ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/Living Earth Reflections: ResolvedMary Minette, ELCA Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/114http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/114<div class="ExternalClassE67BA25EB8104B16B7D7F00EE07E0181"><p><em>And the one who was seated on the throne said, &quot;See, I am making all things new.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">(Revelation 21&#58;5)</p><p>Nearly every Sunday, my suburban Virginia congregation prays for our government and its leaders. Maybe your congregation does something similar? This commonplace prayer for leadership has taken on new meaning for me recently because this year the United Nations will adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will encourage member countries to make economic decisions that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition, this December parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet to adopt a new global agreement to reduce climate change emissions, again in the belief that present generations can meet our needs without compromising the well-being of future generations.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Both the Sustainable Development Goals and the new climate change agreement are about long-term planning; something that government leaders rarely have the space or time to do. These global discussions have the potential to change economic development paradigms by turning the world toward new sources of energy and to the task of building communities and nations that are more resilient to the growing impacts of our changing climate. But changes will only be possible if leaders act with wisdom and care for God's creation and for our most vulnerable neighbors.&#160; </p><p>So these prayers for leadership I join each week have taken on a new urgency for me as 2015 begins. But even as I, and others, pray for global leaders to begin the hard and visionary work to shape our shared future along more sustainable lines, I also wonder if we are putting too much of the burden of planning for the future on our leaders and institutions. Are we forgetting that each of us has our own responsibility to consider the needs of our children and future generations? </p><p>As Christians we believe we are called to build Christ's kingdom here on earth by living our lives as Christ taught us and caring for each other and for the earth. Strong leaders and institutions are necessary to build that new world but so is individual and community action. Each of us has a part to play – in our daily lives, in our congregations and in our communities – &#160;to make sure that the world we leave behind allows people and creation to live and thrive well into the future.</p><p>So this year, instead of my usual New Year's resolution to save more or exercise more often or eat more vegetables, I'm thinking about resolutions that will help in our transformation to a more sustainable world. I'm looking at the things I already do, like using cloth grocery bags and drying my clothes on a clothesline in the warmer months, and vowing to do more. Will you join me?</p><p>Pledge to take action <a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/pledge-to-action.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a> (and you can also <a href="http&#58;//salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51086/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11280"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">sign</span></a> a petition asking our leaders to support global action on climate change).&#160; </p></div>01/23/2015ELCA State Advocacy Update: January 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/113http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/113<div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5"><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-size&#58;14px;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="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;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#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;"><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthy State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></span></p><p style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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-size&#58;13px;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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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 style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Washington, D.C.</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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></div><font face="Cambria,Cambria" size="3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><font face="Cambria,Cambria" size="3"><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><strong style="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;width&#58;100px;height&#58;100px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />The 114<sup>th</sup> Congress&#58; </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">From the Keystone XL Pipeline to healthcare and banking regulations, the first few weeks of the 114</span><sup style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">th</sup><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> Congress will be packed with important votes. The ELCA Advocacy team in Washington, D.C., is working to build connections with new members of Congress and preparing for the upcoming legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. Be sure to follow our action alerts this year to stay up-to-date on these important issues! </span></span></p><p><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Conclusion of UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru</strong></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Mary Minette, ELCA Advocacy's director of environmental policy, returned from the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, last month. Going in to the conference, the U.N. hoped to create a global treaty to<img alt="3.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;height&#58;180px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /> help limit global warming to 3.6 degrees F above pre-industrial times – a necessary limit which would prevent further disasters and high humanitarian costs. An official treaty will be decided in 2015 in Paris, but due to the involvement of various lobbies, the plans in Lima were far from reaching the 3.6-degree goal. Minette reports that the most challenging concern facing world leaders is how much developing countries will be expected to invest in cutting their emissions. Additional international funding will likely be needed for these countries. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Lutheran response to police violence issues </strong></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Last month, Lutherans helped take action on police violence by encouraging the Senate to pass the Death in Custody Reporting Act. The successfully passed act will require law enforcement a<img alt="2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;149px;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />gencies to report all deaths of people held in police custody to the Department of Justice, serving to improve transparency and local accountability. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">ELCA Advocacy also supported Lutherans in the Justice for All March in D.C. on Dec. 13. The march, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, protested police violence against men of color. Our office organized dozens of Lutherans, including passionate lay people, young seminarians, and ELCA pastors from D.C. and New York. Lutheran attendees held a small vigil at </span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutherplace.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Luther Place Church</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"> before joining the march on the Capitol.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><img alt="Togum.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Togum.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;102px;" /></span>&#160;</p></font></font><p style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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 style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">California</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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 style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><font color="#569bbe" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Hunger Leadership Gathering</strong>&#58; The Lutheran Office of Public Policy –California is looking forward to the ELCA Hunger Leadership Gathering Jan. 15-18 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Director Mark Carlson has been serving on the planning team and consulting on the Oakland congregation site visits (including, appropriately for the MLK Jr. weekend – a <img alt="4.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />stop at <a href="http&#58;//www.remember-them.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Remember-Them, Champions of Humanity</span></a>, <em>pictured right</em>). It is the largest bronze sculpture in the West, featuring several African American civil rights leaders and other champions from around the world, such as Mother Theresa and Oscar Schindler). Mark also confirmed for the Gathering advocacy training a former legislator, Ted Lempert, who is president of <a href="http&#58;//www.childrennow.