ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/Join me in prayer and action this Mother's DayThe Rev. Corrine Denis, Lutheran Campus Center of Winona, Minn.http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/132http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/132<div class="ExternalClass78505B1B7EA94946A2BAC6337343AEC0"><p>​</p><p>I write&#160;on this Mother's Day to speak out about an issue that is close to my heart&#58; childhood hunger in the United States. I speak not only as a campus pastor who witnesses the results of childhood development in the college students I serve, but also as a mother who has benefitted from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)– one of our country's child nutrition programs that plays a critical role in helping reduce childhood hunger.</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">I&#160;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">was in my final year of seminary when I gave birth to my first child. Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, provided a food pantry on campus for students and families, aware of the financial challenges. However, my family and I could not rely on boxes of cereal and bagels from Panera to get us through. Thankfully, we were able to receive assistance from WIC, which allowed for a more balanced diet and extra protein for me to nurse my daughter. The produce allowance was extremely limited, and I had more tuna than I knew what to do with.&#160;</span><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">While I am grateful that my child was supported by one of our country's child nutrition programs, my own experience also showed me that these programs do not go far enough to truly ensure that our children have access to nutritious food.</strong><br></p><p><strong>In a nation of great wealth and resources, no child should ever go hungry.</strong>&#160;Children who face hunger are also forced to face a lifetime of challenges, including low birth weights, diminished immune systems, emotional and developmental growth delays, educational delays, greater hospitalization, decreased earning potential as adults, and higher life-long health costs.&#160;</p><p>This year, Congress must renew funding for our federal child nutrition programs in order to ensure that our nation's children have adequate access to nutritious food where they live, play and learn. These programs include WIC, as well as the National School Lunch Program and the Summer Food Service Program.</p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65539626"><strong style="font-size&#58;14.6666669845581px;">Please join me this Mother's Day in calling for an end to childhood hunger in the U.S. by urging Congress to strengthen our nation's child nutrition programs!</strong></a></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;line-height&#58;1.6;">As we take a moment to celebrate motherhood, let us also pray that God gives strength to all parents who</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;strive to give their sons and daughters a healthy and happy childhood.​</span></p></div>05/10/2015ELCA Advocacy Update - May 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/131http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/131<div class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><p></p><p></p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​​​Washington, D.C.</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><strong>www.elca.org/advocacy</strong></a></h3><p><strong>​Earth Day 2015</strong>&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65346101#sthash.VBliv0Wa.dpuf">ELCA Advocacy took action</a> on Earth Day to support clean water in our communities. The Environmental <strong style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></strong>Protection Agency is working on a rule to protect streams and wetlands that connect to larger watersheds. This rule will ensure the high quality of the water that communities across the nation depend on for drinking, washing, swimming and fishing, while <a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-03/documents/cwa_ag_exclusions_exemptions.pdf">avoiding increased regulations</a> for groundwater and farmland. Learn more about efforts to care for God's creation and protect clean water on our <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Waters%20of%20the%20United%20States_Backgrounder.pdf?_ga=1.123864008.378179692.1424451403">ELCA Waters of the U.S. fact sheet</a>. </p><p><strong>Summit of the Americas</strong>&#58; On April 10 and 11, leaders from across the Americas met in Panama City for the convening of the seventh Summit of the Americas. During the triennial event, government leaders discussed plans for advancing international collaborative efforts, working under the theme &quot;Prosperity with Equity&#58; The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.&quot; In anticipation of the event, <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65026246#sthash.2sxsVugG.dpuf">ELCA Advocacy released a statement</a> urging government leaders to address the root causes of migration and violence in Central America through engaging with nongovernmental organizations, faith and affected communities. Shortly after the conclusion of the event, the Rev. Stephen Deal, ELCA regional representative for Latin American and the Caribbean, visited with lawmakers in D.C. to discuss the immediate need for protection of family and children through responsible investment in Central America.</p><p><strong>Ecumenical Advocacy Days</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., last month for the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days. This year's theme was &quot;<a href="http&#58;//advocacydays.org/2015-breaking-the-chains/">Breaking the Chains&#58; Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation</a>.&quot; Participants learned about the historical and theological foundations of problems in contemporary criminal justice systems as well as racial and economic exploitation systems around the world. During the conference, advocates met with their members of Congress to encourage criminal justice and sentencing reform. Several workshops and skills sessions were led by Lutherans, and the musical offerings at worship services were provided by <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Mission/Glocal-Events">ELCA Glocal musicians</a>. Lutheran attendees also had a denominational gathering, where they learned about the ELCA strategy on HIV and &#160;AIDS and ELCA actions to challenge racial injustice. </p><p><strong>International Violence Against Women Act</strong>&#58; In March, the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) was reintroduced in the House and Senate. The legislation combats gender-based violence by increasing legal protections, victims' access to health care, and opportunities for women around the world. The ELCA recognizes that violence against women is still a prevalent and pressing problem in modern society, with nearly one-in-three women expected to face abuse in their lifetime. &#160;Lutherans can take action to address violence against women at our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65087626#sthash.ZBKsx5Bz.dpuf">ELCA Action Center</a> and learn more about this issue on our <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/International%20Violence%20Against%20Women%20Act_Information.pdf?_ga=1.129765519.209186557.1424464280">ELCA I-VAWA fact sheet</a>. </p><p><strong>Coming to D.C.</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Is your congregation or youth group interested in learning more about advocacy? Consider a visit to Washington, D.C., to learn how we, as a faith community, make a difference in public policy and advocacy! Email <a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org">washingtonoffice@elca.org</a> to learn more!</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">____________________<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"></p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>New York, NY</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community</strong></h3><p></p><p><strong>Promoting tolerance and reconciliation&#58; </strong>The <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/pga/about-the-president/">president</a> of the General Assembly, in conjunction with the <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/sg/biography.shtml">secretary-general</a> of the United Nations and the U.N. <a href="http&#58;//www.unaoc.org/">Alliance of Civilizations</a> convened on April 21-22 a debate on &quot;Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation&#58; Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism.&quot; The debate provided an opportunity for member states and faith leaders, along with other stakeholders to share experiences and to address key issues and challenges relating to the promotion of tolerance and reconciliation with the aim of fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and countering violent extremism. LOWC attended the debate. More information can be found <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/pga/hltd-promoting-tolerance-and-reconciliation/">here</a>.</p><p><strong>U.N. post-2015 development agenda&#58; </strong>LOWC followed the fourth session of intergovernmental negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda between April 21 and 24 at U.N. headquarters in New York. At this session it was a joint meeting of the negotiators for this process with the participants in the process for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. The session focused on means of implementation, the global partnership for development, and coordination between the two processes. A summary can be found <a href="http&#58;//www.iisd.ca/vol32/enb3217e.html">here</a>.&#160; Other resources can be found on the ACT Alliance <a href="http&#58;//www.actalliance.org/what-we-do/issues/post-mdg">Post 2015</a> page and this news <a href="http&#58;//www.actalliance.org/stories/act-alliance-joins-religious-and-faith-based-organisation-leaders-committing-to-end-extreme-poverty-by-2030">release</a>.