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November Update: UN and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N.| California | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

United Nations

Dennis Frado, Lutheran Office for World Community, New York, N.Y.

Women’s Human Rights Advocacy Training: The Lutheran World Federation in collaboration with Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid, Mission 21, the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance is holding an advocacy training on women’s human rights (26 October – 13 November 2020). The training is usually held annually in person, and this year, due to COVID-19 it is being held virtually.

Topics covered include introduction to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), tools and opportunities for engaging in preparing for parallel (also known as “shadow”) reports to CEDAW, the intersection between human rights, faith and gender, Gender-Based Violence prevention and responses, the role of men and boys in gender justice advocacy among others. LOWC is involved in the planning and facilitation of some sessions during the training. A resource for faith-based organizations on affirming women’s human rights can be found here.

General Assembly’s Third Committee Has Dialogues with Human Rights Mandate Holders: As it has done for some years, the General Assembly’s Third Committee has been having dialogues in recent weeks with various persons holding human rights mandates from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. While LOWC has been monitoring quite a few of these discussions on topics such as racism and racial discrimination, advancement of women, rights of indigenous peoples, and internally displaced persons, it took special note of the discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Professor S. Michael Lynk.  His report this year reviewed the situation of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Gaza and focused on accountability related issues. Lynk also held a separate virtual discussion with the UN NGO Working Group on Israel-Palestine, of which LOWC is a member, as he has in previous years on this occasion.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California

Getting ready for the election: The Lutheran Office of Public Policy in California (LOPP-CA) has been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming election. The staff did work around building patience and an understanding of the process. In the weekly Advocacy in Quarantine meetings, LOPP-CA worked with constituents to talk through the timeliness of the election while holding space for further learning on the state’s Proposition.

Prop 16 Text Banking: LOPP-CA went forward this month in continuing to text bank with the Prop 16 coalition. The office has been reaching out to California voters through a texting platform called Thru Text in hopes of overturning the state-wide ban of affirmative action, something that has been in effect since 1996. There has been a committed group of parishioners and advocates meeting every Monday to push this outreach, and so far the office has reached more than 600,000 voters in the state.

Partnering with California Food and Farming Network: Continuing the office’s commitment to advocate for food and farming, LOPP-CA has begun working closely with the California Food and Farming Network (CFFN), a coalition of around 40 advocacy organizations such as food banks, legislative advocacy, farming service organizations, and partners from across both the food and farming sectors. The Network has begun its strategic process for the year 2021, centering racial justice and equity in their approach. LOPP-CA has joined CFFN for this visioning process, and has given financial contributions toward centering racial justice through committing funds to CFFN’s community Engagement process. Specifically, CFFN will be reaching out into communities of color, finding leaders and advocates within food sectors, and providing compensation for their expertise. This listening campaign will take the expertise learned and structure CFFN 2021 priorities.


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota

State Legislative Elections: Although the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party lost some seats in the House, it retains control of the chamber. In the Senate, some flipped districts occurred, but the balance remains the same. Unfortunately, at least one of the Republicans that was ousted was one who was helpful to our housing agenda. All the main leaders from both parties and both chambers retain their positions.

Minnesota U.S. Elections: Rep. Colin Peterson was ousted from Minnesota’s 7th congressional district seat and replaced by former State Senator/Senate President Michelle Fischbach, who also served briefly as Lt. Governor when Tina Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Representative Peterson served as the long-term chair of the Agriculture Committee, a committee Fischbach hopes to serve on as it also addresses nutrition issues.

Update on Special Session #5: A carefully negotiated $1.36 billion bill including bonding, supplemental appropriations, and “tax  relief” for farmers and small businesses was finally passed when House Minority Leader Daudt let his caucus vote their conscience. Freed by Daudt, many House Republicans joined the bipartisan bill. Thanks for your hard work on the housing pieces!

Included in the bill were

  • $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds
  • $16 million in General Obligation Bonds for Public Housing
  • A large amount for transportation including roads and bridges, some public transportation, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Bonds for public facility projects, public safety, the University of Minnesota, and other various public works, including municipal water infrastructure & solar projects
  • $31 million in a supplemental appropriation (added to last year’s biennial budget)


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

Hunger For Justice Conference: On November 9th the Hunger Network sponsored the Hunger for Justice Conference featuring theological reflection on the election and analysis of what is to come so that faith leaders across the state can identify opportunities for successful advocacy!

Visit for links to our plenary panel, theological reflection and musical reflection of what the election means to our communities


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

Shaping Hunger Policy in PA: LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale participated in the quarterly meeting of the state’s Emergency Food Assistance Advisory Committee, where the state Department of Agriculture and charitable feeding organizations assessed the current response to emergency nutrition needs during COVID-19, mapped likely needs and set goals for meeting those needs in the upcoming state budget.

LAMPa Participates in Virtual Human Trafficking Rally: LAMPa participated in a Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy Work Group sponsored Advocacy Day lifting legislation that provides definitions and the offense of trafficking individuals; repealing provisions relating to patronizing a victim of sexual servitude; promoting prostitution and living off sexually exploited persons; commercial sexual exploitation; and providing for Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.

Workshop presented at We Love: LAMPa Program Director Lynn Fry shared a workshop titled : Take a Stand: Advocacy & Equality in Pennsylvania at the second ELCA NEPA Synod We Love Event – Building Safer & More Welcoming Congregations for LGBTQ+ Youth and Families.

Equipping leaders and vital congregations for discipleship in a democracy: LAMPa continued to disseminate election information to congregations, synods, and leaders regarding election security, poll watching, and voter safety. DePasquale and ELCA Advocacy Director Amy Reumann presented to leaders in the NWPA Synod Bishop’s Convocation.

Responded to Legislative threats to Medicaid: LAMPa worked to successfully stop legislation that threatened Medicaid provisions and funding.

Advocacy and Faith Formation: DePasquale taught a virtual adult faith formation class at Holy Spirit, Emmaus, SEPA Synod.


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

Election Successes: WA state passed Referendum 90 for Safe and Healthy Youth, a bill the legislature passed in the 2020 session mandating sex education in our K-12 school system with age-appropriate stages. This referendum was supported by sexual assault and domestic violence advocates, as well as a broad coalition of faith leaders who signed this letter, in contrast to opposition from the “religious right.” FAN was very involved in the campaign to secure the 60% approval. We also secured funding for our Long-Term Care Trust Fund via constitutional amendment – among the first of such funds in the nation.

New Regional Organizers: We are excited to share that our organizing team is expanding! FAN is able to fulfill one of our dreams of having a stronger presence statewide by hiring part-time Regional Organizers in Western, Central, and Eastern Washington as well as two social work interns from the University of Washington. We look forward to building deeper relationships with our Network of Advocating Faith Communities (NAFCs) and local organizations statewide.


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

ELCAvotes: Wisconsin had a record turnout of voters! Since March, LOPPW placed major emphases on encouraging people to vote, especially absentee, and on countering misinformation. We often worked in coalition with ELCA partners and a statewide voting coalition. October efforts included interviewing a Wisconsin Elections Commission representative for Wednesday Noon Live and creating six Ballot Box FAQs videos, including one with an interview with the ACLU.

Care for God’s Creation: LOPPW’s statewide task force, so far with members from five synods, began planning a Care for God’s creation virtual advocacy day to coincide with an emerging new WI State Budget.

Trainings: LOPPW helped in organizing an advocacy webinar, co-hosted by ECSW WELCA. We also led discussions on voting and advocacy with adults and confirmands in LAS and in SCSW.

COVID-19: Participated in meeting with Lieutenant Governor on health mandates challenged by courts and possibly the legislature. I was then in dialogue with the bishops about drafting a statement, which can be found here. LOPPW also joined an interfaith group to organize an action to address the problem.

New Resource: Read our new resource, “Advocating Locally,” for information about engaging your community!

Criminal Justice: We’ve begun reviving efforts to return 17-year-olds to juvenile courts, led by our Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Kyle Minden.

Anti-Racism: We offered consultation to ECSW’s Global Missions Committee on integrating anti-racism efforts into their work. I invited Regina Banks to give a presentation at one of their meetings.

Immigration and Refugees:  We offered consultation to the SCSW Immigration Task Force and created a video to address decreasing number of refugees in U.S. for the national, “Lift the Torch of Welcome” vigil.

October Update: UN and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N. | Arizona | Colorado | Ohio |Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

United Nations

Dennis Frado, Lutheran Office for World Community, New York, N.Y.

UN 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION: The high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN was held on September 21st.  The meeting adopted a declaration acknowledging both the UN’s achievements and its disappointments, such as: “Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism,” “Strengthening international cooperation is in the interest of both nations and peoples.” It also included twelve pledges “to ensure the future we want and the United Nations we need.”

CELEBRATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF BEIJING WOMEN’S CONFERENCE: The UN General Assembly High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women was held on October 1st. According to UN Women, no country has achieved gender equality. There has been progress since the Beijing Conference held in 1995, but gaps remain, and in some areas these gains are threatened and even reversed. The meeting was therefore being held under the theme “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. It aimed to “demonstrate the political will and leadership that will bring about the transformative change needed to address root causes, structural barriers, discriminatory practices and social norms that underpin discrimination and inequality.” You can watch the meeting on UN Web TV.

LOWC SPEAKS TO LUTHERAN STUDIES PROGRAM COLLOQUIA 2020-2021 AT YALE: In late September, Christine Mangale and Dennis Frado spoke via Zoom with Lutheran students at Yale University as part of the Lutheran Studies Program Colloquia theme “Public Church.” The LOWC presentations focused on the church’s presence at the United Nations (UN) and the history of the ELCA’s work on human rights, including at the UN.


Solveig Muus, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona

GETTING OUT THE VOTE: In the midst of racial inequity, an upcoming election, a pandemic, and a climate gone crazy, we in Arizona thank God for forgiveness and mercy, and for the miraculous ways God works in us and through us.

This month, we’re all hands on deck to get out the vote. Every faith community and advocacy group in Arizona seems to be in step; all are publicizing the importance of voting and helping in any way to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Arizona has an excellent track record for successful mail-in ballot counting. Rev. Mark Holman, Bishop’s Associate for Mobility and Leadership, wrote a study resource titled “How Would Jesus Vote?” for congregational use, and a member of LAMA’s policy team created a voter volunteer recruitment packet for congregations.

Like every other state office, LAMA continues to reach out to our 85 Arizona congregations, and are encouraged that several are considering adding an advocacy component to their social ministry teams. Building our network, producing a weekly newsletter, and feeding social media keep us busy.

UPCOMING EVENTS: We are planning LAMA’s first state-wide summit on November 7, which is to be a virtual event featuring Dr. Ryan Cumming of ELCA World Hunger. Together with Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center and Bread for the World Southwest, we are planning and promoting a Virtual Town Hall on November 17 featuring Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

BALLOT MEASURES: Coloradans will vote on eleven statewide ballot measures this fall. Lutheran Advocacy is committed to providing Lutherans and all people of faith with comprehensive and detailed analysis of each measure from our perspective. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado’s positions on the eleven measures are available now. View them at Our 2020 Voter Guide with analysis and information will be available on the same site in the first week of October. Ballots will be mailed to all Colorado voters on October 9th.

THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE: The Rocky Mountain Synod met virtually for its annual fall Theological Conference from September 21-24. Lutheran Advocacy was present alongside hundreds of rostered ministers, lay professionals and other leaders to learn from expert presenters, engage in Bible study, and have in-depth discussions of anti-racism and building up God’s beloved community of liberation with all present.


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

HUNGER FOR JUSTICE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: As voting begins in Ohio this month, we are all diligently working to discern the best candidates for all positions – including the Ohio Statehouse, State Supreme Court, and community leaders for school board and Township Trustees. Regardless of who wins at the local, state, or national level, our work remains the same – proclaiming God’s desire that all may be fed and have justice and peace in our communities.

Our two-hour conference will be held on zoom and feature theological reflection to help frame the election results and policy landscape moving forward. We encourage clergy, congregational leaders, judicatory staff, and people curious about hunger and poverty to attend. Register at

OHIO COUNCIL OF CHURCHES ANTI-RACISM SUNDAY: HNO is a proud partner with the Council and their efforts to educate and engage congregations throughout the state on issues of white privilege and racism. You can watch the Livestream online here

CROP WALK KICK-OFF: HNO Director Nick Bates will be the featured speaker at the Columbus CROP Walk virtual kick-off on October 11th at noon to discuss our call to advocacy and justice around hunger issues.

PROBLEMS WITH VOTING: HNO is partnering with the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition. You can check your voter registration and find your absentee ballot at You can report a problem or concern to 1-866-OUR-VOTE or view their website,


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

EQUIPPING LEADERS AND VITAL CONGREGATIONS FOR DISCIPLESHIP IN A DEMOCRACY: LAMPa staff and volunteers contacted Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to assess their preparedness for the Nov. 3 election and shared the results with synod leaders to target congregations so that they could support safe access to polls in areas of need. Read more.

POLICY COUNCIL RETREAT: The Rev. Amy Reumann, ELCA Advocacy Director, joined virtually to talk about advocacy as discipleship. She invited the council to imagine how congregational leaders could engage in LAMPa’s ministry as faith formation through the practice of testimony.

HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOW: Larry D. Herrold, Jr. joined LAMPa as our ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow. A member of Zion, Sunbury (Upper Susquehanna Synod), and active in hunger ministry there, he is discerning a call to ministry. Learn more about Larry.

ADVOCACY ON RENT RELIEF AND SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS: LAMPa advocates urged state lawmakers to improve and extend the application deadline for the CARES Rent Relief Program and to end surprise medical billing.

UNITED LUTHERAN SEMINARY CONVOCATION: LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale shared whys and ways of connecting with policymakers as a form of loving our neighbor.

GWOH: Congregations around Pennsylvania added their voices to God’s work. Our hands. Sunday by writing letters to lawmakers addressing issues to which they have been called in service of neighbor.

OTHER WORK: Opposed legislation rolling back clean water protections; Supported use of CARES funding to stop utility shutoffs; Garnered signatures in support of waivers for school nutrition programs; Increased SNAP benefits


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

FAN’s Annual Dinner will be held virtually this year on November 15. We hope this change will allow more people from across the state to join in, expanding the traditions of our Renton and Spokane dinners! Our theme is “Rise Up Together,” which speaks to our current and future work in confronting the challenges of multiple pandemics – COVID-19, systemic racism, economic uncertainty, and environmental devastation. Learn more at

NEW REGIONAL ORGANIZERS: FAN is building our statewide outreach by creating a staff team of Regional Organizers! In Central Wash., we welcome Zahra Roach (pictured here) who is a Pasco City Councilmember and who worked on our Census Equity Team earlier this year. In Western Wash., we welcome Jaspreet Singh who has experience working with the legislative session in Olympia and is representing FAN at the Career and Technical Colleges coalition. More to come as we add University of Washington social work interns and a Spokane area organizer!

