LAMPa Policy Council Sets 2020 Priorities and Elects Officers
LAMPa’s Policy Council met on December 5, 2019 and adopted a broad agenda that encourages disciples to act where they are called, lifting their ministry context, lived experiences, vocations and gifts for public witness. Alleviating hunger, protecting all of creation, especially the most vulnerable, and addressing poverty and its root causes remain central to the work of LAMPa.
LAMPa Policy Council and bishops gathered in December to pray and worship together before sharing the work of the church and needs of communities across the Commonwealth in order to guide our advocacy in the year ahead. The day also included an informative presentation by Maggie Livelsberger, Director of Public Policy, United Way of Pennsylvania, on the ALICE Report. The report was compiled by the United Way of Pennsylvania. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE report tells the story of our community members who are going to work but are still struggling to survive, through a standardized methodology that assesses the cost of living in every county.
In addition to informing LAMPa’s work by the sharing of their ministries and communities in every synod, the Policy Council elected officers, and shared thoughtful conversation on LAMPa Policy Agenda priorities for the coming year. The conversation affirmed LAMPa’s mission to advocate for wise and just public policies in Pennsylvania that promote the common good in response to God’s love in Jesus Christ.
The Policy Council elected officers, as follows: The Rev. William Osman (Allegheny Synod), chair; The Rev. Sarah Rossing (Southwestern Pa. Synod), vice-chair; Ms. Diane Casey (Southeastern Pa. Synod), treasurer; The Rev. Karl Runser (Upper Susquehanna Synod), secretary; and the Rev. Titus Clarke (Lower Susquehanna Synod), member-at-large.
In 2020, in partnership with Pennsylvania synods, congregations, social ministry organizations and other Lutheran institutions, as well as ELCA Advocacy and World Hunger, LAMPa will equip disciples to act in the following areas:
Hunger – Improve Access to Healthy, Affordable Food
– State Food Purchase Program and Pa. Agriculture Surplus System Funding
– Promoting Fresh, Local, Sustainable Food Systems
– Improving School Breakfast Participation and Expanding Summer Feeding
Creation Justice – Protecting All of Creation, Especially the Most Vulnerable
– Addressing Climate Change
– Protecting Clean Air, Water and Land
– Sustainable Development
– Conservation of Public Lands
Poverty – Promote Household Financial Stability
– 2020 Census
– Oppose Predatory Payday Lending
– Safeguard Benefits and Access to Benefits/Safety Net Programs
– Prevent and Alleviate Homelessness
– Increase Minimum Wage
– Continue to work to strengthen laws to prevent and protect victims of human trafficking.
Education – Improve Educational Outcomes for Pennsylvania Students
– Adequate and Equitable Basic Education Funding
Expand and Safeguard Access to Affordable Healthcare
– Protect Medical Assistance
– Ending Surprise Medical Billing
– Mental Health Treatment Funding
– Racial Justice – Addressing disparities across policy areas
– Prohibiting LGBTQIA+ Discrimination
– Safeguarding the Right to Vote
– Lifting the Ban on Religious Garb in Public Schools
– Hate Crimes Legislation
Criminal Justice Reform
– Solitary Confinement Reform
– Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)
– Help congregations create welcoming communities and oppose legislation that would target immigrants for unjust treatment or seek to deny refugee resettlement efforts.
– Drivers’ Licenses for All – Driving PA Forward