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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:


September 2018 Advocacy Update

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director                                                                                     

ADVOCACY ON “GOD’S WORK. OUR HANDS.” SUNDAY: On Sunday, Sept. 9, we look forward to celebrating the ELCA volunteer day of service and action, “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. This year, ELCA Advocacy has shared advocacy resources, including a sample letter to Congress supporting the Voting Rights Advancement Act and a Voting Rights Fact Sheet. Be sure to check out all the resources and activities on the “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday toolkit page.

VOTER REGISTRATION: Tuesday, Sept. 25, is National Voter Registration Day. The day draws attention to voter registration deadlines across the nation and encourages prospective voters to sign up, check their status or volunteer for further democratic participation. Additionally, new #ELCAvotes resources will be released later this month, including:  

  • a new Bible study that looks at instructive parallels between the early church community found in Acts 4 and how we vote our faith values in society; and
  • a voting guide for people facing homelessness, including congregation resource tips on facilitating voter registration.

Be sure to check ELCA Advocacy social media in the coming weeks for  more engagement around #ELCAvotes!

FARM BILL UPDATE: It is a crucial moment in the legislative process for the farm bill as it moves to the conference committee, and many important policies dealing with local efforts against hunger and international food security are at stake. A farm bill fact sheet on international food aid will be distributed by ELCA Advocacy later this month. Additionally, faith leaders from certain states are joining a petition to Congress, urging their lawmakers to support a farm bill that reduces hunger and improves nutrition.

“PUBLIC CHARGE” RULE: Both ELCA World Hunger and Advocacy are monitoring a rule change being considered by the Department of Homeland Security. Historically, the U.S. government has restricted immigration applications if it is determined an immigrant would be a “public charge,” that is, they would likely depend on cash assistance or long-term medical care. The rule expansion will raise barriers for people to obtain and maintain legal immigration status in the U.S. if they or their dependents access public benefits.

A post to the ELCA World Hunger blog written by an Advocacy staff member highlights the short period for public comment. Those of us active in hunger-related ministry are encouraged to consider the potential impact and prepare to comment in opposition to this rule.

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

Dennis Frado, director 

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Ms. Espinosa (right) is congratulated by Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, following her address to the General Assembly. Also pictured is Secretary-General António Guterres.

U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY: On June 6, the General Assembly elected Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés president of its upcoming 73rd session. She is only the fourth woman to hold that position and the first since 2006. Espinosa Garcés noted that she is also the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over the Assembly.

Espinosa Garcés has previously been minister of foreign affairs and human mobility, minister of defense, and coordinating minister of cultural and natural heritage. She was the first woman to be named permanent representative of Ecuador in New York, after having served as ambassador in Geneva. She said, “As you know, I am also a poet as well as a politician. As such, I am fully aware that no view is useful if we do not see, and no word has value, if we do not listen. I will be ready to listen to you all and work for, and with you.” Read her vision statement here.

Espinosa Garcés has published more than 30 academic articles on the Amazon River, culture, heritage, development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, integration, defense and security. She has also published five volumes of poetry and received the Ecuadorian National Poetry Prize in 1990.


Sept. 5                          High-level forum on a culture of peace

Sept. 24                        High-level meeting: Nelson Mandela Peace Summit

Sept. 25 – Oct. 1         General debate

Sept. 26                        High-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Sept. 26                        High-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis

Sept. 27                        High-level meeting to undertake a comprehensive review of the prevention and control of non-  communicable diseases

NEW APPOINTMENT TO U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Michelle Bachelet of Chile the next U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. In September, she will succeed Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan.

Bachelet ended her second four-year term as president of Chile in March 2018, having already held the position between 2006 and 2010.  The first woman elected to Chile’s highest office, after her first term, she joined the United Nations as the first executive director of the newly established U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N.-Women).

A long-time human rights champion and ground-breaking leader,  Bachelet is a pediatrician who began her government career as an adviser in the Ministry of Health, rising quickly to become the first woman to lead the ministry in 2000 and its Defense Ministry in 2002.

She became involved in Chilean human rights activism in the early 1970s. She and her parents were political prisoners, and her father, a general in the air force, died in prison. After their release, Bachelet and her mother spent several years in exile. She returned to Chile in 1979, finished school and became a pediatrician and public-health advocate. Bachelet also studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy                                                              

LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY: The California Legislature concluded its two-year session on Aug. 31 with mixed success for proposals supported by the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California. SB 100, a bill to require 60 percent carbon-free electrical energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, passed with considerable uncertainty and drama. As this is written, it is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting action. A New York Times editorial supported it. A major disappointment was the demise of two bills to fund access to safe, affordable water in disadvantaged communities, rural and urban. SB 844, whose supporters included agricultural interests, would have enacted a fee on fertilizer and dairies, primary sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater. SB 845 would have enacted a voluntary fee on water bills to fund domestic water supply projects, including maintenance and operation. Despite long negotiations and a degree of bipartisan support, the fear of distorted political attack ads over “taxes” in the election prevailed on the last day.

NOVEMBER BALLOT PROPOSITIONS: The public launch of the campaign for Propositions 1 and 2, the measures on the November ballot that would fund low-income housing, including permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless and housing for veterans and farmworkers, took place at the Vietnam War Memorial in Capitol Park. Pastor Kirsten Moore of Calvary Lutheran Church, Rio Linda, and conference dean offered a brief statement at the news conference, joined by Sacramento Mayor Steinberg, other local elected officials and several state legislators, including the chairs of the Assembly and Senate housing committees.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado                                                         

Advocates for Proposition 111 gather
in Colorado Springs to officially kick
off the campaign to Stop Predatory Payday Loans

BALLOT MEASURES CERTIFIED: Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado supports two measures on the statewide November ballot. One is a constitutional referendum, Amendment A, referred from the Legislature.

Pastor Caitlin Trussell of Augustana
Lutheran Church in Denver speaks at the Yes on A/Abolish Constitutional Slavery rally in Denver’s City Park

Amendment A would strike the exception from Colorado’s ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, finally abolishing slavery from our state constitution. The campaign kicked off on Aug. 28 with a rally in Denver’s City Park.

The second measure, as Proposition 111, will cap payday lending interest rates at a maximum of 36 percent. We are thrilled to stand up with those who have been exploited by these predatory practices, along with economic justice advocates, in saying no to usury in Colorado. The campaign kicked off with a news conference in Colorado Springs on Aug. 29.

Colorado will have six referred measures and at least five citizen initiatives on the ballot this fall, ranging from redistricting to oil and gas setbacks to funding for transportation and education. Two additional initiatives are awaiting possible certification, which would bring the total to 13 statewide items. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado will be on the road doing a lot of voter education this fall!


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy–Minnesota                                                         

Amy, Tammy, & Kendrick with three of
six Policy Council members who made it
to Kendrick Hall’s farewell open house

STAFF TRANSITIONS: We’re delighted to welcome Amy Shebeck to help part-time with communications and administration! Amy jumped right in, helping create a handout on immigration family separation, representing us on the Homes for All Communications Team and overhauling our website!

We’re excited for Kendrick Hall’s next step – his continuing professional education (CPE) assignment with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Center for Changing Lives (homeless youth), but we already miss his day-to-day work, especially on  housing issues! His Hunger Advocacy Fellowship was completed in August.

ISSUE PIVOTS: Important federal issues need our attention! We aren’t dropping our state-level issues but have

added farm bill and immigration concerns for fall work.

FARM BILL: The House farm bill (passed 213-211) decimates bipartisan rural-urban coalitions. Rep. Collin Peterson states the House bill “doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve. It … leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable; it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities.” The Senate’s bipartisan bill (passed 86-11) doesn’t make drastic changes to programs, offers more certainty for farmers, ranchers, food security advocates and more.

The bills will be negotiated by a conference committee–- the house appointed an unprecedented 47 members, compared to nine from the senate!

IMMIGRATION: Immigration took center stage in national news this summer with the outcry around family separation, court ordered reunification and many related issues. Tammy Walhof, LA-MN director, participated in a trip to Tucson and Nogales, Ariz., (both U.S. and Mexican sides of the city) to learn more. She has many stories to share. See our action alert on Facebook (and in the photo!). Watch our website and Facebook for updates and urgent action alerts!

North Carolina 

GeoRene Jones, North Carolina Synod Social Justice & Advocacy Ministries 

ENCOURAGING VOTER ENGAGEMENT: St. Mark’s Lutheran in Asheville is a good example for congregations desiring to support the ELCA’s Voter Engagement Initiative, ELCAvotes.  The congregation’s Christian Action Team partnered with The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, which provided materials, submitted voter registrations and emailed voting reminders to those who took the pledge to vote. Team preparation included production of event handouts, which included sample ballots and early voting information detailing dates and locations. Production costs were covered by a Thrivent Action Team grant.

Making themselves available in the common areas of the building after Sunday services, the team (pictured above) helped currently registered voters verify their registration record as up-to-date – including correct address –and registered eligible voters using official registration forms. Team members delivered the completed forms to the local Board of Elections. Also available were non-partisan information on candidates running for office, links to websites with additional information, and a sign-up sheet for people willing to make their pledge to vote. The team also provided a transportation sign-up sheet for individuals needing assistance in getting to the polls. Overall, the event garnered 49 pledges to vote, including eight individuals aided in registering to vote.

VOTER EDUCATION RESOURCES: Our website provides congregational leaders ELCAvotes resources through synod conference deans and direct mail. Bible studies, the ELCA’s Civic Education and Voter Education Guide and support information for the Voting Rights Advancement Act.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy–Pennsylvania                           

ELCA WORLD HUNGER: ELCA World Hunger staff members Julianna Glassco and MaeHelen Jackson recently visited several anti-hunger sites in central Pennsylvania, including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which they toured with Karen Woodings, advocacy manager. They are shown, at right, at the food bank alongside corn they picked at The Wittel Farm, a ministry of the Lower Susquehanna Synod and the Lutheran Camping Corporation.

CREATION JUSTICE: LAMPa continues to promote the upcoming Energy-Star Stewardship Tour for faith communities Sept. 25-27 at seven locations across the state. Learn more about this partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and faith-based organizations. In addition, LAMPa, along with other faith partners, is sponsoring a community solar webinar on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Learn more. Attendees at all events will be equipped to connect with policymakers on renewable energy.

In the photo, Senator Cy visits
with a family who has two children
with pre-existing conditions.

POVERTY SIMULATION: Lynn Fry, program director, recently participated in a poverty simulation in Franklin County. “It would be quite beneficial if all legislators were able to participate in this simulation so they could gain insights into how difficult life is for a segment of our population. Even though assistance programs are available, many are very difficult to access,” Fry said.

GOD’S WORK. OUR HANDS.: LAMPa is providing resources to help congregations take their service to their neighbor a step further toward justice through advocacy.

HEALTH CARE ROUNDTABLE: Fry also attended a health care roundtable hosted by U.S. Sen. Robert Casey. Casey spoke about concerns related to insurance requirements on existing conditions with those in attendance.

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin, director               

We are excited to introduce our new Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Kimberly Jordan Slappey, who started on Sept. 4. Jordan is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia.

  • Major: religion. Focus: the religion of the civil rights movement and the intersections between gender, race and religion.
  • Minor: political science. Focus: constitutional law and the law as it pertains to marginalized populations.