WORKING FAMILIES TAX CREDIT: FAN is part of several state policy coalitions – one is the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) coalition. Several years ago, our legislature passed this law to provide tax credits to low-income working families, but it has never been funded. Now more than ever in this pandemic where so many households are struggling, funding an emergency cash assistance program like this with an annual credit is critical. Another important piece to make this program more equitable is to statutorily include Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) filers so that ALL workers in our state receive this benefit. Learn more at or


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

WELCOME TO LOPPW HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOW KYLE MINDEN:  Kyle is with us full-time for one year thanks to a generous grant from ELCA World Hunger.  He graduated from Wartburg College with a B.A. in Religion and Business Administration and a Minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Kyle is passionate about solving the systemic inequities and injustices that stem from public policy at the local, state, and federal level.

VOTING: Kyle has developed two voting resources, the Comprehensive can be found at 2020 LOPPW Voting Guide, while the one-page summary can be found here: 2020 LOPPW Voting Overview

HUNGER: We made known information about people eligible for a stimulus check but who have not filed.  Kyle used the center to create this resource:  file:///Users/cynthiacrane/Downloads/Stimulus-Payment-Outreach-Resource-1-1%20(12).pdf

As part of our project to highlight at least one hunger ministry in each synod for others to learn from, we interviewed Bill Binroth, Director of Let’s Eat Community Meals of Chassell, MI in the NGLS.

CARE FOR CREATION: Our LOPPW statewide climate task force continues to meet.  We sent this press release as a letter to the WI Legislature:  file:///Users/cynthiacrane/Downloads/Revised-Climate-press-release-Team-Bishops.pdf

WEDNESDAY NOON LIVE & IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION: The video of Attorney Mary Campbell, Ms. Marisol Fuentes de Dubon, and Dr. Stephanie Mitchell mentioned last month was published in September:

“LIFTING OUR VOICES DURING THE PANDEMIC”: This Zoom webinar, co-sponsored by East Central Synod Women of the ELCA and LOPPW, will be held on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 6:30-7:30 PM. Register here:

August Update: U.N. and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N. | California | Colorado | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Texas | Washington | Wisconsin

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

WOMEN, PEACE, AND SECURITY: The UN Security Council held its annual debate on Women, Peace and Security on July 17, 2020. This high-level debate theme was on “conflict-related sexual violence: turning commitments into compliance.” Briefing the Council was Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Khin Ohmar, Founder and Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Progressive Voice; and Nadia Carine Therese Fornel-Poutou, Executive President of the Association des femmes Juristes de Centrafrique. The debate focused on ensuring accountability and access to justice, implementation of existing commitments and ensuring a survivor-centered approach. LOWC’s Program Director Christine Mangale attended the meeting virtually. Learn more about the landmark resolution 1325 and the women, peace and security agenda here and here. The webcast of the debate can be found here.

MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECUIRTIY—CLIMATE AND SECURITY: The United Nations Security Council held a virtual open debate on “climate and security” on July 24, 2020. Briefing the council were Miroslav Jenča — Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; Colonel Mamadou Seydou Magagi – Director, Centre National d’Etudes Stratégiques et de Sécurité (CNESS); and Coral Pasisi – Director, Sustainable Pacific Consultancy. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas chaired the meeting.

It was emphasized that climate change is a threat multiplier, disproportionately affecting already vulnerable communities. Most speakers specifically referenced the need for countries to follow-through with implementing their commitments under the Paris Agreement. There was a call for the UN to address climate change better systematically. Almost unanimously, this sentiment included a call for the Security Council to further integrate a climate lens into their work, recognizing the real threats posed by climate change to peace and security. LOWC’s Intern Kirsti Ruud attended the meeting virtually. Learn more on how the Security Council has addressed this issue here . A summary of the open debate can be found here.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION RESUMES: The Legislature returned to session on Monday, July 27 after an extended recess due to a COVID-19 outbreak among staff. Priority bills scheduled for upcoming committee hearings include AB 2043: Farmworker Protection, AB 3121: Reparations Task Force, AB 3070: Antidiscrimination in Jury Selection, and AB 3073: CalFresh Prison Preenrollment. The Legislature has a quick push to the hard stop of this two-year bill cycle; many bills are effectively dead because they are not on the agendas put forth for upcoming hearings. Legislators may also engage in negotiations for a ‘junior budget’ during this final session. Many aspects of California’s 2020-2021 budget hinge on stalled federal funding to assist states and local governments; austerity measures will kick in if funding is not approved by the US Senate ASAP.

SNAP ADVOCACY CONTINUES: In California, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications have doubled and even tripled in some counties. SNAP provides dignified food assistance which allows people to buy what they want to eat and to choose where they will shop. SNAP stimulates local economies and supports local farmers. Food banks and donation-based programs see themselves as a supplement to vital federal programs. Along with both state and national partners in the California Food and Farming Network, we continue to push Congress to approve a 15% increase in SNAP benefits.

CHURCH OUTREACH ON ANTI-RACISM: Many pastors throughout the state have come to LOPP-CA with questions following the consciousness-raising protests of George Floyd’s murder and of the 400-year pandemic of anti-Black violence in America. What can we do in California to build anti-racist policies and systems? What is the next faithful step? LOPP-CA has responded with a forum for pastors to dig into one particular policy – a ballot measure that would reinstate affirmative action in state agencies and universities. After a pilot run with the Racial Justice Ministry at St. John’s Lutheran in Sacramento, our first open forum is scheduled for late August.

BALLOT MEASURES: California has a robust initiative system, whereby voters have direct power to make laws and approve constitutional amendments. Ballot measures for November 2020 include reinstating affirmative action, expanding the right to vote, updating property tax and eliminating cash bail. The Policy Council has determined its positions on each measure in accordance with the social statements of the ELCA. LOPP-CA will soon release a voter guide to help congregation members throughout the state vote in light of the faith we profess. Additional public forums will be held, including one focused on engaging youth in the church.

ADVOCACY IN QUARANTINE: We continue to host our weekly Wednesdays at Noon briefing on state and federal legislation and call to action. This month, we supported affirmative action, SNAP increases, senior nutrition, and we called in to support LOPP-CA priority bills.

LOOKING FORWARD TO GOD’S WORK, OUR HANDS, OUR VOICES: Our 2020 Lobby Day has been reimagined to focus on the upcoming ballot measures in the November election. Look for updates later this month!


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

SECOND SESSION ADJOURNS: The Colorado Legislature returned to work from its pandemic-induced recess on May 27 and formally adjourned for the year on June 15. During the “second session,” legislators faced an uphill climb to balance the state budget in the face of major revenue shortfalls. We advocated with a broad coalition called Recover Colorado to ask the legislature to raise new revenue, rather than focus exclusively on making cuts. You can read our letter to lawmakers and Governor Jared Polis here.

We supported the successful passage of House Bill 20-1420, The Fair Tax Act. Section 4 of the bill eliminates a corporate tax loophole that will fund part of the estimated $84 million in supplemental funds for state education in the next fiscal year. Additionally, we signed on to support and advocate for Senate Bill 20-217, Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity, a bill to make significant changes to policing practices in our communities statewide. Most of the provisions in the bill will go into effect this year.

BALLOT MEASURES: We are supporting two initiatives that are attempting to make the statewide ballot in the fall:


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

SPECIAL SESSION #2: A carefully negotiated $1.8 billion bipartisan bonding/tax bill failed the supermajority needed by six votes in the state House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has been holding bonding as leverage to force an end to the governor’s COVID-19 emergency powers. House & Senate leaders hoped that a bipartisan bill would have momentum. However, the bill went down on a House party-line vote despite Senate passage with broad bipartisan support.

Watch for mid-August’s Special Session when we get to do this all over again!

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Given the bonding bill defeat, housing infrastructure bonds and public housing  bonds were unable to move forward. Although amounts never made it to the levels we were advocating, $100 million was included for housing infrastructure and $16 million for public housing (significantly higher than where the Senate had been).

We appreciate our advocates’ efforts to increase housing bonds, push leaders to bipartisan agreement, and thank several leaders from both parties for their diligent work.

COVID EMERGENCY & HOUSING: Gov. Walz announced $100 million of CARES Act federal funding will be used for housing assistance. Nevertheless, if Congress does not reinstate extra unemployment funding, many Minnesotans will default on rent. (Please see ELCA Advocacy’s alerts on those federal negotiations!)

CLEAN ENERGY: Several small(ish) projects that could help the transition to clean renewable energy also won’t pass without bonding.

POLICE REFORM: A bill banning most chokeholds, requiring intervention to prevent excessive force by fellow officers, and outlawing “warrior training” passed despite huge differences in positions. Various legislators want to come back to deeper racism dismantling within policing structures, and we hope to engage these concerns.


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

OHIO STATEHOUSE DYNAMICS ARE TURNED ON THEIR HEAD: Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was indicted on charges of corruption and racketeering in July, and Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) has been elected to the position to lead Ohio’s House for the remainder of the calendar year. The $60 million Generation Now related scandal involves a bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants owned by First Energy (referenced in the indictment as Company A).

The reality of this scandal is that most of the unethical activity is well known, because big money creates Goliaths in Ohio politics. We are David, and when the faith community unites, we can still succeed in advancing the voices of hungry and marginalized Ohioans – even with the odds heavily stacked against us. You can read our reflection here on the David and Goliath battle. 

HNO MOURNS THE LOSS OF OUR BOARD PRESIDENT, JOHN WALLACE: Rev. John Wallace is a retired pastor from the United Methodist tradition. He passed away suddenly Sunday night at his home in Dayton, Ohio. John has served on HNO’s board for many years and was recently elected by the board to serve as president. We have lost a strong and passionate advocate for hungry Ohioans and others forced by oppressive policies to live on the margins. Further details and arrangements are yet to be announced. And the angels sing, Faithful servant, well done.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

LAMPA WELCOMES POLICY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Three new Policy Council members will begin their service in September. Representing the Lower Susquehanna Synod (LSS) the Rev. Carla Wilson; representing the Southwestern PA Synod (SWPA) the Rev. Jim Engel; and representing the United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) Dr. Crystal L. Hall.

LAMPA WORKING TO ENSURE SAFE ACCESS TO VOTING: LAMPa is working with policymakers to ensure safe access to voting in November. Just announced: PA will pay postage for all mail-in votes cast.

GOV. ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF EVICTION MORATORIUM AND THE AWARD OF NEARLY $19 MILLION FOR HOMELESSNESS ASSISTANCE AND PREVENTION: LAMPa constituents expressed their thanks to Gov. Wolf for extending the rental eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Due to expire on July 10, the extension protects renters and homeowners from eviction proceedings until August 31. The governor also announced nearly $19 million in funding awards to assist in mitigating the impacts of the coronavirus on homeless families and individuals, and to prevent future homelessness across the commonwealth.

TWO POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS SIGNED WITH ONE MORE ON DECK: Gov. Wolf signed two police reform bills, one requiring police officers to disclose their employment history and the other requiring officers to undergo regular mental health evaluations and training. Legislators continued to meet in July. Two additional police reform bills are headed to the state House for action. Senate Bill 459 would require all police departments to report any use-of-force incidents to the state police. Senate Bill 1205 would require police departments to publish their use of force policies and limits the use of chokeholds to instances where deadly force is needed.

ADVOCATE ENGAGEMENT: Five action and information alerts were shared with LAMPa constituents in July. Federal Issues included: Public Comment on HUD Discrimination; Protection for Women and Children; and Protecting the Asylum System. At the state level advocates were asked to encourage lawmakers to prioritize health over profits by rejecting HB 732 and share their thanks with Gov. Wolf for the extension of the eviction moratorium.


Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy

In July, Texas Impact re-launched our Faith in Democracy series of local advocacy trainings online with an event in Huntsville. The next event will be in Dallas August 23. The Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod is co-sponsoring the event, where Bishop Gronberg will be a featured speaker. Each event will include a faith and community leader panel and tools to equip congregations to be effective advocates and promote safe, accountable voting.

Texas Impact continued the Weekly Witness podcast series featuring speakers from the Washington Interfaith Staff Community and has added a racial justice series featuring clergy of different races discussing racial justice and advocacy.

Climate advocacy was a priority in July with advocates preparing to meet with members of Congress during the August recess. Texas Impact is also partnering with Texas Interfaith Power and Light to map Houston-area congregations engaged in environmental justice work.

The news can be discouraging, but we find hope in the leadership of Texas faith leaders and the level of engagement of Texans of faith.


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

POLICE REFORM: FAN is very involved in police reform efforts in our state, primarily through the newly established Washington Coalition for Police Accountability (WCPA). This group, many of whom were leaders in the Initiative 940 De-escalate WA effort, is made up of impacted family members who have lost loved ones at the hands of police. It has four policy subgroups: independent investigations, use of deadly force, police oversight, and collective bargaining, along with a ten-member lobbyist group that is engaging with a group of eight legislators, led by the African American and Members of Color Caucuses. The WCPA is coordinating with the 21-member governor’s Task Force on Policing Reforms to come up with bills for the next legislative session that will begin on January 11.

RECOVERING TOGETHER: FAN has also been advocating for statewide cash assistance to help our most-impacted and lowest-income neighbors recover during COVID-19. This effort seeks to fill the gaps that federal assistance left in relief packages, such as unemployment benefits for undocumented workers. We signed onto a WA Budget & Policy Center letter with 70 other organizations across the state to advocate for progressive revenue solutions.

CONGRESSIONAL RELIEF PACKAGES: As Congress considers what to include in the next COVID-19 relief package, FAN is encouraging our advocates to urge their elected officials to include SNAP, housing and unemployment protections. Episcopal Bishops Rickel and Rehberg created videos to promote SNAP in the final package. Our asks are:

  • Expand and increase SNAP by 15%, increase the minimum SNAP monthly benefit from $16 to $30, and suspend all administrative SNAP rule changes indefinitely during this time of economic distress.
  • Ensure that the housing priorities in the House HEROES bill stay in the final bill, such as $100 billion for emergency rental assistance and $11.5 billion for homeless emergency grants, and establish a nationwide uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Extend the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) beyond July 31st and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beyond Dec. 31st.

CENSUS 2020: FAN worked with Pyramid Communications and the WA Complete Count Committee to create a Census 2020 “We Have the Power” video featuring interfaith leaders from around the state!


