Action Alert: Senate Bill Introduced, Opportunities to Help
Midwifery friends, we have exciting news! Senator Mike Green has introduced a bill in the Michigan Senate to license Certified Professional Midwives! SB 1310 joins HB 5070, the companion House bill sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom. Sen. Green and Rep. McBroom have been working closely together, and we’re excited to have Sen. Green as a leader in this effort. Licensing for Certified Professional Midwives is taking yet another step forward. We need your help. Read on for a full legislative update, and to learn how you can offer support.
Q: How can I help support the Senate Bill?
A: WE ARE ASKING SUPPORTERS TO DO TWO THINGS!
1. Email Sen. Mike Green at firstname.lastname@example.org to thank him for sponsoring a CPM licensure bill. We are grateful for his willingness to champion this issue in the Senate! If you really want to practice gratitude, email a note of thanks to his chief of staff, Emily Carney, at email@example.com – a HUGE supporter of midwives!
2. Next, at http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm, identify your state senator and send him/her a brief email urging support for licensure of CPMs. See the sample message below. If you prefer to leave a voicemail, that’s fine too.
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO SENATORS (feel free to personalize and/or shorten)
Hello! I am writing to ask Senator <last name> to please support SB1310, a bill to license Certified Professional Midwives that was introduced this week by Senator Green.
I strongly support this bill. Parents want the option of an out-of-hospital birth. With licensure of Certified Professional Midwives, parents can be sure that the midwife they choose has the education and training necessary for a safe out-of-hospital birth. I believe that it is time for Michigan to join 27 other states and pass legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives.
Thank you for considering my views on this important matter. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Name (mailing address and if you wish, your phone number)
Q: What happens now with Senate Bill 1310?
A: The Senate process mirrors the House process: the bill will be assigned to a committee the Senate Health Policy Committee.
Just a bit of legislative process 101: each bill that is introduced, regardless of whether it starts in the House or the Senate, must complete the entire legislative process from start to finish. The bill must be passed by the committee, then passed by the entire chamber (House or Senate) and then repeat the same process in the next chamber, and ultimately be signed into law by the Governor. During this whole journey, the bill number does not change, although a suffix will be added every time the bill is amended. For example: House Bill 1234 (H-1) becomes House Bill 1234 (H-2).
Q: Is the content of the Senate bill the same as HB 5070?
A: Sen. Green’s bill is identical in content to the current working draft of HB 5070. Rep. McBroom’s working draft includes changes to correct a drafting error and other changes based upon input from Friends of Michigan Midwives (FoMM), the Michigan Midwives Association (MMA) and various other parties. The working draft is not available on the Michigan Legislature bill tracking system because the draft has not been officially adopted by legislative committee vote. However, it is recognized as the sponsor’s current draft; contact Rep. McBroom or MMA/FoMM for a copy.
Q: When we contact our Senator about SB 1310, should we also mention Senate Bill 1208, which would ban CPMs in Michigan?
A: No, we are staying positive and focusing on Sen. Green’s bill, Senate Bill 1310. Do not mention SB1208.
Q: What is the status of House Bill (HB) 5070 (sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom) – the House bill to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)?
A: Chairwoman Gail Haines has not scheduled HB 5070 for a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee, despite vigorous lobbying by midwifery consumers, midwives and Rep. Haines’ fellow legislators. We are very disappointed by this failure to hold a hearing. We ask that our supporters do not repeatedly contact Rep. Haines at this time, however, and that any interactions that do take place remain fully respectful and cordial.
Q: I am hearing horrible, untrue things about CPMs and moms who choose out-of-hospital births. How should I respond?
A: We are developing a written guide for responding in these situations. Remember: with a few exceptions, it is usually not productive to engage in these arguments. It is unlikely that anything you say to the opposition will change their minds. It is helpful to educate people who are interested in learning more about CPM licensure and to share why you personally support access to safe and legal midwifery care.
Q. How else can I help?
A. Friends of Michigan Midwives is recruiting volunteers in all areas of the state. We can use your help on a variety of efforts! Please e-mail us at FriendsofMichiganMidwives@gmail.com.