Learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. - Isaiah 1:17
Our public policy advocacy activities are rooted in the moral teachings of the Bible and the diverse religious traditions of our members and interfaith partners. In collaboration with our faith partners, we advocate for the common good and for the well-being of all Oregonians. We believe that a healthy society provides for the well-being of all, particularly the poor, the young, the old and those who are ill. We strive to live out the words of Jesus: “... whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
The common good is dependent upon well-functioning democratic institutions, a strong, well-funded safety-net, and an ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, violence-reduction, and the advancement of peace, justice and human dignity.
Our policy work is guided by a “Statement of Social Principles and Concerns.”
2021-2022 Legislative Priorities
Welcome the Stranger
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon continues to advocate and partner with groups to welcome refugees and immigrants. Our coalition’s renewal and expansion of the Welcoming Refugees Bill ensures funding for crucial supports for Oregonians to access health care, education, employment and other services they need to start new lives.
2022 REFUGEE-IMMIGRANT BILLS:
PASSED: SB 1560 Updating immigration terminology in Oregon law to replace the word "alien" with "noncitizen."
HB 4122 Support for Dreamers, ensuring they can afford to renew their DACA protections. Did not pass.
2021 REFUGEE-IMMIGRANT BILLS:
Passed 2021 (as part of a larger funding bill): SB 718 Welcoming Refugees Bill: Ensures continued investment in social services for immigrants and refugees.
SJM 1: Protecting Immigrant Families and Children from ICE Enforcement in Sensitive Locations: EMO Testimony
Give Shelter to the Houseless
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon is leading efforts to increase funding for services and housing for the roughly 3,700 Oregon youth who are homeless and separated from their families. In 2020, EMO and our partners helped introduce and advocate for a bill that did not receive a vote because of the walkout. The unaccompanied homeless youth population is disproportionately comprised of marginalized identities and provides the opportunity to confront systemic inequities. Students tend to separate from their families due to domestic violence, family housing instability, and rejection from the home if the youth identifies as LGBTQIA+. Following trends from the 2008 recession, we expect the demand for services for this population, already among the highest in the country, will only continue to grow.
2022 HOUSING BILLS:
Passed: HB 4013 Homeless Youth Services and Support: View EMO Testimony
SB 1539: Establishing a pilot program for school districts to increase access for students experiencing homelessness did not pass. Read EMO Testimony.
2021 HOUSING BILLS:
Eviction UHY Testimony 2020 Special Session
Passed: HB 2006 Emergency Shelter: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2163 Long-term Rent Assistance for Foster Youth: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2505 Removing Bias in Child Welfare: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2544 More than doubles Oregon's investment in support services for Unaccompanied Houseless Youth
HB2826 Children Advocacy Centers: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2842, Healthy Homes (will fund home repairs and retrofits to improve the health of families in low-income and environmental justice communities)
Passed: HB 3294 The Menstrual Dignity Act: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 3115 Decriminalizing Houselessness: EMO Testimony
SB 271-1 Funding for Housing Navigation Services for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: EMO Testimony
Passed: SB 278 Housing bill ensuring legislative protections passed this session are accessible to those who need them: EMO Testimony
Passed: : SB282 Tenant COVID-19 Recovery: EMO Testimony
Promote a Just and Climate-Friendly Clean Energy Economy
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and our Oregon Interfaith Power & Light (OIPL) program are using our voice this session to support the communities most affected by the climate crisis. As our state witnessed during the 2020 wildfire season, climate change poses a clear and present danger to Oregonians, especially BIPOC and low-income communities. Our response to this crisis therefore must be timely and must prioritize the needs of these most affected populations. To that end, EMO/OIPL has joined the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign, which is Oregon’s first energy policy campaign led by front-line communities.
2022 CLIMATE BILLS:
Passed: HB 4002 Farmworker Protection: Would ensure farm workers receive overtime wages after working 40 hours a week, and that their lives are valued by extending overtime guarantees for their labor. Read EMO Testimony.
Passed: SB 1518 Reach Codes: Would allow Oregon cities the freedom to choose climate action by opting into stronger energy efficiency building standards. Read EMO Testimony.
Passed: SB 1536 Emergency Heat Relief Package: Visit emergencyheatrelief.org (English and Spanish). View info sheet. Read EMO Testimony.
HB 4115 Treasury Transparency of climate-related financial risk to assets held in the state’s investment funds. Passed in the House but not Considered in the Senate. Read EMO Testimony.
2021 CLIMATE BILLS:
Passed: HB 2475 Energy Affordability Act: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2842 Healthy Homes: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
Passed: HB 2021 Clean Energy for All: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
SB 288 Governor Brown’s Resilience Bill: EMO Testimony
Passed: SR 17 Environmental Justice for Oregon (NAACP Eugene-Springfield/Beyond Toxics): "One -page info sheet"; EMO Testimony; watch Senate Committee Hearing
EMO is prioritizing the passage of police accountability legislation in 2021. Where equal treatment and personal safety should be the most basic outcomes of policing, whole segments of our society live in fear of unwarranted harassment and violence at the hands of their sworn protectors. EMO will support emerging pieces of legislation that promote justice and centers equity. The Legislature is considering bills concerning the use of police munitions, qualified immunity, background checks and other measures. EMO will also support long-standing efforts to reform the criminal justice system and reduce gun violence prevention.
2022 CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS:
Passed: SB 1510 requiring police officers to inform stopped persons of their right to refuse consent for a search.
2021 CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS:
Passed: HB 2417 Crisis Assistance Helping out on the Streets (CAHOOTS): EMO Testimony
Passed: SB 755 Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment: EMO Testimony
Passed: SB 621 Implementation of Independent Review Board: EMO Testimony