LAMPa Mission Statement: In response to God’s love in Jesus Christ, we advocate for wise and just public policies in Pennsylvania that promote the common good.
“The witness of this church in society flows from its identity as a community that lives from and for the gospel. Faith is active in love; love calls for justice in the relationships and structures of society. It is in grateful response to God’s grace in Jesus Christ that this church carries out its responsibility for the well-being of society and the environment.” (ELCA Church in Society Social Statement).
LAMPa advocates speak to state public policy makers, working towards long term change, preservation of human dignity and promote the common good by addressing issues as they come before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. As they do so, LAMPa advocates will build the capacity of this church for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace.
Stand Against Hunger
Expansion of School Breakfast Program in Pennsylvania – School breakfasts are a proven way to combat hunger, yet only 43 percent of PA students eligible for free or reduced lunches are receiving it. LAMPa is equipping Lutherans to advocate for changes in their local schools that make it easier for kids to start the day right. Efforts will include working to support the Pennsylvania Breakfast Challenge, connecting congregations with their local schools, developing resources and training.
Increase State Food Purchase Program Funding – Many Lutheran food ministries rely on this critical program for food supplies. Safeguarding these funds is core to LAMPa’s work against hunger. In 2013, vigorous advocacy led to a $100,000 increase to SFPP to $17,438,000. The request for 2014-15 will be $21 million.
Stand Against Poverty
Support “Empowering Opportunities – Gateways Out of Poverty” Initiative The House Majority Policy Committee is studying the roots of poverty around the Commonwealth with the aim of creating policies that enable Pennsylvanians to not just survive, but thrive. LAMPa is connecting ELCA ministries to the work of the committee to help shape the first report due in the spring.
Increase the Minimum Wage – At $7.25/hour, Pennsylvania has the lowest minimum wage of all the Mid-Atlantic states. LAMPa will support passage of House Bill 1896, which would phase in an increase in the minimum wage to an eventual $10.10./hour
Keep Payday Lending Out of Pennsylvania – Payday lenders continue to try to open the doors to predatory loans at more than 300 percent interest rates in Pennsylvania. LAMPa is leading faith community efforts with a broad coalition to fight modern-day usury that traps the most vulnerable in a cycle of debt.
Increase Affordable Housing – Three years ago LAMPa helped to pass the State Housing Trust Fund, which is funded by natural gas/Marcellus Shale impact fees. So far the fee has generated more than $17 million for drilling counties to help stabilize housing in the region affected by the drilling boom. LAMPa is working with housing partners to expand the fund to non-gas producing counties in order to create jobs, strengthen communities and prevent homelessness across the Commonwealth.
Health Care – More than 900,000 Pennsylvanians lack health insurance. LAMPa will continue to work in coalition to highlight the cost to individuals and the state by not accepting an expanded Medicaid. LAMPa will provide analysis and input on the administration’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” alternative which is awaiting review by HHS.
Equitable School Funding – Education is one of the key factors in determining a person’s ability to emerge from poverty. Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the nation without a funding formula. LAMPa is collaborating partners to make school funding an issue in the 2014 gubernatorial and legislative elections and create a new funding formula that will provide an adequate, just and equitable distribution of funds between rural, urban and suburban districts.
Stand for Hope
Immigration – LAMPa is mobilizing the Lutheran voice in the state to call for the passage of SB 713, a state DREAM Act guarantying undocumented students who graduate from Pennsylvania high schools in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth. LAMPa is also initiating a visitation program connecting ELCA congregations with immigrant detainees at the York County Prison, the largest detention center in the northeast.
Stand for Stewardship of Creation
Climate Change – LAMPa will advocate for implementation of the Pennsylvania Climate Change Action Plan, supporting H.B. 100, which would increase the amount of electricity companies must obtain from renewable sources from the current 8 percent by 2021 to 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2023.