Jordan plans to attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall of 2019 following her internship as an ELCA World Hunger advocate. Jordan has a background in church work, LGBTQ+ advocacy and local government. When she isn’t working, Jordan enjoys podcasting, geocaching, attending concerts and playing video games. Jordan is looking forward to broadening her knowledge and understanding of the many facets of advocacy.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network                                                                                                     

BALLOT INITATIVES: FAN is engaged, as always, on numerous statewide initiatives:

  • 940 – Reform our state’s use of deadly force statute, which is one of the most egregious in the ability of a county prosecutor to convict a law enforcement officer. Endorsed
  • 1000 – Reinstate our affirmative action laws that were rescinded by an initiative several years ago. It is currently in the signature-gathering stage and has until the end of the year to complete that stage. Endorsed
  • 1631 – Create a carbon fee of $15/ton on our state’s largest emitters of CO2s and is an obvious way to reduce global warming through our state laws. Endorsed
  • 1634 – Prohibit municipalities outside of Seattle from enacting a tax on sugary beverages. FAN right now is neutral.
  • 1639 – Improve gun responsibility laws in our state, raising the purchase age to 21 for semi-automatic rifles, enhance the background checks for those purchases, and create a liability law for gunowners who are found to not have safely stored their firearms/weapons in an incident where someone in the owner’s home was injured with that firearm. Endorsed

CANDIDATE FORUMS: FAN is finalizing the logistics for four highly competitive state legislative district races and one congressional district race. These are hosted by faith communities in FAN’s network and sponsored or co-sponsored by FAN. Candidates are allowed opening and closing statements, are asked prepared questions and then take questions from the audience, but they are not allowed to ask questions of one another.

CLUSTER GATHERINGS: FAN convenes the 21 geographic clusters that make up our 141-member state Network of Advocating Faith Communities every fall. We have 18 scheduled for September through November. These gatherings allow us to inform and strengthen our relationship with our faith community advocates and to have intersectional conversations about how to be more collaborative and effective in our justice work.

ANNUAL DINNER: FAN has two major events during the year – IFAD (Interfaith Advocacy Day during the legislative session), and our Annual Dinner. This year’s dinner will be on Sunday evening, Nov. 18, and we’ve invited Washington’s U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal to speak. Our goal is to have 400+ in attendance.


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin                                      

HUNGER FELLOW: Welcome to Kelsey Johnson, who just started as LOPPW’s 2018-19 Hunger Fellow! Thank you to ELCA World Hunger for providing a grant for this important ministry! Kelsey has been active in the church. Most recently, she served with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program in Jerusalem and the West Bank. At the Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah (West Bank), she assisted with English and art classes. She has explored topics related to refugees, interfaith dialogue and accompaniment. Kelsey graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. She has interests in writing, using social media and working with young people. Kelsey says she is very excited to be working with LOPPW.

FARM BILL: LOPPW has continued to encourage people to contact their members of Congress about the farm bill.  Kelsey has initiated a social media campaign with a focus on the bill.

CARE FOR CREATION: LOPPW with the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin’s Care for God’s Creation team is organizing an event to focus on what’s working in Wisconsin to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Participants will gain practical ideas and resources for increasing renewable energy in their business and congregational lives and advocacy tools. Save the date.

WISCONSIN HAS TWO NEW BISHOPS: Congratulations to Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld of the South-Central Synod and Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson of the Northwest Synod! LOPPW was delighted to have a presence at both joyful installation services.


May Advocacy Update

Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director 

HEALTH CARE: The House of Representatives passed HR 1628, The American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a party line vote of 217-213 on May 4. The bill would dismantle needed support for people with disabilities, the elderly and those facing poverty. With its passage, our work now shifts to the Senate where opportunities to shape the effort have more promise for results. Please continue to stand with us as we make clear to our elected officials that Lutherans support affordable quality health care for all. Read ELCA Advocacy’s full statement here.

ECUMENICAL ADVOCACY DAYS: Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, gathered faith leaders in Washington, D.C., last month calling on Congress to “to make budget decisions that advance the common good.” Congregating on Capitol Hill, hundreds of clergy and lay faith leaders from across the U.S. voiced their concern about cuts to programs that address human needs. Seven of the faith leaders were arrested while engaging in group public prayer at the one of the Senate office buildings.

ELCA Advocacy connected with Lutheran participants throughout the event, hosting workshops on issues such as “Christian leadership for climate action,” and advocacy on the root causes of migration, and models for church engagement in advocacy. Collectively, advocacy staff also discussed our denomination’s unique call to public church and witness and to the special importance of Lutheran voices in public dialogue.

CLIMATE CHANGE: ELCA Advocacy co-hosted a joint Sending Prayer Service at the Lutheran Church of Reformation shortly before the 2017 Climate March in Washington, D.C., on April 29, together with the United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ and Creation Justice Ministries. The D.C. Climate March brought together crowds in the tens of thousands who protested much of the current administration’s actions to roll back strategies against climate change and called for sustainable policies that support ecological justice.

Ahead of the international Science March hosted earlier that week, ELCA Advocacy issued a blog titled “Stewarding God’s Creation: Science Matters.” A key message of the blog is that it “is through our God-given wisdom that we utilize science to be God’s stewards while we are here on earth.” ELCA Advocacy also worked with Living Lutheran magazine to develop a four-part series of articles on the effect of climate change on creation in conjunction with the observance of Earth Day.

AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL: The Peace Not Walls program sent an action alert on May 1 in support of East Jerusalem hospitals and for health care needs in the region. Augusta Victoria Hospital, operated by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in the Holy Land, is the largest recipient of U.S. health assistance among the East Jerusalem hospitals. The hospitals face continued cash-flow problems in caring for the people in the region. The LWF, member churches, and ELCA Peace Not Walls have advocated for the hospitals’ debt crisis for several years.

The action alert for Augusta Victoria Hospital was launched shortly before President Trump was scheduled to meet Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on May 3. In addition to continued international support, the action alert also encouraged lawmakers to visit hospitals in the region.

FEDERAL BUDGET AND MIGRATION: Congressional leaders at the start of this month came to a compromise on the U.S. budget and sent the spending bill to the president’s desk on May 4. Some controversial subjects, such as a bail-out for coal miner benefits, were included in the final version of the bill. Others, such as funding for a border wall requested by President Trump, were excluded.

Shortly before Congress announced the specifics of their budget proposal, ELCA Advocacy shared a blog on the costs (both fiscally and morally) of increased military spending, migrant detentions and border enforcement. While the deal that came from the negotiations does not include funding for a new border wall, it provides an additional $1.5 billion for immigration enforcement that will continue to separate families.

SOUTH SUDAN UPDATE: At the end of April, the House of Representatives passed a resolution (H. Res. 187) to increase emergency funding to respond to the famine in South Sudan. In addition, the resolution calls upon the government of South Sudan to stop hostilities so that humanitarian aid can go where it’s needed and allow immediate and unrestricted access to the southern part of Unity state, where there is a famine. ELCA Advocacy sent an action alert in support of the South Sudanese in March. Faith advocates can continue to urge Congress to pass this resolution at the ELCA Action Center.

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

Dennis Frado, director

PEACE NOT WALLS CONVENING: Peace Not Walls held its annual gathering in College Park, Md., April 25 and 26. Peace Not Walls, an advocacy campaign of the ELCA, urges peace in the Holy Land through accompaniment, advocacy and awareness-raising. The gathering was attended by members of 15 ELCA synods. Attendees ranged from seminarians, young adults who have served in the Holy Land, companion synods to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), and many more.

The gathering focused on deepening advocacy understanding and strengthening advocacy skills. The participants spent time planning for the coming year to raise awareness within their synods to increase accompaniment and advocacy efforts. The participants received updates from the region, including reflections from two Palestinian Lutheran members of the ELCJHL (Bassem Thabet and Majd Khoury); an update on the work of the ELCA in the Holy Land, the ELCJHL, and The Lutheran World Federation from Cindy Halmarson; and a situation update on the status of Jerusalem from human rights lawyer Daniel Seidemann (via Skype).

If you are interested in having someone speak with your congregation about peace and justice in Israel and Palestine please, contact

UNITED NATIONS INDIGENOUS ISSUES: The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues took place in the UN Headquarters from April 24th to May 5th. This year, the special theme was on the “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Measures taken to implement the Declaration”. On Monday, May 2nd, Prairie Rose Seminole, ELCA Program Director of American Indian Alaska Native Ministries spoke at a Forum’s side event panel titled: “Climate Induced Displacement: Realities, Rights, and Responses”. Prairie Rose Seminole discussed the challenges faced by Native Alaskan communities whose land is being threatened by climate change. She outlined the lack of accessibility to public infrastructure that native communities face, and denounced the lack of resources for planned relocation from communities threatened by climate change. She discussed Native cultural identity tied to ancestral land, and the challenges to this identity posed by relocation due to climate change. She concluded by affirming Indigenous people’s role in the fight against climate change, as they are in the front-lines of climate induced displacement.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

CARE FOR CREATION:  The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California is supporting legislation to address the need for safe, affordable water for drinking and hygiene. Affordability is a growing challenge. LOPP-CA was once again invited by the state Water Resources Control Board to have a display table at the CalEPA Earth Day Festival/Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Kids were invited to write notes to the kids in Shishmaref, Alaska, (March 31, Living Lutheran), whose homes are threatened by the rising sea level. A number of Lutherans participated in the March for Science and the People’s Climate March. LOPP-CA is hosting a breakfast at the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly in Fresno, Voices and Visions in the Valley, with an attorney from the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, which is a lead organization in bringing $70 million of greenhouse gas reduction funds to the Fresno area through the Transformative Climate Communities Program. The program was created by legislation supported by LOPP-CA.  Besides reducing carbon emissions, it seeks to reduce poverty and promote equity and public health.

UPCOMING:  Immigration (May 15), LGBTQ (May 16), Early Childhood (May 24), and Hunger Action (May 24) advocacy days at the Capitol, with Lutheran participation to help prevent hunger, support economic well-being and inclusion, and challenge discrimination.



Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado

LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONTINUES: The Colorado General Assembly continues to work on creating a budget that is acceptable to both chambers. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado has been advocating against budget cuts to programs that aid the most vulnerable Coloradans. The current proposal still contains major cuts to the Hospital Provider Fee, which would significantly affect hospital services in rural areas.

We are supporting several bills that have been introduced late: House Bill 1310 would prevent residential landlords from charging application fees beyond their baseline costs for background checks; House Bill 1307 would create a family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for workers who need to take time off to care for themselves or a sick family member; Senate Bill 207 is a bipartisan bill to strengthen Colorado’s behavioral health-crisis system.

BISHOP AT RED ROCKS: We were delighted to watch Bishop Jim Gonia preach to nearly 11,000 worshipers at Red Rocks on Easter morning. Way to go!

INTERIM COMMITTEE PROPOSALS: The Colorado General Assembly will adjourn on May 10. Before the 2018 legislative session, interim committees will meet to study important issues. LAM-CO supports proposals to create interim committees to study housing and homelessness as well as access to disability support programs.

SYNOD ASSEMBLY: The Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly will be in Colorado Springs May 4-7. LAM-CO will be present to talk with voting members about our important advocacy work.

New Jersey

The Rev. Sara Lilja, Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey (LEAMNJ)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: Our parole system is broken in NJ. A2182/S895 will improve the parole system by rewarding good behavior and encouraging rehabilitation. It would allow low-risk individuals to be released from prison when they become parole eligible, as long as they have no serious disciplinary infractions and have participated in rehabilitation programs while incarcerated.  LEAMNJ is urging congregation to call the Governor to ask him to sign this bill.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE: Heath Care Vigils-  Last Friday NJ’s Congressmen Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) reported that he and his colleagues are ready to move forward with a vote on repeal next week with amendments to the plan. We fear that the “MacArthur” amendments will do little to fix the problems and still leave millions of persons without health care.  24,000,000 people in the US  – including over a 500,000 here in New Jersey –  would lose their health coverage if this repeal plan takes effect.  LEAMNJ is co-sponsoring vigils around the state to let our law makers know that we understand health care is essential for everyone.

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE: LEAMNJ has been helping to educate congregations and clergy as to the rights of Immigrant persons and how they can stand in support of foreign born residents.  We have developed a power point presentation and held several educational events in Clusters and Districts around the state addressing myths about refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.