</p><p><strong>Security Council reform&#58; </strong>A number of initiatives have added momentum to reforming the Security Council. Among member states, an earlier effort of the &quot;Small Five&quot; (Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland) has evolved into a greater number of countries joining the <a href="https&#58;//www.eda.admin.ch/missions/mission-new-york/en/home/working-methods-of-the-security-council.encoded-Show=1&amp;print=1.html">Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency group</a>, convened by Switzerland. They have outlined several proposals during the past few years. Recently, the chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, Courtenay Rattray, permanent representative of Jamaica, put forward a <a href="http&#58;//centerforunreform.org/?q=node/630">framework document</a> for further discussion. Meanwhile, a new grassroots-oriented group, <a href="http&#58;//www.electthecouncil.org/">Elect the Council</a>, has been formed to solicit public input toward electing new members of the council in the context of council expansion. LOWC has been participating in these initiatives.</p><p><strong>Women, peace and security&#58; </strong>On April 15, LOWC monitored the U.N. Security Council's open debate on sexual violence in conflict. It was based on the secretary-general's <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/203">annual report</a> on conflict-related sexual violence. The report also focused on non-state actors and extremist groups and sexual violence directed against LGBTQ people. Zeinab Hawa Bangura, special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, and representatives of almost 70 member states emphasized that 2014 was marked by an increase of harrowing accounts of conflict-related sexual violence. Recommendations included&#58; acting on early warning signs, sanctioning perpetrators, identifying better treatment and counseling for survivors, better training and sensitization for U.N. peacekeepers, and monitoring the security situations in conflict-affected countries.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span>​</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>California</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/"><strong>www.loppca.org</strong></a><strong>​</strong><br></h3><p></p><p><strong>Recent events&#58; </strong>April highlights include a visit from a group from the public ministry class at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to the Capitol.&#160; Although legislators had returned to their districts, the group was blessed with thoughtful discussion with the communications director for a state senator, a Lutheran woman just elected to her congregational council. LOPP-CA coordinated the Northern California tour for the Rev. Joseph (&quot;Strength for the Struggle,&quot; 2014) and Joyce Ellwanger (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, synod anti-racism training, Sacramento program). At the last minute, LOPP made connections so that they could participate in a Southwest California Synod Justice Team meeting in Glendale and be introduced at an Assembly floor session, where they were welcomed by the three legislators who had been to Selma for the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Bloody Sunday.&#160;&#160; </p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CA1.jpg" alt="CA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;281px;" /><br></p><p><strong><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CA2.jpg" alt="CA2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;274px;" />Legislation&#58; </strong>Bills are moving through their policy committees. Those supported by LOPP-CA include an expansion of the state low-income housing tax credit, a permanent source of funds for housing in the form of a fee on property recordings other than home sales (similar to the Homes and Jobs Act prominent in 2014 updates), a commitment to provide preschool for all 4-year-olds from low-income families by 2017, a requirement that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050; creating an Earned Income Tax Credit; and a new DISCLOSE Act illuminating top funders of ballot measures.</p><p><strong>Upcoming events&#58;</strong> The Southwest California, Sierra Pacific and Pacifica synod assemblies and the festive Immigrant Day at the Capitol on May 18.&#160;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span>​</span><br></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Colorado</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/"><strong>www.lam-co.org</strong></a></h3><p><strong>Child Support Pass-through</strong>&#58; Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado and several of its partners in poverty-related legislation were thrilled that Senate Bill 12 made it through both the Senate and House, and is currently awaiting a signature from Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill, which allows families receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits to also receive child support payments that were previously withheld by county governments, is one of the only measures to survive this year's split-party-control legislature that will directly benefit families living in poverty.</p><p><strong>Other legislation</strong>&#58; Several late legislative victories include a bill to extend the life of low-income housing tax credits, as well as a measure to provide an affirmative defense for the crime of prostitution to minor victims of human trafficking. The Colorado House narrowly killed legislation that would have created a paid family and medical leave insurance program for the 88% of Colorado workers currently without access to paid leave during serious illness or the birth of a child. Also defeated in Senate committees were bills to create a state affordable housing investment fund and a rural economic initiative grant program.</p><p><strong>Urban Servant Corps</strong>&#58; LAM-CO hosted 13 volunteers from Urban Servant Corps for a day at the Capitol on Friday, April 10. The volunteers, who live in intentional community in Denver and work for a variety of social service organizations, learned about the legislative process, met with State Representative Beth McCann, and toured the Capitol.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CO1.jpg" alt="CO1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;222px;" />​<br></p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><p></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Illinois</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Jennifer DeLeon, Lutheran Advocacy Illinois&#160;&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacy.org/"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacy.org</strong></a></h3><p>More than 100 people gathered to speak out for justice and compassion for all people in Illinois at Lutheran Day 2015. Participants met with legislators. The day concluded with a prayer service followed by the presentation of the Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award given to state Sen. Dan Kotowski and posthumously to State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who also had served in the state Senate and House of Representatives. Thanks to the event's sponsoring organizations&#58; Advocate Health Care, Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Bethel New Life, Concordia Place, Holy Family Ministries, Lutheran Advocacy Illinois, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/IL1.jpg" alt="IL1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;251px;" />The main legislative issue of the day was the Earned Income Tax Credit, which lets low-and-moderate income working families keep more of their earnings to help pay for things that keep them working, like child care and transportation. The tax credit also reduces the number of children living in poverty and improves kids' chances of success as adults.&#160; By helping low-wage workers keep more of their incomes, the tax credit increases consumer spending, which then boosts local economies across Illinois.</p><p>Lawmakers can lift working families and boost local economies by doubling the tax credit in Illinois. <a href="http&#58;//salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50920/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10927">Click here</a> to let your lawmaker know the time is now!​</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Minnesota</strong><br></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Tammy Walhoff, Lutheran Advocacy - Minnesota</strong><br></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org"><strong>tammy@lcppm.org</strong></a><strong> &#160;</strong><br></h3><p></p><p><strong>Legislature&#58;</strong> With three weeks left, the Minnesota House and the Senate have been passing budget bills, often working past midnight. Due to committee changes and different visions, bills from the chambers are radically different. </p><p><strong>Housing and homelessness&#58;</strong> House actions cut $20 million from affordable housing and $1.5 billion from services important to people being stably housed. Homeless youth would get $1 million more per biennium but not permanently if the House gets its way. Lutheran Advocacy-MN has been sending letters to legislators.</p><p><strong>Clean Energy and Jobs Campaign&#58;</strong> The campaign asked LA-MN Director Tammy Walhof to be the faith-based speaker at a House hearing. Despite much testimony, the committee (and full House) voted to roll back Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard and cut the energy efficiency program. LA-MN with Minnesota Interfaith Power &amp; Light created a <a href="http&#58;//www.cleanenergyjobs.mn/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/FaithLeaderLtr-CleanEnergy2015-MEDIA-FINAL.pdf">faith-leader letter</a> for Gov. Mark Dayton in support of the Clean Power Plan and clean energy. Walhof's connections were key to securing more than 300 signers, including bishops and executives from various denominations and 187 pastors. </p><p><strong>Payday lending&#58; </strong>Lutheran Advocacy-MN participated in a public event in front of a payday-lending business next to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Exodus Lending (alternative option) was launched by Holy Trinity at the event.