The Nevada Legislature has adjourned until February, 2017. That doesn’t mean that nothing is going on with regard to state government, however. Likewise, LEAN is not taking the next 18 months off.
State employees continue to do their jobs and legislative and money decisions are taken care of by the Legislative Commission and the Interim Finance Committee. These two groups are appointed by the members of the Senate and Assembly and are authorized to carry on business as needed on behalf of the whole legislature. The Legislature assigns other work for the interim as well. Several committees have been established by statute to examine policy issues on particular topics. Each committee reports back to the full Legislature the results of their analysis and recommendations for changes to the law. Although their personnel change from session to session, these “standing” committees are part of the legislative process.
The Legislature also appoints special committees to study “hot topics” as they come up. There is a Subcommittee on the Medical Use of Marijuana, for example. (Some committees include members of the general public. There’s a place on the legislative website where you can complete an application.)
All this effort while the Legislature is “not in session” represents a wise recognition that our state’s “citizen legislators” can’t be experts in all policy areas, but there’s a lot they need to know. So they delegate to smaller work groups.
Lutheran-Episcopal Advocacy in Nevada likewise recognizes that there’s a lot parishioners want to know and need to know about policy issues. It’s really daunting to try to keep up with it all, especially during the interim when media coverage dies down. That’s why there’s LEAN.
LEAN will continue over the next 18 months to monitor the interim committees and dialog with parishioners about issues. We will continue to tell you about the ELCA Social Statements, and invite you to look with us at the issues in light of the Social Statements. Economic justice continues high on LEAN’s agenda, in the same way it is dominating the presidential race. The oldest of the ELCA Social Statements, “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” is at least as relevant today as it was in 1991. LEAN’s years-long commitment to criminal justice reform continues, and we have “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries” (2013) to guide us.
Our Advocate, Rev. Mike Patterson, hopes to recruit some student interns to help monitor the interim committees. We have an obligation to at least provide supplies, if not office space to them. In spite of some health issues, Rev. Patterson has worked without any clerical help, and minimal pay. Scarce travel funds have made it virtually impossible for the LEAN Board members from north and south to meet face-to –face.
August is Second Mile Giving month for LEAN. A donation to LEAN will help us bring your Parish Communicators together so they can tell us your concerns and report back to you what is happening during the interim. We will strive to go the second mile on your behalf, and we hope you will walk with us.