The picture on the right is of the Synod Council packing “Stamp Out Despair” packets to give to undocumented persons being held in detention centers in NJ.  Packets included:  global stamps, phone cards, and stationary.

SHAPING PUBLIC OPINION: LEAMNJ distributes a Weekly Witness publication each Tuesday focusing on the upcoming lectionary text and public policy.  If you would like to be on our mailing list sign up here.

New Mexico

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico 

The last couple of months have been very busy for Lutheran Advocacy-MN!

LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAPS UP: The 2017 regular session of the Legislature has ended. LAM-NM worked on several bills that passed both chambers and made their way to the governor’s desk for consideration during the 20-day signing period. Those bills included:

  • prohibiting solitary confinement for juveniles, pregnant women, and people with severe mental illness or disabilities;
  • raising the state minimum wage to $9.25; and
  • “Ban the Box” – prohibiting private employers from asking about felony convictions on an initial employment application.

Unfortunately, the governor vetoed all of these bills on April 7. However, in a session that included much defensive work to avert cuts to programs that affect the lives of people living in poverty, many cuts were averted including the elimination of the state SNAP supplement on which more than 12,000 seniors rely.

A special session will be called in the next few weeks since the governor vetoed all of the funding for the legislative branch for of the state’s colleges and universities. The Legislature has challenged the governor’s vetoes as unconstitutional and has filed a motion in the state Supreme Court to overturn those vetoes. Stay tuned!


Nick Bates, The Hunger Network

THE OHIO BUDGET: The state House will approve its budget the first week of May and send it to the state Senate for one more month of public hearings and testimony. Faith Leaders are excited that the House added $170 million to address opiate addiction in Ohio and removed a $3 billion tax shift. However, we remain concerned about policies that will impose new bureaucratic hurdles – such as fees and work requirements – to those on Medicaid that will cause thousands of Ohioans to unjustly lose their coverage. This budget also continues to underinvest in Ohio’s response to hunger, despite ranking near the bottom of states for food security. You can read more details here on what is in and out of the budget.

Join our final Faith Community Advocacy Day on May 24 to speak up for health care, housing and hungry Ohioans.

MARIBEL TRUJILLO-DIAZ: We are sad to announce the deportation of Maribel Truijillo-Diaz shortly after Easter. Faith leaders in the Cincinnati and Columbus area responded with vigils and prayers to protect this active, 15-year community member and mother of four. She first was involved with immigration officials after a raid on her employer in 2007. However, she was considered a low-priority, checked in regularly with public officials, had a permit to legally work, and continued to be active in her parish. Immigration officers picked her up one evening with no notice to her or her attorney. In just days she was sent to a detention facility in Louisiana and eventually deported to Mexico. Maribel fears for her safety because she has had relatives kidnapped by the drug cartels in the region.

In Ohio, we are a people of hospitality as Scripture commands of us. It is time that our national officials realize that we welcome people like Maribel who want to offer a safe home for their children and strengthen our state. We will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters around the globe who seek safety and an opportunity for a better life. For when we reject the stranger, it is Christ we reject (Matthew 25)


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy–Pennsylvania

In May, LAMPa saw positive movement on some issues on which we have been working, including safe harbor for victims of child sex trafficking and the creation of a coalition to work on trauma-responsive schools.

On April 4, LAMPa participated in a planning meeting for the organization of a statewide coalition to facilitate the creation of trauma-responsive schools in Pennsylvania. We were invited because of LAMPa testimony given in 2015 before the Commission on Basic Education Funding, which included in its report a requirement for the Department of Education to develop protocols for creating a trauma-responsive system.

On April 25, SB554, creating a safe harbor for child victims of sex trafficking, unanimously passed the state Senate. LAMPa was a signatory to a letter delivered to House members two days later. Pennsylvania Lutherans have been working on this issue since last term, and more and more Women of the ELCA organizations are getting involved around the state.

LAMPa and Pennsylvania hunger leaders also signed on to a letter delivered to lawmakers April 19 in support of funding to expand school breakfast through alternative models.

On April 24, LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale participated in a capitol news conference outlining a clean-water agenda for Pennsylvania.

On April 26, DePasquale delivered a presentation at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg for the school’s annual Spring Academy Week.  She is shown above with Vicar Ron Costen, center, and the Rev. Holger Roggelin of Messiah Lutheran Church in Harrisburg. Costen begins a dual-site internship with Messiah and LAMPa on May 1.

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin

ALABAMA CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: On April 11, her first day in office, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law SB16, which says juries, not judges, have the final say on whether to impose the death penalty in capital murder cases. Alabama had been the only state that allowed a judge to override a jury’s recommendation when sentencing capital murder cases.

TENNESSEE READY BENCHES: On April 6, Tennessee ready benches co-sponsored an interfaith training opportunity to engage in discussions based on the teachings of our respective faith traditions and focus on the moral imperative to engage in social justice work and community involvement as central to our ministries, both in our places of worship as well as in the public square. Breakfast and lunch was provided by Southeastern Synod Tennesseans for Criminal Justice Reform, Southeastern Synod Ready Bench for Health Care Reform, and Faith That Heals (United Methodist Church). The coordinating hosts were the Rev. Ken Edwards, Belmont UMC; and Justin Jones, a senior at Fisk University in Nashville. The Rev. William Barber II of North Carolina conducted the training.

CONGREGATIONAL ADVOCACY TEAM: In order to continue to build capacity and support developing congregational advocacy teams, the Rev. Tiffany Chaney, Policy Council member, has developed a database that will enable state advocacy leaders to identify congregational advocates by state and congregation and communicate with them on state and national public policy via email and texts.


Paul Benz, Faith Acton Network

LEGISLATIVE REGULAR SESSION ENDS, SPECIAL SESSION BEGINS: The regular session of the Washington Legislature ended officially on April 23 without completing its main task to agree to a 2017-2019 biennial budget. Consequently, the governor called for a 30-day special session that began April 24 and will end May 23. A budget negotiating group from each party caucus of each chamber now meets to work out their differences. That may take a while. FAN is still urging our advocates to send messages to their legislators regarding the need for new revenue to fund our K-12 education system as well as health and human services programs.

VICTORY BILLS! FAN’s advocates and Olympia lobby team supported and worked on the following bills that have passed and are in the process of being signed by the governor:

  • HB 1079 creates a “no contact order” system to protect victims of human trafficking from their traffickers.
  • HB 1501 requires notification of law enforcement and victims when an offender applies to purchase a gun.
  • HB 1713 implements recommendations from the children’s mental health work group.
  • SB 5030 extends the statute of limitations for the crime of human trafficking from three to 10 years.
  • SB 5069 allows the state Board of Community and Technical Colleges to do workforce-type classes in our state prison system that could lead to an associate’s degree.
  • SB 5272 vacates convictions arising from offenses committed as a result of being a victim of trafficking.
  • SB 5347 allows TANF recipients to have a second year of vocational education.

REGIONAL SUMMITS: FAN’s second programmatic season is about to begin with regional gatherings in the four corners of the state. These gatherings bring FAN advocates and allies together to share highlights from the legislative session, hear about local social justice efforts in that region, hear about FAN’s five work groups (Economic Justice, Criminal Justice, Human Trafficking, Health Care and Environmental Justice), and discuss next steps about effective collaboration with FAN.


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin                            

ADVOCACY TRAINING: The director met with the global mission committee in the East Central Synod to discuss how their team could approach organizing a synod event on advocacy. We met at Lutheran Church of the Wilderness, a predominantly Mohican congregation, and heard about the congregation’s rich history and work for justice.

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: The LOPPW/South-Central Synod Care for God’s Creation team members the Rev. Nick Utphall and the Rev. Mae Jean Zelle led a workshop on climate change for a Women of the ELCA conference and meteorologist Bob Lindmeier gave a presentation on climate change at a community-wide event in Walworth held at an ELCA congregation.

LOPPW’s most pressing legislative efforts have been on a bill that would make it easier for utilities to assist homeowners to remove lead from their drinking water.

NEW RESOURCE: A devotional written by current and past LOPPW advisory council members with an introduction from the director and edited by Bishop Mary Froiland was completed just before the first 2017 synod assembly LOPPW attended: “Called into the World: Devotions on the ELCA Social Statements.”

SYNOD ASSEMBLY: LOPPW Advisory Council Members the Rev. Sue Schneider and Lisa Hassenstab co-led with the director a workshop on Martin Luther and economic justice with an introduction to the new devotional.



April Advocacy Update

Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director

Easter Message: 

“Jesus is Risen!” is an invitation to a new hope. It declares the Good Friday landscape of shadow, suffering and death as a persistent, but not a final, reality. Easter proclaims God’s power to write a new future for our lives and our world, a reality marked by love that transforms and reconciliation beyond what divides us. Advocacy can be an act of this Easter hope, witnessing to the God of resurrection when we speak to new possibilities for our life together. Lutherans highlight this hope in the descriptions below, as we speak to the suffering in the South Sudan, advocate for climate justice and give testimony for just and humane policies towards migrants and refugees.

ADVOCACY CONVENING: ELCA Advocacy hosted our 2017 Advocacy Convening in late March. This event brought together bishops, local community leaders, and faith partners in Washington, D.C. Convening participants, joined by religious representatives attending LIRS’ Lutheran Immigration Leadership Summit, urged lawmakers to welcome and protect vulnerable refugees and migrants. Through ELCA World Hunger and AMMPARO, our church is working for just and humane policies toward migrants in and outside the U.S. You can learn more and send an advocacy message to your elected officials at the ELCA Advocacy action center. (Photograph left)

CLIMATE CHANGE EXECUTIVE ORDER: On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order that calls for the review, repeal, or rescission of various Obama administration’s climate change initiatives, including rescinding the Climate Action Plan (and associated guidance/regulatory items implementing that Plan). This action will likely adversely impact our nation’s progress in combating climate change. The order also calls for the review of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulations which was a key part of the Climate Action Plan.

The implementation and objective of the CPP was a top ELCA Advocacy priority in 2014. Last month ELCA Advocacy released a statement on the executive order shortly after it was signed by the president. The statement encouraged the administration to re-examine its actions and remain true to its earlier stated commitments to stewardship, sustainability and justice.

SOUTH SUDAN: The United Nations formally declared that several regions of South Sudan are undergoing severe famine—its first case of making such a declaration since 2011. Across several neighboring countries, an estimated 7 million people are said to be affected by the famine, and more than  100,000 in South Sudan are reported to face imminent starvation.

Famine, coupled with the ongoing civil war, has taken a disastrous humanitarian toll across the region—with countless civilians being displaced or targeted for attack. International aid is essential to address the critical situation in South Sudan. Advocates can  take action on the issue at and learn how the ELCA is responding in the region through Lutheran Disaster Response(Photograph right)

HEALTH CARE UPDATE: The work on improving the Affordable Care Act continues. Click here to hear from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on this important issue. Thank you for your continued engagement!

STUDENT GROUPS: Throughout March, a number of student groups from campus ministries visited the Advocacy office. After presentations that focused on the Lutheran values that underpin advocacy, groups went on congressional office visits. It has been tremendously encouraging that so many young adults are invested in learning more about what the ELCA is saying about social and political realities.

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

Dennis Frado, director

CSW61: The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York March 13-24. The theme was “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work,” with the emerging focus area on empowerment of indigenous women. (Photograph left: group picture)

Our Lutheran delegation consisted of 22 delegates, including a LWF Women in Church and Society representative from the Costa Rican church. From the ELCA, we had representatives from ELCA World Hunger, Justice for Women Program, American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries, International Leaders program and Young Adults in Global Mission.

LOWC participated in the planning and execution of various projects and side-events throughout CSW, including Ecumenical Women’s Orientation Day, a Strategy and Advocacy Roundtable hosted by Faith and Feminism Working Group, and a Public Witness event to link up to end gender-based violence, organized by Ecumenical Women and co-sponsored by U.N. Women, UNICEF and the U.N. Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development.