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

THE PANDEMIC AND OUR HEALTH: After Governor Evers issued the Executive Order: Public Health Emergency and Requiring Face Coverings Statewide, LOPPW learned that legislators were being flooded with negative feedback. In response, we sent out an Action Alert.

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: Between all of our LOPPW Climate Team members, we attended all six of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change’s listening sessions, each of which had different speakers discussing what’s working in Wisconsin. With input from the LOPPW Climate Team and final suggestions from our bishops, we for the first time created a list of asks related to climate change that were not exclusively in response to proposed legislation. We sent the asks to the Task Force. We also used them as examples for feedback that our members could use for their submissions and as a Press Release.

LOPPW also participated in a briefing on a cutting-edge Climate Action Plan convened by the Dane County Executive.

VOTING: LOPPW participated in our All Voting is Local coalition meeting, and received a small grant to encourage voting.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: LOPPW participated in our quarterly Wisconsin Anti-human Trafficking Consortium meeting. Sex trafficking has not decreased during the pandemic and ways of exploitation have become more severe.

ADDITIONAL EFFORTS: LOPPW worked with the ELCA on preparing for the Hunger Advocacy Fellow position that Wisconsin is fortunate enough to be a site for in the fall!

We also participated in the NWSW justice team meeting, and organized Wednesday Noon Live: Video


July Update: U.N. and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N. | California | Kansas | Minnesota | New Mexico | Pennsylvania | Texas | Washington | Wisconsin

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

UN HIGH LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development was held virtually from 7-16 July 2020. The theme this year was “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.” This year also ushers in the decade of action and delivery which was launched at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in September 2019. The decade is geared towards stepping up progress towards the SDGs in order to realize their targets by 2030. The HLPF will also examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Several countries will share their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). In addition to the main programme, there are side events being held daily including some hosted by faith-based organizations. You can follow the sessions and watch live at

LWF SUPPORTS UN CALL FOR GLOBAL CEASEFIRE TO CURB SPREAD OF COVID-19: On July 6, the Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation, called on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to strengthen the Council’s efforts to implement a global ceasefire. On July 1, the Security Council adopted a resolution of support for UN Secretary General António Guterres’ appeal for a ceasefire to help efforts to fight COVID-19 in the most vulnerable countries. Junge  said the LWF is “painfully aware how on-going armed conflicts and hostilities in different parts of the world represent a significant impediment to stopping the spread of the virus.” The letter to the permanent members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — was conveyed to their permanent missions in New York by LOWC. More detailed information is here.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

BUDGET ADVOCACY WIN: California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Budget Act into law with funding to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to undocumented tax filers with children under age six. We celebrate and thank the legislature and the governor for this step forward but also acknowledge that so many people are still excluded from this essential anti-poverty policy. Along with coalition partners, we have been pushing over the last months and years to expand the CalEITC to all tax filers. Immigrant tax filers contribute $3.2 billion to state and local taxes every year, yet they are ineligible to receive aspects of the safety net proving so essential in the midst of COVID-19.

OVERARCHING ANTI-RACISM VALUE: The LOPP-CA Policy Council unanimously affirmed a move to center an anti-racist lens to fuel and undergird our advocacy priorities as an organization. An anti-racist approach confronts and dismantles systems, structures, and policies which promote racism and white supremacy. White supremacy and policymaking go hand-in-hand, whether explicitly through historically segregated beaches along California’s coast, or implicitly through access to state programs such as clean vehicle rebates and tax credits. An anti-racist approach centers voices, experiences, and solutions of Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color. The board will work in conjunction with the director to develop protocols and guidance for how this value will be implemented and measured.

NEW BOARD MEMBER: The LOPP-CA Policy Council welcomes a new ex officio board member, Dr. LaSharnda Beckwith, CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. Dr. Beckwith oversees the strategic direction and execution of the agency’s core mission and leads a diverse team of 150+ employees across 18  offices in eight counties to improve conditions for underserved and marginalized communities.

LOCAL PARTNERSHIP: The board also voted to participate as a placement for a local young adult discernment organization, Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network (LEVN). LEVN is located in Davis, Calif. and provides spiritual formation, vocational discernment, financial support, and meaningful work at a non-profit placement site. The LEVN volunteer at LOPP-CA will work remotely doing communications, social media, and administrative duties as assigned to support advocacy in the Capitol and engagement in our churches.

BALLOT MEASURES: California has a robust initiative system, whereby voters have direct power to make laws and approve constitutional amendments. Ballot measures for November 2020 include reinstating affirmative action, expanding the right to vote, updating property tax and eliminating cash bail. LOPP-CA will host forums on the most important ballot measures and release a voter guide in September.

ADVOCACY IN QUARANTINE: We continue to host our weekly Wednesdays at Noon briefing on state and federal legislation and call to action. This month, we supported affirmative action, SNAP increases, democratic integrity, and we thanked legislators for the much-needed CalEITC expansion.


Rabbi Moti Rieber, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA)

RENTERS RELIEF: KIFA is very concerned about the threat to stable housing due to the pandemic and recession, particularly for renters, who tend to be lower-income. Gov. Kelly’s moratorium on evictions expired at the end of May, meaning that thousands of Kansans who are in arrears on their rent are left without any protection, forced to choose between housing costs and other necessary expenses such as food, transportation, medical care and prescriptions, or utilities.

KIFA has been trying to find a way to address this in the absence of a meaningful affordable housing movement in Kansas or, frankly, much concern for poor and working people being demonstrated by legislative leadership. We proposed an amendment to extend the moratorium to the omnibus COVID-19 response bill at the end of the special legislative session in early June, but it didn’t pass.

Since then we’ve been working to get the governor’s COVID-19 response task force, known as the “SPARK Committee,” to take an interest in the issue. We are asking them to designate money from the CARES Act for rental relief and homelessness protection, which is included as a stated purpose in the legislation. Other states have done so.

The issue points out that affordable housing has never been an area of policy focus (or movement energy) in Kansas. It needs to be an integral part of a comprehensive anti-poverty/anti-inequality platform and will require legislative action over the medium to longer term.


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Legislators have little to show for their regular session and the first special session, except for some COVID-19 Emergency Bills! However, we should not discount the challenges they’ve overcome with Zoom & Facebook Live committee meetings and floor sessions physically distanced by video to different places in the Capitol.

SPECIAL SESSION #1 DERAILED: June’s Special Session was slated to finish leftover bills from regular session, pass a bonding bill, and provide legislative oversite over Gov. Walz & emergency declarations. The death of George Floyd (by Minneapolis police), resulting protests, and renewed spotlights on racism/policing diverted them.

The House POCI Caucus (People of Color & Indigenous legislators) created a transformative plan for policing with emphasis on systemic/institutional issues, while Republican senators created their own moderate proposals.

The policing issues, along with a House Minority threat to prevent bonding (needs 2/3 vote) unless governor emergency powers ended, individual legislators “gumming up” the process until their issues were heard, and the Senate refusing to allow the session to last longer than a week derailed most everything.

SPECIAL SESSION #2: This session began Monday, July 13. Senate leaders planned to only address bonding, and wanted it negotiated prior to session. The House POCI Caucus claims it won’t accept bonding bills unless a transformative policing bill is also passed. Meanwhile, leaders of both chambers and both parties are meeting out of the limelight, trying to come to some basic agreements.

We hope bonding will pass with affordable housing (bipartisan/bicameral support) but don’t expect much more than that. Even so, getting both chambers to agree to our lower, already compromised housing proposals will be an uphill push. PLEASE check our website regularly for Action Alerts (may change frequently).

[LA-MN Director: Tammy Walhof / 651-238-6506 (call/text) / Website:] 

New Mexico

Kurt A. Rager, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry—New Mexico (LAM-NM)

BUILDING CLOSED DURING SPECIAL SESSION: The New Mexico State Legislature was called into a Special Session by Governor Lujan Grisham that began on June 18th and lasted for four days. The primary purpose of the session was to make spending adjustments to the state’s already approved spending plans for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021 due to the unprecedented fiscal crisis, which was created by the dramatic downturn in oil and gas revenue projected for state spending as well as the unforeseen economic decline and necessary relief caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Further making the special session extraordinary was the decision by the legislature to close the State Capitol Building, known as the “Roundhouse ,” to members of the public. Only legislators, limited legislative staff, law enforcement protection and select members of the press were allowed into the building. The House adopted temporary rule changes that enabled members of the House to participate off-site, from homes and offices, etc. Thus, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico participated and advocated entirely by digital platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime Live, in addition to phone call testimony during committee hearings. Despite being able to monitor multiple meetings and both floor sessions at the same time, public and advocate participation was significantly absent and limited due to the Capitol Building’s technology limitations. LAM-NM is currently working with other advocacy organizations, as well as members of the New Mexico Legislature, to ensure a better plan and preparations are in place for the 2021 60-day session that begins in January of 2021.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa) 

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS PASS, ELECTIONS REFORMS ON HOLD AS LEGISLATURE RECESSES: The General Assembly unanimously passed two policing reform bills and a measure to remove barriers to professional licensing for individuals with certain unrelated prior convictions. However, they recessed for the summer while leaving work on elections reforms on the table, as the President’s re-election campaign sued the state over changes made to procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

JUDGE ORDERS ICE TO RELEASE MIGRANT CHILDREN FROM DETENTION: California’s Central District Court ruled that ICE should release children from the country’s three family detention centers, including one in Pennsylvania. Gov. Wolf lauded the decision, saying he “will work with federal and Berks County officials to ensure the safe release of people in custody and provide any assistance necessary.” LAMPa’s network has helped lead monthly vigils at the center and advocated for years to an end to family detention. LAMPa is working with partners in the Pa. Immigration and Citizenship Coalition to protect families from being separated during the ordered release.

RENTAL AND MORTGAGE COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS AVAILABLE: LAMPa staff, along with Lutheran Disaster Response in Pennsylvania, continue to monitor the potential surge in homelessness and advocate for an extension of the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, set to end July 10. LAMPa is urging advocates to help spread the word about $175 million of state funding for rental and mortgage assistance. Funds will be distributed in counties on a first-come, first-serve basis. Read more.

PA. HOUSE LEADERSHIP TRANSITIONS: A new slate of leaders was elected in the House Republican Caucus following the resignation of former PA House Speaker Mike Turzai. The House unanimously elected Rep. Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County as the new Speaker of the House. House Republicans chose Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) to serve as the next majority leader. LAMPa staff looks forward to working with the new leadership. Read more.

ADVOCACY ENGAGEMENT: Six alerts were shared with LAMPa constituents in June. Topics included state and federal policing reforms, DACA deportation and rental/mortgage assistance. In addition, advocates reached out to their federal lawmakers, securing signatures of the entire state delegation on a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue, requesting an extension of emergency food assistance waivers.


Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Texas Impact members have been busy this week participating in legislative meetings and preparing for safe, accountable voting in 2020.

Texas Impact’s Legislative Engagement Group is meeting with members of the Texas House’s district offices this month about racial justice, and preparing for meetings next month to talk about the moral nature of the budget, stressing that decisions on priority spending are choices. It is not a foregone conclusion that budget cuts are required.

Texas Impact is continuing to promote the “Texas Faith Votes” campaign, organizing Texans of faith to pledge to vote based on four priorities (health, climate, immigration and non-discrimination) and organizing congregations to promote vote by mail options for eligible voters. All thirty-one districts have members who have signed the pledge.

In July, Texas Impact will re-launch our Faith in Democracy series of local advocacy trainings online. Each event will include a faith and community leader panel and tools to equip congregations to be effective advocates and promote safe, accountable voting.

Texas Impact continued the Weekly Witness podcast series featuring speakers from the Washington Interfaith Staff Community and has added a racial justice series featuring clergy of different races discussing racial justice and advocacy.

The weekly e-news has continued to highlight denominational leaders, including all three Texas ELCA Bishops, who continue to recommend congregations listen to the advice of public health officials. Texas ELCA bishops have been leaders throughout the COVID-19 crisis, helping to resource other denominational leaders throughout the state.

The news can be discouraging, but we find hope in the leadership of Texas faith leaders and the level of engagement of Texans of faith.


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

BLACK LIVES MATTER: As protests for Black Lives continue state- and nationwide, FAN has released a Statement Against Police Brutality and a Platform for Advocacy. The ongoing revelation of police brutality and white supremacist threats against Black people and People of Color has made it clear that we cannot continue the system of policing as it has been in our nation’s history, and we need to examine all of our institutions to root out racism and dehumanizing practices. FAN is part of the WA Coalition for Police Accountability, which is led by families impacted by police brutality. This coalition, as well as the Governor’s 21-member police reform taskforce, will bring legislative proposals to the 2021 legislative session to seek a way forward.

REGIONAL SPRING SUMMITS: We just completed our annual Spring Summits, hosting online events this year in SW WA, Spokane, Central WA, and two in Puget Sound. About 200 advocates joined us from across the state to discuss policy change around economic justice, criminal justice, housing and homelessness, environmental justice, racial equity, immigrant rights, and healthcare and mental health. This year we also highlighted Census 2020 and COVID-19. These discussions will inform our 2021 Legislative agenda as well as our advocacy efforts year-round.

SUMMER/FALL ADVOCACY: As we move into the summer and fall, FAN will be hosting interim meetings and candidate forums in collaboration with local advocates and faith communities. Interim meetings with legislators are a great opportunity to discuss policy issues outside the busy legislative session and build relationships with elected officials. 2020 is a big election year, so hosting candidate forums will be key to hearing how candidates align with our justice priorities. These events will likely be hosted online in light of COVID-19.


