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Lutheran Legislative Agenda 2016

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Lutheran Legislative Agenda 2016

There are three synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Texas.  At their annual legislative conference, members from all of Texas’ ELCA synods adopt a consensus legislative agenda reflecting their priority legislative concerns. 


As Lutherans, we affirm the dedication of every member of the Texas Legislature. We thank you for your service to our state and we look forward to thanking you for your good work in the 85th legislative session. We particularly look forward to thanking you for your action on the following issues, which we believe are crucial to our state’s wellbeing:

Religious Liberty

We encourage legislators to respect the religious diversity of our state. We insist that legislators uphold the constitutional right of every person in Texas to religious expression, including the right of faith communities to self-govern and make decisions within the context of their particular faiths and denominational structures. We urge lawmakers to reject attempts to legitimize discrimination of any kind on the basis of religion.

Poverty

  • Medicaid: Legislators should expand Texas’ Medicaid program as provided under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Payday Lending: Legislators should establish meaningful regulation of the short-term lending market, including laws that encourage transparency, accountability, and good sense limits on effective interest rates.
  • Education: Legislators should fully fund adequate public education in Texas and reject any diversion of public funds into private schools.

Embodying God’s Grace

  • Immigration: Legislators should ensure access to basic services for immigrants in the interests of hospitality and public safety.
  • Refugees: Texas should welcome vulnerable sojourners and continue to work in partnership with nonprofit organizations to provide services without regard to country of origin or religion.
  • Criminal Justice: Legislators should embrace policies that encourage the humane treatment of those incarcerated, facilitate effective reentry after incarceration, and recognize the special vulnerability of adolescents and those with mental illness caught up in the criminal justice system.

Caring for Creation

We urge lawmakers to prioritize our state’s water infrastructure investments around the primary principle of fair access to clean water for all people in Texas, and to take strong action to protect Texans from potential threats to the air, land and water that we rely on to live. We affirm the inherent worth of all creation and call on lawmakers to protect all of Texas’ natural resources.