From our friends at the Progressive Clergy Network of Montana. Interfaith Advocacy March 24th and Human Rights Advocacy Day Feb. 20th
Happy second day in February. This month, we celebrate Black History and the long arc of the moral universe that, we pray, bends toward justice.
I keep returning to the new hymn by Mark A. Miller from his collection Roll on Justice!, a setting of Eric Garner's last words, "I can't breathe." Miller then asks, "how long? How much longer must we wait?" May we continue to work in that impatient urgency for real, enduring justice.
In that spirit, we have a wide variety of opportunities for advocacy and legislative action. I also welcome YOUR input for other issues, actions, or campaigns you'd like to see us take on:
Mark Your Calendars: Interfaith Day of Advocacy on March 24th
We invite you to participate in a reception, interfaith prayer service, and day of advocacy on Friday, March 24th, in Helena with other progressive clergy! Details forthcoming, but please save the date!
You're Invited: Montana Human Rights Network Advocacy Day on Feb 20th
MHRN will host an LGBTQ Lobby Day on Monday, February 20th, including a teach-in and workshops. It's a great way to show clergy solidarity with Montana's LGBTQ community—come if you're able!
Raise Your Voice: Upcoming Issues
Jules sent this a few days ago, but here is a reminder that a few critical pieces of legislation are coming up in our state. Consider testifying, writing a letter, or calling your Senator or Representative. Please let Jules (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you'd like to raise your voice on any of these, and she'll be in touch.
1) Paid Leave: Currently, there are no protections for employees in the instance of extended illness, caregiving for parents, childbirth, or bereavement. The United States remains the only industrialized economy in the world that does not guarantee paid leave for new mothers or a paid sick leave standard, and one of a handful that does not guarantee leave for new fathers. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides job security but does not allow employees to receive any portion of their pay. This bill would create a pool similar to Unemployment Insurance, that asks for shared contribution from employer and employee. For someone making $40,000/yr, shared contribution would be $7.65. The definition of family is kept intentionally broad to make sure LGBTQ families are included.
Hearing Date: Tentatively Thursday, Feb 9th in the morning
Bill #: LC350
Bill language: http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/lchtml/LC0350.htm
More Info: http://www.montanabudget.org/helping-people-balance-work-and-family/
2) Montana Human Rights Act: Would add "sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression" to the Montana Human Rights Act to protect from discrimination.
Hearing Date: potentially third week of February
Bill #: LC1152
Bill language: http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/lchtml/LC1152.htm
More Info: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Montana-ND-March-2015.pdf
Thanks, all. I will send out regular legislative updates as they surface! The leadership team has a few updates soon, as well, so please look for another e-mail to come!
Letters & Publications from Faith Leaders Across the State & Region that coincide with MAC's Mission & Work.