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Children Now</span></a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>New legislative session</strong>&#58; LOPP-CA arranged for the new president of the <a href="http&#58;//www.psr.edu/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Pacific School of Religion</span></a>, David Vásquez-Levy, to read a Scripture passage at the Jan. 13 interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento. Vásquez-Levy is an ELCA pastor and immigrant-rights advocate relocating from Luther College and will commemorate the beginning of a new legislative session. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles will give the message. Mark is working to arrange meetings for David with legislators and advocates, and lunch with local clergy.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">LOPP-CA is co-sponsoring the Women's Policy Summit in Sacramento on Jan. 14, the Green California Summit and legislative reception on Jan. 22, and the California Women Lead reception for women legislators and statewide elected officials on Jan. 28, with co-hosts Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Minority Leader Kristen Olsen. LOPP-CA has confirmed state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson for the <a href="http&#58;//www.couragetothinkdifferently.com/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">ecumenical conference on climate change</span></a> Feb. 22-24 in Santa Barbara. </span></p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Colorado</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></div><div 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;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;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lam-co.org</span></strong></a></span></div><div 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;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;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div 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;13px;"><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Faith Advocacy Day 2015&#58;</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> The theme has been set for Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado's Faith Advocacy Day 2015. Our focus will be &quot;Homelessness and Justice.&quot; Many dynamic speakers and presenters will be on hand to discuss what homelessness looks like in Colorado, how state government is involved in the issue, the role of affordable and permanent supportive housing, and how churches and people of faith can get involved in effective structural responses to the problem. The event will take place on Monday, Feb. &#160;16, from 9 a.m. to 2&#58;30 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E. Hampden Ave. The cost is $30 regular, $20student/low-income. You can pre-register by contacting Peter Severson (</span><a href="mailto&#58;pseverson@rmselca.org"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">pseverson@rmselca.org</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">) with your name, e-mail and congregation/ministry name. Registration will go live next week on LAM-CO's website. Join us and discover why faith and advocacy go hand-in-hand!</span></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>A new legislative session&#58;</strong> The Colorado Legislature convened on Wednesday, Jan. 7. Lutheran Advocacy and many other groups were on hand for the opening-day ceremonies and the introduction of many of this session's bills.&#160;</span></p></span></div><div 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;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;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><font face="comic sans, comic sans ms, cursive" style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Illinois</strong></font></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Jennifer DeLeon, Lutehran Adovcacy&#160;– Illinois</strong></div><div 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;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;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacy.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacy.org​</span></strong></a>​</span></div><div 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;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;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;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="5.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;height&#58;194px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Prisoner and Family Ministry</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58; We ended the year with a road trip to Marion, Ill., to visit the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Prisoner &amp; Family Ministry program. The purpose of the trip was to strengthen the advocacy of our state office in partnership with LSSI and the ELCA's racial justice ministry. We are connecting the dots on how to make the recent </span><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Criminal_JusticeSS.pdf."><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">criminal justice social statement</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> a living document. We saw a firsthand account of the great work LSSI is doing with job training and life skills coaching of returning citizens. <img alt="6.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;130px;height&#58;174px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Our office shared with staff and program participants the state level advocacy we have been doing, and we created a process to involve them in becoming advocates on this issue. Judith Roberts shared with them the work of her office and the social statement. There are plans in the works to hold a series of workshops in 2015 for people to learn about the social statement, best practices in the field, and how to become advocates for criminal justice. You can learn more about the LSSI Prisoner &amp; Family Ministry program </span><a href="http&#58;//www.lssi.org/services-prisoner-family.php"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">.&#160;</span></span></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Minnesota</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota&#160;</strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">tammy@lcppm.org</span></strong></a></div><div 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;">&#160;</div><div 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;"><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">In December, LA-MN focused on the final touches to the legislative agenda, final decisions with LSS regarding a Bishop Breakfast and Advocacy Day for Pastors, as well as finalizing the FY2015 budget with the Policy Council. (The 2015 legislative session started on Jan. 6). LA-MN Director Tammy Walhof also spent time in November and December working on grants to bolster the budget. LA-MN will be the recipient of a $5,000 grant and probably another for $3,000-$9,000. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Legislative issues&#58;</strong></p><ul style="text-align&#58;left;"><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Affordable housing ($39 million)&#58; Secure additional funding to expand a broad continuum of housing and homelessness services to help thousands have access to housing or maintain current housing.</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Homeless Youth Act ($4 million increase)&#58; Secure additional funding to assist youth experiencing homelessness transition to successful adulthood. </span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Clean energy and jobs&#58;</span></li><ul><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">40 percent renewable energy by 2030 (to replace current renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2025)</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">2 percent energy efficiency savings (compared to 1.5 percent currently)</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">solar rural tax credits</span></li></ul><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Reform of payday lending</span></li></ul><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Upcoming advocacy days&#58; </strong>LA-MN has a full schedule heading into 2015. Feb. 2 will be Clean Energy and Good Jobs Day at the Capitol, and on Feb. 19 LA-MN and LSS will co-host a bishop/legislator breakfast as well as an Advocacy Day for Pastors. March 10 will be a Day on the Hill with Interfaith Partners (Joint Religious Legislative Coalition).</span>&#160;</p></div><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Jersey</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Sara Lilja, Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry, New Jersey</strong></span></div><div 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;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.njsynod.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.njsynod.org/</span></strong></span></a></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Earned sick days&#58;</strong> We are currently in the midst of working toward passage of the state-wide earned sick days bill in the Assembly. The bill has passed the Assembly Labor and Budget committees and is awaiting a full floor vote. A2354 is a model earned-sick-days law that covers nearly all 1.2 million workers in the state who lack earned sick days. The majority of those who will benefit are low-wage workers earning less than $10 an hour.