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

As our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic continues, LOPP-Wisconsin is primarily sharing advocacy updates through video. Find great information in these areas from the previous month:

  • WEDNESDAY NOON LIVE (STIMULUS BILL AND SNAP): We interviewed special guest, John Johnson, ELCA Program Director of Domestic Policy: Video
  • STIMULUS BILL & IMMIGRATION: We sent a video message created by Bishop Paul Erickson, Greater Milwaukee Synod, to our D.C. office as part of a larger effort to contact Congress about caring for those most vulnerable during the pandemic: Video
  • HUNGER: LOPPW sent out its action alert on the stimulus bill again. We interviewed Lindsey Buekelman, All People’s Lutheran Church in Milwaukee—Food Truck Ministry: Filling a hole during the pandemic: Video
  • ANTI-RACISM: An advisory council member and the director interviewed former Madison Police Chief and Police Officer in Minneapolis, now an Episcopal priest, Father David Couper – Policing & the Use of Force: Video. LOPPW also participated in the Talanoa Dialogue process led by Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA Program Director, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • VOTING: Participated in Wisconsin Voter Rights Coalition meetings and got a former intern involved. We shared one action alert from the group.
  • CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: We made the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change listening sessions known (LOPPW Press Release). We each attended one of the June sessions. We also held a webinar to help prepare interested members for the sessions: Video. LOPPW’s former advisory council member and director interviewed Chief Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier on Climate Change:  Video
  • ADDRESSING SEX TRAFFICKING AND OTHER ABUSES: Webinar with experts – The Pandemic and Living on the Edges of Safety: Video



April Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | California | Minnesota | New Mexico | Pennsylvania | Texas | Washington | Wisconsin

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

UN LAUNCHES COVID-19 GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN: On March 25, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, launched a US$2.01 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect millions of people and stop the virus from circling back around the globe. The plan “will be implemented by UN agencies, with international NGOs and NGO consortiums playing a direct role in the response. It will:

  • deliver essential laboratory equipment to test for the virus, and medical supplies to treat people;
  • install handwashing stations in camps and settlements;
  • launch public information campaigns on how to protect yourself and others from the virus; and
  • establish airbridges and hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to move humanitarian workers and supplies to where they are needed most.”

COVID-19 HAMPERS UN’S ABILITY TO GATHER MEMBER STATES IN NEW YORK: Since early March United Nations Headquarters in New York has struggled to hold its meetings of the Member States due to the COVID-19 situation. The need to ensure physical distance between all persons in attendance has meant that annual meetings dealing with the status of women, population and development and indigenous peoples have been curtailed, postponed or cancelled altogether. The General Assembly held at least one plenary virtually (by teleconference) and the Security Council haggled for weeks until late in the month over what constituted a “meeting”, i.e. whether it could meet virtually in line with the Charter (The Council is “to be able to function continuously” but “may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work”). The Council faced the expiration of several peacekeeping mandates at the end of the month which forced it to allow for the submission of written statements about proposed resolutions and voting upon them via e-mail. Another result of the extraordinary safety measures at all meetings since mid-March has been that civil society voices have not been heard, a troubling by-product.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

While COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in unprecedented ways, our advocacy work continues to be essential in developing coordinated and inclusive responses that support all Americans.

The California Legislature went on an extended recess beginning in mid-March which has been extended for the next month. Advocacy has therefore focused on urging the Governor to enact a true moratorium on evictions and mortgage protections, include Individual Taxpayer Identification Number filers in any relief at the state level, and more. Even so, we continue to support state bills related to COVID-19 relief, such as CalFresh, Simpler for Seniors and CalFresh, Prison Preenrollment and the Racial Justice Act for when the Legislature reconvenes. We are also assisting our partners in accessing federal CARES and Families First provisions and shifting our advocacy to the federal level when necessary.

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California instituted a new program to engage our Policy Council, pastors and members of Lutheran congregations in California. We call it Advocacy in Quarantine.

  • We set a weekly Wednesday Zoom meeting where LOPP-CA staff offer a roughly 25 minute overview of the federal government’s response to Covid-19, the State of California’s response, and pending state legislation we are following and sponsoring. We also highlight the work that our allies and ministry partners are doing in the state.
  • We then direct them to actions that would take them about 5 minutes to complete (I.e.; call or tweet the governor to release prisoners and ICE detainees on #FaithfulFridays)

We are grateful for an incredible response from our members, and we’re getting feedback from our ministry partners that the calls are already being noticed. We are seriously contemplating how this can become a part of our programing when we go back into session.


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Monday, March 16, legislative leaders announced they were curtailing legislative activity, would be on call until April 14, and would only consider bills 1) COVID-19 emergency-related, 2) mission critical, like bonding, and 3) with broad bipartisan support. Before leaving that evening, legislators passed bills allocating $21 million to the Department of Health and $200 million to hospitals for COVID-19 preparation.

COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE: The Homes for All Coalition (H4A) kicked into high gear, recognizing that homeless populations, low-income families, and kids home without school meals are particularly vulnerable. H4A’s Policy Team (on which Tammy serves) called for rental assistance and shelter funding, while anti-hunger partners worked to boost food shelf funding. Lutheran Advocacy-MN pushed out three separate action alerts to thousands of Lutherans within less than 10 days, helping Homes for All reach its goal of contacting legislators in every MN House and Senate district. On March 26, both chambers returned for part of a day, passing HF 4531, a COVID-19 relief bill, 99-4 in the House & 67-0 in the Senate. The $330 supplemental appropriation included food shelf support, shelter & housing assistance, small business loans, and more. Funding levels were lower than hoped, but we continue the work.


JRLC (Joint Religious Legislative Coalition) Day on the Hill, April 1: – Cancelled. Replaced by Day on the Screen. A recording will be available soon.

Now the Green Blade Rises EcoFaith Summit, March 28: – Postponed until 2021. Contact Tammy to get on list for resources/videos/online events related to youth/young adult speakers, & breakout sessions.

Earth Day Capitol Events, April 22: In-person activities cancelled. Online & social media options available soon (#MNEarthDay).

Work from Home: Tammy can be reached at or 651-238-6506 (cell/text). Most days she is in multiple Zoom meetings but will reply.

New Mexico

Kurt A. Rager, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry—New Mexico (LAM-NM)

POLICY COMMITTEE OF LUTHERAN ADVOCACY MINISTRY—NEW MEXICO HOLDS SPRING MEETING: For the over 35 years that Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico (LAM-NM) has existed, the Policy Committee has served a vital role in leading and shaping the ministry. This year’s Spring Meeting was held entirely via Zoom due to a state-wide stay-at-home order in place for New Mexico. The committee is currently comprised of members of various ELCA Lutheran congregations located around the state, as well as a non-voting member representing the Presbytery of Santa Fe. Important work at this past month’s meeting included:

  • Reviewing the 2021 Bishop’s Luncheon and Issues Briefing. (The event included 135 participants from not only ELCA congregations but 7 other denominations as well.)
  • Reviewing the 2021 Legislative Session report.
  • Reviewing and approving financial reports.
  • Continuing planning for the annual Fall Advocacy Conference to be held in November.
  • Nominating new members to the Policy Committee.
  • Saying good-bye to faithful committee members who are no longer able to serve.
  • Revising the working document, “Role of Policy Committee Members.”
  • Receiving and discussing the Director’s Report.

As LAM-NM moves into the coming month there is much unknown. Yet to be determined is how the New Mexico State Legislature’s Interim Committees will meet and work considering the COVID19 crisis. Also, in question is a possible special session of the Legislature to deal with ramifications of the dramatic drop in oil on the state’s budget.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

RALLY TO VETO TAX BREAKS FOR PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY: LAMPa staff and volunteers joined creation care advocates from around the state March 9 for a rally to urge Gov. Wolf to veto a bill that provides potential billion dollars in subsidies to petrochemical plants and gas infrastructure for the next 30 years – a time when we need to be cutting greenhouse gas emissions for the sake of our common home.

ADVOCATE ENGAGEMENT: During a 30-day period, seven action alerts were shared with LAMPa constituents. Topics included multiple alerts related to COVID-19, violence against women, and surprise medical bills.

COVID-19 RESPONSE: LAMPa staff have been coordinating with partners in ELCA Advocacy and Lutheran Disaster Relief in response to COVID-19. Advocates have acted to urge policymakers to act swiftly to protect the vulnerable and promote the common good at the local, state and federal level. LAMPa participates in the state’s emergency feeding and sheltering task forces, sharing information on the calls and relaying out to our network, but also serving as a witness of the church’s accompaniment to public agency and volunteer leaders. We have been sharing vital information with our synods, congregations and social ministry partners as well as reaching out to assess their needs at this time and responding as quickly as we can to their queries, particularly about grants, unemployment insurance and loans for nonprofits. We’ve connected Lutheran camps, colleges and seminary to the state emergency sheltering effort, and our feeding ministries to support from the state’s emergency feeding effort and shared ways those experiencing job loss or reduced hours can apply for benefits.

STANDING AGAINST HATE: Pa. synods and congregations signed a public letter calling for support of people of Asian Pacific descent in the face of COVID-related xenophobia and shared information from Pa. State Police for reporting anti-Asian Pacific American bigotry as part of our work with the Pa. Coalition Against Hate.

CENSUS2020: LAMPa is equipping our advocates to #GetouttheCount. See one of our youth and family directors share the message in Swahili in this video made to encourage all people to be counted, regardless of immigration status.

PA ELECTION REFORMS: LAMPa is sharing information about additional election reforms adopted in response to COVID-19 and monitoring progress on implementation before the primary – now scheduled for June 2.


Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy

COVID-19 RESPONSE: Texas Impact is resourcing local congregations to share best practices on how they are responding to meeting unmet needs in their local communities and how they can effectively advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations in their communities. Texas Impact has been sending Action Alerts and producing Weekly Witness podcasts on federal and state actions. The first Action Alert on the CARES Act generated about 200 telephone calls. This week, our E-News will focus on denominational leaders—including all three Texas ELCA bishops—clarifying that while theTexas Governor correctly identifies worship as an “essential service,” in-person worship is to be suspended during the COVID-19 crisis in favor of online and “drive-in” models.

TEXAS INTERFAITH ADVOCACY DAYS: Planning is underway for the 2021 Texas Interfaith Advocacy Days, scheduled for March 7-9.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

COVID-19: As regulations, concerns, and information on federal stimulus packages change almost daily in light of COVID-19, FAN has sought to be a beakon of hope and a source of up-to-date information for our statewide partners. We have kept our communities connected by sharing faith services from a multitude of traditions as they move their services online, and Co-Director Paul Benz is working with the African American community and other heavily-impacted faith communities to find funding and resources to stream their services online. FAN has also signed on to letters and participated in action campaigns to release undocumented detainees from detention centers, as well as youth and adults in prison who have been convicted of nonviolent offenses, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and allow for social distancing. Our hearts go out to our partners around the country in this struggle to protect our communities.

CENSUS 2020: Census day was April 1, and FAN has been active in sharing the message that even in the midst of a national crisis, it’s never been easier to fill out your census! Data is starting to come in about which counties and communities are falling behind in their response to the census, and our statewide Census team will start to hone in on those historically-undercounted communities.

WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION: As Governor Inslee continues to sign bills into law, we celebrate the passage of 23 bills FAN worked on or supported in the 2020 legislative session. A few of the major successes include Courts Open to All (COTA) which prevents immigration agents from speaking with or arresting undocumented people at or around court houses, Sustainable Farms & Fields to incentivize carbon sequestration in agriculture, the creation of the Washington Office of Equity, and two bills that work to prohibit private detention in the state though they were greatly amended in their passage. See a full list of successes at


Pastor Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: LOPPW participated in a Wisconsin Climate Table meeting in Racine. Dr. David Rhoads, Greening Greater Racine, discussed working with car dealers and other businesses on sustainability and beginnings of developing hydrogen energy. Rep. Greta Neubauer discussed Governor Ever’s new task force on climate change and offered to be accessible to the Table members throughout the task forces hearings.

Pr. Cindy Crane began to prepare a presentation on climate change and COP25 for an East-Central Synod event before events like this one were canceled.

WEDNESDAY NOON LIVE: We interviewed Molly Dobberke Riehle, Executive Director of Centro Legal in Milwaukee. Molly talked about her work as a volunteer attorney at a detention center in Texas with AMMPARO. Cindy’s co-host Rev. Andy Twiton then discussed his experience at the border with the National ELCA Vitality Training. We began planning for a focus on the Coronavirus and Racism as our theme for April.

IMMIGRATION: LOPPW met with the director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and discussed our possible actions to support our Hmong and Laotian neighbors in Wisconsin.

VOTING: LOPPW contacted youth leaders and clergy to promote recruitment of poll workers. We cancelled our project and shifted our focus to encouraging people to vote early and created this video:

We also began advocating for the change of election time.

CHANGED FOCUS—COVID-19: LOPPW is participating in conference calls with Lt. Governor about how the state can assist faith-based groups, especially in light of how they provide services. In one call, we received details of what the Governor’s Safer at Home Order meant for churches. LOPPW made details known broadly.

We are also building awareness of statements and resources related to public benefits from the Governor’s office and D.C. and sending action alerts related to being inclusive of those most vulnerable in public policies.



March Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | Arizona | California | Colorado | Delaware | Kansas | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Southeastern | Texas | Washington | Wisconsin

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

DEFENDING PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN COLOMBIA: On February 26, LOWC co-hosted, on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation, Caritas Internationalis and the World Council of Churches, a briefing by four winners of the National Prize for Human Rights in Colombia. Those who spoke were: (second from left) Ms. Clemencia Carabalí, 2019 National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights “Defender of the Year” Award Winner and Director, Association of Afro-descendant Women of Norte del Cauca (ASOM); (far right) Mr. Ricardo Esquivia, 2019 National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights “Lifetime Defender” Award Winner and Executive Director of Sembrandopaz; (second from right) Ms. Annye Páez Martinez, Representative of the Rural Farms Association of Cimitarra River Valley and 2019 National Prize for the Collective Experience or Process of the Year; and (far left) Mr. Marco Romero, 2019 National Prize for the Defense of Human Rights “Collective Process of the Year” Award Winner and Director, Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement. The group was visiting New York and Washington, D.C. under the sponsorship of Diakonia and ACT Church of Sweden to discuss the ongoing challenges of protecting human rights and encouraging efforts toward peace despite limited implementation of the 2016 agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

ADVOCATING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Also on February 26, the Alliance for Multilateralism held a discussion “Advocating Human Rights in the 21st Century – building bridges between Geneva and New York” to support the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of strong and effective multilateral cooperation as “an indispensable foundation for securing peace, stability and prosperity.” An aim of the event was to underscore the relationship between discussions about human rights in Geneva, primarily at the Human Rights Council, and those on international peace and security in New York, primarily at the Security Council. Another objective was to examine, as outlined in a preparatory concept note, the New York-Geneva relationship with respect to “specific contemporary human rights issues such as women’s rights and gender equality, the effects of climate change on human rights, and risks and opportunities of digitalization and artificial intelligence for the protection of human rights.” German Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Heiko Maas had issued the invitation and also spoke, but the event was sponsored by at least eleven other permanent missions in New York. The webcast can be accessed here.