</p><p><strong>Synod-related activities&#58;</strong> The Minneapolis Area Synod now has a very engaged Eco-Faith Network. &#160;Tammy Walhof was a speaker for the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Creation Care Retreat. She was also able to make new connections at the Saint Paul Area Synod Assembly and Luther Seminary events with Larry Rasmussen.</p><p><strong>Social media&#58; </strong>Follow Lutheran Advocacy-MN on Twitter&#58; <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/LuthAdvocacyMN">@LuthAdvocacyMN</a></p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>New Jersey</strong><br></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Sara Lilja, Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in New Jersey</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/logmnj?fref=ts"><strong>Visit us on Facebook!​</strong></a><br></h3><p><strong>Congregational efforts&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry has been focused on three areas of congregationally oriented work this past month&#58;</p><ul style="text-align&#58;left;"><li><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Released a </span><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzIMgd0003k&amp;feature=youtu.be" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">human trafficking video</a><br></li><li><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Gathered leaders to begin to craft the church's response to the heroin crisis in New Jersey</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Formed a coalition of leaders to develop public policy that will address race and poverty in the state</span><br></li></ul><p><strong>Legislation&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>We continue to work on legislation surrounding earned sick days, background checks for people who have been convicted of domestic violence, and reforming the use of solitary confinement.</p><p><strong>Budget&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>Our advocacy efforts continue to address the state budget. In New Jersey, tax subsidies and credits to businesses have resulted in 4 billion fewer dollars in state revenue. The consequence is residents who are vulnerable and struggling economically are suffering at greater rates.&#160; &#160;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><p></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​New Mexico</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</a></strong></h3><p></p><p><strong>Legislative session victories&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>For legislation passed in the final three days of a legislative session, the governor has 20 days after the end of the session to sign, veto or line-item veto<strong> </strong>bills<strong>. </strong>LAM-NM encouraged Gov. Susana Martinez to sign SB 42 and not to line-item veto<strong> </strong>language in the state budget bill relating to the state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. SB42 requires the Human Services Department to make sure that when someone who is Medicaid-eligible is released from jail, they have Medicaid coverage immediately. The governor signed SB 42 into law and also did not veto language in the budget bill that increases the monthly TANF cash assistance by 5 percent and adds another annual clothing allowance for TANF children.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/NM2.jpg" alt="NM2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p><strong>Interim committees set to begin</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Much legislative work happens in the &quot;interim,&quot; which is the time between sessions. Interim committees have been appointed and are made up of members of both the Senate and the House. These committees meet from May until December. LAM-NM follows several interim committees closely, including the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee and the Legislative Finance Committee.</p><p><strong>Ecumenical partners&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman spoke to three groups at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque. She talked about the importance of our ecumenical and full communion partnership and presented a summary of LAM-NM work during the 2015 legislative session.</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><p></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Ohio</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a></a><a><strong>Email&#58;&#160;nick@oneohionow.org</strong></a></h3><p style="text-align&#58;justify;"><strong>Budget focused on poverty&#58;</strong> The Faith Coalition for the Common Good thanks House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and the House leadership for a budget bill that recognizes — if not fully addresses — the safety, education and public health needs of a growing number of Ohioans. &quot;While specifics on the plan are still emerging, we appreciate acknowledgement in the House that a lot of people are still hurting,&quot; said&#160;the Rev. John Edgar&#160;of the United Methodist Church for All People.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">With a state poverty rate at 16 percent, and some counties nearing 32 percent, more must be done beyond $2.75 million of additional support for food insecurity. Congregations operating food pantries look to the Senate to add an additional $2.75 million to maintain adequate emergency supplies.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">We are pleased about a smaller reduction in Ohio's income tax, yet we remain concerned that our tax policy continues to focus on cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy.&#160;We recommend strategies, such as a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit&#160;and smart public investments in health care, public assistance and affordable housing.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">We also applaud efforts to invest in Ohio's future through education — particularly rural, low-income school districts. &quot;The Faith Coalition is impressed with the focus in the House on helping all Ohio's children overcome challenges to poverty by receiving a better education,&quot; said&#160;Tom Smith of the Ohio Council of Churches. &quot;Theirs was an open budget process that we hope is followed in the Senate.&quot;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><p></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania&#160;</strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><h3><strong>Tracey DePasquale, Associate Director</strong></h3></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</strong></a></h3><p><strong>Lutheran Day&#58; </strong>150 people attended Lutheran Day in the Capitol on April 27.&#160; Held in conjunction with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg's Academy Week, the day began with a keynote by the Rev. Dr. Kristin Largen, acting dean, whose remarks established a theological framework for the day. After workshops and worship, advocates traveled to the Capitol for legislative visits on housing and education funding.&#160; </p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/PA1.jpg" alt="PA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;250px;" /><br></p><p>Bishop James Dunlop, Bishop Ralph Jones, Bishop Claire Burkat, the Rev. Scott Schul and Associate Director Tracey DePasquale urged passage of a fair education funding formula at an afternoon press conference. As advocates lined the steps inside, the Rotunda the broke into a beautiful and spontaneous chorus of the Doxology – a true Lutheran Day highlight!</p><p>DePasquale made a presentation to a stewardship class and presented workshops on trauma-responsive education during Academy Week.&#160; </p><p><strong>Payday lending&#58;</strong> Our director, Amy Reumann, met with Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on proposed federal payday-lending rules and their impact on Pennsylvanians and led a predatory lending training for <a href="https&#58;//urbanseedscdfi.org/">Urban Seeds</a> in Philadelphia. </p><p><strong>Hunger&#58;</strong> We celebrated the end of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program asset test and participated in meetings of the Pennsylvania Food Security Coalition and School Breakfast Challenge workgroup.</p><p><strong>Education&#58;</strong> We successfully advocated within the statewide school funding coalition for reworking the campaign's proposal after analysis showed it could continue to drive racial disparity in resources for schools. </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Civil rights&#58;</strong> Staff participated in a press conference and lobby day supporting amending the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><p></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Washington</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"></a><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"><strong>www.fanwa.org</strong></a></h3><p><strong>Legislative issues&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>The 2015 Washington state 105-day legislative regular session ended on Sunday, April 26, with no agreement on its three budgets (operating, transportation and capital). The main disagreement &#160;is over whether there should be new revenue in the operating budget to meet the critical needs of our state that have been drastically cut over the past several sessions. Another way to look at this stalemate is that there are different perspectives on what the &quot;critical needs&quot; are and the role of state government in meeting those needs. Funding for three food programs are in this scenario (Emergency Food Assistance Program, State Food Assistance, and Breakfast after the Bell).