In an unprecedented move by a U.S. administration, the United States sent controversial delegates to CSW from the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), described as “an anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

CSW ended with the adoption of  the agreed conclusions. The conclusions highlight barriers women face, such as unequal working conditions, gender stereotypes, occupational segregation, unequal pay, sexual- and gender-based violence etc. Countries committed to implementing economic and social policies that will lead to women’s economic empowerment.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

During the ELCA Advocacy Convening in Washington, D. C., the Democratic Women’s Working Group on Immigration and Refugees held a forum at which a representative of LIRS testified about the separation of families, and Bishop Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod was introduced.  The photo includes five representatives from California: Nancy Pelosi, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Grace Napolitano, Nanette Barragán, and Zoe Lofgren (a Lutheran). (Photograph left)

Mark Carlson, director of LOPP-CA, found a friendly California office in Washington, D. C.  (Photograph right)

On April 4, the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Carlson participated in an inspiring event at Miracles of Faith Church in Oakland linking the anniversary of the 95 Theses with a year-long remembrance of King. The Rev. Gregg Brown, center, hands the Rev. Phil Lawson (brother of Rev. James Lawson), right, some theses to nail to the church door. (Photograph left)

LOPP-CA helped welcome CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, as it opened an office in Sacramento, a voice for many of the 10 million people who live in Los Angeles County.  In its early days, CHIRLA’s L.A. office was at Angelica Lutheran Church. A priority for immigrant communities is SB 54, the California Values Act, which passed the Senate.  Faith advocates distributed a joint floor alert prior to the vote. (Photograph right)


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado

LEGISLATIVE SESSION: The Colorado General Assembly has taken up consideration of our fiscal year 2017-2018 budget. The Joint Budget Committee proposed significant cuts to the hospital provider fee in order to deal with a significant shortfall created by automatically-triggered Taxpayer Bill of Rights  refunds. The total shortfall is approximately $264 million. Lutheran Advocacy is speaking out to legislators to say that cuts should not be made on the backs of low-income people. A proposed bipartisan fix to address the hospital funding piece, SB 17-267, is risky because it includes automatic 2 percent cuts across the board for all state departments. We are monitoring that bill and pushing for amendments in the House.

CONGREGATIONAL VISITS: LAM-CO has been on the road, visiting congregations throughout the season of Lent to preach and teach about advocacy and the current legislative session. Recent visits include St. Paul in Calhan, St. Andrew in Arvada, and Spirit of Joy in Fort Collins. Thanks to all who joined us in each congregation!

WASHINGTON, D.C., CONVENING: We participated in the 2017 ELCA Advocacy Convening in Washington, D.C., in March. LAM-CO Director Peter Severson, Bishop Jim Gonia, and community leaders Hendrik Samosir and Josh Stallings made up the Colorado delegation, visiting Capitol Hill offices to talk about refugee and immigration issues. (Photograph right: ELCA advocates visit Rep. Diana DeGette, center.) 


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota

The last couple of months have been very busy for Lutheran Advocacy-MN!

ADVOCACY EVENTS: Lutheran Advocacy-MN and LSS of MN held Lutheran Leader Day at the Capitol for Minnesota bishops, pastors and church leaders. The advocacy focus was affordable housing, while workshops were also included on immigration, sex trafficking, and clean energy. Minnesota bishops led the opening worship and facilitated the closing reception with legislators, including comments by Rep. Alice Hausman, Sen. John Marty, and a moving childhood affordable-housing story by Sen. Dan Hall. (Photograph below: Sen. Jeff Hayden explains barriers people face in affordable housing due to race and rural workforce issues.)

Four bishops, a grad student, and LA-MN Director  Tammy Walhof represented Minnesota at the ELCA Advocacy Convening, including in meetings with members of the Minnesota congressional delegation about immigration. Earlier in March, Walhof joined other state public policy directors in Washington, D.C., for the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference and Lobby Day.

CLIMATE, HUNGER, AND CLEAN WATER:  For the Region 3 Hunger Event, Walhof facilitated Bible study sessions on words like dominion, earth keeping, and sabbath and led sessions on climate change basics and hunger, and to introduce LA-MN’s 2017 issue agenda. Ryan Cumming (ELCA World Hunger) introduced ELCA work on creation care, real stories about climate impact on poor people, and activities to increase understanding of climate impact on hunger. Walhof also worked with the Northeastern Minnesota Synod on their Water Summit and presented environmental issues happening at the state Legislature.

North Carolina

GeoRene Jones, North Carolina Justice & Advocacy Team

We are excited about a special opportunity arriving in the form of an anonymous-donor challenge benefitting ELCA World Hunger. Bishop Timothy Smith is preparing and will send details to leaders of our 201 congregations. We give thanks for those loving hearts who respond generously to the prompting of the Holy Spirit for the work God is doing in our synod.


Nick Bates, The Hunger Network

State advocates released a new “Report of Reports” on April 3 highlighting how Ohio measures up to the nation on a series of statistics. Each section takes only a few minutes to read – perfect for the busy church professional! Ohio has shown signs of improvement in health insurance access and preschool access but continues to trail the nation on issues of food security and job growth. Read our new report “State of Ohio  2017: A story through statistics.”

Lutheran advocates stormed Capitol Hill for our ELCA Advocacy Convening in partnership with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. Bishop Abraham Allende, the Rev. Carmen Colon-Brown, Nick Bates, and Dr. Rev. Kristine Suna-Koro had the opportunity to speak with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Rob Portman about the important issue of immigration and how it impacts so many Ohioans. We also spoke with staff from the offices of Rep. Joyce Beatty (Columbus) and Rep. Warren  Davidson (Troy). Also pictured with Sen. Brown is one of Ohio’s favorite children, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.

STATE BUDGET:  The Ohio Budget process continues to drudge along. Dozens of sub-committee hearings were held in the House throughout February and March. After the Easter recess, the House will reconvene and present its recommendations. We will host an advocacy day in May to help our state senators understand that the budget is a moral document. Pictured below are faith leaders with Hunger Network in Ohio, Faith in Public Life, and the Ohio Council of Churches meeting with state Rep. Andrew Thompson, a member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Marietta.

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Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy–Pennsylvania

LAMPa began March by organizing and participating in Ashes-To-Go at the state Capitol. This was the second year LAMPa and partners from the Council of Churches, Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and Lutheran congregations offered prayers and anointing to mark the beginning of Lent.  The practice was welcomed inside and outside the building.  Drivers even pulled over and hopped out of their vehicles so that they and/or passengers could participate! (Photograph below)

LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale was grateful to connect with colleagues from around the state and around the country at the Domestic Mission all-staff gathering in Chicago, followed by a productive ELCA World Hunger team-building day.  The following week, she participated in Trinity Institute 2017: Water Justice, hosted by the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Lower Susquehanna Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.  All are eager to work together on water advocacy, which LAMPa will resource and organize.

DePasquale joined ELCA Advocacy staff, bishops and lay leaders from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., the last week of March to advocate with members of Congress in support of refugee resettlement and increased funding for efforts to protect migrant children and address the root causes of migration in Central America. (Photograph right)

March ended with her in Pipestem, W.V., connecting with ELCA pastors, bishops and advocates at the State of Appalachia Conference, organized by Creation Justice Ministries, to support the church’s response to the spiritual, health, economic and environmental  needs in that region. (Photograph above)

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: In Georgia, several of us joined 500-600 other advocates for the Anti-Sex Trafficking Lobby Day and were successful in pushing HB341, which adds those who patronize or solicit a person who is the victim of sexual servitude to the offense of sex trafficking, to be considered for passage prior to sine die. The bill was passed and is on the governor’s desk. HB86 adds acts involving trafficking a person for sexual servitude to the definition of sexual abuse in the code section delineating requirements for mandatory reporting of child abuse. The bill was passed and is on the governor’s desk. SB104 adds government buildings to the list of locations required to post the human trafficking hotline notice and requires government entities to have a hyperlink to the human trafficking hotline model notice on their websites. The bill was passed and is on the governor’s desk. (Photograph left)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: Joining with our other partners, SB174, which enacts several reforms recommended by the Georgia Council for Criminal Justice Reform, was successfully passed and is on the governor’s desk. The bill clarifies and improves protocols involving family treatment courts; revises provisions concerning non-violent felonies, probation and validation of the Department of Corrections’ Risk Needs Assessment. It also clarifies and revises provisions regarding probation, parole, conditional release and fees. The bill was passed and is on the governor’s desk. HB261 allows certain individuals sentenced to a prison term between March 18, 1968, and Oct. 31, 1982, to petition the superior court in the county in which he or she was convicted for exoneration of guilt and discharge. The bill was passed and is on the governor’s desk.

IMMIGRATION: Many of our folks joined with other partners for the Coalition of Refugee Services Agencies Lobby Day and New American Celebration. (Photograph right)

CONGREGATIONAL ADVOCACY TEAMS: While we are in the early stages of this grass-roots movement, congregational advocacy teams are popping up all across the synod. This past week our new Congregational Advocacy Guide was added to the resources tab on the synod website. This will be the focus of our presence at the Synod Assembly in May; we will be offering numerous ways congregations can be involved in advocacy. It is perfect timing considering the theme of our assembly is “We are Church for the Sake of the World.”


Paul Benz, Faith Acton Network

LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHTS: We are in week 13 of our 15-week regular session. Most committee-hearing work is done and now the final budget negotiations for our 2017-2019 $42 billion biennial budget begins with a handful of budget leaders from the House and Senate caucuses. FAN testified along with more than 100 organizations in favor of the House Democrats’ revenue package that had three primary funding sources for the budget: instituting a capital-gains tax, increasing our business and occupation tax with a generous exemption for small businesses, and closing a few tax exemptions (of which Washington has close to 700). One bill from FAN’s legislative priorities that is still alive is the WA Kids Ready to Learn Act, which establishes a breakfast-after-the-bell type of policy for our high-poverty schools to increase accessibility for breakfast to be served in a variety of settings. Also, two anti-human trafficking bills have now passed and are awaiting the signature of the governor.

SPRING SUMMITS: As a part of FAN’s regular programming, we are now planning for our four regional summits in Yakima May 7, Spokane May 21, Vancouver June 4, and Seattle June 11. This is a great time to gather FAN advocates and our friends and allies to have table conversations about what the critical issues are for our state and hear and discuss how our state’s regular session went. (Photograph right: FAN advocates gather in issue work groups last year at our Seattle Summit.)


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin                            

ADVOCACY DAY IN WISCONSIN:  LOPPW is part of People of Faith United for Justice, an interfaith group that holds an Advocacy Day during state budget years.  We focused on social safety-net programs, anti-sex trafficking, and water. (Photograph right)

ELCA ADVOCACY CONVENING IN D.C.:  LOPPW joined co-workers in Christ from around the country.  The speakers and panels gave us their expertise and their hearts.  LOPPW’s director joined Bishop Jim Arends, La Crosse Area Synod; the Rev. Walter Baires, Greater Milwaukee Synod; and Bishop Jerry Mansholt, East Central Synod to advocate for welcoming refugees and immigrants. (Photograph left)

FRAC IN D.C.:  LOPPW’s director joined colleagues for an informative and inspiring Food Research Action Center (FRAC) conference.  LOPPW will use information especially related to the farm bill and its possible impact on school meals.  We do not want federal funding diminished or turned into block grants.

LETTER WRITING:  The director was invited by Triangle Ministry, which is in a low-income housing complex in Madison, to lead a forum.  She used information from FRAC with an invitation to the residents to write personal notes on paper plates. (Photograph right)

WORKSHOPS:  Advisory Council members the Rev. Diane House and Joyce Anderson led a presentation on Martin Luther and economic justice at a Northwest Synod of Wisconsin event.  The director led the same presentation three times on the same day at an East-Central Synod of Wisconsin event. Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier led workshops on climate change in congregations for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin/LOPPW Care for God’s Creation Team.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Our table is planning ways to make local impacts with partners in strategic parts of the state.