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">The bill allows workers to use earned sick days to care for themselves as well as all immediate family members when sick and to use earned sick days to deal with, relocate or find safe accommodations due to circumstances resulting from being a victim of domestic or sexual violence. It includes the best components of earned-sick-days laws adopted around the nation, including the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California, as well as the cities of San Francisco; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; Eugene, Ore.; Seattle; &#160;Washington, D.C.; New York City; and eight cities in New Jersey.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Food insecurity in New Jersey</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58;</span><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">LOGM participated in a press conference with leading legislators and faith leaders from around the state. Check out an article on the conference </span><a href="http&#58;//www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/12/nj_religious_leaders_we_cant_feed_the_hungry_alone.html"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">. </span></span></p><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Mexico</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</span></strong></span></a></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;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;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Bishop Jim Gonia and LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman attended the New Mexico Conference of Churches annual judicatory leaders retreat in Albuquerque the first week of December. This is a gathering of the leaders of the New Mexico Conference of Churches member denominations, including Bishop Michael Vono of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The leaders agreed to send a letter to President Obama and the New Mexico congressional delegation urging that the women and children at the soon-to-be-closed Artesia detention facility be released and not transferred to another detention facility. &#160;</span></p><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</span></a></strong></div><div 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;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div 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;13px;"><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">The Pennsylvania General Assembly</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> began a new session with swearing-in for lawmakers and new leadership in both Republican-controlled chambers on Jan. 6. Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf will be sworn in on Jan. 20. LAMPa has also worked with the statewide partners to prepare a policy paper, &quot;</span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Meeting-Pennsylvanias-Hunger-Challenge-A-Briefing-Paper-for-Governor-elect-Wolf.pdf"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Meeting Pennsylvania's Hunger Challenge</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&quot; for the Wolf transition team and is also preparing a policy paper on trauma-informed education. </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="44.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/44.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;135px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Lower Susquehanna Synod's Winterfest retreat</strong><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58;</strong><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/seethestory/status/551471550697074688/photo/1"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"> LAMPa staff </span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">led an interactive presentation to 430 high school youth and leaders the on the theme &quot;Hungry.&quot; The presentation invited attendees to look at the connections between poverty, education, housing and hunger. Youth were engaged in a social media, postcard and electronic letter </span><a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/pa/home/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">advocacy campaign</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> for the state housing trust fund. With the help of the synod hunger team, they built raised garden beds and Garden Soxx to be donated to community and school gardens in neighborhoods experiencing food insecurity. A non-Lutheran representative from the county's health care community who attended the event declared, &quot;THIS is what the church is supposed to look like!&quot;</span></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Poverty and trauma-informed education</strong>&#58; In December, LAMPa also recruited and accompanied three Lutheran school leaders as they made brief remarks in support of&#160;trauma-informed education to a Basic Education Funding Commission hearing. LAMPa will collaborate with Glade Run Lutheran Services about intersection of their work and the new LAMPa issue agenda, and state-wide training in the Open Table accompaniment program. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Congregations</strong>&#58; On Jan. 11, LAMPa will lead an adult forum on immigration at Trinity in New Holland and an advocacy presentation at Holy Trinity in Irwin, PA. </span></p>&#160;</span></div><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Virginia</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</span></a><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></strong></div><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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><strong>State budget</strong>&#58; Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy offered testimony before the House and Senate Appropriations and Finance committees during hearings held in five Virginia communities. Through our members and with our partners we emphasized the priority on strengthening families, creating opportunity and overcoming inequality. We specifically called on these budget decision-makers to expand Medicaid to reach more low-income Virginians and to make Virginia's Earned Income Credit at least partially refundable.</p><p><strong>Hunger</strong>&#58; We have been meeting with a task force that Bishop Mauney has convened to address childhood hunger throughout the Virginia Synod, and in that context we have joined with Lutheran Family Services to meet with members of the governor's staff about their interest in addressing hunger in Virginia. We facilitated a meeting with Bishop Mauney and First Lady Dorothy McAulife, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Bridging the Nutritional Divide. Bishop Mauney now serves on that commission.&#160; </p><p><strong>Immigration</strong>&#58; We are ramping up our work with immigrant communities to help coordinate enrollment in the president's new deferred-action program for immigrants. We hope to work with both synods in Virginia and have begun a conversation with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to help as well.</p><p>Finally, our Day for All People advocacy day at the Capitol will be Jan. 20 in Richmond; we are looking forward to a stronger than ever turn out that day!</p><p 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-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/" style="text-decoration&#58;none;"><span style="color&#58;#005594;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.fanwa.org</span></a></strong></div><div 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;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><font color="#009ac3" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div 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;13px;"><p 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;13px;"><strong><img alt="8.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/8.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;220px;height&#58;144px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Scroll Project</strong>&#58; Faith Action Network (FAN) is working on its &quot;Scroll Project&quot; as a public statement for the need for revenue in our state budget to protect the most vulnerable and our environment, funding for education, as well as funding for a 21<sup>st</sup> century transportation system. The genesis for this came from the December meeting of FAN's Interfaith Leaders Council. A small group of religious leaders will unveil the scroll on the first day of session on the steps of the Capitol (Jan. 12). After the press conference, replicas of the scroll will be distributed to each office of our state Legislature (147 legislators). </span></p><p 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;13px;"><strong>ELCA engagement&#58;</strong> In January, FAN will join the January Bishop's Convocation. Additionally, an ELCA parish will be hosting the Spokane Legislative Conference. An article on the state's budget, hunger and &#160;nutrition issues for this session will be in all three synod newsletters. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">FAN's four hunger and nutrition legislative Issues&#58;</strong></p><ul style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Farmer's Market Nutrition Program for Women, Infants,&#160; Children and Seniors</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Emergency Food Assistance Program&#160; (funding for state food banks)</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">State Food Assistance (funding for legal immigrant households living in poverty)</span></li><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Breakfast After the Bell (funding&#160; to help implement breakfast for all school districts)</span></li></span></ul><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">For more background information on these issues, see our </span><a href="http&#58;//fanwa.org/advocacy/advocacy-toolkit/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Faith Action Network's Legislative Agenda Fact Sheets</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">, </span><a href="http&#58;//www.wsahnc.org/our-priorities-in-olympia/#.VKwKcSvF-t8"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Anti-hunger and Nutrition Coalition, </span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">and </span><a href="http&#58;//www.wafoodcoalition.org/advocacy"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Washington Food Coalition</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">.</span></span></p></span></div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20px;vertical-align&#58;top;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.loppw.org</span></a></strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong><font color="#444444" face="Segoe UI"></font></strong><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">The new Wisconsin legislative session began on Jan. 5.&#160; LOPPW will be working on a number of issues this year, including&#58;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Safety net for people in poverty&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>LOPPW will address likely to be proposed barriers to be placed before FoodShare recipients and will support efforts to have Wisconsin receive federal dollars for BadgerCare. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Prison reform for youth</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>LOPPW's director will be a main speaker and organizer of writing letters to legislators at an Epiphany celebration hosted by Redeemer Lutheran Church in Stevens Point. Advisory Council member the Rev. Annie Edison-Albright is organizing the event. We'll address priorities of LOPPW with a focus on supporting a bill to have 17-year-old offenders of non-violent crimes be tried as juveniles. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="9.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/9.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;100px;height&#58;108px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Sex trafficking</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>LOPPW has launched a Safe Harbor Campaign to support trafficked youth. Advisory Council member the Rev. Diane House and Director Amy Hartman of Cherish All Children are taking major leadership with support of our task force organizing a three-hour conference in Menomonie in February. LOPPW's director is taking the main leadership organizing a Safe Harbor Campaign rally in Madison in March. Assemblywoman Jill Billings has drafted a Safe Harbor bill and has included LOPPW's director for requesting input before she presents it.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Other advocacy</strong><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58; </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">LOPPW's director continues to work with other faith groups to organize an Advocacy Day in April. The director will lead a workshop on Poverty, Homelessness, and Trafficking (with a focus on youth) at Grace Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids in January. Please click </span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/events/coming-soon/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> for more about upcoming events.&#160;&#160;</span></p></div></span><span style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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></div>01/12/2015Living Earth Reflections: December 2014Mary Minette, ELCA Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/112http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/112<div class="ExternalClass41612EB974F0414CB9DB0035245D1BF0"><p><em>&quot;I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.&quot;</em></p><p><em>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; --Romans 8&#58;18-21</em></p><p>Late on December 14, the annual meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finally concluded; two full days after it was scheduled to end. The parties adopted a final document that will guide the negotiation of a new global climate change agreement over the next year, with final results next December in Paris. As the negotiators, delegates from environmental organizations, churches, businesses and other interested groups headed home, the assessments of the outcome began in the media, blogs, social networks, and in conversations amongst colleagues.</p><p>Many of the delegates returned to communities preparing for Christmas. I returned from Lima to a family and church community celebrating Advent with a children's pageant (my son was a sheep) that told the story of the coming of the son of God to a world where misery reigned and hope was in short supply.</p><p>The world we live in today often lacks hope, and this season gives us a chance to reflect on the God's gift of light and hope to humanity, and creation through Jesus Christ. The four weeks of Advent allow us to find hope in the midst of difficulty and despair, to look for the coming of the light in our dark world.</p><p>As a church engaged in the global discussion about climate change, our task during Advent and beyond is to tell the stories of those who are suffering and to point to solutions that will provide our world with hope and a chance for a more sustainable future. Following the People's Climate March in New York this past September, many hoped that our leaders would note the interest and commitment of millions of people around the globe and find the courage and the will to act decisively to address climate change.</p><p>The results of Lima are not the decisive actions marchers demanded in New York, but they do not preclude a good outcome in Paris if countries can come to agreement on some <a href="http&#58;//uk.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/uk-climatechange-lima-idUKKBN0JT0FZ20141215"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">significant issues</span></a> over the next year. How and when will developing countries reduce their emissions? Will they be given financial and technical assistance to do so? What will be done about climate change impacts that are already happening, and can't be adapted to? How much will developed countries pledge to do over the next decade to help developing countries adopt clean energy technologies and move away from polluting fossil fuels?</p><p>All of these questions can be answered. We can have an agreement that moves us towards a sustainable future if we continue to let our leaders know that action is critical, and that we will support them as they negotiate a strong climate deal for Paris.</p><p>As we look to the New Year, let us pray for an effective agreement and encourage our global leaders to address the critical questions left unanswered in Lima in a way that truly fulfills our collective call to care for our neighbors and for all of God's creation. </p></div>12/18/2014Breaking down the firewallMary Minette, ELCA Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/111http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/111<div class="ExternalClassA0A41B6D8C294CF4BA30C5FF1F970B85"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"></em>&#160;<img alt="photo 3 (2).JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/photo%203%20(2).JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;355px;height&#58;267px;" /></p><p><em style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">&quot;It always seems impossible until it's done.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">-Nelson Mandela</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">It's midway through the final week at the 20th conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru. With a limited amount of time left, it seems impossible that parties will agree on a framework for a new global climate change agreement which will need to be finalized next year in Paris. Countries are very far apart on some key points&#58; will the agreement be a legally binding treaty or something less stringent? What issues will the new agreement cover? &#160;Will adaptation to climate change and the related issue of &quot;loss and damage&quot; (impacts that can't be adapted to) be accorded as much attention as the all-important issue of emissions reductions? &#160;Will there be sufficient funding to help the least developed nations adapt and adopt low carbon technologies needed to sustainably develop their economies and reduce poverty?