&#160; Another food related proviso is funding for a pesticide-drift notification pilot project.&#160; </p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WA1.jpg" alt="WA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;383px;height&#58;287px;" /><br></p><p><strong>Policy successes&#58; </strong></p><p>HB 1449 – Oil train safety notification and funding</p><p>SB 5863 – Pre-apprenticeship programs and jobs for women and communities of color in transportation contracts</p><p><strong>Faith-based organizing&#58; </strong>May 4 is a People's Hearing on the Need for Revenue at the state Capitol. FAN has been collecting signatures on the need for revenue in the budget and will deliver them on the day of this hearing to the budget negotiators and the governor. The regional United Church of Christ annual conference was held in Spokane in April. FAN led workshop presentations on the state budget and economic inequality.<strong> </strong>The ELCA Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Assembly was held in the Tri-Cities in April. There was a resolution urging congregational engagement on climate change and energy savings, as well as a memorial urging the ELCA to include climate change in the events for the 500<sup>th </sup>Anniversary of the Reformation. FAN also met with members of the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities and their Imam Mohamed El-Sehmawy.</p><p><strong>Fundraising&#58; </strong>The Seattle Foundation sponsors GiveBIG Day, an annual day to encourage online giving to local nonprofits where the foundation's partners give a small match to what is raised by each nonprofit that participates. FAN and hundreds of others participate and use this opportunity to raise needed dollars to sustain our programming.&#160;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Wisconsin</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin&#160;</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" target="_blank"><strong>www.loppw.org</strong></a></h3><p><strong>Advocacy Day&#58;</strong> LOPPW worked with<strong> </strong>Wisconsin Council of Churches, Faith Voices For Justice, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Madison Area Urban Ministry, Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Jewish Federation of Madison, Wisconsin Jewish Conference, and WISDOM to organize an Advocacy Day on April 29. About 750 people attended the event to learn about threats to Wisconsin's safety net programs (drug testing, changes to BadgerCare and long-term care programs, criminal justice reform, driver's licenses for people who are not documented, and public transit issues including preserving/expanding funding and keeping transit funding in the state budget). LOPPW's director explained safety net programs during the plenary and at a workshop, co-led by staff from the Wisconsin Council of Churches, discussed an alternative state budget and expanding Medicaid (BadgerCare) with federal dollars.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WI1.png" alt="WI1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;380px;height&#58;294px;" /><br></p><p><strong>Public hearing&#58;</strong> On April 30, LOPPW together with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and Wisconsin Council of Churches, testified on drug testing. <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2015/04/Drug-testing-Religious-groups-letter.pdf">Click here</a> to read the statement.</p><p><strong>Better choices&#58;</strong> LOPPW is working with a coalition of secular and faith-based nonprofits, called Better Choices, to make state budget choices better known. The Wisconsin Budget Project, an initiative of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, developed an <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2015/04/Better-Choices-for-the-Wisconsin-Budget.pdf">alternative budget</a>, which would allow us to save and improve our valued safety net programs and keep funding for our schools. We are currently planning press conferences around the state. South-Central Synod of Wisconsin Bishop Mary Froiland will be one of the speakers at our first press conference in Madison on May 4.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.7999992370605px;text-align&#58;center;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Contact us at </strong><a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org"><strong>washingtonoffice@elca.org</strong></a><strong> ​​</strong></h3><p><br></p></div>05/07/2015Living Earth Reflection: Building more resilient communities in a climate-challenged worldMary Minette, program director, Environmental Policy and Educationhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/130http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/130<div class="ExternalClassC2546A8E666945E58462000391FF128E"><p><em>&quot;Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him a name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.&quot;</em> (Philippians 2&#58;4-11)</p><p><strong>What is resilience?</strong> The dictionary defines it as the ability to recover quickly from illness, disaster or adversity. In ecology, the term is used to describe the ability of an ecosystem to return to its original state after a disturbance. For Christ, resilience came from a life lived in service, love and obedience – examples that still resonate with us thousands of years later.</p><p>Climate disruptions, such as extreme storms and multi-year droughts, are testing the resilience of the earth community. Long-term drought in California, for example, has put at risk not only the state's fruit and vegetable farms, a source of food for millions of people, but also the state's drinking-water supplies, which face the very real possibility of running dry in some parts of the state. In another extreme example, multiple typhoons have devastated the Philippine islands in recent years, triggering massive and costly humanitarian efforts to rebuild lives and communities in ways that can withstand future storms. </p><p>In the face of long-term drought or extreme weather, some families and communities will be able to find the resources to rebuild, but over the long term, will the larger human community have the resilience to withstand the rising sea levels and extreme weather brought by climate change? If more extreme weather is becoming the norm, what does the future hold for communities of modest or few means? </p><p>These questions take on even more urgency in the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries. How will a small, low-lying island in Micronesia find the means to cope with rising sea levels? How do farmers in coastal Bangladesh manage salt water intrusion into freshwater supplies needed to grow staple crops to feed their communities?<strong> </strong></p><p><strong>And how are we, in one of the wealthiest nations on earth, called to help our neighbors cope with this emerging reality?</strong> Do we put up sea walls on our own coastlines and retreat behind them, ignoring the fact that many of the communities already heavily impacted by rising sea levels and weather extremes lack the means to prepare for climate change disasters? Or do we look to the interests of others, whether they are in native villages in coastal Alaska, farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa or the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu?</p><p><strong>The Green Climate Fund is a new international funding mechanism that represents a major commitment by the global community to help vulnerable nations build resilience to climate impacts</strong>. The fund was established to build the capability of vulnerable and low-income nations to embrace clean and low-carbon energy development and to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. By building more resilient communities, countries will also increase food security and political stability, both of which will have positive impacts on issues such as migration and national security. </p><p>Last November, President Obama announced that the United States will contribute $3 billion over the next five years to the Green Climate Fund. Countries ranging from Germany, Japan and France to Korea, Mexico and Peru have also announced initial pledges to the fund that total more than $10 billion. If this new institution is to succeed in its task of helping the most vulnerable build resilience to climate disruption, honoring these pledges will be critical. </p><p>The president's budget request for 2016 includes an initial payment of $500 million to the fund, which we will be urging Congress to approve. <strong>Please join us next month as we take part in interfaith effort to ensure that the United States honors its pledge to the Green Climate Fund.</strong></p><p>Resilience is being prepared for disaster, but it is also building what can be sustained and taking steps to help our neighbors as well as ourselves. Christ lived a resilient life, living humbly while building community and serving others. Leading a Christian life in our complex modern world poses challenges that Christ never faced, but his lasting example of love and service to others is still a good pathway to a resilient life and strong and enduring communities. </p><p>Learn more about the Green Climate Fund <a href="http&#58;//news.gcfund.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>.