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
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.
2021 CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS:
Passed: HB2417 Crisis Assistance Helping out on the Streets (CAHOOTS): EMO Testimony
Passed: SB755 Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment: EMO Testimony
Passed: SB621 Implementation of Independent Review Board: EMO Testimony
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.
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:
LC 201 Homeless Youth Services and Support: EMO Testimony
2021 HOUSING BILLS:
Eviction UHY Testimony 2020 Special Session
Passed: HB2006 Emergency Shelter: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2163 Long-term Rent Assistance for Foster Youth: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2505 Removing Bias in Child Welfare: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2544 More than doubles Oregon's investment in support services for Unaccompanied Houseless Youth
HB2826 Children Advocacy Centers: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2842, Healthy Homes (will fund home repairs and retrofits to improve the health of families in low-income and environmental justice communities)
Passed: HB3294 The Menstrual Dignity Act: EMO Testimony
Passed: HB3115 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.
2021 CLIMATE BILLS:
Passed: HB2475 Energy Affordability Act: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2842 Healthy Homes: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
Passed: HB2021 Clean Energy for All: one-page info sheet; EMO Testimony
SB288 Governor Brown’s Resilience Bill: EMO Testimony
Passed: SR17 Environmental Justice for Oregon (NAACP Eugene-Springfield/Beyond Toxics): "One -page info sheet"; EMO Testimony; watch Senate Committee Hearing