Nevada Legislature Passes Majority of Supported Bills
Lutheran Advocacy in Nevada is not dead, but back in a new way. We were last known as LEAN, for Lutheran-Episcopal Advocacy in Nevada. That entity has been replaced with a new, all-Lutheran effort. We kept the acronym LEAN, but we’ve “re-purposed” the name to stand for LUTHERAN ENGAGEMENT and ADVOCACY IN NEVADA. We wanted to bring “engagement” into it, to highlight the fact that everyone is invited to do advocacy and to be an engaged citizen. Lutherans have such a great tradition, dating back to Martin Luther, of speaking out in the public square in order to hold accountable those in authority. LEAN’S mission is to educate and equip every parishioner in Nevada to advocate for issues they care about.
For the 2017 bi-annual Nevada Legislative Session, which wrapped up in mid-June, LEAN lobbyist Allan Smith worked through the last frantic days of negotiation among assembly and senate committees and members. He reports that 31 of the 52 bills that LEAN supported were signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval. LEAN support was based strictly on current nationwide ELCA statements regarding social justice issues ranging from prisoner re-entry and environmental protection to children, family and senior citizen support. Allan was the lobbyist for Religious Alliance in Nevada (RAIN) until it ceased operations last year. In that capacity, he provided a unified voice for Presbyterians, Methodists and Catholics as well as Lutherans and Episcopalians. Allan has become familiar with the Lutheran Social Statements and supports LEAN’s commitment to base all policy positions in the Social Statements.
Allan is Presbyterian, and before retirement oversaw the award-winning legislative website to which LEAN has often referred. He has a deep understanding of the legislative process, and will be an enormous asset to LEAN as we move into the future.
At present, the Policy Board of Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada consists of Pr. Diane Drach-Mienel, (Christ the Servant, Henderson), Chair; Vic Williams, Vice-Chair, members Pr. Mike Patterson (Gift of Grace, Fernley), Dr. Ed Cotton, and Sheila Freed. LEAN is anxious to add new people to the Policy Board, especially people from the south. A secretary and treasurer are needed.
Engagement will be the hallmark of the new LEAN. To that end, plans for the remainder of 2017 and beyond include:
- Workshops and trainings throughout the state to enable parishioners to learn about the issues.
- Publishing monthly newsletter items highlighting activities and calling for action by parishioners.
- Maintaining an active and up-to date website
- Identifying at least one resource person in each parish to lead education and advocacy, and to work with the Policy Board to identify issues of concern.
- Coordinating with ELCA Churchwide on their advocacy initiatives.
- Using social media for immediate communication and calls to action.
- Though the next Nevada legislative session isn’t until February 2019, there’s plenty of planning and short-term advocacy, planning and outreach to accomplish in the meantime.
For information on how to Engage in Advocacy, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and a LEAN representative will get back to you.