</p></div>04/28/2015Learning about God’s call to care for all who cry outErin Haugen, Legislative Internhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/129http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/129<div class="ExternalClass9AD7D45CD86A4BA9BF96AF8CC94A1CB7"><p>I grew up in a quiet, safe, suburban neighborhood in Minnesota. I was fortunate enough to live in a place where crime and exploitation seemed like things that happened far away, to other people. To paint you a picture, some of the most common 'crimes' that were committed in my community were bored high-school kids throwing toilet paper on their friends' front lawns or loitering in the McDonald's parking lot past the city-mandated curfew. Needless to say, incarceration and exploitation were things that I rarely thought about, because I was privileged enough to not have to do so. </p><p>Part of understanding privilege is recognizing that while some, like me, have the ability to go through their day-to-day routines without worrying about the realities of incarceration or exploitation, others can't go a day without being affected by them in some way. The NAACP reports that <a href="http&#58;//www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">1 out of every 31 adults</span></a> in the United States are under some form of correctional control-- whether it be prison, jail, or probation. </p><p><img alt="2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;215px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />At a criminal justice reform briefing in January, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) noted that 25 percent of the world's incarcerated people are in the United States, while we make up only 5 percent of the world's population. He commented that it is a &quot;great global shame&quot; that this is the case. But incarceration (imprisonment) and exploitation (treating someone poorly in order to reap benefits) aren't only present here in the United States. The Department of State estimates that there are <a href="http&#58;//www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">over 20 million victims</span></a> of human trafficking across the world, and factors like international trade agreements, environmental degradation, predatory behaviors toward the poor, and labor violence also contribute to exploitation around the world. </p><p><img alt="1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;125px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />At the same briefing that Senator Booker spoke at, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for Christians to take a stance on criminal justice reform, declaring, &quot;if you believe that every person is endowed by their creator, that endowment doesn't stop at sentencing.&quot; This faithful conviction is echoed in the ELCA's social statement &quot;<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Criminal_JusticeSS.pdf?_ga=1.260757133.1839395505.1427382428"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">The Church and Criminal Justice&#58; Hearing the Cries</span></a>.&quot; As Lutherans, we recognize that we have yet to respond adequately to the cries of our brothers and sisters facing the criminal justice system.</p><p><strong>On Friday, April 17 hundreds of Christians will arrive in Washington, DC to take part in discussion and advocacy surrounding mass incarceration and exploitation during </strong><a href="http&#58;//advocacydays.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Ecumenical Advocacy Days</strong></span></a><strong>. Participating in events like EAD provide the Christian community an opportunity to confess this failure together as well as a broader opportunity to</strong><strong>&#160; </strong><strong>hear from those who have been impacted by the system, to learn about the ways that society continues to oppress incarcerated and exploited individuals, and to work together to address these challenges. </strong></p><p>While I may have grown up without the worry of crime or exploitation affecting my life, the reality is that too many of my brothers and sisters in Christ experience the exact opposite. I am excited to engage with the Christian community next weekend for worship, education, and advocacy. I am excited for the chance to examine the ways that my upbringing affected my interactions with the justice system. I am excited to learn about ways to create positive changes in the lives of incarcerated and exploited persons. Above all, I am excited to be part of an active Christian community living out God's call to care for all who cry out.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Will you be at EAD? Reach out to me on Twitter&#58; @erinmhaugen or tweet @elcaadvocacy with your pictures and reflections! </p></div>04/13/2015April State Advocacy UpdateELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/128http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/128<div class="ExternalClass951F569705BE40B8970A12AA73525F0A"><p><span style="font-size&#58;14px;">​<span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthy State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></span></span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Washington, D.C.</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;"></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;"></a><span style="color&#58;#181818;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;"></a><strong></strong></span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="color&#58;#181818;"><strong></strong></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="color&#58;#181818;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="text-decoration&#58;none;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-size&#58;14px;">Congressional</span></a><span style="color&#58;#222222;"> </span>budget resolution&#58;</strong> This year, the U.S. Congress is working to pass a full budget <span style="color&#58;#181818;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="LOGUM.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/LOGUM.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;border&#58;0px currentcolor;width&#58;100px;line-height&#58;20px;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;left;" /></span>– an achievement that has not been accomplished for more than five </span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">years. As each chamber of Congress looks to combine their budget resolutions this month, ELCA Advocacy will be pursuing ways to enact faithful budget priorities to promote&#58; holistic values that help raise families out of poverty, policies that protect our humanitarian efforts at our borders and abroad, and efforts to strengthen our national commitment to protecting God’s creation. Please join us in this effort as we hold our elected officials accountable. Visit our Action Center today! </span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>U.S. releases climate change pledge</strong>&#58; ELCA Advocacy applauds the recent announcement of the United States’ pledge to set new goals addressing the issue of climate change. This pledge includes a commitment to protecting public health by reducing pollution and promoting investment in abundant clean energy sources. The U.S. pledge is an important step toward the upcoming international agreement in Paris that will include similar commitments to addressing climate change. Sign our interfaith climate petition calling on the U.S. government to fulfill its commitment to addressing climate change at the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations. </span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Children's Health Insurance Program</strong>&#58; Last month, the ELCA Advocacy Network took action to help renew health care access for low-income children through the Children's Health Insurance Program. Concerns for the program were flagged after its funding was threatened in ongoing budget resolution negotiations. After receiving waves of messages and calls from Lutheran advocates and members of the faith community, the funding successfully passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan margin (392-37). </span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act</strong>&#58; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., reintroduced the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act in Congress, which would appoint needed legal counsel in immigration courts for unaccompanied children and people with developmental issues. Lack of access to counsel has resulted in children, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants having to represent themselves in court. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, an ELCA partner, has strongly supported the legislation since it was first introduced last summer. As a church that recognizes the dignity of all God's children, the ELCA supports the bill and its efforts to give vulnerable migrants the right to tell their stories in front of a judge.</span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#160;</span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span></span>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><p><span style="font-size&#58;14px;">&#160;<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;">&#160;</span><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></span></p></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">New York, NY</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Dennis Frado</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>U.N. Commission on the Status of Women</strong>&#58; Last month, the 59<sup>th</sup> session of the <a href="https&#58;//www.flickr.com/photos/ecumenicalwomen/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">U.N. Commission on the Status of Women</span></a> took place in New York March 9-20 with a focus on achievements and remaining challenges since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action in 1995. LOWC hosted 30 Lutheran delegates (six international <a href="https&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/news/gains-and-challenges-churches-20-years-after-beijing"><span lang="EN" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Lutheran World Federation </span></a>and 24 ELCA members) and organized or collaborated in events including&#58; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"></span>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">•&quot;Faith, Justice, &amp; Culture&quot; meet-up, led by <a href="https&#58;//elcayacohort.wordpress.com/">ELCA Young Adults</a>; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">•&quot;Silent No More&#58; How Can Faith Communities Address Sexism and Gender Based Violence,&quot; led by the ELCA Young Adult cohort; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">•&quot;Three Lives of Women 20 years after Beijing,&quot; in collaboration with the World Council of Churches with reflections from Lutheran women from Palestine, Kenya and the United States; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">•&quot;Local People, Global Impact&#58; The role of community-based organizations in the fight against the Ebola virus&quot; (in West Africa), in collaboration with Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee's foundation, with testimonies of the impact of the Ebola virus on communities – especially in Liberia – and what local women are doing about it; and </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">•Stocktaking event&#58; &quot;The role of faith in realizing the promise of Beijing&quot; (toward gender equality) in collaboration with the ACT Alliance and the World Council of Churches.