<br>&#160;<br>One of the most contentious issues is whether the &quot;firewall&quot; between developed and developing countries will continue to allow countries like China, Brazil and India to shoulder fewer emission responsibilities. The firewall has stood since the beginning of the UNFCCC convention in 1992, and places much of the emission reduction responsibility on historically large emitters such as the U.S. and European Union. &#160;In the original UNFCCC document, large historic emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were listed as &quot;Annex I&quot; nations in the convention, and were designated to take on greater responsibilities for reducing emissions. &#160;Under the Kyoto protocol, for example, Annex I countries agreed to mandatory emissions reductions as part of their ratification of the treaty, while non-Annex I countries were only asked to make pledges for voluntary reductions.<br>&#160;<br>In the years since the UNFCCC first took effect, China, a non-Annex I country, has surpassed the United States as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases (although the U.S. still emits the most per capita). India is now the third largest emitter. &#160;Although both of these countries still have significant levels of poverty, it is hard to see how they can take on less responsibility for reducing emissions if we hope to stabilize global temperatures and stay within the 2 degrees Celsius limit required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><font color="#000000">Currently, in the draft document that the UNFCCC Co-Chairs have proposed to govern negotiations over the next year, there are two versions of the introduction. &#160;One version calls for emissions reductions to be guided by the &quot;provisions and principles&quot; of the UNFCCC (including Annex I), and the other refers to &quot;evolving responsibilities and capabilities.&quot; &#160;This issue may not be resolved by the end of this week, but if we hope to see a global agreement to tackle climate change by the end of next year in Paris, the impossible will need to become possible.</font></span></p></span></div>12/11/2014Advocacy Summary of FY15 Spending PackageELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/110http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/110<div class="ExternalClassF04AAA6608CA43D8B2FC240197B4C4BF"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>This week, Congress prepares to pass a bill to fund the government. ELCA Advocacy is working to support funding proposals and legislation focused on justice and love for our neighbor. Together with you, we strive to create room for practical solutions, open respectful bipartisan dialogues, fulfill our Biblical values, and avoid scenarios which foster a government shutdown. </em><em>&#160;</em></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>Appropriation legislators recently released a $1.1 trillion spending agreement on Fiscal Year 2015. This</em><a href="http&#58;//docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20141208/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-HR83sa.pdf"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em> proposal</em></span></a><em>&#160; </em><em>would fund all of the government, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, until September 2015. As legislators work to pass the new budget before December 11, the ELCA remains focused on issues that affect our faith communities and neighbors&#58; </em></span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Nutrition</strong>&#58; The ELCA has long advocated for food security and access for all. As part of our call to speak for a just society and love for our neighbor, we are pleased to see Congress is isupporting funding that provides supplemental food and nutrition education to new mothers in the WIC program. After facing intense threats of cutbacks, we are also pleased that work requirements for the SNAP nutrition program were not tightened.&#160; However, we are concerned by the implications of a policy rider which would give schools a one year waiver to bypass nutritional meal requirements. Nutrition standards in schools affect children's health, their educational achievement and economic security. As a church called to strive for justice, we will continue to advocate in 2015 for policies that care for the health and nutrition of all our brothers and sisters, including the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Environment</strong>&#58; In 2014, ELCA Advocacy joined Lutherans in the <a href="http&#58;//www.mnys.org/strong_lutheran_presence_at_the_people%E2%80%99s_climate_march/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">People's Climate March</span></a> in New York and advocated for policies that care for God's creation. We are deeply concerned by funding cuts that will significantly reduce EPA agency staff to the lowest number since the 1980s and will ban contributions to the international Green Climate Fund for one year. In 2015, we will continue to push for policies that care for the earth, our neighbors and all of God's creation.&#160; After contentious debates, Senate appropriators succeeded on limiting large cuts to the EPA's environmental programs, including language for the new proposal on Power Plant Carbon Emissions, which ELCA Advocacy championed over the summer. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Abortion</strong>&#58; Appropriation bills maintained nearly all pro-life policy riders, with the exception of a rape and incest exception added to the Peace Corps program. Additional funding was provided to abstinence education. New language was also added which will make the Affordable Care Act disclose abortion coverage. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">International Affairs</strong>&#58; ELCA Advocacy welcomes the addition of $2.5 billion in emergency funding to help address the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. However, this amount is less than the $6.18 billion needed for immediate needs, as requested by President Obama. Through Lutheran Disaster Response and other partnerships, the ELCA has worked to <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7699"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">provide over $100,000</span></a> to containing and addressing the Ebola crisis. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that more funding resources are available to help address the Ebola emergency. In the Middle East, Jordan will receive $1 billion to help the country with hosting Syrian refugees and fighting the extremist group calling itself The Islamic State.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Immigration</strong>&#58; This summer, ELCA Advocacy took action to support the rights of all migrants-- including children and families, and ensure that they are treated with dignity and compassion. We are happy to see Congress acknowledge the need for a holistic approach to the influx of migrant children and families seeking refuge in the United States. &#160;Proposed funding levels will help finance agencies that take care of children, and help the State Department address the root causes of migration. We look forward to continue our work in 2015 with the Administration, Congress, and partner organizations to ensure that the programs and policies supported by these funds acknowledge the humanity in all of God's children and concentrate in effectively supporting those who are vulnerable.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><font color="#000000"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Money in Politics</strong>&#58; Among the other policy riders, a surprise piece of legislation affecting money in politics is stirring new controversy. As it stands, the proposal would increase an individual's maximum campaign contributions from $64,800 to nearly $1.6 million. If the wealthiest can continue to overwhelm the voices of ordinary Americans, we not only cease to be a democracy, but also &#160;silence the most marginalized members of our communities who cannot afford to make large campaign contributions. This year, hundreds of Lutheran advocates voiced their concerns on the overwhelming increase of money and special interests in politics to the Senate. As advocates who work to empower all voices, we will continue to challenge social systems which weaken our democracy. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</font></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&#160;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>To take action, sign up for ELCA Advocacy Action Alerts (e-Advocacy Network) by visiting&#58; </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/advocacy</em></span></a><em> </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Stay up to date on ELCA Advocacy by following us on social media!</em></p><img alt="Description&#58; F&#58;\Communications_2014_Tia\Photos &amp; Graphics\facebook.png" src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/ANDREW~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;18px;" /><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&#160; </em><em>Facebook&#58; </em><em><strong>ELCA Advocacy</strong></em><em><strong>&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong></em><em>&#160;</em><img alt="Description&#58; F&#58;\Communications_2014_Tia\Photos &amp; Graphics\Twitter_logo_blue.png" src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/ANDREW~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image004.