Solveig Muus, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona (LAMA)

Greetings from the Grand Canyon Synod (GCS), and from the new Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona (LAMA)! We give thanks to God as we seek to live out our baptismal call to “defend human dignity, to stand with poor and powerless people, to advocate justice, [and] to work for peace” (The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective). After a 12-year hiatus and a year of planning, a committed group of clergy and lay leaders brought the dream of an advocacy office in Arizona to life once again. Together with our partners at Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW), and using the ELCA’s social teaching documemts as our guide, we look forward to being God’s hands and feet in the world, following the path of serving people and encouraging GCS people to do the same.

At our January Policy Committee retreat we discussed priorities for this Legislative session, heard from Angie Rogers with the Association of AZ Food Banks, and from ELCA Advocacy Director, Domestic Policy John Johnson via Zoom. Our first action was for committee members to join LSS-SW for the 2nd annual Refugee Lobbying Day at the Capitol on February 10th to gain legislative support and pass the Refugee Welcoming Bill. Solveig Muus agreed to be the director of this new ministry. Her experiences with building businesses, passion for connection, and a heart for the most vulnerable among us has kept the ministry moving forward.

In this early building stage we will: introduce ourselves to our congregations and identify ministry partners and create website and social media platforms (FOLLOW us on FB at @LutheranAdvocacy. We are following you!). Our priorities for March will be to go live with a website, grow our network, learn about the legislative process, engage with our congregations on the 2020 Census and lift up the new ELCA World Hunger VBS God’s Good Creation for summer planning.

Our thanks to those who have been willing to share your resources and knowledge. We ask for your prayers as this ministry continues to unfold.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

END CHILD POVERTY DAY OF ACTION: The Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California came together with faith partners and anti-poverty activists for the End Child Poverty day of Action. Following moving speeches and a press conference on the west lawn of the capitol, participants walked the halls of the legislative and executive offices to garner support for a plan to end childhood poverty in the state by 2030. The event was well attended, and legislators and staff appeared open to our positions. Contact LOPP-CA for ways to get your congregation involved in the campaign.

CALFRESH 2020 FORUM: The CalFresh 2020 forum is a working conference dedicated to identifying and planning strategies to improve the reach of CalFresh throughout the state. CalFresh- formerly known as food stamps- is a program that helps families acquire healthy and nutritious food in their local community. The uptake rate of the program, especially in otherwise vulnerable populations, needs improvement. We lobbied for a variety of legislative policies that would lead to a more equitable and sustainable food distribution chain. With our commitment to food and farming policy this year, LOPP-CA is a strong partner with California Food Policy Advocates and the California Food and Farming Network. For more information about how your congregation can take the next step from food pantry to food policy advocacy, contact Nicole Newell at

CONGREGATIONAL VISITS: A special and heartfelt “Thank You” goes out to the pastors and members of the following congregations for inviting LOPP-CA into your Sunday worship experience. It is always a blessing to see the many ways that the spirit is moving in our communities and share a bit about the work that we do here with individual members and worshiping communities: Advent Lutheran in Citrus Heights, Calif.; St. Paul Lutheran in Fullerton, Calif; Advent Lutheran in Auburn, Calif; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, Calif; and American Lutheran Church in Burbank, Calif. If you are interested in hosting LOPP-CA for worship, contact Regina Banks at


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

DEATH PENALTY WILL BE REPEALED: We are thrilled to join a broad-based faith community and the ACLU of Colorado in successfully advocating for the repeal of the death penalty in Colorado. The bill, SB 20-100, passed its final vote in the House on February 26. It heads to the desk of Governor Jared Polis, who has promised to sign it.
The bipartisan legislative effort was led by Senators Julie Gonzales and Jack Tate and Reps. Adrienne Benavidez and Jeni James Arndt. The effort was repeated four times in the previous decade, but this year’s bipartisan cooperation ensured the bill’s passage.

ELCA Lutherans have long opposed the death penalty for a variety of reasons, all deriving from our Gospel witness: it is impossible to undo a mistake, it is applied unequally, it is using violence to respond to violence, and it does not reflect the restorative way taught by Jesus. With gratitude for all the voices that engaged this process on all sides, we welcome this new day that is dawning.

LUTHERAN DAY AT THE LEGISLATURE: Nearly 80 advocates came together for Colorado Lutheran Day at the Legislature on February 27. We are grateful that Rep. Jeni Arndt joined us in the morning to talk about death penalty repeal and excited that almost every attendee had the opportunity to speak to at least one of their legislators face to face.


Gordon Simmons, Delaware Lutheran Office for Public Policy

The Delaware Lutheran Office for Public Policy is concentrating on two issues in 2020: education and the environment. There is a major Commission working on revisions to the educational system in the state, with an emphasis on Wilmington. This is partly a response to a lawsuit which contends the state is not providing adequate funding to children from low income families or those learning English. In regard to the environment, we have signed onto a resolution from the Sierra Club calling for a movement towards 100% renewable energy. There is a bill before the Legislature which calls for 40% by 2035. The current mandate is 25% by 2025. We are also monitoring the squabble between the State Division for Natural Resources and Environmental Control (which is supporting the move) and the Public Service Commission (which keeps trying to put up roadblocks). We have a day at Legislative Hall planned for March 25 and a larger “Lutheran Day at the Capitol” set for June 13.


Rabbi Moti Riebe, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA)

KIFA’s major focus this year, as in the last two years, is on Medicaid Expansion. Before the session, Gov. Kelly (D) and Senate Majority Leader Denning (R) announced a compromise bill which would expand Medicaid to the statutory 138% of the Federal Poverty Line without work requirements. Our alliance supported the bill. However, other Republican leaders still oppose expansion, and things became complicated when a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion failed to pass the House. Expansion opponents are holding expansion back as leverage for the abortion amendment, despite the two issues being unrelated (Medicaid funding cannot be used to fund abortion in Kansas).

The expansion bill is stuck in a Senate committee; 24 votes are needed for a procedural motion to bring it out of committee but only 23 have been identified. The last several weeks have seen a series of events to keep the pressure on, including statements (op eds, letters to the editor) from faith leaders; a press conference attended by ELCA Central States Synod Bishop Candea among others; a letter from 75 Kansas nuns supporting expansion; and a faith leader event with Gov. Kelly and Sen. Denning which KIFA helped organize that was attended by 35 faith leaders.

One other thing I’d like to mention: at our annual climate and energy lobby day in February, called WEALTH Day, we organized what we consider to be the first comprehensive climate hearing in the Kansas legislature. To talk about this pressing issue, we put together an ad hoc committee made of legislators of both parties and both chambers from a broad cross section of the state. They heard from advocates and experts on a variety of aspects of climate disruption in Kansas, including impacts on the agriculture sector, increased spending on disaster relief and recovery, and the importance of proactive planning for future disruptions. The hearing was very successful and got some press coverage (not enough), but we’re hoping the legislature will have this hearing in front of an authorized committee next year!


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

FAITH LEADER HOUSING SUMMIT: Many Lutheran leaders participated in a Faith Leader Housing Summit through long-time advocacy partner, Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC). It was exciting to hear Gov. Walz talk about housing priorities!

PRECINCT CAUCUSES: LA-MN Advocates had the opportunity to bring resolutions to their caucuses on housing & homelessness and clean energy! We hope that major parties will include statements on the party platforms.

“CLEAN ENERGY FIRST” LEGISLATION: Clean Energy First refers to prioritizing clean renewable energy over other sources, if more economically viable. Wind and solar energy have become the lowest cost option, but tweaks are needed to update current law. The Senate Energy & Utilities bill rolls back current statute and redefines clean renewable energy in ways that are not actually clean but does include positive language regarding jobs and transition. LA-MN advocates have made many contacts with legislators to improve the bill, but action is still needed as most of the problems remain.

HOUSING: Many LA-MN advocates contacted legislative leaders to push for $500 million in affordable housing bonds. We appreciate feedback and welcome the legislative responses advocates share with us.


From the Upper Midwest? Join this event!! Includes worship that sings Easter for the whole creation; young activists sharing their motivations; breakout sessions; faces of the climate crisis; messaging on climate & difficult environmental issues; networking for musicians, students, creation care teams, church gardeners, youth leaders, preachers, public advocates, and more!

Now the Green Blade Rises: The Easter Gospel for the Whole Creation
(2020 EcoFaith Summit) – Flyer / Registration
Saturday, March 28, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 418 8th Ave. NE, Brainerd, MN 56401


Want to meet with your state lawmakers? Come join the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s (JRLC) Day on the Hill in St. Paul this April!

2020: Serving the Common Good
Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) Day on the Hill – Info/ Registration
Wednesday, April 1, 8:30 a.m. – afternoon legislative visits
InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront, 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

We were very excited to continue our collaboration with the Southern Ohio Synod in February in hosting a training, Seeing Race Through Faith for 30 congregational leaders from across the Dayton area. We discussed the history of American racism and slavery and how it continues through our politics, culture and economy today. We finished the afternoon with situations where we find ourselves in each and every day and are confronted with racism. How can we respond to unite a world that has been segregated by sin? Our first action always needs to be to confess our own sins and ask God to help and guide us.

Want to learn more? Check out our reading list! White Fragility, Dear Church, The New Jim Crow, Race Matters, Living into God’s Dream; Dismantling Racism in America, America’s Original Sin, How to Be an anti-racist.

RAISE THE WAGE: Did you know that the ELCA Social Statement on economic life says, “Although our identity does not depend on what we do, through our work we should be able to express this God-given dignity as persons of integrity, worth, and meaning. Yet work does not constitute the whole of our life. When we are viewed and treated only as workers, we tend to be exploited.”

As a church we commit ourselves to “…a minimum wage level that balances employees’ need for sufficient income with what would be significant negative effects on overall employment.” Beginning later this month, faith leaders can join with partners around Ohio in gathering signatures to put the minimum wage on the ballot in November!


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

STATE BUDGET: LAMPa supports Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for an additional $1 million for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) in his spending plan.

SOLIDARITY, NOT SOLITARY: LAMPa joined the Pennsylvania Council of Churches at a press conference inviting policymakers to “experience” solitary confinement at a real-scale replica of a solitary cell on display in the Capitol. Staff continued legislative visits supporting legislation to end overuse of the practice.

Lutheran advocates stood with lawmakers and supporters of protections for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians in the Capitol as members of the LGBTQ community and their families shared stories of continued discrimination in housing and employment in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s seven ELCA bishops issued a joint letter in support of non-discrimination protections.

ASHES-TO-GO: On Ash Wednesday, LAMPa staff joined ecumenical partners in sharing Ashes-to-Go at the Capitol. Many expressed their thanks for the offering of ashes and prayer in the midst of their day, particularly those who are not able travel to their home communities for the start of Lent.

LAMPA ENDORSES CHIP EXPANSION: Public health advocates, including LAMPa, urged policymakers to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to include prenatal care for pregnant women ineligible for other medical assistance because of immigration status.

EQUIPPING LEADERS: Tracey DePasquale led workshops at SWPA Synod’s training for congregational councils and taught at St. Luke’s, Devon, SEPA Synod. She also toured the food pantry at the Lutheran Center at Kutztown University with alumna Shana Rose and the Rev. Inge Williams, LAMPa policy council member from NEPA Synod,. The pantry’s food helps support the hunger ministry and is sourced through the State Food Purchase Program and PASS, both of which are priorities for LAMPa advocacy.

STANDING WITH DETAINED FAMILIES: Lutherans are helping to lead monthly vigils at Berks Family Detention Center. Sister Dottie Almoney, St. Peter’s, Lancaster, led the vigil in February. Read press coverage.

ELECTION REFORMS: Comprehensive reforms designed to encourage greater participation in Pennsylvania elections are in place for the April 28 primary.

Southeastern Synod

Matt Steinhauer, Southeastern Synod Advocacy Team

My position as Assistant to the Bishop, Director of Advocacy for the Southeastern Synod began on February 1, 2020. The annual gathering of the Advocacy Policy Council for the Southeastern Synod was held on that day at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta. Thanks to the good work of my predecessor, Hilton Austin, who conducted the meeting. Approximately 30 advocates from all four states in the synod, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, heard presentations by the Georgia Justice Project on criminal justice legislation, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light on care for creation legislation, and the American Cancer Society on healthcare legislation.

As all four of our states’ legislatures are in session at this time, it has made it difficult to attend to pressing needs of communication with our advocates, and, at the same time, orient myself to this new position. My first month has been mostly spent assessing the resources already in place, connecting with the advocates across the synod, and working on educational information around our baptismal charge to “work for justice for the poor and oppressed,” in preparation for spreading that word through the congregations in the synod.

I have much to learn, and I am excited to get to know my colleagues across our ELCA, and covet not only your prayers but your good ideas and experiences of building strong advocacy ministries.


Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy

TEXAS INTERFAITH ADVOCACY DAYS: Texas Impact hosted our inaugural Interfaith Advocacy Days February 16-18 in Austin. Participants spent three days in legislative training, participated in Texas’ only US Senate Candidate Forum on climate change, and visited legislative offices at the Capitol to advocate for health equity, migration justice, and climate justice.

The ELCA was well represented at the event. Ruth Ivory Moore, ELCA Advocacy Director, Environment and Corporate and Social Responsibility, was one of the featured speakers, and the Rev. Jeff Thompson was awarded Texas Impact’s Advocate of the Year award for his dedicated service. Pr. Thompson visited his representatives at their Capitol office dozens of times during 2019 and worked to build relationships with campaigns and representatives in their district offices—both for Texas Impact and other local organizations.

REIMAGINING JUSTICE HEALTH EQUITY PODCASTS: Texas Impact has completed production of a special series of Texas Impact Weekly Witness podcasts focused on various aspects of the social determinants of health. The 10 episode health equity series is available by searching for “Texas Impact Weekly Witness” in your favorite podcast app. Also available in the same feed is our recent Weekly Witness conversation with Bishop Michael Rinehart, ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

INTERFAITH ADVOCACY DAYS: Over the last month, FAN co-hosted three Interfaith Advocacy Days (IFAD) – in Spokane, Olympia, and Yakima. In Spokane (January 25) and Yakima (February 8), advocates joined us for issue workshops, interfaith panels, and strategizing sessions on advocacy efforts this year. Two hundred advocates joined us for IFAD in Olympia on February 6, where we heard from our new Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, held workshops on our Legislative Agenda issue topics, and planned in caucus groups in the morning. In the afternoon, advocates met with their Senators and Representatives, and we ended the day hearing from some key elected officials on how the session is going and how FAN can support the passage of justice-centered bills.

WASHINGTON LEGISLATIVE SESSION: We are nearing the end of the 2020 session on March 12, with many bills still alive and needing a final push to be voted out of the second chamber and onto the Governor’s desk! We encourage our advocates to send weekly emails to their legislators on bills from our agenda, and we are especially urging constituents to ask their Representatives to pass the Death Penalty Repeal bill (SB 5339 Sen. Carlyle) these final two weeks. The state Supreme Court, the Governor, and the Attorney General have all called for the repeal, and it is time we make it law!