</span></div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div></span><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font&#58;14px/19.6px &quot;trebuchet ms&quot;, helvetica;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">California</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.loppca.org</a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font color="#569bbe"></font></strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="Ca1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Ca1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;188px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />The Policy Council of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California met at the Southwest California Synod Office in Glendale with excellent attendance. Discussed was priority legislation related to child poverty (the bill repealing the CalWORKS/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families “Maximum Family Grant” limit for new babies passed its first committee) and care for creation (a new climate change law expanding the renewable energy portfolio, reducing fossil energy in transportation, and improving building energy efficiency faces its first committee April 7). There was moral deliberation on proposed assisted-dying legislation and alarm over the latest bizarre manifestation of direct democracy&#58; initiative language submitted, but unlikely to qualify, that calls for shooting sodomites – recalling for some the murder of a gay couple in Redding in 1999, after which the killer asserted in a TV news interview that “It is not a crime to shoot a sodomite.” </span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Early childhood policy</strong>&#58; The annual “Watercooler Conference” included an award presented to ELCA member Carol Larson, CEO of the Packard Foundation. Nobel economics laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago stressed that compassion and economic efficiency converge in investments in early childhood. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong></span>&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Upcoming&#58; </strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Participation in a showing of ELCA World Hunger-supported “Thirsty for Justice,” on the human right to water, to San Francisco Friends School 8th graders visiting CalEPA </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Helping with the pre-Detroit Sierra Pacific Synod youth gathering (with Ryan Cumming of ELCA World Hunger) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Organizing events for the Rev. Joe and Joyce Ellwanger, civil rights/justice leaders (“Strength for the Struggle”) in Northern California, including Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Colorado</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lam-co.org</span></strong></a></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Minimum wage</strong>&#58; The Colorado General Assembly recently considered legislation to raise the state minimum wage from the current $8.23/hour. House Concurrent Resolution 1001 would have put a measure before Colorado voters in 2016 to approve an incremental increase up to $12.50/hour by 2020. The resolution failed to achieve the required two-thirds yes vote, but citizen petitioners have vowed to gather signatures to put the measure on the 2016 ballot anyway. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Other legislation</strong>&#58; Director Peter Severson recently testified at a hearing in support of House Bill 1258, which would establish a family and medical leave insurance program in Colorado. Currently, only 12 percent of Colorado workers have access to paid leave to care for new babies, seriously ill family members, or themselves. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado continues to support other bills related to child-support payment benefits for low-income families, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and increasing the cap on appropriations for school lunches. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong><img alt="Co1.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Co1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;190px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />In the news</strong>&#58; Labor activists held a press conference on the Capitol steps in support of raising the Colorado minimum wage (see photo). A House committee also recently killed a broadly-worded “religious freedom” bill similar to the one in Indiana after a press conference in which many political, business and religious leaders spoke out against it, including the Rev. Brian Rossbert, interim associate pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints Lutheran Church.</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Illinois</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Jennifer DeLeon, Lutheran Advocacy – Illinois <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacy.org/">www.lutheranadvocacy.org</a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Budgeting</strong>&#58; The proposed Illinois budget for fiscal year 2016 includes drastic cuts to human services programs that would affect people at-risk, including those served by our partner member Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">Last year Lutheran Social Services of Illinois served more than 73,000 people through 190 programs at 85 sites across Illinois. The demographics of the clients served generally reflect those of Illinois’ population, with one important exception – more than 80 percent of clients report an annual household income under $15,000, compared to just 12 percent of all Illinois households. The organization provides critical programs for the state’s most vulnerable residents, including foster care, adoption, mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment, affordable senior housing, residential programs for people with developmental disabilities, and programs that help formerly incarcerated individuals integrate back into society. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong><img alt="Ia1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Ia1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;156px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Lutheran Day 2015&#58;</strong> On April 14 join Lutherans from across the state in Springfield to study, pray and take action for greater justice and compassion in Illinois. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">For details and registration, visit </span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranday.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">www.LutheranDay.org</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">.&#160;</span></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><div style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------<div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Jersey</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Sara Lilja,&#160;New Jersey Synod&#160;</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="mailto&#58;logm@njsynod.org">logm@njsynod.org</a></span></strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>State budget</strong>&#58; Here in New Jersey, we are working on the proposed 2016 state budget. We are in a fiscal crisis. There is little money to support programs that assist the poor and other vulnerable populations. New Jersey has awarded more than $4 billion in tax subsidies and credits to businesses over the past six years in an attempt to spur economic activity and boost the state’s recovery from the Great Recession. The unprecedented growth in subsidies, however, has so far done little to significantly improve the state’s economy. New Jersey’s economic recovery remains far behind our neighboring states. Just 40 percent of the jobs New Jersey lost in the recession have been recovered; the state has the highest share of workers who have been unemployed for more than six months, and the state continues to lead the nation in the percentage of homeowners (1 in 12) who are in foreclosure. All this is shocking when you understand that New Jersey is also the fourth most affluent state in the nation! </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">We at LOGM are asking that policymakers take concrete actions to slow the subsidy surge and bring more transparency and accountability to the use of these tax breaks by placing meaningful caps on spending, requiring more information from companies receiving subsidies, including an automatic sunset provision, eliminating subsidies for existing jobs, and developing more stringent standards for these awards. