On a Federal level: If your Congressperson is a Republican email or call them and urge them to support the full stimulus package!
California EDD: Let Regina know if you have contact with someone involved with EDD decision making.
California Earned Income Tax Credit: While EITC Awareness Day Has passed, the information in their social media toolkit is still valid. Please use their resources on your social media posts. Go to https://www.caleitc4me.org/Resources/ for the tool kit and more resources.
California joins the global effort to fight climate change by taking on the goal to conserve 30% of state lands by 2030, making us the first in the nation
Faith based organizations, alongside numerous other non-profit, environmental advocacy, and legislative efforts paid off today in a innovative and far reaching executive order to protect California lands and waters.
2020’s Legislative session has been filled with many powerful moments for LOPP-CA, and our collective power as those moving in Christ has only become more and more apparent. The signing of this Executive Order N-82-20 (full version here) aligns with our priority of Environmental Stewardship set at the opening of this year, and is specifically important because of how much our advocacy mattered in this fight – faith organizations, and especially LOPP-CA, were notably instrumental in placing this issue as a moral priority in California.
LOPP-CA’s Director Regina Banks spoke to this victory by saying “California Lutherans have been closely tracking imminent dangers to safe, affordable drinking water, as well as the environmental racism at play in who does, and does not, have water security. As the climate crisis, pollution, and irresponsible corporate practices have made water stewardship increasingly difficult, we welcome the opportunity to leverage the Governor’s executive order, which sets clear guidelines for conservation, to protect and redeem California’s watersheds. The God-given life-sustaining gift of water requires our careful stewardship, so all people and creation can endure for generations to come.”
This is a monumental achievement, and our church has a right to be proud of our work today. Here is a link to a statement from Creation Justice Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition – of which LOPP-CA is a member – dedicated to advocating for care of God’s creation. Faith leaders across the US have been pushing for this 30% by 2030 goal via a letter writing campaign, and California is the first to see these advocacy efforts pay off!
We can and often do make a difference; the spirit moved in this victory, and will continue to do so as we reach further to make our world a better place. Join with us in celebration today, and with us in further advocacy on issues in the upcoming year!
Many things have happened this year, and we have won almost all of our priority bills!LOPP-CA’s advocacy this session was important in making many bills into law. We take specific pride in the passing of AB 3070 and AB 3073, as we pushed and fought hard for these bills! Here is the list of our vitories:
A law providing guidelines for the pre-enrollment of recently incarcerated persons into the statewide food assistance Calfresh Program, a bill that our office co-sponsored alongside advocacy organization Bread of the World (AB 3073)
A law altering and strengthening anti-discrimination procedures within courts in the jury selection process. Discrimination within the jury selection process has been noticed by many, and this legislation is powerful in giving advocates the tools to address systemic racism within the justice system (AB 3070)
A law creating a funded campaign for protections and health awareness during COVID-19 for agricultural workers, which includes thousands of migrant workers (AB 2043)
A law establishing one of the nation’s first mandatory task forces to study the issue of Slavery’s legacy within the United States and the need for reparations for African Americans; the task force will create proposals of mechanisms that can be enacted to address the need of reparations (AB 3121)
A law barring criminal conviction of a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. This law will expand a persons ability to contest cases of unlawful imprisonment on the basis of discrimination, and thus open a doorway to pursue equity within the justice system (AB 2542)
Californians also saw a monumental victory with the signing of AB 1876, expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable communities, specifically immigrant workers. ITIN tax filers were previously barred from receiving refunds from their state tax claims, despite paying more than 3 million in taxes annually. LOPP-CA has fought for over 4 years with 60 organizations, making this a milestone for Lutheran advocacy in California.
Other Legislative updates:
A bill pushing for a one-time cash-via-card food assistance stipend towards migrant workers, many of who have been left out of our government’s efforts to help during this COID-19 crisis, was vetoed by Governor Newsom. (AB 826). This bill was a priority for many of our coalition partnerships.
This coming November is a chance to pursue our baptismal calling to advocacy in many ways. In moving in our churches firm commitment to fighting the sin that is racism and building a country that holds all of as children of God, we are having continued advocacy for voting YES on Proposition 16 until the election.
We will be meetings every other Monday at 6pm to Text bank California Voters, asking them to vote YES on Prop 16! We welcome all to come and join, even if you haven’t done so before (we will train you!). It is very easy, and all you have to do is follow the directions at the sign up below!
There are no words that can truly express how great a victory this is for all. The Expansion of the EITC to immigrant ITIN Tax Filers puts California on the right side of history, and is nothing short of God’s compassion and justice coming into the world.
Prior to this week, hundreds of thousands of people were locked out of one of California’s most influential and powerful poverty-fighting measures, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Over 600,000 ITIN number holders were suffering the unjust position of working hard, building economies, paying taxes, but receiving no tax refund. No longer. Vulnerable communities such as migrant workers in healthcare, farming, service work and so much more are now covered in the EITC.
