UUANI IN 2016
- We exceeded our goal of 600 UUs (10% of UUs statewide) taking action this year, with members from 20 congregations participating.
- UUANI has been or will soon be present in 16 congregations, and listening campaigns of various forms are or will soon be underway in 6 congregations.
- Based on our listening survey of leaders from 22 congregations last winter, we focused on 3 issue areas: environmental justice, racial justice, and economic justice.
- Our biggest success was working with Faith in Place, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and over 300 other environmental, faith, labor and community organizations and businesses to pass the Future Energy/Clean Jobs bill (see below)– a significant win given the changed political climate nationally.
- We worked with Community Renewal Society and other members of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of IL to pass 4 bills expanding employment opportunities for citizens returning from incarceration.
- We also worked on the Fair Tax and Responsible Budget campaigns, which have run into stiff headwinds politically, and had members from 10 congregations participate in the Nov 29 Fight for $15 National Day of Action.
- We brought together 240 UUs from 10 congregations for the Community Renewal Society MLK Action Assembly in Chicago.
- UUANI took the lead on organizing the Sept 12 Moral Day of Action in Springfield, bringing together 120 people from 6 faith traditions, 7 organizations and 15 geographic communities, in coordination with Rev. Barber’s Moral Revival movement in 30 other states.
- We helped set up the Beloved Conversations on Race program with 5 Chicago area congregations, and are working on setting up other clusters around the state.
FUTURE ENERGY/CLEAN JOBS
The Future Energy Jobs Bill (the negotiated version of the Clean Jobs Bill) is UUANI’s biggest policy victory since Marriage Equality passed in 2013. Briefly, the bill:
- Will spur $12-15 billion in new private investment, creating tens of thousands of jobs (building on the success of 2007 programs which created over 85,000 jobs);
- Fixes the Renewable Portfolio Standard (stalled since 2011) to bring IL to 25% renewable energy by 2025, with $200 million/year from electric bills going to new solar and wind projects;
- Gives IL one of the top energy efficiency programs in the nation, requiring ComEd and Ameren to reduce energy use by 21.5% and 16% respectively by 2030; lower energy use will mean lower bills despite higher rates (which are also capped);
- Invests $750 million in low-income solar, efficiency, and job training programs, including IL’s first Community Solar program and 2000 jobs for citizens returning from incarceration and foster care alumni;
- The 10-year $235 million/year bailout (from electric bills) for 2 aging nuclear plants prevented a $400 million/year increase in electric costs and an 8% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from increased natural gas and coal use;
- Coal subsidies and demand rates were removed from the final bill.
UUANI began as an idea among UUs from several congregations in 2009, and came together around the campaign for marriage equality in 2013. Through individual outreach to each congregation in the state, UUANI was successful in engaging 23 congregations and turning out 300 UUs for a rally and lobby day at the state Capitol, and the legislature passed marriage equality soon after. At an organizational event that day we officially re-launched UUANI and elected a new Board.