March Advocacy Update

Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director

ADVOCACY LENT DEVOTIONALS: This Lent we offer two advocacy resources:

ELCA World Hunger’s “40 Days of Giving” Lent devotional. focuses on the connections between faith and economic justice as we follow Christ’s journey to the cross. A number of pages highlight some of the work of our State Public Policy Offices with suggestions for advocacyactions.

The ELCA AMMPARO initiative released the “I Was A Stranger” challenge to focus on meeting people who have been displaced with the heart and love of God throughout Lent.

MIGRATION EXECUTIVE ORDERS: President Trump signed executive orders late January that cripple the asylum process, increase the detention of migrants, and expands border enforcement. Unaccompanied children and families currently arriving or who have arrived from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will be among those most severely impacted by the executive orders. The policy changes encouraged by the Administration will strip children and families of critical protections, allowing them to be quickly pushed through detention facilities through an expedited removal process, and quickly deported without due process rights.

Some policy changes in the executive orders will need a Congressionally approved increase in funding to be implemented effectively. ELCA Advocacy has begun educating Members of Congress about the impact of policies included in the memorandum and asking that funding for programs to help the most vulnerable are not cut to implement inhumane and impractical immigration policies.

FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE: The Trump Administration announced plans to boost military spending late February, and is expected to do so at the cost of deep cuts into the EPA and other annual domestic programs. Non-defense programs address several critical issues that ELCA Advocacy prioritizes, including foreign aid, addressing homelessness, providing education and veterans’ services, suicide prevention, and many others.

Faith and poverty advocates continue urging Congress to reauthorize a budget deal to prevent harsh cuts for people in the greatest need. As Congressional leaders move to respond to the release of the Administration’s proposal, ELCA Advocacy will conduct outreach to protect anti-poverty programs. An action alert urging Congress to maintain funding for affordable housing and homeless programs in the federal budget is live on the ELCA Action Center.

INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: A bipartisan group of senators is working to re-introduce the International Violence Against Women Act this March. Passing this important legislation continues to be a priority for ELCA Advocacy. In 2012, the Obama administration released a government-wide strategy to address the issue of gender-based violence around the world, and to make it a priority of U.S. foreign policy. The International Violence Against Women Act seeks to congressionally authorize this strategy.

METHANE WASTE STANDARDS: The new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Rule that was adopted last November has updated working standards and technologies for oil and gas companies on public land—helping better control methane pollution (a potent greenhouse gas). During the public comment period that led to the implementation of the Methane Rule, Lutherans across the country testified at public hearings in favor of the policy in 2015—citing health, community, moral and environmental concerns. But now, in the 115th Congress, lawmakers have prepared a bill that would overturn the methane rule. The methane repeal measure passed the House of Representatives in early February, and now makes its way to the Senate. ELCA Advocacy shared an action alert in support of the BLM Methane Rule, which now makes its way for a final vote in the Senate.

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

Dennis Frado, director

BREASTFEEDING ADVOCACY: The NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council, Inc. held its Annual Breastfeeding Forum on February 17 at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. The forum brought together more than 150 representatives of local organizations involved in breastfeeding promotion. Delegates learned how to advocate, how New York won the nation’s strongest paid family leave law, Birth Equity in NYC and what is at risk for policies concerning breastfeeding in the 115th Congress. Presenters were Theresa Landau, MS, RDN,CDN Chairperson; Susan Vierczhalek, MD,IBCLC,FAAP Vice Chairperson; Kathleen Carpenter, MS,RDN,CDN,IBCLC Treasurer; Eric Williams, Paid Family Leave Coalition; Molly Weston Williamson, Attorney, A Better Balance; Sharon Marshall Taylor, NYCDOHMH and Susannah Pasquantonio, Legislative Aide to State Senator Liz Krueger. LOWC’s Christine Mangale gave the keynote speech (See photos).

FIFTEENTH COORDINATION MEETING ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION: On February 16 and 17, LOWC took part in the 15th annual coordination meeting on international migration at the UN headquarters, organized by the Population Division of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The meeting focused on the progress made in the implementation of migration-related SDG targets, while discussing the preparation for the 2018 global compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration. The event was divided into six panels, including “The Roadmap for Implementing the New York Declaration”, “Implementing the migration-related commitments of the 2030 Agenda”, and “The global compact on migration: Regional and human rights dimensions”. (See photo right)

RESPONDING TO MIGRATION CHALLENGES FROM THE ECONOMIC ASPEC: On the margins of the Fifteenth Coordination Meeting on International Migration, a side-event “Responding to migration challenges from the economic aspect” was held at UN headquarters on February 17. Many individuals and families migrate from rural areas for economic reasons as they see migration as the most viable option for moving out of poverty within their own communities. Conflict, extreme weather events and political instability are also among the root causes of migration. Migration is part of the process of development. Migration should be a choice not a necessity. International cooperation should address the structural drivers of large movements of people and create conditions that allow communities to live in peace and prosperity in their homelands. Investing in sustainable rural development, climate change adaptation and resilient rural livelihoods are important parts of the global response to current migration challenges.

FIFTEEN CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND EQUALITY IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: The ELCA joined 14 other Christian organizations in sending a briefing paper to all members of Congress and to the Trump Administration on February 15 calling for U.S. policies that promote peace, justice, and equality between Israelis and Palestinians.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

BILL INTRODUCTIONS: February 19 was the deadline for bill introductions, and the next step in the legislative process is committee hearings over the next number of weeks. There are many bills addressing LOPP-CA subject priorities, including immigration, health, climate change/environmental justice, and housing. We are supporting a new version of The Disclose Act, which failed to reach the required 2/3 majority by one vote last session. It would improve the health of democracy by requiring more timely and visible reporting of contributions to support or oppose ballot measures.

EVENTS: LOPP-CA co-sponsored the Green California Summit, and participants were motivated in call-and-response style by our luncheon speaker, civil rights and environmental justice leader Dolores Huerta. LOPP-CA also co-sponsored the annual Day of Remembrance and Unity Candlelighting Ceremony to mark the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Director Mark Carlson was blessed to spend a few moments with a 100-year-old honoree who was able to return to his farm and community, thanks to the care of neighbors during his family’s incarceration while he served in the Army (see photo left).

UPCOMING: March brings a small group of PLTS seminarians to the Capitol, who are focusing on LOPP-CA as an ELCA World Hunger grantee as part of Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda’s Public Ministry Class. The annual conference of the California Budget and Policy Center is also taking place. The UC Sacramento Center continues its series of informative events with a lecture on the long reach of child nutrition programs.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado

FAITH ADVOCACY DAY: Nearly 100 advocates joined together for Colorado Faith Advocacy Day on February 11. Keynote speaker Rev. Amy Reumann, Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Jim Gonia, and others put enlivening words to the theme “Luther at 500: Reclaiming Protest for Today’s Public Church.” Participants concluded the day by writing their commitments to action and advocacy on pieces of paper and nailing them to a door, painted to resemble the Wittenberg Castle door on which Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses. (Top-right: Colorado Faith Advocacy Day participants)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION: The Colorado General Assembly is approximately one-third of the way through its 2017 session. LAM-CO is currently advocating for bills that would extend the child care expenses income tax credit (HB 1002) and continue low-income household energy assistance (HB 1116). We are opposing a bill that would repeal the state’s health care insurance exchange (SB 003).

Bills we have supported that have already been defeated: HJR 1013 to oppose the executive order on refugee resettlement, SB 22 to support rural economic development, and SB 95 to repeal Colorado’s death penalty.

New Mexico

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–New Mexico

LUTHERANS AND ADVOCACY PARTNERS GATHER: About 175 advocates, including members of ELCA congregations and their ecumenical and interfaith advocacy partners, attended the 2017 LAM-NM Bishop’s Legislative Luncheon as well as the annual issues briefing in the morning prior to the luncheon. Bishop Gonia spoke to the gathering about “Prophetic Love.” Archbishop John Wester from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe brought greetings at the beginning of the luncheon that was also attended by a dozen legislators. In the afternoon, Bishop Gonia accompanied the group of advocates who visited the capitol.

Pastor Anne Morwaski received the Haaland Advocacy Award presented by LAM-NM Policy Committee Chair, Judy Messal (See picture on left). Senator Howie Morales from Silver City received the LAM-NM Legislator of the Year Award (See picture right).


Nick Bates, The Hunger Network

FAITH LEADERS CONTINUE TO GATHER IN COLUMBUS to discuss our vision for a more just community. Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other traditions gather once a month for breakfast to discuss the prevalence of anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic rhetoric, racial injustice, policing issues, and how the faith community can respond in a meaningful way. In order to foster more diversity and community, the breakfasts rotate location in order to allow all of us the grace of receiving hospitality from one another. Breakfasts have been hosted by historically white and historically black congregations and the above photo was taken at Congregation Tifereth Israel – a Jewish Synagogue on the East side of Columbus. (See picture right)

BUDGETS ARE MORAL DOCUMENTS. The budget proposed by Governor Kasich doesn’t expand dollars for food banks or for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. It also does very little to address to the opiate overdose rate in Ohio. The budget will be in the Ohio House until April. And we need your voice this Lenten Season!

On March 9th, people of faith will gather at the Ohio Statehouse to advocate on issues of hunger, housing and healthcare. Come and join us! You can register at Not able to make the advocacy day of action? Contact Hunger Network at and we can help set up an in-district meeting between you and your Representative.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy–Pennsylvania

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania applauded the inclusion of an additional $2 million for school breakfast in an otherwise austere budget proposal put forth by Gov. Tom Wolf at the start of the month. LAMPa has been championing school breakfast expansion for several years. The governor’s plan, which includes level funding for other nutrition programs, confronts an estimated $3 billion deficit. LAMPa also supports proposed increases in funding for early childhood education, public school funding, and efforts to address both clean water and climate change.

LAMPa director Tracey DePasquale has been working with increasing numbers of individuals and congregations looking to become engaged in advocacy in response to turmoil in public life. Many are wrestling with how to strive for justice when even our faith communities are so politically divided. On Feb. 27, Tracey attended an interfaith event hosted by Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod titled “Coming Together: Supporting, Organizing and Pastoring to Our Members (and one another) in This new Political Landscape.” The event offered much that could be shared throughout the church. At the conclusion of the event, nearly 200 faith leaders held a news conference at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, condemning the weekend’s desecration of hundreds of graves at a Jewish cemetery in the city and committing to continue working toward peace and unity. (See picture right)

LAMPa is coordinating Ashes to Go at the capitol, the second year for the offering with the Lower Susquehanna Synod, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin


On February 11, we gathered at St John’s Lutheran in Atlanta Georgia. Our Devotion was done by Patti Austin, National President of Women of the ELCA; it was based on Isaiah 58:6-12. The morning session was loaded with powerful speakers. Hilton Austin welcomed everyone and spoke briefly about the inter-connectedness of social issues and how each of them contribute to hunger and poverty and our new roll-out of congregational advocacy. Bishop Julian Gordy spoke briefly about the importance and significance of the church’s voice in the public arena. Roxann Thompson, interim chair of the SES Policy Council, told her story as an immigrant and encouraged congregations to become AMMPARO Welcoming Congregations (See picture). Angela Saxton, lead organizer for A.B.L.E. (Atlantans Buliding Leadership for Empowerment), spoke to the group about her experience as a black woman and the need for bringing people together for ‘sacred conversations.’ Our Keynote speaker was Sherry Boston, Dekalb County District Attorney; Sherry spoke on Criminal Justice reform and the inter-connectedness between education and the criminal justice system.

After lunch, attendees had the opportunity to choose 2 of 4 workshops; workshop presenters were: Melanie Johnson, Program Director Lutheran Services of Georgia – Immigration and Refugee Resettlement (See picture below left)

Mary Campbell, SES Green TEAM – Caring for Creation, Graham Younger, Faith in Public Life – How to write an Op-ed and current hot topics, Rev Ronald Bonner, Asst. to the Bishop, Criminal Justice Reform.