CENSUS 2020: FAN co-hosted a Census 2020 Faith-Based Summit in Tukwila last month to rally the faith community and local organizations around the census to ensure that all are counted. We heard from inspirational keynote speakers Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Urban Development and former King County Executive (bottom right), and Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown of Plymouth Church Seattle (top right). Co-Director Elise DeGooyer led an interfaith panel, which included ELCA Bishop Rick Jaech (top right) who implored us to stand with our immigrant neighbors who may be fearful of how their information will be used.


Pastor Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

HUNGER: LOPPW participated in a conference call with hunger leaders from the Northwest Synod and East Central Synod of Wisconsin to plan a panel discussion the three groups will lead at a statewide Feeding Wisconsin conference. Pastor Cindy Crane earlier shared LOPPW’s presentation on hunger and advocacy with our main leader from the Northwest Synod. LOPPW also advised a direct service nonprofit addressing hunger on how to get involved with advocacy.

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: We focused on water for February’s Wednesday Noon Live. We also sent out action alerts on protecting children from lead in water, supporting farmers to care for their land in a way that would improve their production and protect drinking water, and a new comprehensive bill that addresses several environmental issues and that does not have much traction yet.

ANTI-SEX TRAFFICKING: LOPPW participated in our quarterly Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Consortium, helped with updates on legislation and learned about one new bill that is relevant to LOPPW’s work.

IMMIGRATION: LOPPW participated in a conference call with our D.C. office and Directors for Evangelical Missions on immigration and began preparing for our focus on immigration for March Wednesday Noon Live.

LOPPW displayed a table at the Greater Milwaukee Synod’s Together in Mission (left) and at the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin Walking Together (right). We have snazzy new t-shirts based on a design from a former ELCA t-shirt design.

ELCAVOTES: We began seeking an intern or consultant to help LOPPW recruit poll workers in the context of talking about ELCAvotes resources, thanks to funding from All Voting is Local.

IN ADDITION: LOPPW led a workshop on advocacy at a congregation in the South-Central Synod. Pastor Crane had conversations with two new advisory council members from the La Crosse Area Synod – Irene TenEyck and Rev. Adam Arends – before welcoming them during our March check-in call.

February Update: Advocacy Connections

from the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, director



TRAVEL BAN EXTENDED:  On Jan. 31, 2020, the Trump administration announced an expansion of the January 2017 travel ban to include more countries in Africa and Asia. Under the new policy, citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan will be barred from applying for visas to immigrate to the United States. The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act would address this executive action and assist those of us escaping perilous or life-threatening situations. Support for the NOBAN Act can be facilitated in a current Action Alert.

In a statement on the expanded travel ban, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton writes, “As Lutherans, these actions should concern us. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God has set us free from ourselves to serve our neighbor. This expanded policy separates families from loved ones already here. Further, it prevents people — especially those escaping perilous or life-threatening situations in several of these nations — from coming to safety in the U.S. It does not enhance our safety or reflect our vocation as Christians.”


GIRLS’ EDUCATION:  On Jan. 28, the House of Representatives passed the Keeping Girls in School Act, a bill that seeks to strengthen U.S. international programs by reducing education barriers faced by millions of girls around the world. The bill calls on continued U.S. government and private investments to ensure quality and equitable education, promotes girls’ empowerment and streamlines existing programs.

Hundreds of ELCA Advocacy network members used an Action Alert in support of this legislation to send over 1,000 messages to members of Congress. An identical bill in the Senate awaits committee action before it can be sent to the Senate floor for a vote.


DISASTER AID FOR PUERTO RICO: The House of Representatives passed legislation to provide an emergency aid package for Puerto Rico in the wake of ongoing earthquakes and aftershock damage to the island. Support for this emergency aid in the Senate is the subject of an Action Alert, which emphasizes the lowest-income families in the greatest distress and the pressing need for authorizing proactive disaster policies for the greater United States.

The new package comes as the Trump administration recently released half of the blocked allocated assistance to help Puerto Ricans recovering from severe storms such as Hurricane Maria who now face additional devastation across the region. Two years after the 2017 hurricanes, more than 30,000 households are still waiting for assistance to have their homes repaired and/or rebuilt. Recent earthquakes have only accentuated the devastation many have experienced. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding is desperately needed to assist survivors with building materials, furniture and labor so that they can rebuild their lives and homes.


FAIR HOUSING RULE: In January the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a new rule that would weaken oversight and national data on fair-housing initiatives in low-income communities of color. Under the new proposal, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule would be rendered almost completely ineffectual. Before March 16, use the Action Alert to make a public comment discouraging implementation of the change.

AFFH was first designed to help localities promote diversity and inclusivity under the 1968 Fair Housing Act and take proactive steps to reverse the effects of housing segregation. ELCA World Hunger recently shared a blog outlining the effects of altering the AFFH rule and explaining how discrimination in housing is an intersectional moral issue that affects multiple aspects of our lives.


ELCA PARTNER WITH 2020 CENSUS:  The ELCA is an official partner of the 2020 Census as we work toward a just world where all are fed and further our commitment to greater justice in public policy and the electoral process. More than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities is based on census data. An accurate count determines electoral maps and ensures that resources more justly go where they are needed most, including to vital programs that combat poverty and hunger and support people in need.

Posters are available from to help ELCA congregations encourage participation, particularly among hard-to-count populations such as people residing in rural areas, young children, LGBTQIA people, people experiencing homelessness, indigenous people, people who do not speak English, and racial and ethnic minorities. National Census Day is April 1, 2020, at which time all homes should have been invited to complete the census. For your neighbor and yourself — encourage your community to be counted!


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February Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | Colorado | Minnesota | Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

U.S.-IRAN CRISIS: On January 9, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton offered a pastoral message to ELCA members about the crisis between the United States and Iran. Calling it “worrisome,” she said “Our country and Iran need urgently to find ways to resolve our differences through a de-escalation of the current crisis, using diplomacy and other peaceful means.” She concluded, “We should appeal now to our elected officials to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy with Iran — for our sake, for the sake of the people of Iran and for the sake of the world God so loves.”

ADMINISTRATION’S “PEACE TO PROSPERITY” PLAN: Presiding Bishop Eaton said on January 28, she was “very dismayed and disturbed by President Trump’s announcement” of his new “Peace to Prosperity” plan, expressing her “fear, [that it] will bring greater insecurity for Israelis and Palestinians instead of peace.” She lamented that it “involved only one party,” noting, “A plan made for a people without consulting that people will not bring peace.” She observed, “Rather than drawing together Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace accord, the effect of this plan will be further alienation and, I am afraid, more tension” and concluded by calling “upon President Trump to develop a different plan that would involve all parties, and to pursue efforts that would adhere to international law and human rights conventions. This plan should ensure the protection and preservation of internationally recognized human rights and realize, for Palestinians and for Israelis, two viable, secure states living side by side in peace.”

ADDRESSING HATE SPEECH AND PREVENTING INCITEMENT: The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect as well as the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Italy and Morocco sponsored a panel discussion held February 4, “Addressing Hate Speech and Preventing Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility and Violence: Synergies within the United Nations system”. In addition to the respective ambassadors of sponsoring missions, Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, stressed the importance of existing UN initiatives such as the “Fez Plan of Action for religious leaders and actors to prevent incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes” (July 2017).

A number of the other panel members, representing entities such as the World Council of Churches, the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), noted the urgency of combating hate speech on online platforms and social media. Of particular interest also to churches and other religious organizations are the “Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” and the Beirut Declaration and 18 Commitments on “Faith for Rights”. A useful new tool is OHCHR’s Faith4Rights toolkit with peer-to-peer learning modules, exploring the relationship between religions, beliefs and human rights.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS: The Colorado General Assembly convened on January 8 and will adjourn May 6. We have already begun advocating in earnest on several important issues from our policy agenda. These include:

FAITHFUL THURSDAYS: People of faith, including ELCA Lutherans, are once again convening a fortnightly gathering at the State Capitol. We are gathered around the themes of equity, a moral economy and ending racism. Learn more at and join us in February on the 6th and the 20th at noon!

LUTHERAN DAY AT THE LEGISLATURE: Join us on Thursday, February 27, for Colorado Lutherans and other people of faith to gather at the State Capitol and learn about the process of our government, as well as how to advocate faithfully on specific issues. Registration is open now at


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Lutheran Advocacy-MN will again have housing and homelessness as one of its two top priorities for the 2020 legislative session. The lack of adequate affordable housing remains a statewide crisis! In some previous years, we have organized joint education and advocacy events with Lutheran Social Service of MN or in conjunction with Homes for All end of session events. This year, our long-time advocacy partner, Joint Religious Legislative Coalition is holding their first ever Faith Leader Summit on Housing, with opening remarks by Governor Walz and participation by important legislative leaders. We strongly encourage all faith leaders & advocates to attend this free event on the morning of February 20. Register on JRLC’s website.

JRLC Faith Leader Housing Summit
Thursday, February 20, 2020, 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (plus afternoon legislator visits)
Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill, 105 University Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55103
LUNCH PROVIDED / *Please make appointments with your legislators for the afternoon hours following the summit and encourage them to make housing a top priority in the 2020 bonding bill!

CREATION CARE: Clean Energy & the Climate Crisis is the other key issue area that Lutheran Advocacy-MN is addressing with the 2020 Minnesota State Legislature, We are also continuing to make public education for our church people and other people of faith a key priority for the care of God’s creation. Lutheran Advocacy-MN has partnered with the Northeastern Minnesota Synod’s EcoFaith Network in their summits & retreats over the last several years. This year, we encourage people of faith throughout the Upper Midwest to join with us in Brainerd for the 2020 EcoFaith Summit! What will happen at the Summit?  Worship that sings Easter for the whole creation; Young activists share what motivates them; Breakout sessions for worship and grassroots action in your congregation and community; How to have conversations about important yet sensitive environmental issues; Networking for musicians, students, creation care teams, church gardeners, youth leaders, preachers, public advocates, and more! Register soon, as space is limited!

Now the Green Blade Rises: The Easter Gospel for the Whole Creation
2020 EcoFaith/Creation Care Summit
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 418 8th Ave NE, Brainerd, MN 56401


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

LAMPA ANNOUNCES FEATURED SPEAKERS FOR LUTHERAN DAY AT THE CAPITOL: Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) President and CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah will be the featured speaker at the LAMPa Honorees Celebration Dinner on May 18. The Rev. Roger A. Willer, PhD., ELCA Director for Theological Ethics in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, and leader in the development of the social message on government and civic engagement, will be the keynote speaker for Lutheran Day. LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale joined other advocacy staff at the Lutheran Ethicists Gathering in January.

ANTI-TRAFFICKING BILL HEADS TO GOVERNOR, RELATED BILLS PASS HOUSE: The House passed a package of anti-trafficking bills, including SB 60, which increases penalties on traffickers and those who would buy sex or labor from those in servitude. Revenue from increased fines would fund services for child sex trafficking victims. The package has moved into the Senate. SB 60 awaits the governor’s signature. LAMPa advocates acted on alerts requesting support for the bills and thanking lawmakers who voted in favor.

PUSHING BACK ON POTENTIAL HIGH-COST LENDING LEGISLATION: LAMPa program director Lynn Fry and the Rev. Matthew Best, a LAMPa policy council member whose congregation works closely with those experiencing homelessness, joined coalition partners in meeting with lenders to discourage them from pursuing legislation that would significantly raise fees and interest on consumer loans in Pennsylvania.

EDUCATING AND EQUIPPING LEADERS: DePasquale participated in a panel discussion with fellow SPPO directors for Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) students and taught about advocacy as part of a faith formation course at United Lutheran Seminary (ULS). Fry shared an informative session on LAMPa and ELCA Advocacy with the adult discussion class at St. James, Gettysburg.  DePasquale also met with leaders at Union, York to plan community gun violence awareness events connected to National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Emanuel Nine and Juneteenth commemorations.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

WASHINGTON LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Washington state’s 2020 legislative session meets from January 13-March 13. During that time, Co-Director Paul Benz is at the state capitol most of each week lobbying for the many bills on FAN’s Legislative Agenda, while the staff in Seattle send weekly updates on the session, create sample advocacy emails for constituents to send to their legislators on important bills, and keep our Bill Tracker up-to-date with the progress in Olympia. Two major successes we celebrate so far are the passage of the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill to reduce the carbon emissions produced by agriculture (SB 5947) and the death penalty repeal bill (SB 5339) out of the Senate – we are hoping those will be followed by passage in the House, and that 2020 will be the year the death penalty is finally repealed in Washington State!

INTERFAITH ADVOCACY DAY: FAN hosts three regional legislative days – in Olympia, Spokane, and Yakima. We recently cohosted a successful Eastern Washington Legislative Conference in Spokane, with 150 advocates who discussed issues affecting our state in workshops, heard an overview of FAN’s legislative priorities, and heard from local elected officials. We are currently putting the last-minute touches on Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia, which is taking place this Thursday, February 6. We look forward to about 200 advocates who will meet in workshops and caucus groups before heading off to meetings with their legislators, and we’ll conclude the afternoon with updates from key elected officials on the 2020 session. Finally, we’ll conclude the weekend with Yakima Interfaith Advocacy Day.

CENSUS 2020: FAN received a grant from the WA Census Equity Fund, managed by Philanthropy Northwest, to dedicate outreach efforts across the state to coordinate the Census in hard-to-count populations. We look forward to engaging faith communities in this important work to ensure that all communities receive their fair share of critical federal and state funding, and that everyone in Washington State counts!


Pastor Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: LOPPW participated with coalition partners via the Wisconsin Climate Table. We discussed ways to make known positive state level efforts to diminish greenhouse gas emissions.

LOPPW supported a bill that, if passed into law, would help ensure quicker communication between departments in counties where groundwater standards have been threatened by violations made by Discharge Elimination System permit holders.  A case in La Crosse County revealed that the county and residents were unaware of a potential risk to groundwater contamination for 10 years.

Other news includes:
-The care for God’s Creation team met to discuss our solar project.
-The director advised our advisory council member from the Northern Great Lakes Synod as he helped to initiate a care for God’s creation team in his church.
-In January, for Wednesday Noon Live program we interviewed a meteorologist on climate change and natural disasters. We turned the interview into a stand-alone VIDEO and PODCAST:

ELCAVOTES: LOPPW attended an initial voting coalition meeting, sought a partnership with a local organization that focuses on voting to explore how concrete actions we would partner on could fit into our larger ELCAvotes efforts, and was in dialogue with a leader from the Northwest Synod about ELCAvotes.