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;17px;" /><em>Twitter&#58; </em><em><strong>@ELCAadvocacy</strong></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&#160;</em></p></span></div>12/10/2014ELCA State Advocacy Update: December 2014ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/109http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/109<div class="ExternalClassFBEE0EFCB72B4E24B8D41E634F08B57D"><p>​<span style="font&#58;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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;">Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthy State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;"><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;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Washington, D.C.</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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></div><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;120px;height&#58;120px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Seeking Justice and Reconciliation in this season of Advent&#58;</strong> This month, <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63971531"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Advocacy released two statements</span></a> expressing our sympathies for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and our grief for our failures to address racism. As a Church, we look to reaffirm our commitment to the hard work of racial justice and reconciliation. Drawing from the biblical witness to God's rich forms of love and justice for all humanity, the ELCA is compelled by a &quot;holy yearning&quot; to take action and address the need for reforms in policies and practices in the criminal justice system. </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>The ABLE Act</strong>&#58;<strong> </strong>On Wednesday, December 3, the ELCA Advocacy office urged followers <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63969626"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">to support the ABLE Act</span></a>, which passed in the US House of Representatives by a 404-17 vote. The ABLE Act would allow people with disabilities to set up savings accounts for housing, transportation, educational opportunities, and other expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security benefits. ELCA Advocacy continues to urge support for this legislation as it moves through the Senate later this month. </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Executive action on immigration</strong>&#58;<strong> </strong>President Obama announced historic action late November aimed to stabilize the lives of millions of migrants living in the United States. <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63894626"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Advocacy welcomed the announcement</span></a> with the firm hope that actions taken by the president do not inhibit the ability of our elected officials to fulfill their call to work across the aisles toward shared values and common ground. </span></p><p><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;">The new Congress&#58; </strong>Following Election Day, the number of Lutherans in Congress grew—from 23 members to 28. ELCA Advocacy looks forward to connecting with our new Lutheran public officials and continuing advocacy with the new Republican majority in the Senate. In the lame-duck session, Director of Advocacy Stacy Martin and faith partners visited several congressional leadership offices and head appropriation legislators to discuss budget priorities and prospects in 114<sup>th</sup> Congress. Visits included meetings with both sides of the aisle, including the office of Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Dem. Leader Nancy Pelosi. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>A message of thanks to Uruguay for opening its doors to Guantanamo detainees&#58; </strong>ELCA Advocacy and Lutherans throughout the country give thanks to the country of Uruguay for &quot;welcoming the stranger&quot; by opening its doors to six Guantanamo Bay detainees who, after 12 years of imprisonment without charge, were finally resettled as refugees in Uruguay. <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63977626"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong><em>Click here to read our message of thanks to Uruguay.</em></strong></span></a> </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>News from the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru&#58; </strong>ELCA Director for Environmental Advocacy, Mary Minette, traveled to Lima as part of a delegation from the ACT Alliance and <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/108"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">updated us from the UN Climate Change Conference.</span></a> <span style="color&#58;#444444;">This meeting is expected to end with world leaders agreeing to a framework for a global agreement to address climate change. The faith community's goals for the framework include a strong commitment from parties to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and address the needs of vulnerable people who are already suffering the impacts of climate change. </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font&#58;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">California</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;"><font color="#569bbe" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div 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;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p 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;13px;"><strong>A New Legislative Session</strong>&#58; The 2015-2016 session of the <a href="http&#58;//www.legislature.ca.gov/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">California Legislature</span></a> began Dec. 1, with new members comprising over one-quarter of the 120-member body.&#160;&#160; Bills getting attention from LOPP-CA for early analysis and possible support include a raise in the minimum wage to $13, expansion of preschool to serve all children from low-income families, eligibility for <a href="http&#58;//www.coveredca.com/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Covered California</span></a> (health insurance exchange/Obamacare) regardless of immigration status, and post-2020 greenhouse gas reduction goals.&#160; LOPP-CA is part of <a href="http&#58;//www.cadelivers.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">California Delivers</span></a> (on its carbon reduction goals), which will be opposing new legislation to stop the Jan. 1 scheduled inclusion of gasoline and diesel fuel in the existing the cap-and-trade program, which has already generated over $700 million for reinvestment in pollution-impacted disadvantaged communities, transit, clean-fuels, etc.</span></p><p 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;13px;"><strong>Embracing the Executive Order on Immigration</strong>&#58; On the Monday before a Friday attack on the Mexican Consulate and other targets in Austin, TX, by a right-wing extremist linked to the white supremacist Phineas Priesthood, LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson and Sacramento Conference Dean Rev. Jason Bense participated in a press event at the Sacramento Mexican Consulate supporting President Obama's executive order on immigration.&#160; Consul General Carlos González Gutiérrez listed specific actions that the consulate will take to support the process, and warned against scam artists seeking to exploit this opportunity for families to come out of the shadows.&#160; LOPP-CA shared the ELCA Conference of Bishops' statement, the <a href="http&#58;//www.lirs.org/press-inquiries/press-room/141120pressrelease/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">LIRS response to the Order</span></a>, and a compelling story of congregational assistance for undocumented families in a mountain resort community.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Colorado</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></div><div 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;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;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lam-co.org</span></strong></a></span></div><div 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;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;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;">This month, the Policy Committee of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado met to discuss and approve the LAM-CO Policy Agenda for 2015. The agenda is focused on hunger, poverty reduction, and affordable housing. Among the agenda items is supporting an increase to the state minimum wage, which is currently set at $8.00/hour for 2014. The rate is below the self-sufficiency standard for one adult in Colorado, and well below the standard for one adult with a preschool-age child. Other items on the agenda include&#58; improving access rates for SNAP and TANF benefits and adding incentives to the Colorado Housing Investment Trust Fund to encourage developers to build more affordable housing.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img alt="2.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/2.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;203px;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;" />&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">In November, LAM-CO hosted an adult forum at Our Savior's in Greeley and also visited the campus ministry at University of Northern Colorado. Director Peter Severson preached at the Thanksgiving service for the Prairie Parish, a collection of five congregations on the eastern high plains, held at Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Brush. Peter was also present with colleagues at the national ELCA State Public Policy Office convening in Baltimore.