Poverty Education & Advocacy
The mission of the Poverty Education and Advocacy Team of FUMC is to educate our members and the broader community on the root causes of poverty and to advocate for more just policies, systems and structures so all may have access to life’s abundant resources.
Twenty-five of FUMC from Omaha attend 2016 Legislative Briefing Day
Twenty five disciples from First United Methodist Church were part of the 220 who attended Legislative Briefing Day in Lincoln on Feb. 13, 2016. Each participant chose 3 from a list of 10 presenters on subjects ranging from E to W (Education to Water) and eight others.
Presenters briefed us on bills in the legislature and the impact the Church can have by advocating to our senators and joining forces with like-minded people to encourage advocacy for what we understand to be the right thing to do for our state and its people. Three bills that were explained are of particular interest for those who want to address poverty in our state: LB 1089 which would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers, LB1036 which would reform payday lending, and LB1032 which would give 77,000 Nebraskans access to affordable health care.
All were privileged to the closing address from The Rev. Kim Morrow of the University of Nebraska and Interfaith Power and Light.
This was the 41st Legislative Briefing Day the Church has provided. Plan ahead to join us for the 2017 Legislative Briefing Day on February 11, 2017. Thanks to Ron Roemmich, FUMC Poverty Education and Advocacy Team member, for his role on the planning team.
Twenty-seven of FUMC from Omaha attend 2015 Legislative Briefing Day
“No doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead. In some respects this is the premise in which caused the group to join over 100 others at Christ UMC, in Lincoln, February 14, 2015, for the 40th annual Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day. The emphases of the briefings were those issues that center on the social, educational, and health issues the Unicameral will discuss and act upon in its current session. It is now up to Margaret Mead’s reference to “small group” to spread the impact some of these laws will have.
Do we still want a death penalty, when so much money and energy is put into these proceedings, only to find out that some are innocent yet are on death row? What is the reasoning behind supporting charter schools – 5 of them – only in the Omaha area?
What impact does this bill and prohibition on a certain immigrant population getting drivers licenses have on those in our metropolitan area? Why would our state refuse federal dollars to expand Medicaid? Why is the Learning Community’s original intent being compromised? Is there “human trafficking” in the Midwest?
These are only a few of the issues explored February 14. To learn more about the content of the day, find one of our 27 FUMC folks who attended and get their impressions (most are pictured just to the right of this article). Thanks go to Rev. Ron Roemmich, a Legislative Briefing Day planning team member, and Dr. John Mackiel, keynote speaker and workshop leader, for their time and input in helping a “small group of thoughtful committed citizens” better understand the power they have in changing the world. -Carol Richart, member of the FUMC Poverty Education and Advocacy Team
A gap in health care coverage
An excellent source of information about poverty in Nebraska is Nebraska Appleseed. The following is from their website, go to https://neappleseed.org/ for the entire article. On December 2, Nebraska state senators again witnessed the high human and financial cost our state is paying by not closing the coverage gap that leaves at least 54,000 working people unable to get health insurance. The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee convened for a hearing on interim study LR 601 to study the effects of implementing or failing to implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid provision. Bills that would have adopted this provision to close the coverage gap and bring more than $2 billion back to Nebraska’s economy have been filibustered during the last two legislative sessions.
State Senator Al Davis, who introduced the study, pointed out Nebraska has forgone more than $930,000 per day that could provide health coverage to low-income, working Nebraskans while supporting the state’s health care delivery system. James Goddard, director of Appleseed’s Health Care and Economic Justice programs, testified to the committee that medical debt contributes to a significant percentage of Nebraska bankruptcies, which harm local economies. Goddard delivered a presentation to the committee showing bankruptcy data in three Nebraska counties in which medical debt was a large factor. “A lack of health insurance is a clear theme running throughout, and the majority of the debt is held by local businesses within Nebraska’s borders,” Goddard said.