ADVOCACY TRAININGS AND MEETINGS: LOPPW led a workshop on advocacy at a congregation in the South-Central Synod. The director was also part of a panel for Dr. Cynthia Moe Lobeda’s class at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS). The panel was made up of SPPOs and organized by Ryan Cumming. Lastly, LOPPW participated in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin social justice team meeting.

-The director was part of a conference call for relators to Directors of Evangelical Mission.
-LOPPW advised leaders with advocacy ideas for a young adults group in the South-Central Synod




2020 ELCA Advocacy Federal Policy Priorities

Looking ahead, 2020 is likely to be an eventful year. In the midst of societal shifts and opportunities, ELCA Advocacy has identified areas of priority for our work together on the federal level. “These priorities reflect ELCA Advocacy commitments for faithful and timely attention to pressing concerns that affect our neighbor’s well-being and the wholeness of creation,” says the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Director of ELCA Advocacy.

Please consider being part of the ELCA Advocacy network for information and notification when your action matters most. Use to sign up, and invite your congregation and ministries to do so as well (sharable invitation posts are available on social media @ELCAadvocacy). Find a reproducible copy of 2020 priorities at ELCA Advocacy is a resource in our church to help bring our faith based voices into public policy dialogue as God calls us into the world to serve together.


In the ELCA we believe that, through baptism, God is calling us into the world to serve together.
We are a church that views governments as helpful ways God is active in our world and that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and public life. When we, as ELCA members, lift our voices together to influence policies that advance the common good, we further God’s work in our world.

Shaped by the ELCA’s social teaching documents and the experiences of its congregations, ministries and partners, we advocate to end world hunger and stands up for policies that create opportunities to overcome poverty, promote peace and dignity, preserve God’s creation and promote racial justice.

You will find ELCA faith-based advocates meeting with policy makers, taking joint action with values-sharing issue partners, writing letters, making public comments, talking with neighbors, asking questions in town hall meetings — listening, learning, educating and visibly and skillfully asserting policy considerations guided by faith foundations.

In addition to faith-based advocacy organized by local congregations and synods, by Lutheran state public policy offices and by Lutheran Office for World Community representation to the United Nations, ELCA Advocacy is active in Washington, D.C. Following are policy priorities on the national horizon for 2020.


Civic engagement

Anticipating the 2020 U.S. presidential election and supporting the church’s #ELCAvotes initiative, ELCA Advocacy will continue to prioritize policy and practice that increases both government inclusion of and civic participation in our communities.

  Domestic Policy

Child nutrition programs — Restore, protect and adequately fund school and community-based feeding programs as part of the federal safety net, and oppose efforts to convert nutrition assistance programs to block grants to states which would over time diminish free and reduced-fee meal benefits.

Criminal justice reform — End mass incarceration, promote fairer sentencing and support restorative reentry programs in our communities through federal and state funding and reforms.

Civil and human rights — Safeguard and promote protections for vulnerable populations, including communities who face barriers, unjust treatment or inequalities on the basis of racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual orientation or class identity.

  • GO TOs — Find more in ELCA social teaching resources, including the social policy resolution “Advocating for Child Nutrition,” the social message “Human Rights” and the social statement The Church and Criminal Justice.
Domestic Policy: Housing

Budget concerns — Foster bipartisan cooperation and public support for budgeting of federal programs that fund affordable housing and assist people who are homeless.

Shelter and housing reforms — Ensure that the experience of churches and faith-based ministries informs federal reforms and public rule revisions that affect low-income housing programs.

Natural disaster impact — Support federal disaster aid resources and equitable access to recovery programs that assist communities before and after natural disasters.

  • GO TOs — Find more in ELCA social teaching resources, including the social message “Homelessness: A Renewal of Commitment” and the social statement Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All.
Environment Policy

Mitigation, Adaptation and Resiliency — Support legislation and policies that address the global impact of greenhouse gas emissions, incorporating the principles of participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability. Impacts and related policy considerations are multifaceted, including food security threats, agricultural challenges, increased health issues, national security and the forced migration of thousands.

Sustainability — Encourage and advocate for important legislation to protect frontline communities and vulnerable populations that disproportionately experience the negative impacts of environmental degradation, including climate-related changes that exacerbate existing racial, economic, ecological and social injustices.

Creation care strengths of ELCA — Amplify ELCA experiential, educational and creation-care value resources, expressing faithful hope for the future, at this time of pressing and wide-ranging environmental concerns.

  • GO TOs — Find more in ELCA social teaching resources, including the social statements Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice; Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All; and Genetics, Faith and Responsibility.
International Policy

Federal budget considerations — Advocate for robust support for international antipoverty, humanitarian and global health funding (i.e. HIV/AIDS, malaria), as well as funding for conflict prevention and peace-building programs.

Gender Justice — Strengthen U.S. government capacity to prevent gender-based violence, promote girls’ education, protect women and girls during humanitarian crises, and support the economic and health care needs of women and girls globally.

Peace and Diplomacy — Promote human rights and strengthen conflict prevention and peace-building activities around the world, including bilateral and multilateral initiatives.

Migration Policy

Plight of children, women and men fleeing the Northern Triangle of Central America — Raise awareness of the challenges and humanitarian stories on the United States’ southern border.

Human rights of migrants — Restore, protect and promote the human rights of those fleeing violence, poverty, environmental degradation or food insecurity, to name a few causes, and urge the relevant governments and ad hoc institutions to protect migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as established under international law, by denouncing policies and practices that exacerbate the risks and discrimination these populations face.

Militarization of foreign aid — Organize against the allocation of funds to militarize the U.S. southern border and the development of practices that compromise the human rights of migrants.

Path to citizenship — Support policy that reinforces Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

  • GO-TOs — Find more in ELCA social teaching resources, including the social messages “Immigration,” “Human Rights” and “Gender-based Violence.”


How can you get involved?

Become part of the ELCA Advocacy network at! You will receive monthly updates on policy activity and be invited to take action at moments when your voice and experience will have an impact.

Find resources for your advocacy efforts at and a community with which to engage on social media at @ELCAadvocacy. Together we endeavor to live into our baptismal covenant to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

January Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | California | Colorado | Delaware | Kansas | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices. This January 2020 edition particularly emphasizes priorities in the new year. 

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

ELCA HIV & AIDS STRATEGY: In Commemoration of World AIDS Day (1 December each year), LOWC Program Associate Rebecca Anderson spoke on ELCA’s HIV & AIDS Strategy at a one-day Symposium (7 December 2019) hosted by the Peoples’ Community Evangelical Lutheran Church’s HIV Awareness project, in Baltimore, MD. The theme was “Ending AIDS 2030, Act Now.”

Dr. Ulysses Burley III (CEO of UB the Cure) focused his presentation on the UNAIDS Fast-track strategy to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 30 countries worldwide account for 89% of new HIV infections. The UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy stresses the necessity of concentrating its resources towards the most affected cities and communities within those countries most affected. This requires significant commitments from both national and international sources.

Ms. Anderson highlighted the Strategy’s recognition that “the body of Christ has AIDS… [we are] a church that is HIV positive.” The Strategy urges the Church to turn outward in compassion through a multifaceted approach of prayer, charity, advocacy and education in combatting the HIV & AIDS pandemic. ELCA, in partnership with the Lutheran World Federation, have been working with companion churches, partners, the government and civil society to “halt the spread of HIV through effective prevention, treatment and care, eliminate the stigma and discrimination experienced by those who are HIV-positive and reduce the conditions of poverty and marginalization that contributes to the spread of HIV.”

Derrick L. Weston (Director of Programs and Volunteers at HopeSprings), spoke about the faith community response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, particularly in Baltimore and Maryland. Mr. Weston shared statistics for the Baltimore area, stating that the “Baltimore-Columbia-Towson Metropolitan Region is 10th in the nation for diagnosed HIV cases and 4th in the nation for people living with HIV, with 1 in 41 people in Baltimore City HIV positive.” Mr. Weston shared HopeSprings’ best practices, bringing those affected back into a positive relationship with the church. HopeSprings offers a holistic approach and appropriate referral services when working with those affected and works together with the faith community, providing wholistic ministry training and community engagement training.

A Q&A period featured Ms. Patrice Henry (Senior Community Program Coordinator/Project LINK Patient Advocate, John Hopkins University – School of Medicine) who spoke about living with HIV & AIDS. Diagnosed late and considered ‘a miracle’ by the doctor who correctly diagnosed her, Ms. Henry spoke of her journey fighting the stigma she grew up with and her experience counselling those affected.

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: On Human Rights Day (December 10), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted an event titled “Celebrating Human Rights Day: Youth standing up for human rights.” In his introductory remarks, Andrew Gilmour (Assistant Secretary-General, OHCHR) spoke about the “sustained and sometimes ferocious pushback against the entire global human rights agenda that we haven’t seen before.” The United Nations Secretary General Antόnio Guterres commended the efforts of young human rights activists, stating “they are powerful torchbearers for a better future, and we owe them all our support.” A video message was given by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who reminded viewers that “what is at stake is our freedom, our security and our environment, we must all rise up peacefully to achieve a world of rights for all.”

A panel discussion featuring youth took place, moderated by Jessica Stern (Executive Director of OutRight Action International) who emphasized the importance of UN using universal language in policies that translates into local languages. Fatou (Toufah) Jallow (23), from The Gambia, supported this, commenting on her struggle to break the silence and stigma around rape after experiencing such sexual violence, as the English word translates in her local language to “falling on someone” and does not express the gravity of the human rights violation. Feliciana Herrera Ceto, (23) a youth indigenous leader from the Ixil Region in Guatemala, was unable to attend due to her visa being denied but sent her remarks including “[Human Rights] have come at a great cost. I have been criminalized for standing up for the human rights of the indigenous/for exercising my rights to self-determination in order to keep peace in our communities. We don’t enjoy Human Rights.” Carl Smith (17) from the indigenous Yupiaq tribe in Alaska commented on the way climate change has had a detrimental effect on his traditional and cultural hunting rituals. He submitted a complaint to the Child Rights Committee alleging that climate change is violating his human rights. Alexus Lawrence (18) spoke of her childhood experience of homelessness and now advocates to change the face of homelessness, urging all to “understand your power, understand your privilege and use it.”

COMMEMORATION OF THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF CEDAW: On December 18, the United Nations held a commemorative event for the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Since its adoption by the General Assembly in 1979, it has become a leading force for transformative change for women’s equality and empowerment. Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmour (OHCHR) stated in his opening remarks that “one manifestation of all this is cases of intimidation and reprisals carried out against women who have cooperated with the UN and the human rights mechanisms.”

The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, highlighted “it is a day to celebrate…this treaty has significantly improved the lives of women over the last 40 years.” Mr. Muhammad-Bande urged men and boys around the world to understand that a woman in power is not a threat and called on all Member States to uphold the rights of women.

In the following panel discussion, Ms. Bandana Rana (Vice-Chair of the CEDAW Committee) highlighted that CEDAW has “received hundreds of state parties reports on their obligations to promote and protect women’s rights”, and has seen an increase in the adoption of “legislative and administrative reforms to eliminate discrimination and prevent gender-based violence against women.” Ms. Rana stated “we must affirm the gains we have made in advancing human rights, build on the hope of women’s mobilization and transformative actions, and take collective action to forge solidarity with other movements demanding accountability of its states and the private sector.”

INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY CELEBRATION: The United Nations celebrated the resilience, human rights and dignity of Migrants worldwide on International Migration Day (December 18). The International Organization of Migration (IOM) hosted an event of music, documentary sharing and firsthand accounts of migration from the Democratic Republic of Congo to America. In his opening remarks, Mr. Ashraf El Nour, the IOM UN Office Director, highlighted that “we often forget the experiences, stories, sacrifices of individual migrants. Today we would like to celebrate the human face of migrants…Human mobility should not be prohibited or restricted, or even worse – criminalized.” Mr. Nour emphasized that migrants add value to the societies they are in and urged all to quell toxic migration narratives.

H.E. Ms. Gerladine Byrne Nason, the Permanent Representative of Ireland (pictured), commented from a global perspective that “migrants today are all too frequently treated as a threat to security”. She stated the need to engage with host countries to eradicate frequent toxic migration narratives. Ms. Nason shared 2019 migration statistics, stating in 2019 there were “25 million refugees, 3.5 million asylum seekers and 41 million internationally displaced peoples.”

A film screening of “One Way Ticket”, was showcased and the Director and two of the film’s protagonists, Mr Jean Pieere Ntegyeye and Mr. Isaiah Bahati, joined for a panel discussion around their journey from the same migrant camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo to America. Mr Gregoire Grosset, the director, commented on the interviews he conducted within migration camps and highlighted that “even when they [migrants] face[d] distress, they never complained” and that they maintained quiet dignity through their suffering.

Read International Migration Day UN News article here.

NEW LOWC FACEBOOK PAGE! The Lutheran Office for World Community has some exciting news. We now have our very own Facebook account that can be accessed here. We will share more of our work and engagement with the United Nations on this new media platform and welcome all to the page!


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy begins the 2020 legislative year remaining committed to the principles of economic justice, human rights, accompaniment and responsible stewardship and sustainability in service of a more peaceful and compassionate California. Our legislative and executive priorities for the year are:

IMMIGRATION/MIGRATION POLICY: We are looking forward to living into the ELCA declaration of being a sanctuary denomination in California- a sanctuary state. Our foundation is to advocate for and accompany our siblings who are immigrating to and moving through California. Education, poverty and other healthcare and human services remain a challenge for this population and we are committed to walking with them to seek equity.

HOUSING RIGHTS AND HOMELESSNESS: California is in the midst of a housing crisis that is affecting every corner of the state and wide swaths of the economic scale. We here at LOPP-CA are committed to finding equitable funding streams to encourage sustainable building of housing throughout California. Additionally, we are seeking services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

FOOD AND FARMING: California’s role in agricultural leadership is unrivaled. This affords us great opportunity to be leaders in food and farming policies that ensure just stewardship of our state’s resources to feed ourselves and the nation. If we believe that food and water are human rights- and we do- care must be taken to see that food is grown, transported and distributed equitably and with maximal attention toward care of God’s creation. We here at LOPP-CA are committed to these goals.