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">LAM-CO recently hosted Rep. Dominick Moreno of HD-32, the district encompassing our neighborhood, in a meeting at the Rocky Mountain Synod office. Peter Severson, Bishop Jim Gonia, and other synod staff joined Dominick for a discussion of issues facing the neighborhood and insights into the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Moreno will serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Colorado House of Representatives for the upcoming session, which begins January 7, 2015. </p><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS">---------------------------------------------</font></strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><font face="comic sans, comic sans ms, cursive" style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Illinois</strong></font></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Jennifer DeLeon, Lutehran Adovcacy&#160;– Illinois</strong></div><div 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;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;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacy.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacy.org​</span></strong></a>​</span></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Savings Program</strong>&#58; We are happy to report that last week one of the bills we have been working on was approved by the Illinois General Assembly; SB2758 will give millions of private sector workers in our state the opportunity to save their own money for retirement by expanding access to employment-based retirement savings accounts.&#160; More than 2.5 million workers do not have access to a retirement savings account through their employer, according to a report from the Woodstock Institute. The report found lack of access is most serious for low-wage workers, of whom 60 percent lack access, but even for workers making $40,000 or more, 49 percent do not have access to an employment-based retirement savings plan.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Immigration</strong>&#58; We have joined the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Right's &quot;IL is Ready Campaign&quot; to educate and prepare the immigrant community on the administrative relief for undocumented immigrants.&#160; Our first information workshop was held this Sunday at Sagrado Corazon Lutheran church in Waukegan. Thank you to Pastor Hector Carrasquillo Director of Latino Ministries for the invitation. To request an information workshop contact <a href="mailto&#58;Jennifer.deleon@lssi.org"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Jennifer.deleon@lssi.org</span></a> to receive updates and learn more about Il is ready sign up <a href="http&#58;//www.ilisready.org/welcome?splash=1"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>! </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Minnesota</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota&#160;</strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">tammy@lcppm.org</span></strong></a></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>EPA Clean Power Plant Plan</strong>&#58; Lutheran Advocacy&#58; Minnesota collected &quot;photo messages&quot; for the EPA and the Minnesota senators in support of the EPA Clean Power Plant Plan. Some of the people participating agreed to allow their photos to be used for media. Some of those photos, with street addresses removed, are available <a href="https&#58;//www.dropbox.com/s/zhqdt5hh9j0jndj/EPACombinedDoc-MediaPermission.pdf?dl=0"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>!</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Clean Energy &amp; Jobs Campaign&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>Given significant changes in the MN House of Representatives following the election, campaign members, including LA-MN, are trying to rework the message points for the Renewable Energy Standard and Energy Efficiency Standard to make them more rural, ag, and small business-focused. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Homes for All Coalition&#58; </strong>As part of the Community Engagement Team, LA-MN is involved with some of the other partners in developing some creative tools around which groups &amp; churches can organize and educate. LA-MN Director, Tammy Walhof, and others on the team originally tried to remake a game like Monopoly or Life, but those ideas were dropped upon learning of challenges that groups in other states had with copyright issues. The focus is now leaning toward the development/rewrite of a song &amp; music video.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Payday Lending&#58;</strong> Many groups that are part of the Fairness in Lending Coalition, including LA-MN, sent a letter to Minnesota's U.S. senators encouraging action at the federal level on Payday Lending. The coalition plans to continue the legislative effort in Minnesota. LA-MN will continue to have it as a second tier issue.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Jersey</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Sara Lilja, Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry, New Jersey</strong></span></div><div 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;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.njsynod.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.njsynod.org/</span></strong></span></a></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><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;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"></span><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;">Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry co-sponsors the Anti-Poverty Summit in New Jersey.&#160; Legislatures from both parties, clergy, non-profit organizations and leading policy experts attended a sold out conference on Dec. 4<sup>th</sup> that was themed, &quot;Changing Attitudes, Changing Laws, Changing Lives.&quot; Rev. Sara Lilja led a standing room only workshop entitled &quot;Community Conversations&quot;, this session was a skill building opportunity that focused on shaping Public Opinion as the beginning place for Advocacy.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Criminal Justice Reform</strong>&#58; A bill has just been filed in the Senate (S2588) that would limit the use of Solitary Confinement in New Jersey's State and Country Jails.&#160; LOGM will be working with other coalition partners to have this bill enacted into law.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Earned Sick Days</strong>&#58; LOGM is participating in a statewide campaign that will provide Earned Sick Days for all New Jersey Workers.&#160; This legislation has passed in 7 municipalities, and now is moving on to the entire State.&#160; We will be speaking at a Press Conference this week.</span></p><p>​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Mexico</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</span></strong></span></a></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><img alt="3.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;113px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />In early November, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM hosted our annual advocacy conference at St. Timothy's Lutheran Church in Albuquerque.&#160; Almost 100 advocates from around New Mexico attended.&#160; A number of Lutherans traveled over 600 miles round trip to participate, coming from Las Cruces and from Alamogordo.&#160; All of the current volunteers from the Border Servant Corps, a border ministry of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, attended.&#160; Pr. David Vásquez, currently a campus pastor at Luther College and upcoming president of Pacific School of Religion, was the featured speaker and lead participants in two bible study sessions relating to faith and immigration. Breakout session topics included hunger in NM, the importance of early childhood education, local immigration issues and the 2015 LAM-NM Advocacy Agenda.&#160; The conference was attended by many of our ecumenical and interfaith partners, including Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Unitarians and others.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><img alt="4.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;122px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />LAM-NM director, Ruth Hoffman has been busy attending interim legislative committees as they work toward the 2015 legislative session.&#160; The committees are preparing legislation for consideration during the session.&#160; Ruth testified at the most recent meeting of the Economic &amp; Rural Development Committee about the Individual Development Accounts program and need for increased funding for that low-income matched savings account program.</p><p>​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</span></a></strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;">Access to healthy, affordable food and fair education funding will be top issues for Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania next year.