To achieve our mission, we believe in combining online and offline activism.
Kansas lawmakers are once again considering weakening the Kansas safety net, and your voice is critical to advocate for Kansans in need. Senate Bill 372, the "HOPE Act", will make it even more difficult to access safety net supports like cash assistance, food assistance, and child care assistance. This bill has been "bundled" together with other legislation in a conference committee report for House Substitute for Senate Bill 402. This will be voted on by the Kansas House, probably tomorrow morning. You can read articles about the bill here and here, KIFA's testimony against a similar bill here, and the bill itself here.
We encourage our supporters to contact their legislators TODAY to vote against this bill. You can figure out who your legislator is by clicking here and entering your home address. Click their name to get their email and office phone number. We're focusing on your Representatives. This proposal is moving quickly, so please act now.
Here is a sample message that you can personalize:
Subject: Protect Kansans in Need
I am a supporter of Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide coalition of people of faith. I urge you to oppose House Substitute for Senate Bill 402, which includes the contents of Senate Bill 372, the "HOPE" Act. As people of faith and religious commitment, we are called to stand with and seek justice for people who are poor. SB 372 makes it more difficult for people to seek aid, and does nothing to address the causes of poverty.
Religious denominations from across the spectrum have long urged elected officials to handle welfare reform carefully, so that it helps those in need and does not hurt them. I am concerned that Kansas is changing the state safety net too quickly, without stopping to first ensure the well-being of our fellow Kansans. SB 372 would further shorten the length of time very poor families can receive cash assistance, and increase work requirements for mothers of newborn children. It would also create new barriers for individuals applying for assistance.
Central to our religious traditions, sacred texts, and teachings is a divine mandate to side with and protect the poor. Please vote against SB 372's contents to ensure a safety net for the most vulnerable among us.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of needy Kansans!
As people of faith, we are called to love our neighbors. In a time of global climate change, our neighbors are spread across the world, and the most impoverished people in the world live in places that are most affected by climate change -- severe weather events, rising sea levels and devastating droughts. Wealthy nations such as the United States led the way in filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses. Now, people living in poverty are paying the price. We have a moral obligation to address this legacy of harm.
The Green Climate Fund is a UN initiative that aids developing nations in limiting or reducing their greenhouse gas emissions while also adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) sits on the subcommittee that has oversight over this part of the budget. Please call on him to support fulfilling our nation’s $3 billion total commitment to supporting less-developed countries in their development of renewable energy resources and climate resilience.
Specifically, for Fiscal Year 2017, we are requesting Congress release the full $750 million proposed in the President's budget.
Dear Sen. Moran:
As your constituent, and as a member of the Kansas Interfaith Action community, I urge you to support the full United States commitment of $3 billion to the international Green Climate Fund, including the $750 million proposed in President Obama's Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
The Green Climate Fund was established to help less-developed countries, which are least responsible for causing climate change, and least economically able to cope with it, develop resources to help manage the damage caused by it. We need to show leadership on helping other nations reduce their own emissions and assisting the most vulnerable to cope with the impacts of climate change. By financing investments that help countries reduce carbon pollution and strengthen resilience to climate change, the Green Climate Fund will encourage other countries and private financiers to contribute to the fund also.
As a person rooted in faith, being a good steward of our God’s earth, lifting up the poorest among us at home and around the world, and seeking justice are my core values. Climate change is a real problem that requires a faithful, moral response. We are already seeing the dangers of rising sea levels, extreme weather, and disrupted ecosystems at home. We cannot fail our fellow nations with very little capacity to cope. I urge you to help the United States be a world leader in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Updated March 8 - HB 2612, "The Refugee Absorption Capacity Act," made it through committee and could be brought to the floor of the Kansas House at any time. Intended to restrict, via legislation, the resettlement of refugees, it would unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on resettlement in communities around our state. You can read an article about the bill here, KIFA's testimony against the bill here, and the bill itself here.
KIFA opposes this bill. Scripture of course couldn't be more clear about our responsibility to give comfort to "the stranger, for you yourself were strangers in the land of Egypt." Based on that, virtually every denomination has made statements opposing limitations such as those we see in this bill. A small sample: Catholic United Methodist Episcopalian Jewish (Reform) and a joint statement including Presbyterians, UCC, Quakers and Mennonites
We encourage our supporters to reach out to your legislator to ask them to vote against the bill, should it receive a vote. You can figure out who your legislator is, click here and enter your home address. Click their name to get their email and office phone number. We're focusing on your Representative here.
The talking points to use are
1) the "faith piece" - that our faiths direct us to care for the stranger, and that our denominations virtually unilaterally support refugee resettlement and oppose efforts to artificially limit it,
2) that immigration policy is the prerogative of the Federal government and so this legislation is likely illegal (might give cover to some legislators), and
3) enforcement of this legislation would cost almost $1 million, not affordable when the state is broke. We can also note that many congregations are eager to sponsor the resettlement of refugee families.
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