All of our ready benches continue to monitor what is happening in the state legislatures, as well as attending various Lobby Days. Several congregations have shown interest in building congregational advocacy teams; these folks are looking for guidance in this new ministry. With the help of our Policy Council, synod staff, and the Washington office, we look forward to furnishing them with an advocacy manual and developing a network of communication between congregational teams.


Samuel Brannon, Texas Impact

Lutherans from around the state gathered at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas from February 12-14 for the third annual Lutheran Legislative Event. The gathering was cosponsored by Texas Impact, the Southwestern Texas Poverty and Justice Taskforce, and the by all measures, it was a smashing success. Attendance was up from previous years and enthusiasm for legislative engagement was demonstrably ardent.

The event’s two-day training portion included key note speaker Reverend Alexia Salvatierra, justice advocate and author Pastor Salvatierra guided attendees into a grace filled model of legislative advocacy. In drawing a distinct differentiation between faith-based advocacy and other models, she led participants into gentle but assertive Biblical best-practices that have borne fruit by tested advocacy experience.

Participants were also treated to a fact laden panel discussion on pay day lending led by Rev Amy Reumann, Director of the ELCA Public Advocacy Office in Washington D.C. and Rick Ertel of the SWT Poverty and Justice Task Force. Other speakers focused on the environment, immigration, refugees, children’s health coverage, and religious freedom.

After two days of instruction and prayerful discernment, Bishops Eric Gronberg and Ray Tiemann led a spirited caucusing exercise. The resulting legislative agenda ranged from stewardship of communities and creation, to child welfare and justice for the incarcerated. Everyone spent the third full day in the state Capitol building lobbying legislators and staff (See picture right). Many participants developed new connections and/or strengthened current relationships with their legislators.


Kim Bobo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Virginia’s General Assembly 2017 session ended on Saturday, Feb. 25, and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy was able to celebrate several successes:

  • stopped the cutting of TANF benefits for low-income families.Proposals would have reduced from 24 to 12 months the length of time a family could receive public assistance. This was a mean-spirited bill and we stopped it on the floor.
  • supported expanding mental health and substance abuse services in Virginia. We joined partner organizations in expanding resources in the state for mental health and substance abuse services.
  • helped restore driver’s licenses to those who owe court fines and feesby leading the advocacy for ended the state’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses to those persons.
  • opposed and helped stop some of the worst of the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills. We were a vocal presence against these bills and in favor of making Virginia a more welcoming place. At a press event,VICPP volunteers called on Governor Terry McAuliffe to veto all the anti-immigrant bills that emerged from the session. … VICPP is partnering with the Sacred Heart Center on two Worker Clinics for the Richmond area. These sessions — March 1 and March 15 – will provide a safe space for workers to learn more about their rights and ask questions. Lawyers will be present for consultation, and both English and Spanish speaking volunteers will be available to help.


Paul Benz, Faith Acton Network

INTERFAITH ADVOCACY DAY: On February 9, over 400 advocates of all faiths came to the State Capitol to learn about FAN’s issues in workshops, gather in caucus meetings by legislative district (people from 37 of our 49 districts came), hear from interfaith speakers and elected officials, and attend a total of 121 meetings with legislators or their staff. (See picture below left)

KEY LEGISLATIVE BILLS: FAN’s main bills are about the use of deadly force by law enforcement, and legislation called “Breakfast After the Bell.” Washington’s statute on deadly force i the most egregious in our country because a prosecutor has to prove the officer acted with malice. Those bills are stalled right now because of law enforcement opposition to changes in language, as well as a lack of political will. Requiring all school districts to allow student access to ‘breakfast after the bell’ will probably once again not reach the Governor’s desk because Senate Republicans emphasize parent responsibility over school mandates.


RESPONSES TO EXECUTIVE ORDERS: FAN has been busy responding to recent Trump executive orders, especially the travel ban and immigration orders. FAN has engaged by having a press conference in the capitol on Interfaith Advocacy Day, supporting numerous grassroots events, supporting immigrant protection legislation, and issuing statements to affirm our immigrant neighbors. See our two statements on our website here and here. (See picture below of Interfaith leaders at a press conference at the State Capitol to support legislation that protects Muslims from a possible religious registry) 

CONGRESSIONAL RECESS EFFORTS: FAN is participating in a statewide coalition regarding concerns about repealing the Affordable Care Act by meeting with some Members of Congress and their staff. We are also encouraging and coordinating our advocates to set meetings with their MOC during one of the upcoming recesses.


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin

2017-19 STATE BUDGET: This budget draft is not as austere as the last on. We are pleased that funding for anti-sex trafficking is proposed to remain in the budget and would increase the second year. Part of the funding would expand the LSS-operated facility for trafficked girls in rural Wisconsin. LOPPW is thankful for the bishops signing a letter about anti-sex trafficking to the governor in November 2016.

We have serious concerns about the budget and expected bills in relationship to some public benefits:

  • New pilot program requiring FoodShare (Wisconsin’s SNAP) recipients who have children to work 80 hours per month for benefits.
  • Eliminating FoodShare eligibility for parents not in compliance with child support.
  • Denying FoodShare benefits for anyone not elderly, blind, or disabled whose household has over $25,000 in liquid assets. The paperwork required to prove eligibility is daunting. Pennsylvania stopped their asset test after 111,000 households were denied benefits because they had trouble producing all of the required documentation.
  • Drug testing and limiting the types of food someone can purchase via FoodShare will likely emerge again.

ADVOCACY DAY: People of Faith United for Justice organizes advocacy day every two years, during budget years. Brochure for the April 4th event:

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: LOPPW’s director and two volunteers will join groups from the Wisconsin Climate Table to meet with the Dane County supervisor about the county using more renewable energy. Our table is planning ways to make local impacts with partners in strategic parts of the state.




May Advocacy Update

Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!


Washington, D.C. – Amy Reumann, Director of Advocacy


CONGRESS TAKES STEPS THAT COULD SET BACK CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS: The ELCA is committed to fighting childhood hunger. That commitment, rooted in the baptismal call to care for our neighbors in need, is why we as a church have advocated for a strong renewal of the child nutrition programs that are critical to the health and well-being of children and families throughout our nation. The House last month introduced a new version of the child nutrition re-authorization bill (Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016). ELCA Advocacy strongly opposes this legislation because it would roll back years of progress made by our nation’s child nutrition programs. The bill is in the House Education and Workforce Committee. Click here to read our action alert urging Congress to improve these programs.

dc2ELCA ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN ECUMENICAL ADVOCACY DAYS: Christian advocates from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. for Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), April 15-18. For the 14th annual gathering, the EAD theme was “Lift Every Voice – Racism, Class and Power.”  As part of the ELCAvotes initiative, ELCA Advocacy, Racial Justice Ministries, and Young Adult Ministries brought 16 participants from 12 states to EAD to serve as ELCAvotes ambassadors. These leaders are now taking the information they learned from EAD back to their communities. The ELCA also supported the participation of 17 young adults in EAD this year. The weekend concluded with a day of action, where attendees visited the offices of their senators and representatives, advocating on two key issues: “supporting the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 as a substantial legislative step to restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965” and “defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that deepens inequality and prioritize corporate interest over both God’s creation and people, especially vulnerable communities in the U.S. and abroad.” ELCA staff from ELCA Global Mission and Domestic Mission units attended, including staff from Lutheran Office for World.

THE GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY ACT ADVANCES: Both chambers of Congress passed their versions of the Global Food Security Act, a top priority of ELCA Advocacy. Congress must now reconcile the two bills and send the final legislation to the president to sign. Our advocacy will continue to ensure that a final bill will be sent to the president’s desk by the end of this year. The bill provides congressional authorization to Feed the Future, a U.S. government initiative charged with combating chronic hunger and food insecurity around the world. It ensures that every dollar spent accrues value in global productivity, expands opportunities for education, reduces violence and helps those who suffer from food scarcity. Through Feed the Future, countries are able to increase agricultural and nutritional investments. As a result, farmers are able to feed their families, communities, and can contribute to their countries’ economic growth.

CONGRESS PASSES OLDER AMERICANS ACT: Last month, President Obama signed the Older Americans Act into law. The Older Americans Act is a critical piece of legislation that authorizes supportive services for older adults through Area Agencies on Aging, family caregiver supports, nutrition programs and the Senior Community Service Employment Programs. The re-authorization of the act was a priority for ELCA Advocacy and Lutheran Services in America since it was allowed to expire in 2015. ELCA Advocacy promoted this legislation by collecting nearly 500 postcards written to Congress from Lutherans.


New York, NY – Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community


CIVIL SOCIETY HEARING ON HIV AND AIDS: On April 6, the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) participated in the Civil Society Hearing on HIV and AIDS. This hearing is the principal platform for civil society to influence the United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which is being proposed for adoption in June. Throughout the entirety of the hearing, common themes emerged: 1) the AIDS response must be fully funded by governments, particularly those of high-income countries, 2) barriers to the right to health by key populations must be addressed and alleviated, 3) trade rules must continue to  ensure access to affordable, high-quality medicines for people living with HIV and AIDS, and 4) that stigma against people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as stigma against key populations, must be addressed and eliminated.

A number of those present at the hearing stressed that ending gender-based violence and ending the AIDS epidemic should not be in competition with each other but rather be complimentary campaigns. This reinforced the common belief that gender equality is an essential response to the AIDS epidemic. Furthermore, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, now a part of the World Council of Churches, made an intervention during the hearing, calling for further partnerships with faith-based organizations in the AIDS response. They also urged action on five priority areas, which can be found here.

LOWC will continue to follow meetings and events related to HIV and AIDS, including the meeting on HIV and AIDS June 8-10 and the International AIDS Conference in July.

U.S., PALESTINIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH LEADERS JOIN OTHER PALESTINIAN CHURCH LEADERS IN TAKING ATLANTA SUMMIT MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON: On April 21, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton joined Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land;, Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem; Suheil Dawani, archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; and several others of the Palestinian delegation who came to Washington after the “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land” meeting.

The group briefed U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and the staff of other members of the House of Representatives about the summit and discussed the general situation of the churches and Christians in the Holy Land and the Middle East.

The delegation also visited the White House and met with Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to the president and national security adviser to the vice president, and Yael Lempert, special assistant to the president and senior director for the Levant, Israel and Egypt at the National Security Council. The delegation gave them a letter to the president and a copy of the Atlantic Summit Document. The delegation highlighted the importance of education, the need to fight extremism and radicalism, the centrality of Jerusalem to peace. They also gave an update on their educational, health and other diaconal work.

Younan expressed thanks for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s negotiating effort despite the disappointing results. He asked the administration to support the French-organized Middle East peace conference to be held next month and urged the U.S. to refrain from using its veto on Israel-Palestine resolutions in the U.N. Security Council. He asked that the U.S. make reunification of families a priority. He also expressed thanks for U.S. support for the East Jerusalem hospitals, including Augusta Victoria Hospital, operated by The Lutheran World Federation.

On April 22, the delegation met at the State Department with Shaun Casey, special representative for religion and global affairs; Rachel Leslie, an adviser in Casey’s office; Stephen Butler, deputy director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs; and Michael D. Yaffe, senior adviser in the office of the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Younan expressed appreciation for the interaction with Casey in recent years and said the churches’ relationships with the U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, Donald Blome, and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro in Tel Aviv are good and “very meaningful.” Bishop Younan reiterated his wish that the U.S. give priority to consulting with the Palestinian church leaders, particularly on the peace negotiations. He is frustrated that the Israel-Palestine issue now appears to be “on the back burner,” whereas, if it were solved, it could help solve some of the other more publicized issues, such as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.


California – Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

FIRST CALL THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION, REGION 2: Although LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson was in Chicago at the annual staff meeting of the Domestic Mission unit, he helped arrange for a Day at the Capitol for new rostered leaders, part of their focus on public witness. They were welcomed by Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas of Los Angeles, secretary of the Legislative Black Caucus, chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, chair of the California Prayer Breakfast, and the youngest member of the Legislature.  LOPP-CA also arranged for the group of more than 50 to meet with a member of a congregational church council whose “ministry in daily life” is serving as communications director for the Senate chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She briefed the group on ca1caucus priorities, such as child care and family leave. Carlson had breakfast with the group upon returning, using his brief time to push Gov. Jerry Brown’s sentencing reform initiative and the initiative to end the death penalty.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY: Signatures have been submitted for the death penalty initiative, which would move more than 700 men and women on death row to the status of life without parole. This initiative has been endorsed by the LOPP-CA Policy Council. LOPP-CA has been active in the final effort for signatures for the sentencing reform measure.

EARTH DAY: LOPP-CA was asked by the state water boards to have a display for faith groups at the CalEPA Festival, when employees of various agencies brought their families to their high-rise workplace. Children wrote notes of encouragement on easel pads to children in Flint, Mich., (c/o Salem Lutheran).


Colorado – Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: The Colorado General Assembly will meet until May 11, which means that Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado priorities have several more days to move through the legislative process. Our remaining major priorities include SB 190, a bipartisan bill from the Joint Budget Committee that will improve public services, particularly food assistance programs, by incentivizing better administrative practices and hiring additional state-level staff to increase enrollment of eligible families. Colorado currently ranks 45th in the nation for timeliness and accuracy in delivering food assistance, and Colorado merchants lose out on an estimated $686 million annually in grocery sales from unenrolled households. Another priority bill is HB 1227, a bipartisan bill that creates accommodations for low-income parents receiving child care assistance. A final bill is SCR 006, which would strike the exception to slavery and involuntary servitude from the state constitution (Article II, section 26). This resolution passed the Senate on a 35-0 vote, and if it passes the House, will be referred to Colorado voters on the fall ballot.

CHURCHWIDE CONNECTIONS: The directors of all ELCA-connected state advocacy offices gathered in Chicago for the churchwide Domestic Mission unit meeting in April. It was a time of fellowship and networking with churchwide colleagues. It gave our advocacy office directors the chance to share updates and best practices and to celebrate one another’s accomplishments for the sake of our common calling to public policy justice.


New Mexico – Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran advocacy Ministry New Mexico


The LAM-NM director traveled to Las Cruces, which is near the Mexican-Texan border, to do a presentation at Peace Lutheran Church about advocacy ministry and the 2016 LAM-NM Advocacy agenda. Advocates from Peace Lutheran have been active in our ministry since 1984. This congregation is engaged in their community, state and the world!

The Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico Policy Committee recently met in Albuquerque at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Four new members were welcomed to the committee from four ELCA congregations. The committee heard reports about the recently completed legislative session, evaluated the 2016 Bishop’s Legislative Luncheon & Issues Briefing, and reviewed financial reports and program activities. Time was spent planning for the fall advocacy conference on Nov. 5 when Rozella White, ELCA director of Young Adult Ministry, will be the keynote speaker.


Ohio – Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good

It’s been a relatively light legislative spring around the Statehouse. Gov. John Kasich delivered his State of the State address in Marietta on April 6, with fewer policy proposals compared to his previous addresses. A new report released addresses some of the realities in Ohio. It highlights outcomes related to the health, economy, education and inequality in Ohio.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURES: The Ohio capital budget increases resources for infrastructure. While this is a positive step, many needs remained unmet. For example, the state has not invested adequately to help farmers in northwest Ohio protect the streams, rivers and Lake Erie. The state has invested in lead contamination notification but still has not invested in lead removal.

RENEWABLE ENERGY STANDARDS: Ohio’s renewable energy standards previously had overwhelming bi-partisan support. However, in 2014, they were temporarily suspended over the protests of Lutheran leaders. A bill was announced in mid-April to expand the temporary freeze until 2019. Renewable energy is a growing job sector in Ohio that this freeze hurts.

PREGNANCY PROTECTION ACT: Faith leaders have won the support of every female state senator to pass a bill to end discrimination against pregnant women in Ohio. The bill had its first committee hearing the week of April 18.

MEDICAID CHANGES: A new plan, if approved, would undercut the positive steps Ohio has made toward health care access for the most vulnerable. The plan would require the poorest Ohioans to start paying for Medicaid. Experts estimate that 140,000 Ohioans would likely lose coverage under the new rules.


Pennsylvania – Tracey DePasquale, Interim-Director


LAMPa partnered with ELCA Global Mission and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg for two days of worship, service, learning and advocacy on April 17 and 18, focused on the theme “Stirring the Waters: Faith, Science and Action!”

Sunday’s events featured outdoor learning, service, an interfaith blessing of the waters and a meal, music and climate-change lecture in the Capitol rotunda. All events were open to the public. More than 150 people participated in the day’s events, which focused on our mutual call to care for the earth that sustains all of us. Highlights included tree-pa1 planting that kicked off a Reformation service-and-advocacy project and a canoe trip led by Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Lutheran Camping Corp. supplied canoes, recruiting and staff for that event.

The second day featured workshops and advocacy training around a variety of topics, with a special focuspa3 on the links between science and the issues on which we advocate. The event was an official part of the seminary’s Spring Academy Week. The day also featured a celebration of advocacy successes and recognition of advocates from each of Pennsylvania’s seven synods. Click here to learn more.

We also unveiled a sample of a video on making advocacy known among our congregations. The video features advocates telling their stories, as well as an introduction by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia theologian and LAMPa policy council member the Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer.


Southeastern Synod – Hilton Austin Jr., Georgia

As we approach our one-year anniversary with our upcoming Synod Assembly, I can only say it has been an interesting and busy year, never a dull moment. Thanks go out to John Johnson and the folks in the Washington, D.C., office for their help and guidance and especially to all of those folks across our synod who participated in rallies, marches and events, along with those who helped coordinate and publicize those events.

Currently, we are making preparations for the Synod Assembly at the end of May. We will have an exhibit table outside the Plenary Hall to talk to folks about the importance of our work and our need for advocacy coordinators in each congregation. On Saturday, we will present an immigration advocacy workshop and host an advocacy luncheon.

In April, we published the first edition of an e-newsletter; it will be published three times a year, September, January and April. September will be the Discernment Edition to set priorities for the upcoming legislative season. January will be the Action Edition with current pending legislation and Lobby Days dates. April will be the Wrapup Edition.

We are very excited about the current ongoing conversation with Presbyterians for a Better Georgia and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta concerning working together and also opening an ecumenical advocacy office in Atlanta. We plan to have the office in our synod office, from which we will also be able to help coordinate and support advocacy efforts in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.


Virginia – Kim Bobo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Neill Caldwell, Communications Director 

In the last few weeks, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy staff members have been listening to fellow citizens and activists talk about health care access in Virginia and some Virginia legislators explain why they oppose expanding coverage in the Commonwealth by taking federal dollars allocated under the Affordable Care Act to pay for expansion. Sen. Amanda Chase, R-VA11, thinks that a concierge-medicine approach is preferable to coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare, the health care advocacy arm of VICPP, was invited to participate in an NAACP event in Richmond, #HealthcareMatters. The panel discussion was moderated by Community Outreach Coordinator Cassandra Shaw, with the Rev. Marlon Haskell of Chicago Avenue Baptist Church, NAACP Richmond Health Committee Chair Marilyn Campbell, motivational speaker and clinical social worker Germika Pegram, and community activist Christopher Green joining the panel. The panel, and the attendees, agreed that community action was the only way to shift thinking in the General Assembly on the importance of closing the coverage gap via access to quality, affordable health care for all Virginians.

For National Minority Health Month (April), Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare and the Virginia Interfaith Center are partnering with African American faith organizations/judicatories and churches to make a unified, faith-based push to compel their state leaders to close the coverage gap. They’re also working with two nationally known African American faith leaders, the Rev. William Barber and Dr. James Forbes, on the Richmond leg of their 19 city “Repairers of the Breach” revival tour.


Washington – Paul Benz, Faith Action Network


ANNUAL VISIT TO NATION’S CAPITOL FOR ECUMENICAL ADVOCACY DAYS: Office visits were made to 11 of our 12 congressional offices (we met three members of congress; the rest were staff). The key issues we discussed included child nutrition, opposing block granting of SNAP, support for voting-rights bills, opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and support of funding for the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. Faith Action Network also made visits to our friends at the National Council of Churches, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition convened by the United Methodist Church. Our state delegation was made up of many young adults, and we participated in the marches and rallies on Capitol Hill that day.

Highlights from Ecumenical Advocacy Days include preaching and leadership from the Rev. William Barber of North Carolina, as well as being with people of faith from around the country advocating on social justice issues with the theme: “Lift Every Voice! Racism, Class and Power.”

Faith Action Network is now working on our four regional summits during May and June in Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver and Yakima. At those events, we will organize by our issue work groups, such as economic justice, environment, criminal justice and health care.

ELCAVOTES: We are also promoting ELCAvotes at our synod assemblies, encouraging congregations and members to get engaged in this year’s elections, as well as introducing resolutions to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which is an act of solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters, and acknowledges white privilege.


Wisconsin – Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin


CEREMONIAL SIGNING: A significant anti-sex trafficking bill that LOPPW supported has become law. Bishop Mary Froiland, LOPPW Advisory Council member the Rev. Barb Girod, and the director attended the ceremonial event in Madison. LOPPW volunteer Robbie Joern attended the actual signing in Hudson.

NEW STATE CLIMATE TABLE: LOPPW was part of an all-day organizing meeting for an emerging Wisconsin Climate Table to broaden the efforts of secular and faith-based organizations to support a Clean Power Plan and other healthy environmental efforts in Wisconsin.


  1. Human Trafficking – What does the church have to say? A new resource for congregations to use with youth and adults.
  2. Money & Politics: The Gradual Distortion of American Politics and its Impact on Poverty – What does the church have to say? We also have a one-page summary of the longer Money & Politics. Go to Thank you to our former intern, Genevieve Baldwin, for her work on 2016 LOPPW anti-human trafficking resource and to intern Kyle Kretschmann for his work on the money and politics resource.


 What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!

Contact us at ​​


March Advocacy Update

Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!


Washington, D.C. – Amy Reumann, Director of Advocacy

LOGUMLENTEN ADVOCACY REFLECTION SERIES: During Lent, ELCA Advocacy is sharing weekly advocacy reflections from state and national policy staff. You can read the first Lenten Advocacy Reflection on Ash Wednesday and other weekly reflections at the ELCA Advocacy Blog.

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING: On Feb. 1, the House of Representatives passed the Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act (H.R. 400), a bill that seeks to ensure the U.S. government does not contract with companies and organizations that employ trafficked people at U.S. embassies and other governmental posts.

The legislation would require the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department to give recruiters and contractors clear guidelines so that our government’s employment practices overseas do not support debt bondage, one of the tools traffickers use to trap people into this appalling and illegal practice. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate for further consideration.

#ELCAVOTES: With the 2016 elections right around the corner, we are called to conversation and prayer around our role as U.S. residents and as people of faith in ensuring our election systems promote dignity and respect for all. As part of this initiative, the ELCA is involved in planning and implementing the 14th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days gathering April 15-18. People of faith will speak against the suppression of political and economic rights and the corporate undermining of the voice of ordinary people in the U.S. and around the world.