&#160;LAMPa's policy council and 7 bishops spent a day in early December prayerfully discussing concerns in their communities before adopting an agenda for 2015. The work will be carried out in a capital with divided government following November's election that saw the nation's only defeat of an incumbent governor, replacing Republican Tom Corbett with Democrat Tom Wolf. The election also grew Republican margins in the legislature and raised new leadership in both the House and Senate. </p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img alt="5.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;" />&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Environment</strong>&#58; LAMPa launched its creation care work group with a statewide conference call that included Mary Minette from the D.C. advocacy office, sharing areas of interest in state environmental issues, with clean water being identified as a primary concern. &#160;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Immigration&#58;</strong> Following President Obama's announcement on immigration relief, LAMPa connected our synods and interested congregations with partner organizations looking for sites to provide <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/blog/host-sites-sought-for-immigration-information-sessions/"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">information and assistance</span></a> to immigrants who might be eligible. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Service&#58;</strong> Lutherans might expect to be approached by housing advocates to connect on the ELCA &quot;Day of Service&quot; in September.&#160; The Center for Community Change recently spotlighted the connection between service and advocacy on the Pennsylvania housing trust fund on God's work. Our Hands. Sunday.&#160; The network urged its members to reach out to Lutherans to add our voices to the work of our hands on behalf of our neighbors struggling with shelter.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//www.housingtrustfundproject.org/blog/2014/11/17/gods-work-our-hands-our-voice-faith-and-advocacy/"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read the article here.</span></a></span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;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;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;<strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS">---------------------------------------------</font></strong></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Virginia</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</span></a><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></strong></div><p>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is working on several bills and policy changes to implementation of SNAP in Virginia. We are working to get a minimum wage bill introduced that would take Virginia up to $10.10 per hour over three years and a bill to make Virginia’s Earned Income Credit at least partially refundable. We are also part of a coalition effort to change the income test for who can qualify for SNAP benefits. </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">We met this week with faith leaders that are part of the Virginia Council of Churches and the Virginia Interfaith Center who together welcomed First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe to talk about her new role chairing a commission named, “Bridging the Nutritional Divide,” that will help address hunger in Virginia. She announced her push for a pilot program for Breakfast in the Classroom programs in Virginia. Finally, we met with Lutherans from various parts of Virginia as part of Bishop Mauney’s Childhood Hunger Task Force and that work is now underway.</p><p>​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div 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;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;#009ac3;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.fanwa.org</a></strong></div><div 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;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><font color="#009ac3" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="6.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Policy Updates</strong>&#58; Faith Action Network's (FAN) governing board approved our <a href="http&#58;//fanwa.org/advocacy/legislative-agenda/"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">2015 legislative agenda</span></a>. Our five &quot;policy buckets&quot; are&#58; Reducing Wealth Inequality (FAN's lead issue), Forging a Sustainable Biennial Budget, Dismantling the Culture of Violence, Protecting Housing &amp; Preventing Homelessness, and Sustaining Washington's Environment</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Advocacy Days&#58;</strong> FAN will once again sponsor three advocacy days during our legislative session&#58;</span></p><ul style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><li><span style="font-size&#58;13px;">January 31<sup>st</sup> in Spokane, with the theme &quot;Raising Prophetic Voices&#58;&#160; Faith Communities Advocate for Justice&quot;</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;13px;">February 7<sup>th</sup> in Yakima, held at the Unitarian church</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;13px;">February 19<sup>th</sup> in Olympia (our main event at the state capital), with the theme &quot;Act on the Dream&#58;&#160; Invest in the Common Good&quot;</span></li></span></ul><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Annual Dinner (Nov. 16</strong><strong><sup>th</sup></strong><strong>)&#58;</strong> FAN's annual dinner, Acting on the Dream&#58; The Movement Continues, was a wonderful event where we filled over 40 tables with faith advocates and labor and community allies.&#160; One of the tables hosted ELCA Bishop Kirby Unti, DEM Rev. Jerry Buss, and ELCA DC office's John Johnson. We exceeded what we raised last year. You can <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLozEbMGQo7wMIaY3iXrE2Tsfes7lLn4ON"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">view video clips from the event</span></a>, including the inspiring <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6T-FdDmu6k&amp;list=PLozEbMGQo7wMIaY3iXrE2Tsfes7lLn4ON&amp;index=7"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">keynote speech by travel expert and activist Rick Steves</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> (ELCA—Trinity-Lynwood, WA)</span>. <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.906935045990941.1073741860.272897652728020&amp;type=3"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Photos from the event</span></a> are on our Facebook page.</span></p><p>​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div 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;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;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;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-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.loppw.org</span></a></strong></div><div 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;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Poverty Summit&#58;</strong>&#160; 20 ELCA adults and youth gathered in Marinette for an inter-generational poverty summit focused on youth.&#160; In the photo is LOPPW Council Member Eric Larson, who helped to plan and lead the event, and State Representative John Nygren, who <img alt="6.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />shared his journey struggling with his daughter's heroin addiction and moving from his personal experience to advocating for public policies.&#160; LSS Case Manager Mary Busick from Escanaba, MI tied together local youth homelessness, drug addiction and trafficking. LOPPW included an hour of advocacy exercise.&#160; Feedback confirmed that it would be worthwhile to repeat the summit in other locations. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>BadgerCare&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>LOPPW's director attended a meeting with partners to discuss next steps for encouraging the Wisconsin legislature to receive federal funding for BadgerCare.&#160; 73% of the people who voted in the 20 counties with the referendum said Yes to take the federal dollars.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="7.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/7.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;190px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Prison Reform for Youth&#58;</strong>&#160;&#160; LOPPW's director and Council Member Rev. Jay McDivitt met with Senator Jerry Petrowski's legislative aid to encourage the senator to again present a bill supporting 17 year old offenders of non-violent crimes to be tried as juveniles.&#160; </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Anti-Sex Trafficking&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>The director made contact with three anti-trafficking groups to help determine statewide coalitions in place and discussed building a campaign with Tia.&#160; </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Education&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>LOPPW's director met with colleagues from around the country in Baltimore deepening our efforts of working together as a team.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Other Advocacy&#58;</strong>&#160; Council Member Rev. Sue Schneider is explaining advocacy to middle school youth in Madison at Confirmation Extravaganza.</span></p></span></div><span style="font&#58;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;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></div>12/08/2014