July 15, 2017
Social Justice Ministry Network
Churches and society are confronted by many issues such as poverty, the environment, immigration, education, health, and criminal justice. By working together, individuals, churches, and communities can share information, organize efforts, and share resources. The OCC Social Justice Ministry Network gives us a vitally important tool enabling us to do this.

How does it work? Each individual is kept informed by OCC of important issues, including the work of the OCC IMPACT Committee as it tracks Oklahoma legislation. Where appropriate, we will produce relevant statements and recommend responsible action. We then encourage our participants to disseminate this information to members of their congregation, their communities, and to become engaged in advocacy throughout our state. To join the Social Justice Ministry Network, send an e-mail to sspeidel@okchurches.org.

The latest in Social Justice Ministry and Advocacy from OCC

2017 Legislative Session 

The 2017 session is known more for what did not get done than what it did. The Legislature will now need to address major issues in the 2018 session, which is an election year. While we await the results of 2017 issue, we prepare for the 2018 session

Following an uncertain ending to the legislative session, many advocates are scratching their heads, trying to understand what happened or did not happen, and figuring out where to go from here. The budget that passed is now under court review for constitutionality leaving all involved in a state of limbo. We encourage all to follow the news regarding court results and being intentional in advocating for funding necessary programs if the Oklahoma Supreme Court rules funding sources used to balance the budget unconstitutional. There are two possible responses. The state could reduce funding by a percentage cut across all agencies to make up for the lost revenue or more likely the Governor will call a special session targeted at finding other funding sources. Encouraging the Governor to call a special session following news of a ruling of unconstitutionality would help ensure that vital services continue.


Interim Studies

The House of Representatives requested several Interim studies for the current interim session. A listing of all proposed studies can be found HERE. There are several Interim Studies that relate specifically to the OCC Impact Team’s theological statements.

Some of these studies may not come to fruition. It is a little early in the process to have information about when hearings will begin. Check the calendar on the Legislature's website HERE for hearing dates, or contact your state Senator or Representative to ask for information about upcoming hearings. We will keep you up to date throughout the Interim period on what is happening as we head into the 2018 Legislative Session.

OCC Committee on the Environment 
The OCC Environment Committee is eager to identify local churches and participants with a heart for environmental concerns. If this sounds like you, please email Rev. Shannon Fleck Speidel,  by clicking HEREwith your name and contact information to get involved.

While state issues are the primary target of the work of the OCC SJMN, we are all impacted by the discussions in Washington regarding the provision of health care through the Affordable Care Act. Changes currently under consideration, if implemented, will significantly impact Oklahoman's.

It is vital that we all let our federal Senators and Representatives know where we stand on the provision of and access to affordable health care. It is a very complicated issue that currently represents six percent of our gross national product. The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation is a private non-profit organization that dedicates resources to understanding these issues. For more information and to help you better understand the issues involved take a look at its website HERE

Immigration and Refugee Evening of Listening in Tulsa, OK
OCC's Immigration and Refugee Committee is planning an Evening of Listening for the Tulsa area this fall. Please look in next month's newsletter for specific information.

Oklahoma Conference of Churches | 405-525-2928 | okchurches.org