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Care for communities&#58;</strong> We are urging the state to include in the 2016 budget the following assistance for families in economic distress&#58; restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit, expanding preschool, and expanding health care coverage. It comes as no surprise that food insecurity is also on the rise! We are supporting the expansion of the Breakfast After the Bell program, expanding state funding for SNAP, and increasing the staffing levels at county welfare agencies to deliver assistance in a timely manner to all those who are in need.&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div></span></div></span></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Mexico</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</span></strong></span></a></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong><img alt="NM1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/NM1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;230px;height&#58;137px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />2015 legislative session</strong>&#58; The regular session of the New Mexico Legislature came to an end at noon on March 21. This was a difficult 60 days with the Senate controlled by one party and the House by the other. LAM-NM worked on behalf of legislation that reflected our focus on issues that can affect the lives of the many people living in poverty and hunger in our state. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">We worked in coalitions to successfully stop the passage of several major initiatives, including so-called “right to work” legislation and the elimination of drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants. We also worked with the Fair Lending Coalition to block passage of harmful predatory lending bills, while also proposing a 36 percent cap on storefront loans. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">LAM-NM worked on a successful effort to increase the TANF monthly cash assistance amount by 5 percent and to add an additional clothing allowance for TANF children. We helped to secure funding for the SNAP Double Up program, which doubles the amount of SNAP benefits families can use at local farmers’ markets. A bill requiring that eligible inmates be covered under the Medicaid program immediately upon release from incarceration passed both houses of the Legislature and heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.&#160;</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;">---------------------------------------------</span><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ohio</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good </strong><a href="mailto&#58;nick@oneohionow.org"><strong></strong></a><strong><a href="mailto&#58;nick@oneohionow.org">nick@oneohionow.org</a></strong><a></a><a></a><a></a><strong></strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Ohio budget&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>The Ohio Legislature continues to focus its time on Ohio's two–year budget (HB 64).&#160; This budget accepts a new normal of higher poverty and fewer resources. The biggest component of the budget is another tax shift increasing taxes on many while cutting the income tax to benefit the wealthiest Ohioans.&#160; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><p>The Faith Coalition for the Common Good is an ecumenical coalition formed to advocate through the budget process for increased state funding for food security and affordable housing (and other services to help low-income Ohioans), and expanded resources for education. All of these things are possible if Ohio foregoes the proposed $5.6 billion in tax cuts.</p><p>The coalition organized a panel on March 18 in front of the Finance Health and Human Services Sub-Committee. The Rev. Gregory Kenderick (United Methodist Church) facilitated the panel of individuals who have experienced poverty. About 60 people from the faith community showed up to support this panel's testimony. The testimony focused on the importance of public investments that help people transition out of poverty. The Ohio House Finance Committee is currently receiving amendments to the budget. We also submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee opposing the proposed income tax cut.</p><p>The budget bill will move to the Senate in late April and to the governor's desk by June 30.</p></span></div></span></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Tracey DePasquale, Associate Director</strong></div></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</span></a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Education</strong>&#58; Tracey testified and brought presenters before the Basic Education Funding Commission to bring the discussion of trauma (poverty, homelessness, violence) as a possible weighting factor in funding. <a href="http&#58;//basiceducationfundingcommission.pasenategop.com/">Watch the hearing</a>. We also continue to meet with lawmakers regarding a basic education <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/equity-in-education-funding/">funding formula </a>proposed by the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. <a href="http&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/03/12/in-23-states-richer-school-districts-get-more-local-funding-than-poorer-districts/#graphic">Analysis of recent federal data </a>shows Pennsylvania is the most inequitable state in funding public schools.</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong><img alt="PA1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/PA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;230px;height&#58;172px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Immigration</strong>&#58; Tracey led an advocacy workshop for Dreamers at the first statewide Immigrant and Refugee Rights Convening. As an outcome, LAMPa’s Immigration Leadership Circle is assisting Dreamers in organizing a statewide caravan to tell their stories. In other immigration-related work, we applied to LIRS and the York County Prison Board for funding for the immigration detainee visitation program Walking Together/Caminandos Juntos. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><img alt="PA2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/PA2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;230px;height&#58;163px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Hunger</strong>&#58; Amy met with John Hanger, secretary of Planning and Policy, to present <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/meeting-pennsylvanias-hunger-challenge-a-briefing-paper-for-governor-elect-tom-wolf/">recommendations </a>developed by the statewide food security coalition. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Environment</strong>&#58; LAMPa’s Creation Care Leadership Team held a conference call on water issues with Jennifer Quinn, outreach coordinator for PennFuture. Outcomes include agreement to work statewide on storm water issues and to facilitate education and action on water issues with youth connected to the ELCA Youth Gathering and Walk for Water. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Youth</strong>&#58; Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod youth leaders invited LAMPa to discuss advocacy issues involving youth and how they might engage in service-related advocacy after returning from Detroit. We continue to work on final details for Lutheran Day at the Capitol, this year part of Gettysburg Seminary’s Spring Academy.</span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;&#160;</div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">&#160;---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Virginia</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</span></a><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></strong></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</p><p><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Hunger&#58; </strong>Since the conclusion of the Virginia General Assembly session, advocates have begun to regroup and focus more of our attention on government commissions and agencies. On March 25, Bishop Jim Mauney convened the Virginia Synod's Child Hunger Task Group with the aim of coordinating the work of Lutheran churches and their partners in the community to feed more hungry kids and their families. Together we reviewed which schools participate in backpack programs, which churches and communities need more summer meals locations, and what schools should do to expand school breakfast and breakfast in the classroom. We also invited the governor's staff to help us coordinate with state agencies. What we learn through task group efforts will also inform our advocacy efforts.&#160; </span></p><p><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Payday Lending&#58; </strong>We also worked to organize public testimony for the Richmond public hearing on payday lending held by the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The event included hundreds of people from all parts of Virginia and a strong representation of the faith community at the hearing. We also helped moderate the roundtable community conversation with the bureau's administrator, Richard Cordray. </span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;text-decoration&#58;underline;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#005594;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;none;"><span style="color&#58;#005594;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;text-decoration&#58;underline;"></span></a><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/">www.fanwa.org</a><a></a><a></a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;text-decoration&#58;underline;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;14px;"><font color="#005594"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><img alt="WA1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Only Three weeks left to go – so it's budget time here! Of course, there are bills that are still alive and going through the legislative process, such as reforming our LFO (legal financial obligations) system, an anti-human trafficking bill, and a transportation bill providing more apprenticeships for communities of color and women. Both the House and Senate have approved their budgets, and these will now go to the budget leadership teams for negotiations to form a final budget to be sent to the governor – hopefully by the last day of session, April 26 – but we may need to go in to a special session during May. The House budget has new revenue in it, but the Senate budget does not – that is the main difference in terms of what gets funded and what doesn’t. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Washington budget</strong>&#58; The budget programs that FAN is working on include&#58; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Emergency Food Assistance (food banks) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• State Food Assistance (additional assistance targeted to our Pacific Islander community who were brought here in the 1950s due to U.S. nuclear testing on their islands) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• WIC/Farmers Market Nutrition Program (supports local growers and low-income households) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Breakfast After the Bell (expands time and location offerings for serving breakfast at public schools) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Housing &amp; Essential Needs/Aged, Blind, &amp; Disabled (monthly cash assistance for the most vulnerable and those waiting for their SSI application to be processed) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Pesticide Drift Proviso to assess needs for a neighborhood notification system </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• Post-secondary education for inmates </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">Our primary budget issue is keeping revenue in the final budget – that is the BIG budget battle. FAN is doing its part by collecting signatures on a petition that will be delivered to budget leadership before the session ends. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Faith-based organizing</strong>&#58; FAN is preparing for our four regional summits (Spokane May 17, Vancouver May 31, Seattle June 7, and Yakima June 14), where we gather by political districts for conversation on the key issues for our communities. We continue to grow our statewide network of advocating faith communities in terms of number (now at 97) and in terms of depth of relationships by keeping our liaisons engaged. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Spring denominational assemblies</strong> (FAN will be present with a staff person and display)&#58; </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• ELCA in Pasco and Everett (April and May) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• United Church of Christ in Spokane (April) </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;">• United Methodist Church (Pasco in June)</span></div><p>​</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;"><font color="#222222"></font>&#160;---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;14px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.loppw.org</span></a></strong></div></span></div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;trebuchet ms&quot;,helvetica;font-size&#58;13px;"><div style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong><img alt="WI1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WI1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;220px;height&#58;123px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Joint Finance Committee public hearing</strong>&#58; LOPPW’s director gave a statement about the governor’s proposed budget. Read the <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2015/04/Joint-Finance-Statement-from-LOPPW-Com-1.pdf">statement by clicking here. </a></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Advocacy Day on April 29</strong>&#58; LOPPW is part of the People of Faith United for Justice to organize a biennial advocacy day. Our focus will include threats to our safety net programs and legislation related to voter IDs. The LOPPW director is working with three additional groups to address specific safety net concerns. </span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;"></span>&#160;</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;"><strong>Safe harbor</strong>&#58; LOPPW and Cherish All Children held a rally to <img alt="WI2.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WI2.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;120px;height&#58;165px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />support legislation to help young victims of sex trafficking. The director attended a round table at the Department of Children and Family Services and another at the Department of Justice. She also met with the director of Wisconsin Women’s Council to discuss possible partnerships. June Kjome (<em>see photo at right</em>), age 94, traveled from La Crosse to speak at the rally. When seeking justice “it’s good to be the headlights instead of the tail lights,&quot; she said. </span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-size&#58;14px;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div></span></div>04/09/2015Lenten reflection: The loving call to do justiceDennis Frado, Director, Lutheran Office for World Communityhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/127http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/127<div class="ExternalClass8434F22FCCBF49E6848BC80C89066C55"><p><strong><em><img alt="dennis headshot.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/dennis%20headshot.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;310px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />The Gospel liberates from sin, death, and evil and motivates the Church to care for neighbor and the earth.</em></strong><strong><em>&#160; </em></strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><strong><em>– &quot;The Church in Society&#58; A Lutheran Perspective&quot;</em></strong></p><p>Lent always refocuses me on the fact that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us through his death on the cross and his resurrection, which overcame death. The good news of God's salvation is the gospel. The excerpt above and the one below from the ELCA's social statement succinctly summarize why I am grateful to have the privilege of a job that calls for engaging every day in advocacy.&#160; </p><p><strong><em>The witness of this church in society flows from its identity as a community that lives from and for the Gospel. Faith is active in love; love calls for justice in the relationships and structures of society. It is in grateful response to God's grace in Jesus Christ that this church carries out its responsibility for the well-being of society and the environment.</em></strong></p><p>Many days here at the United Nations we are confronted with the failures of humanity – war, refugees, seemingly intractable disputes, and horrible violations of human rights. But the loving call to do justice does not grow weary, and we should not either.&#160; </p><p>Fortunately, we are also able to get to know the work of the peacemakers, the aid workers, the negotiators, and the rights defenders, give thanks for their work and lift them up to others as among those pursuing the better path for the common good.&#160; These folks are the ones who thankfully undercut my pessimism and reinforce my hope for a better world. Many, but not all by any stretch, are Christians. </p><p>International structures, like all that are the work of humans, are prone to sin.&#160; But we are reminded&#58;</p><p><strong><em>God institutes governing authorities, for example, to serve the good of society. This church respects the God-given integrity and tasks of governing authorities and other worldly structures, while holding them accountable to God. …</em></strong></p><p><strong><em>This church must participate in social structures critically, for sin also is at work in the world. Social structures and processes combine life-giving and life-destroying dynamics in complex mixtures and in varying degrees. This church, therefore, must unite realism and vision, wisdom and courage, in its social responsibility. It needs constantly to discern when to support and when to confront society's cultural patterns, values, and powers. – &quot;The Church in Society&#58; A Lutheran Perspective&quot;</em></strong></p><p>So, why again are we about this work?</p><p><strong><em>Jesus frees Christians to serve others and to walk with people who are hungry, forgotten, oppressed, and despised. The example of Jesus invites Christians to see people near and far away, people of all races, classes and cultures, friends and strangers, allies and enemies as their &quot;neighbor.&quot; – &quot;The Church in Society&#58; A Lutheran Perspective&quot;</em></strong></p><p>In 2013, The Lutheran World Federation, working with other religious groups, made manifest this understanding by initiating a series of affirmations from the leaders of a wide variety of faith traditions titled <em>&quot;</em>Welcoming the Stranger<em>&quot;</em>&#58;, </p><p><strong><em>A core value of my faith is to welcome the stranger, the refugee, the internally displaced, the other. I shall treat him or her as I would like to be treated. I will challenge others, even leaders in my faith community, to do the same.</em></strong></p><p>It is this kind of effort, this kind of statement of common values crossing many boundaries, where Lutherans have and can continue to make a contribution to that goal stated in the U.N. Charter&#58; &quot;<em>…to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom …&quot;</em><em><strong> </strong></em>and also offer tangible signs in a myriad of ways of&#58; &quot;<em>… a faith that is active in love, a love that seeks justice, and an insight that strives to discern what is right, good, and fitting…&quot; </em>(The Church in Society&#58; A Lutheran Perspective). </p></div>04/01/2015