 of 1978 PA 90 (MCL 409.102).

Last Action:

2/26/2019 – HJ 19 Pg. 184 referred to Committee on Education

6/4/2019 – HJ 56 Pg. 664 referred to Committee on Ways and Means, with H-1

 

HB 4311-12

  • Gambling; Gaming; lawful internet gaming act; create. Creates new act. TIE BAR WITH: HB 4308’19

Last Action:

3/7/2019 – HJ 24 Pg. 234   referred to Committee on Regulatory Reform

3/19/2019 – HJ 28 Pg. 286 referred to Committee on Ways and Means

 

HB 4416 of 2019

  • Criminal procedure; sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for the crime of disclosing confidential information regarding abortion; eliminate. Amends sec. 13k, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.13k). TIE BAR WITH: HB 4417’19

Last Action:

3/21/2019 – HJ 30 Pg. 331 referred to Committee on Health Policy

 

HB 4417 of 2019

  • Health; abortion; additional abortion complication reporting; require. Amends secs. 2835 & 2837 of 1978 PA 368 (MCL 333.2835 & 333.2837) & adds sec. 2839.

Last Action:

3/21/2019 – HJ 30 Pg. 331 referred to Committee on Health Policy

 

HB 4322 of 2019

  • Health; funding; prohibition for state to contract with providers that offer abortion services; provide for. Amends title & sec. 1 of 2002 PA 360 (MCL 333.1091).

Last Action:

3/12/2019 – HJ 25 referred to Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors

 

HB 4435 of 2019

  • Civil rights; speech and assembly; campus free speech act; create. Creates new act.

Last Action:

4/9/2019 – HJ 31 Pg. 336 referred to Committee on Oversight

 

HB 4436 of 2019

  • Civil rights; speech and assembly; safeguards for exercise of free speech rights on community college and university campuses; provide for. Creates new act.

Last Action:

4/9/2019 – HJ 31 Pg. 336 referred to Committee on Oversight

 

HB 4523-24

  • Children; protection; allow for surrender of newborn to a newborn safety device (baby dropbox);  Amends secs. 5, 7, 10, 17 & 20, ch. XII of 1939 PA 288 (MCL 712.5 et seq.) & adds sec. 3a. TIE BAR WITH: HB 4524’19

Last Action:

4/30/2019 – HJ 40 Pg. 470 referred to Families, Children, & Seniors

 

HB 4664 of 2019

  • Health; abortion; Creates new law protecting unborn life when fetal heartbeat detected with various exceptions; Current law protects all unborn life from point of conception except to save life of mother.

Last Action:

5/23/2019 – HJ 51 referred to Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors

 

HB 4665 of 2019

  • Criminal procedure; sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for crime of performing an abortion without testing for a fetal heartbeat, performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and performing an abortion without obtaining informed consent after a fetal heartbeat is detected; create. Amends sec. 13k, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.13k). TIE BAR WITH: HB 4664’19

Last Action:

5/23/2019 referred to Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors


HB 4688 of 2019

  • Civil rights; general discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; include as categories protected under the Elliott-Larsen civil rights act. Amends title & secs. 102, 103, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 302, 302a, 402, 502, 504, 505 & 506 of 1976 PA 453 (MCL 37.2102 et seq.).

Last Action: 6/5/2019 bill electronically reproduced 06/04/2019

 

SB 50-53HB 4113-16

  • Repeals Michigan’s current law banning abortions from conception. Crimes; abortion; penalty for administering with intent to procure miscarriage; repeal. Repeals sec. 14 of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.14).

Last Action:

1/23/2019 – SJ 7 Pg. 72 REFERRED TO JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC SAFETY

1/29/2019 – HJ 9 Pg. 77 referred to Committee on Health Policy

 

SB 0351 of 2019

  • Civil rights; general discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; include as categories protected under the Elliott-Larsen civil rights act. Amends title & secs. 102, 103, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 302, 302a, 402, 502, 504, 505 & 506 of 1976 PA 453 (MCL 37.2102 et seq.).

Last Action:

6/5/2019 REFERRED TO GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

 

SB 0165 of 2019

  • Health; abortion; pain-capable unborn child protection act; enact. Amends 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.1 – 750.568) by adding sec. 325.

Last Action:

3/5/2019 REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH POLICY AND HUMAN SERVICES\

 

SB 228

Health; suicide; provides for suicide prevention commission; Creates new act.

Last Action:

5/7/2019 – SJ 43 Pg. 426    PASSED ROLL CALL # 57 YEAS 38 NAYS 0

5/7/2019 – HJ 43 Pg. 511  referred to Committee on Health Policy

 

SB 0229 of 2019; HB 4320

  • Health; abortion; partial-birth abortion provision; modify to include dismemberment abortion; (bans dismemberment abortion). Amends sec. 90h of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.90h).

Last Action:

5/14/2019 – SJ 46 Pg. 466 – PASSED ROLL CALL # 63 YEAS 22 NAYS 16

5/14/2019 HJ 46 Pg. 549 referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

SB 0230; HB 4321 

  • Criminal procedure; sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for the crime of dismemberment abortion; enact. Amends sec. 16d, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.16d). TIE BAR WITH: SB 0229’19

Last Action:

5/14/2019 – SJ 46 Pg. 467 – PASSED ROLL CALL # 64 YEAS 22 NAYS 16

5/14/2019 – HJ 46 Pg. 549 – referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

SB 272-274HB 4469-71

  • Prohibits placements and adoptions by a child placing agency based on religious or moral convictions. (Repeals religious liberty protections for adoption and foster care agencies) Repeals secs. 14e & 14f of 1973 PA 116 (MCL 722.124e & 722.124f). TIE BAR WITH: SB 0273’19SB 0274’19

Last Action

4/17/2019 – SJ 35 Pg. 316 REFERRED TO FAMILIES, SENIORS, AND VETERANS

4/17/2019 – HJ 35 Pg. 395 referred to Committee on Government Operations

 

SB 275HB 4472

  • Children; adoption; Provide for second parent adoption (Permits unmarried, second parent adoption) Amends secs. 24, 41 & 51, ch. X of 1939 PA 288 (MCL 710.24 et seq.).

Last Action:

4/17/2019 – SJ 35 Pg. 316 REFERRED TO FAMILIES, SENIORS, & VETERANS

4/17/2019 – HJ 35 referred to Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors

 

SB 284HB 4515

  • Mental health; children; Prohibits conversion therapy; (Prohibits conversion therapy for minors) Amends 1974 PA 258 (MCL 330.1001 – 330.2106) by adding sec. 901a.

Last Action:

4/24/2019 – SJ 38 REFERRED TO HEALTH POLICY & HUMAN SERVICES

4/25/2019 – HJ 39 Pg. 458 referred to Committee on Health Policy