This win means so much, and has been a long time coming. The Cal-EITC Coalition, of which LOPP-CA is a proud member, has fought hard and won a campaign spanning more than four years and involving more than 60 organizations. This in means care for the vulnerable. This win means California is the second in our nation to take this step in protecting so many vulnerable non-citizen immigrant communities. This win means God’s love is extended to more of the body of Christ, and for that there cannot be enough celebration.
Below we have linked the Cal-EITC Coalition’s official press release, which holds more information on this monumental victory:
This legislative session was full of highs and lows, unexpected turns, and strained by a global pandemic, climate catastrophes and more. LOPP-CA has followed multiple bills throughout this time, diligently following legislation that embodies our moral understanding of God’s commandment to run after justice and peace in all ways.
“…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Excerpts from the Beatitudes
Now is the end of the legislative year 2020, and there are five bills we have tracked that have made it past the legislature and currently sit on the Governor’s Desk. The bills and a brief summary of each are below:
Food Access: extending God’s table to the most vulnerable
AB 826: Emergency food assistance: COVID-19 – This measure creates an one-time fund for emergency food assistance that will help millions of people throughout California find food security during this COVID Crisis; This bill specifically uplifts immigrant communities that have been left out of many pandemic relief efforts. See a bill fact sheet made by California Association of Food Banks here.
AB 3073: CalFresh: pre-enrollment – California is the largest food producing state in the U.S, but still faces the tragic truth that 1 in 8 Californians are food insecure. Bill AB 3073 expands the CalFresh program to those disenfranchised through the carceral system, giving guidelines to both pre-enroll the currently incarcerated as well as enroll formerly incarcerated people. This bill is designed to extend the basic human need of food towards some of our most vulnerable.
Racial Reconciliation: repairing harm, embracing the full Body of Christ
AB 2542: Criminal Procedure: discrimination (California Racial Justice act)– This bill creates a legal pathway to the sin of racism within legal prosecution. Specifically, it disallows criminal prosecution on the base of Race, Ethnicity, or National Origin and paves a way to legally challenge racial bias within any criminal case. This is a monumental bill toward gaining racial equality in California. A fact sheet for the bill is found here.
AB 3070: Juries: Peremptory Challenges – LOPP-CA supports this bill as another attempt for California to address systemic racial injustice. This Bill bolsters the legal framework of identifying and rectifying racial bias in the jury selection process. There are many key changes to the current legal process made, all of which can be found by viewing the bill analysis here.
AB 3121: Committee to Study Reparations – This legislation creates a 8 person committee to begin the difficult work of reckoning with the legacy of racism and slavery in the U.S, which will ultimately make recommendations on how best to address Reparations towards African Americans. More on this bill can be found here.
Worker Protection: guarding those that serve others
AB 2043: Occupational Safety and Health: agricultural employers and employees: COVID-19 -Introduced by Representative Robert Rivas in District 30, the bill, “Ensures enforcement by Cal/OSHA of its COVID-19 guidance, funds a targeted bilingual outreach campaign to educate agricultural workers on Cal/OSHA guidance, as well as COVID-19-related paid sick leave and workers compensation benefits, and directs Cal/OSHA to track and report workplace investigations related to the agricultural industry.” This bill was introduced as a package to support California’s vulnerable and necessary farm workers, neighbors that provide food for our entire nation. More on the bill here.
Anti-poverty Legislation: expanding our social net to hold those that work
AB 1876: Expanding California EITC to Immigrant ITIN Filers – This is a long standing battle to broaden the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which current immigrant ITIN tax filers do not receive. The Federal and State income tax return credit is one of the most powerful tools available for lifting people out of poverty, and this legislation would expand EITC guidelines to include many hard working Californians.
This is powerful news, and we are uplifted to see that some change-making bills have the chance to move our state closer to God’s vision of love. We need to fight for change, in all ways possible. We need leadership from Governor Newsom in signing these measure into law. Advocate by calling or emailing here the Governor before September 30th!
California is a vast state filled with people that celebrate God’s diversity; sadly our state hasn’t done enough to live into this joy. We are voting YES on Proposition 16 this November so that we can continue the fight for the beautiful wholeness of our Church, so we can work alongside those moving for racial justice all over our country, so we can fight against gender discrimination, and so we as God’s Church can stand by our Baptismal covenant of justice. Ephesians 2:14 says, “for he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility..”
LOPP-CA is working with the Yeson16 Coalition to pass Prop 16! We will be running a 1 hour training for our Intuitive Text-Banking system, then jumping into some messaging to California Voters as a group! Don’t worry, we won’t be using your direct phone number, and we will teach you everything you need to know! All you will need is a Laptop (preferred), Tablet, or Phone! SIGN UP ON THE LINK BELOW
Nicole Newell joins this year’s ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellows with a background in accompaniment, advocacy and teaching, both at home and abroad. She brings a background in food justice, having worked in kitchens and on small-scale farms to develop context for sustainable food practices. With a BA in Practicing Theology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, Nicole has a love for Lutherans and served with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Washington, DC from 2015-2016. She grew up in Des Moines, IA. Nicole is eager to bring her passion for the intersections of faith and justice to effect policy-level change in California.