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.”
Legislative Priorities 2023-24
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.
2023 REFUGEE-IMMIGRANT BILLS
- HB 2957 DACAistas + Families: Provides support for immigration attorney and filing fees for those seeking citizenship, stable status.
- SB 940 Transcripts for Newcomer Students: Creates a standardized system of translating foreign transcripts so that students receive credit for classes taken before arriving in the United States.
Sheltering 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. 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+.
2023 HOUSING BILLS
- SB 658 School District Supports for K-12 Students Who Are Experiencing Houselessness: Funds school districts to create and coordinate a set of supports that help students experiencing housessness.
- PASSED - HB 2001 Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth: Renews funding for ODHS supports and creates a new fund to prevent youth houselessness by providing rapid rehousing funds for families and youth. View EMO testimony.
- HB 3482 Housing on Faith/Nonprofit Property: Provides funding to better enable places of worship and nonprofits to build affordable housing units on their property.
- HB 3010 Mortgage Interest Deduction Reform: Prioritize houselessness response over subsidies for high-income homeowners.
Advancing Climate Justice
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's Creation Justice and Oregon Interfaith Power & Light (OIPL) program are using our voice 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.
2023 CLIMATE BILLS
- HB2990 Climate Resilience Hubs: Increases community resilience on an everyday basis and in response to disaster by investing in community centers and local networks of crucial services.
- DID NOT PASS: HB2601 Treasury Climate Protection Act: Requires State Treasurer to exit from certain carbon-intensive investments and develop plan to protect state investments from risks related to climate change.
- DID NOT PASS: HB 3459 Ending Utility Disconnections: Prohibits utility entities from disconnecting customers due to inability to pay. View EMO testimony.
Securing Criminal Justice Reform
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 equity. EMO will also support long-standing efforts to reform the criminal justice system and reduce gun violence.
2023 CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS
- SB 579 Voting Rights for People Who Are Incarcerated: Allows incarcerated individuals to vote while in prison. View EMO Testimony.
- SB 520 Compassionate Release: Forms a medical committee to decide, from a medical point of view, whether an incarcerated individual should be released due to their medical status.