Through prayer, worship, advocacy training, networking and mobilization with other Christians, the gathering will face the reality of racism, class and power impacting politics and policies and will advocate for the liberty of “Every Voice!” – all culminating with Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Interested advocates can sign up for the ELCAvotes updates here, and join ELCA Advocacy in Washington, D.C., for the Ecumenical Advocacy Days at

UPDATES AND ACTION ON FLINT, MICH.: Last month, the Rev. Jack Eggleston of the Southeast Michigan Synod shared his experience of visiting Flint, Mich., which has an ongoing water crisis. With some government support and generous response from the synod, ELCA World Hunger, and people around the ELCA, Salem Lutheran Church is now one of the largest distributors of fresh bottled water in the city. Michigan Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow and several Midwest Republicans have since proposed legislation that would procure funding for Flint and cities facing similar lead crises. You can take action on the Flint assistance bill at the ELCA Advocacy Action Center, and read the full version of Pastor Eggleston’s reflection at the ELCA Advocacy Blog.


New York, NY – Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community

COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: The 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations in New York March 14 – 24. The theme is women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Delegates will also review the 57th session agreed conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

LOWC will host 35 Lutheran delegates, including representatives from The Lutheran World Federation  member churches in Brazil, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and the U.S., as well as the Geneva communion office. LOWC will also co-sponsor several side events with the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Islamic Relief Worldwide, World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA), and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council.

DPINGO BREIFING ON GLOBAL MIGRATION: On Feb. 18, Nicholas Jaech of the Lutheran Office for World Community attended a briefing by the U.N. Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations on the current global migration crisis. This briefing aimed to educate NGOs on refugees fleeing conflict and war, but emphasis was also made on people displaced as a result of climate change and natural disasters.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees representative reiterated some sobering statistics: 60 million people are currently forcibly displaced, which is the highest number since World War II. In 2014, 42,500 people were forced to flee their homes every day, and there were a total of 13.9 million newly displaced people, which is four times higher than in 2013. The European Union representative noted Europe’s “legal and moral obligation” to provide protection to these refugees and called on the European Union to reform its migration management systems.

The UNICEF representative noted that of the 4.7 million refugees in Syria, half are children. She also noted that in 2015, 39,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S./Mexico border. She outlined UNICEF’s support, including technical assistance for coordination, access to education, reuniting children with parents and psychological support for children.

ZIKA BRIEFING: On Feb. 16, LOWC attended a briefing on the Zika virus by the U.N. Economic and Social Council. The World Health Organization announced that 34 countries have reported cases of the  virus, while an additional six countries have indirect evidence of local transmissions. They noted that the virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito and the geographical spread of the virus will continue in countries where this mosquito is found. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spoke about efforts to work with international public health partners to detect and report cases and support diagnostic testing and the development of new technologies.


California – Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: February opened with an Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Sponsors included the California Association for the Education of Young Children and the California Alternative Payment Association, two professional organizations that relate to services provided by many ELCA-affiliated preschools and child care centers. Other sponsoring organizations represented providers who lease church facilities for Head Start and State Preschool. LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson’s legislative-visit team members were private providers from San Luis Obispo and San Diego and appreciated the “tour guide” services and “moral” support. A briefing from the speaker-elecact and legislative budget staff provided context for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to consolidate early childhood funding in block grants to local education agencies, potentially threatening the diverse mix of providers. Although $276 million of the $1 billion in recession era cuts was restored last year, the governor’s proposal is mainly seen as a cost-containment strategy and not a commitment to reach the tens of thousands of unserved eligible low-income children.

Late in February, the annual Watercooler Conference of early education stakeholders drew about 400 people to Sacramento, sponsored by First Five California, the state Department of Education, and The Advancement Project, a civil rights organization. Attendees heard from legislative leadership, administration officials, authors and academics, including a keynote by the director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. Early brain development and the toxic effects of poverty were once again emphasized, along with the importance of wealth redistribution programs like the earned income tax credit.


Colorado – Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado

FAITH ADVOCACY DAY: Faith-based advocates from across Colorado joined together at Colorado Faith Advocacy Day on Feb. 20. Under the theme “Income Inequality: Who Gets Left Behind?,” the attendees were addressed by keynote speaker Rep. Faith Winter, who shared her experience working in public policy at the municipal and state levels trying to ensure that low-income women and families aren’t left behind.

coPanelists from the Colorado Fiscal Institute, 9to5 Association of Working Women, and Family Promise of Greater Denver helped illuminate different aspects of the issue. Thanks to all who attended! Be sure to join us again next time.

LEGISLATION: Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado is working hard on our legislative advocacy agenda as the session nears its halfway point. We are supporting HB 1050, which creates a task force to identify child care barriers for low-income parents returning to school; HB 1004, which creates measurable goals for the state’s climate action plan; HB 1227, which exempts teen parents and victims of abuse and violence from the requirement to pursue child support from non-custodial parents in order to receive child care assistance,and several other proposals yet to be introduced, including renewal of the state’s low-income housing tax credit. LAM-CO testified with a broad coalition against SB 64, which would have removed the requirement for jury unanimity to impose the death penalty. The bill was defeated by a bipartisan vote.


Illinois – Lutheran Advocacy Illinois

Lutheran Advocacy – Illinois closed in February.  A message sent out to its network made the following announcement: Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) has been put in the challenging position of responding to the extended state budget impasse and continuing to provide services to those in need. A plan was created to restructure services for the viability and continuation of the organization, resulting in the closure of more than 30 programs and the elimination of more than 750 positions. As a result of these closures, approximately 4,700 people will no longer receive services from LSSI.

One of the positions eliminated was Jennifer De Leon’s, who was the LSSI director of government relations that included being the director of Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois, the ELCA’s public policy office in Illinois. We want to thank Jennifer for the tireless work she did advocating for the most vulnerable in the state. She has been a powerful voice bridging the gap between legislators and the church for more than 11 years. Jennifer has been a true asset and blessing not only to LSSI, but to Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois. From this point forward, Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois will be disbanded. We encourage you to continue to reach out to your legislators and continue to advocate and pray for those whom Jesus called the least of these.


New Mexico – Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran advocacy Ministry New Mexico

NMOn Feb. 4, Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Jim Gonia hosted the LAM-NM Bishop’s Legislative Luncheon and Issues Briefing. In the morning briefing, more than 100 advocates gathered to learn more about legislative issues, and about 140 attended the luncheon. Lutherans were joined by many ecumenical partners at both events.

The 2016 session of the Legislature is history. Sessions in even-numbered years are so-called “short sessions” in which the passing of the state budget is the main focus. As the price of oil continues to tumble, the budget passed and sent to the governor made cuts of more than $100 million and used one-time funds to avoid deeper cuts. New Mexico is overly dependent on oil and natural gas revenue after slashing personal and corporate income taxes over the last 12 years. While Medicaid received about $20 million in additional funding, the program was directed to take cost-containment actions, which could impact benefits and enrollment. LAM-NM was able to successfully advocate for a small increase in the state-funded SNAP supplement program for seniors and people with disabilities.

A constitutional amendment to reform the state bail system passed and will be on the general election ballot in November. LAM-NM particularly supported changing the state constitution so that non-dangerous defendants cannot be detained pre-trial because they can’t post a bond. LAM-NM was also part of a coalition that successfully supported the passage of driver’s license changes, which maintained the authorization for undocumented immigrants to retain and obtain driver’s licenses.


Pennsylvania – Tracey DePasquale, Interim-Director

PA1Eight months into a fiscal year with no budget and in the midst of a debate over ousting Pennsylvania’s embattled attorney general, LAMPa and ecumenical partners offered “Ashes to Go” at the state Capitol. The prayer and marking of the start of Lent was met with gratitude, even by those who did not receive. See coverage here and here.

On Feb. 17, Interim Director Tracey DePasquale and Alaide Vilchis Ibarra of the D,C, office taught a class of first-year field education students at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg about advocacy in the ELCA.

On Feb. 22, Tracey accompanied Lutherans from the West Berks Mission District and LIRS at a rally to protest the continued operation of the Berks County Family Detention Center, whose state license had expired the day before. The facility houses undocumented immigrant families. She also participated in environmental advocacy training with PA-Interfaith Power and Light held at the Northeast Pennsylvania Synod offices. pa3

On Feb. 23, Tracey accompanied Joyce Ray, Lower Susquehanna Synod Women of the ELCA president, to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Stewart Greenleaf about Safe Harbor legislation.

Registration has opened for Lutheran Days in the Capital: “Stirring the Waters – Faith, Science and Action!” The event is part of the Gettysburg seminary’s Spring Academy Week and features advocacy training and celebration, an ELCA Glocal event in the Capitol Rotunda, and a canoe trip guided by the secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.


Virginia – Kim Bobo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Neill Caldwell, Communications Director 

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare co-sponsored a press conference on Feb. 17 at the General Assembly Building in Richmond, featuring several faith leaders who had signed a letter to the legislators asking them to close the Medicaid coverage gap. They were only a representation of the nearly 300 religious leaders who signed the letter. “How is it that living in this great and blessed commonwealth of ours, Virginia, that in the midst of all of this greatness, we are giving consensus to allowing more and more of our citizens to fall into vulnerability?” said Imad Damaj, founder of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs.

An estimated 400,000 Virginians fell into an insurance coverage gap created when the state did not expand Medicaid as the Affordable Care Act intended. A 2012 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional for states. Advocates say the lack of Medicaid expansion has left some of the most vulnerable people out of luck when it comes to health insurance coverage, as they are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and they don’t earn enough to qualify for subsidies to buy insurance on the health insurance exchanges. Virginia’s Republican-controlled House and Senate have rebuffed attempts by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to expand Medicaid. The House of Delegates instead has offered additional funding to free clinics around the state. “Funding for more clinics is a woefully inadequate response” to the crisis, Kim Bobo, the new executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, said in response.


Washington – Paul Benz, Faith Action Network

Our Legislature’s 60-day session began on Jan. 11 and will be over soon; the last day is March 10. Three weeks ago, Faith Action Network (FAN) gathered 270 advocates together from 39 of our 49 legislative districts for Interfaith Advocacy Day, during which advocates attended 108 meetings with legislators or their staff.WA1

Some of FAN’s key bills that are still alive include:

  • Breakfast After the Bell, which increases access to breakfast for kids from economically disadvantaged households.
  • The Voting Rights Act, which will address disenfranchisement within communities of color caused by broken election systems and will allow jurisdictions to find solutions that work for that community.
  • The Use of Deadly Force Task Force will bring recommendations for better police-community standards.
  • School vouchers for homeless youth.WA2

FAN coordinated a meeting of religious leaders with the governor, where a main topic was about the divisiveness between parties in the Legislature. Afterward, the group issued a statement on the need for civility in the political process.

After the legislative session, FAN staff look forward to denominational spring assemblies and beginning our issue work groups (economic justice, the environment, and health care, etc.) at our four regional summits in Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver, and Yakima.


Wisconsin – Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin

February was a significant month in the Wisconsin Legislature.

PROTECTING CHILDREN: The Assembly and Senate passed a significant anti-trafficking bill LOPPW supported. AB 737 has about two-thirds of the Safe Harbor bill, including sex trafficking added to the definition of child abuse, a mandate that law enforcement report suspected child abuse by non-caregivers to the state Department of Children and Families, and additional funding to support victims of sex trafficking. LOPPW was present for the governor’s signing of SB 308, which will help fill gaps in child protection related to the appointment of a successor guardian for a child in need of protection or services.

FOOD SECURITY: We opposed AB 222 that would require recipients of FoodShare to use a photo ID. It passed the Assembly several months ago but recently stopped in the Senate (for now).

PRISON REFORM: We supported SB 280, which would return first-time, nonviolent 17-year-old offenders to the original juvenile justice system. An amendment was added in February, but the bill is still on hold. We supported SB 322, which would increase compensation for those wrongfully imprisoned and provide assistance for them after their release. The bill recently passed in the Assembly but has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance.

WATER: We spoke against SB 432, which would streamline corporations’ ability to privatize public utilities and diminish our public voice in the process. We had concerns about costs, especially for people in poverty, and water safety. The bill died in the Senate.


 What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!

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