We look forward to continuing fruitful partnerships with ministry partners and others in civil society toward these and other goals as they serve to help us live our gospel mandates to Love Our Neighbor.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

2020 Advocacy Agenda


  • Improve access and usage rates for SNAP benefits for already-qualified individuals and support protection of the program on a federal level.
  • Encourage greater participation in food and nutrition programs, particularly for children age 0-18
  • Support and collaborate with allied faith-based entities in local and regional work, including ELCA World Hunger, the Rocky Mountain Synod World Hunger Team and Bread for the World


  • Support the creation and implementation of a paid family and medical leave insurance program
  • Protect access to federal programs for people living in poverty
  • Support reform of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to give elected representatives fiscal authority in taxation


  • Promote measures to expand and protect housing options for low-income individuals and families
  • Ensure that people experiencing homelessness have the right and responsibility to access robust services and support


  • Abolish the use of capital punishment in Colorado
  • Work with reform advocates on automatic record sealing and sentence commutation


  • Protect health care access as a public good and human right that should be available to everyone regardless of ability to pay
  • Support awareness of public safety in relation to firearms, and understanding firearm-involved deaths (homicides and suicides) as a major public health concern
  • Promote access to care and treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction


  • Interpret and promote the sanctuary denomination decision of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly
  • Collaborate with Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services and Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains


  • Engage proactively with Colorado legislators (state and federal) to encourage legislation to address the root causes of the climate crisis, including greenhouse gas emissions
  • Support incentive-building programs to reduce global warming and grants to local communities to build renewable infrastructure, in the model of Lutherans Restoring Creation


Gordon Simmons, State Public Policy Officer, DE Lutheran Office for Public Policy

The priorities for the Delaware Lutheran Office for Public Policy for 2020 will be (1) Education (especially additional funding for students from low income families and for those learning English and (2) the Environment (especially raising the state’s goal for renewable energy from 25% to a target of 40%).


Rabbi Moti Rieber, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA)

Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA) today released its agenda for the 2020 Kansas legislative session, including Medicaid expansion, a reform in the laws covering the payday lending industry, and for a comprehensive statewide climate plan, among other items.

KIFA is a statewide, faith-based issue advocacy organization that represents mainstream faith voices in the state legislature and organizes people and communities of faith to bring a moral voice to public policy in Kansas. KIFA’s legislative agenda focuses on the “four evils” of racism/discrimination, economic injustice, gun violence, and climate disruption. KIFA members are shaped by the values of our diverse faiths, which connect us to a timeless concern for justice, peace, and human dignity.

KIFA’s 2020 legislative priorities include:

EXPANDING MEDICAID: We strongly believe that healthcare is a human right and people should not be denied access to basic medical care due to inability to pay. Medicaid Expansion is a moral imperative. We call for a clean expansion bill, without unnecessary conditions or further delays.

PAYDAY LOAN REFORM: KIFA is part of a statewide coalition introducing bipartisan legislation to ease the conditions of short-term, high-interest loans to make them less onerous for borrowers.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: KIFA supports passage of the Smart Justice Act, which includes the return of all private property seized under civil forfeiture by police upon acquittal, banning the felony question on state job applications, and probation reform. In addition, we call for decriminalizing drug offenses, and expunging the records of those who have been caught up in the disastrous “war on drugs.”

“GUNSENSE” LEGISLATION: A “red flag law” would develop a court process to temporarily remove firearms from a person who poses an imminent danger to others or themselves. Also, we oppose any legislation that would further loosen Kansas’ already too-lax gun laws.

EFFECTIVE CLIMATE ACTION: Kansas must begin to plan now for the worsening impact of climate change on Kansas residents and agriculture. Such a plan would include a robust commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy — making Kansas’ energy sector 100% carbon-neutral by 2030 — and building resilience to climate disruption into all our future planning.

KIFA’s advocacy priorities can be found at


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

TWO YEAR PROCESS: In 2020, Minnesota is in year two of the legislative biennium. Legislation introduced last session is still active. It does not need to be re-introduced, can be picked up again by committees, or if passed through part of the two chamber process can continue in that process. This means that legislation we addressed last year could still be passed.

2020 STATE PRIORITIES: The LA-MN Policy Council decided early on that brand new issues should not be considered, but rather that work started on unfinished issues should continue.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS & RELATED SERVICES: Although 2019 was not a bonding year, bonding for affordable housing was passed and was really the only issue that got significant attention from both parties and both chambers. However, the legislature was and remains behind on what needs to be passed to catch up with the statewide housing crisis.

For that reason, as part of the Homes for All coalition, we are calling for $500 million in bonding for the creation of new housing and rehabilitation of existing stock. While that may sound (including to legislators) like a huge amount of money, it is really only a down-payment on what is actually needed. Other states in similar situations with similar sized budgets have passed $900 million to $1.4 billion in bonding for housing. We will also be working to continue to address aspects from last year’s Minnesota Housing and Human Services agenda, and to make policy improvements to help bring tenants more rights in a system significantly weighted toward landlords. While these changes won’t impact good landlords, they will help prevent abuses by slumlords.

CLEAN ENERGY, CLEAN AIR, CLIMATE, AND JOBS: Minnesota surpassed early the Renewable Energy Standard set in 2007 of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 for electric energy and 30 percent for Xcel Energy. Last year, the House of Representatives passed significant legislation for 100% clean energy by 2050, but it went nowhere in the Senate. Both chambers debated “Clean Energy First” provisions, which we support, with the idea that if clean energy (renewables and efficiency savings) are less expensive than energy from fossil fuels, they should be considered first. The senate version has lots of loopholes.

Much of our work on clean energy in 2020 will be focused on the senate – a) educating regarding remaining misunderstandings about the climate crisis, b) calling generally for 100% Clean Carbon Neutral Energy by 2050 and Clean Energy First (without debating every detail within the various 100% bills), and c) calling for transition provisions to help communities where fossil fuel jobs will be lost (while supporting the rapidly growing clean energy economy & jobs), and d) working for adaptation and resilience for those most impacted already by the climate crisis, especially low-income communities and farmers.

FEDERAL PRIORITIES: LA-MN will continue to partner with ELCA Advocacy to aggressively protect programs important for vulnerable people and our vulnerable earth, with special focus on protecting and welcoming vulnerable immigrants.


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio  

2020 READY SET GO! The Hunger Network is ready for 2020 with a full list of priorities and agenda items that will build on our successes of 2019.

  • Assist legislative leaders in developing ideas to use the Ohio capital budget to address hunger in our communities.
  • Equip faith leaders to be actively anti-racist in our congregations and communities through dialogue and trainings around white privilege, power, and faith.
  • Stand in solidarity with migrant neighbors.
  • Stop bills that attack and blame the poor – such as SB 165 that HNO and others stopped in late 2019.
  • Work in coalition to foster more collaboration and a stronger faith voice in advocacy and justice work in Ohio.

As the year progresses, HNO will also work with voting rights advocates to equip congregational food pantries with resources and funding to register, educate, and mobilize their neighbors to participate in the election.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

LAMPa’s broad agenda encourages disciples to act where they are called, lifting up their ministry context, lived experiences, vocations and gifts for public witness. Alleviating hunger, protecting all of creation, especially the most vulnerable, and poverty remain central to the work of LAMPa while addressing their root causes.

In 2020, in partnership with Pennsylvania synods, congregations, social ministry organizations and other Lutheran institutions, as well as ELCA Advocacy and World Hunger, LAMPa will equip disciples to act in the following areas:


  • Improve Access to Healthy, Affordable Food
  • State Food Purchase Program and Pa. Agriculture Surplus System Funding
  • Promoting Fresh, Local, Sustainable Food Systems
  • Improving School Breakfast Participation and Expanding Summer Feeding


  • Protecting All of Creation, Especially the Most Vulnerable
  • Addressing Climate Change
  • Protecting Clean Air, Water and Land
  • Sustainable Development
  • Conservation of Public Lands


  • Promote Household Financial Stability
  • 2020 Census
  • Oppose Predatory Payday Lending
  • Safeguard Benefits and Access to Benefits/Safety Net Programs
  • Prevent and Alleviate Homelessness
  • Increase Minimum Wage


  • Continue work to strengthen laws to prevent and protect victims of human trafficking.


  •  Improve Educational Outcomes for Pennsylvania Students
  •  Adequate and Equitable Basic Education Funding


  • Protect Medical Assistance
  • Ending Surprise Medical Billing
  • Mental Health Treatment Funding


  • Racial Justice – Addressing disparities across policy areas
  • Prohibiting LGBTQIA+ Discrimination
  • Safeguarding the Right to Vote
  • Lifting the Ban on Religious Garb in Public Schools
  • Hate Crimes Legislation


  • Solitary Confinement Reform
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)


  • Help congregations create welcoming communities and oppose legislation that would target immigrants for unjust treatment or seek to deny refugee resettlement efforts.
  • Drivers’ licenses for all — Driving PA Forward


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

FAN 2020 Legislative Agenda


  • Eliminate the tax break on Capital Gains (HB 1343 Tarleton/SB 5129 Rolfes).
  • Fund the Working Families Tax Credit (HB 1527 Entenman/SB 5810 Nguyen), and pass the Individual Tax Identification Number bill to ensure that those in the undocumented community who are ITIN filers are included in WFTC benefits (Thai).
  • Pass the GRADS bill to increase support for teenage mothers and their children (HB 1327 Kilduff/SB 5379 C. Wilson).
  • Support the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition priorities: $1.3M for Department of Health for fresh fruits and veggies; increase the WIC/Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program voucher amount (Rep. Leavitt)
  • Support the Tax on Extreme Wealth bill (SB 6017 Nguyen).
  • Reform the tax exemption structure by eliminating the pharmaceutical tax preference ($38M) (Davis). Pass the Tax Exemption and Transparency bill (HB 1703 Pollet).
  • Pass the creation of a State Bank bill (SB 5995 Hasegawa).


  • Decriminalize the Driving While License Suspended 3 (DWLS-3) criminal code (HB 1282 Reeves/SB 5328 Salomon).
  • Pass the Death Penalty Repeal bill (HB 1488 Orwall/SB 5339 Carlyle).
  • Pass the Clean Slate Bill to create an automatic removal of certain misdemeanors and some felonies (Hansen).
  • Pass the Post-Conviction Review Board Bill to evaluate qualifying prisoners for early release (SB 5819 Darneille).
  • Pass the Justice Housing for All Bill that would remove discrimination for those exiting prison as they apply for housing (Pettigrew/Darneille).
  • Pass the Voting Rights Restoration bill for those exiting state prisons (SB 5076 Kuderer).
  • Pass the Corrections Education to Further Reentry Success bill (Leavitt).


  • Increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund ($10M).
  • Increase the length of housing vouchers for those exiting prison (SB 5441 Nguyen).
  • Curb landlord privilege by requiring a legitimate business reason to evict a tenant (HB 1656 Macri/SB 5733 Saldaña).
  • Pass the renters’ bill to require landlords to provide a move-in fee installment plan over three months’ time upon a tenant’s request (HB 1694 Morgan).
  • Eliminate the shelter penalty for Aged, Blind, & Disabled (ABD) recipients.
  • Pass the Homeless ID Card Bill (SB 5664 Cleveland).


  • Support the Clean Fuel Standards bill, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels (HB 1110 Fitzgibbon/SB 5412 Saldaña).
  • Pass the Plastic Bag Ban bill, which establishes minimum state standards for use of plastic bags at all retail businesses (HB 1205 Peterson/SB 5323 Das).
  • Pass the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill to reduce carbon emissions produced by agriculture (HB 2095 Walsh/SB 5947 McCoy).
  • Support the Electric Bike Bill (Shewmake).


  • Give authority to Washington State Patrol to destroy firearms that they come into possession of.
  • Ban the purchase of semi-automatic weapons.
  • Support the high capacity magazine restriction bill, which restricts the sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of gun magazines holding over 10 rounds (HB 1068 Valdez/SB 5062 Kuderer).
  • Pass State Racial Equity Bill (HB 1783 Gregerson/SB 5776 Dhingra).
  • Pass the bill to make our County Courthouses open to all (Thai/Wellman).
  • Pass the H-2A agricultural labor restriction bill (McCoy).
  • Create more checks and balances on nuclear weapons policy to reduce the possibility of nuclear war (HJM 4008 Tarleton/SJM 8006 Hasegawa).
  • Pass the Eliminate Private Detention to Ensure Public Safety bill (Ortiz-Self/Saldaña).
  • Pass the Swatting bill to further reduce hate crimes (Valdez/Salomon).


  • Expand Medicaid to age 26 for all, including for undocumented youth (HB 1697 Macri/SB 5814 Nguyen).
  • Centralize the mental health Ombuds Offices into one.
  • Pass the Dental Therapy bill to increase access to dental care in underserved areas (HB 1317 Cody/SB 5392 Frockt).


Pastor Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

COP25: As LOPPW’s director, I was very fortunate to attend the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change holds the COPs annually. 197 countries were represented in voting. Most people are familiar with COP21 held in Paris, where the well known Paris Agreement was written in an effort to raise ambition in combatting climate change internationally.

COP25 was held in Madrid in December after Chile canceled hosting it in Santiago due to political unrest. Ruth Ivory-Moore was able to get observer status for six ELCA members during the two-week conference. Six of us attended the first week and six the second in order to include more of our members. We gathered regularly with two international groups, Act Alliance and Climate Action Network, that had a strong interfaith presence at COP and helped to give structure to our experience.

It was striking how at the first plenary session, developing countries seemed to be vying for attention as being the most vulnerable to climate change. Many thought it was better to move ahead without trying to change anything in the Paris agreement. This was an example of how our world is experiencing the impacts of climate change right now. We continually heard people speak about how to “raise our ambition” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. How do we mitigate the problem, adapt to the changes, and address loss and damages?

I focused on loss and damages in many of my meeting and side event choices. Equity was discussed as not only getting everyone at the table, but also evaluating how those countries that have historically created the most greenhouse gas emissions, and have benefited economically as a result, should respond to those that have been least responsible for those emissions but have been impacted the most. There is disagreement on how to address this.

It was disappointing to learn at the end of the two weeks that no decision was made on how to monitor countries’ emission of greenhouse gases, especially in light of a massive peaceful march held in downtown Madrid during the first week. People of all ages marched but there was especially a large turnout of young adults asking us to care for creation. The interfaith presence was also strong. As people of faith we are hopeful, but real hope needs to include honesty. The truth is that we are in a climate emergency.

INTERN: We said good-bye to our intern, Amelia Gonzales, who did a lot of great work in her one semester at LOPPW. We wish her well as she continues her graduate studies at UW-Madison in social work. She gave a refreshing and very striking talk on her experience with the Wisconsin legislature that we taped: