APRIL 2107 Newsletter

Have you made a difference this year?

On April 18, our community will come together for Kentucky Gives Day, and we need YOU to join us. It’s 24 hours of unprecedented giving—and it’s your chance to make a real difference, right here in our community.

If you love Christian Unity and Social Justice then you love Kentucky Council of Churches. And by showing your love through Kentucky Gives Day, you help sustain this amazing organization, which gives so much to our community. This is YOUR chance to make a real difference right here in our community.

Join me in supporting our community on April 18, by donating online https://www.kygives.org/organizations/kentucky-council-of-churches and please consider sharing this message with friends.

Legislative Update

We had a very active legislative session this year. Prayer in Action Days and our focus on justice reform made it successful for KCC.

Twenty to fifty+ people attended our events to learn about issues and advocate them. You can see pictures, litanies and a video on our website: http://www.kycouncilofchurches.org/moral-national-day-of-action/.

Working with the Kentucky Smart on Crime Coalition (KYSOC) and The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, we advocated for comprehensive justice reform and supported the report and recommendations of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council. We were represented on the Council by Bishop Bill Medley (Diocese of Owensboro) and Russell Coleman, lobbyist for KYSOC.

Although we did not get all the reforms we wanted, Senate Bill 120 did pass. Among other things, this law will open doors for persons re-entering society and give them training and treatment many desperately need.  Senate Bill 195, expungement for nonviolent youth offenders also passed.

Thank you to everyone who made calls, wrote letters, and made personal visits to their legislators. Your advocacy makes a difference!

PRAY FOR OUR CONTINUED MINISTRY

The KCC Executive Board will meet in May. Please be in prayer for wisdom and guidance as they discuss the ministry and mission of the Council. The Board will hear a report and recommendation from the Executive Director Search Committee. Assuming approval of the candidate, we will be in a time of transition as the Interim departs and the new ED assumes the responsibility of leadership.
The new ED will be introduced via newsletter and social media once the call is public. S/he will need the support of all of our members as the Council lives into its new staffing structure and the ED acclimates to the ministry.


Legislative Update –

March 7, 2017

 We are coming to the end of another General Assembly. Tomorrow is the last day of the regular session, but the work continues with work days and concurrence meetings.

 Our advocacy work continues as well. We have one more Prayer in Action Day. Next Tuesday, Rev. Donna Aros and folks from Kentucky Refugee Ministries will lead our time together focusing on immigrants and refugees. Just this week, President Trump issued another order. Come hear what you can do to advocate for immigrant rights. We will meet in Annex Room 111 at 9:30 am.

 SB 120, now being called a re-entry bill, has passed the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee. You can help make this bill a reality by contacting your representative TODAY. Encourage him or her to vote “yes” on SB 120. If you know which Representative is yours, you may email them through the Legislature's webste by clicking here. They are listed by county at that link. If you are unsure, or if you prefer to leave a voice message, please call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 (or 1-866-840-6574 to leave a message in Spanish). The operator will be able to get the message to the correct Representative based on your address.

Here are some talking points to use when communicating to your senator:

•        SB 120 does not change criminal sentences.  It is now a modest re-entry bill. 

•        The public wants more reform than SB 120, but this has to pass to do more.

•        Poor people who cannot pay costs and fees should not go to jail for being poor.

•        The single biggest predictor of recidivism is opportunity upon release. By providing job training and work release to inmates, SB 120 improves public safety.

•        For offenders being supervised in the community, SB 120 strikes a balance between increased     penalties for non-compliance and increased incentives for compliance

•        A reformed felon should be able to get professional licenses.

 SB 7, that would allow concealed carry without a permit, is still in committee. Hopefully, it will not go any further this session.

 Juvenile justice bills SB20 and SB195 have made some progress, and are currently in committees. SB 195, expungement for juvenile ex-offenders, will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

 Bills concerning payday lending and “son of payday” loans seem to be stalled in committees as well. KCC will continue to advocate for a 36% interest rate cap and tougher penalties for companies that break the rules. We will also continue to oppose “son of payday” loans. These loans are even more predatory than the normal ones because individuals can borrow more money each time with the same high interest rates.

 Tim’s Law, HB 79, which would enact court-ordered mental health treatment will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee this week. We support this bill because of the dangers posed by mentally-ill persons who refuse treatment that would keep them and their loved ones safe.  Contact your Representative about this bill TODAY.

 The bill to offer Bible classes in public schools is moving forward, while the death penalty bills are stagnant.

 You can search and view all bills at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrcsearch.  

 On the federal scene, Kentucky Voices for Health has sent an update on the new proposal for healthcare coverage. Read here: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a4c247a98254d1c059c850555&id=5573bd4eef.