Public Policy

Lobby Day Jan 15, 2020

This was a very exciting day. After a long walk to the Governor’s Building, we met with the Governor and he talked with us for ½ hour. He mentioned that he would be holding a press conference that afternoon, which turned out to be putting the capital under emergency conditions for the gun rally. He talked with us about guns, fair pay, human trafficking and many other things. He was very interested in the Equal Pay Day Proclamation.

We delivered information on the gender pay gap to nearly 70 lawmakers. I met with four aides or administrative assistance, except for Mark Levine who was able to talk with us. It was very exciting to watch the House of Delegates and then the Senate pass the ERA.. After standing on a very long line to get into the House gallery, where the governor’s wife and daughter were, we went to the overflow rooms. The view was excellent and we could hear all of the arguments. There were huge cheers when each Chamber passed the ERA.

Diane Schrier


 

Title IX Statement

There are few issues more central to AAUW’s mission than Title IX and its promise of equity in education. Members like you were key to the passage of Title IX (read the history here), and AAUW continues to fight today to realize the full promise of the law. We want to ask for your help in fighting to protect Title IX. Recently, the Department of Education unveiled its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. We’ve summarized some of the major changes in the NPRM in this article, and the bottom line is clear: the Department of Education’s actions amount to a blatant rollback of strong and necessary protections for students, and particularly for student survivors of sexual assault.
AAUW vehemently opposes the Department of Education’s proposed rule, which would significantly and detrimentally impact women’ and girls’ ability to access education free from sexual harassment or assault. That is why we are asking you to author and submit an op-ed for your local newspaper that calls on the Department to withdraw its proposed rule.
Our goal is to stop this proposed regulation from ever taking effect, and key to that fight will be the ability to shape public opinion about what’s at stake for student safety. A well-placed and persuasive op-ed can be one of the most influential advocacy tools for drawing attention to and getting information into the hands of community members and decision makers alike. Your voice is a critical component in this debate.
The AAUW team has compiled the following resources to assist you in writing your op-ed:
·         Read AAUW’s article “The Attack on Title IX” to learn more about the administration’s systematic
rollbacks to Title IX protections, including details about the latest proposal.
·         Use our Title IX letter to the editor guide to put together talking points for your op-ed.
·         Check out our advocacy how-to guide on writing op-eds for tips and best practices.
Olivia Guerrieri is available to help you with your op-ed pieces too – whether it’s editing your op-ed, helping you find a place to pitch it, or anything else, feel free to reach out to her at advocacy@aauw.org with any questions. There are some great letters to the editor (LTE) from AAUW members to use as models. Kay Engler and Lynn Bruner, co-BPPCs for Kansas City Branch, had a great letter to the editor published in the Kansas City Star; Jill Smith, president of Littleton-South Metro (CO) Branch, wrote an LTE in the Denver Post; and Healdsburg (CA) Branch member Hillary Kambour’s scathing letter was published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat – and that’s just to name a few!
Under the Department of Education’s proposed changes, those schools would become less safe for many students. When students cannot stay in school because they experience sexual harassment and violence, their access to education is fundamentally unequal. As advocates for equity in education, your voices are vital to this fight. Public comments are being accepted through January 28, 2019. To voice your opinion, visit www.regulations.gov. Thank you in advance for raising yours – in an especially busy time of year, no less! I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together for Title IX.

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A MESSAGE FROM AAUW – Virginia

Thanksgiving is behind us and many of us are already knee deep in preparations for the December holidays. Your AAUW of Virginia Public Policy Vice-Presidents are as busy as the elves in Santa’s workshop harnessing your energy to change the climate for women and girls.

We are working on the schedule for our regular State Lobby Day in Richmond on Thursday, February 7, 2019. We have requests out for meetings with Gov. Northam and Lt. Gov. Fairfax already and will be sending details when we have them.

However, we have also planned an earlier, additional date to lobby for the ERA in particular: January 16, 2019. Information about that is the main purpose of this letter.

As you know, we have made Virginia’s ratification of the ERA our principle public policy priority this year. Working with many other groups around the state, we have been publicizing all the reasons why the ERA is important and remains necessary, addressing the myths that have been put forward to defeat ratification, and communicating these points to our elected officials with postcards. AAUW of Virginia’s own booklet, “Unfinished Business,” available at the AAUW of VA website, lays out the history, the arguments for and the responses to the “myths.” We are so pleased that it is now featured on the websites of many other advocacy groups. We are making a difference!

The General Assembly has a short session this year – just six weeks – and will convene on January 9, 2019. So, this year AAUW of VA will be in Richmond on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 to distribute printed and bound copies of “Unfinished Business” to all delegates and senators. Our goal is to interact directly with every elected state official (or their staff) to convey our strong support for ERA ratification by the Virginia legislature. This is an additional lobby day for those interested in and available to join us. We hope it will raise AAUW of VA’s visibility in Richmond and reinforce our lobbying efforts to date. With enough volunteers, we can get all the booklets delivered in time for lunch!

We plan to meet at 10:00 AM at the public entrance of the Pocahontas Building, 900 East Main Street (where all legislators’ offices are while a new General Assembly Building is being constructed). At that time, we will distribute copies of the booklet and delivery assignments with room numbers.

If you wish to participate in the LWV weekly Legislative Round Table that runs from 8:30-9:30 AM at the Sun Trust Bldg. at 919 E. Main St. in the Tidewater Room on the 4th floor, you would need to arrive earlier, or spend Tuesday night. (See details below.)

We will distribute maps and delivery assignments once we know how many AAUW of VA members plan to join us for this additional Lobby Day.

For members wishing to drive in the night before, GRAAUW members have offered to host members in their homes. And we will make arrangements for lunch for all those able to stay.

Please consider joining us on January 16, but please let us know by January 9, 2019.

In the event of inclement weather, we will reschedule this event for the following Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

Thank you and best wishes for the holidays ~~~~

Susan Burk (burksu@aol.com) and Sylvia Rogers (srogers1nm@aol.com)
Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy
AAUW of Virginia

 

2018-2020 Public Policy Priorities

* Equitable access and advancement in employment for women, including vigorous enforcement of employment anti-discrimination statutes and adoption of additional protections to advance gender pay equity.

* Opposition to the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards required of other public schools.

* Access to quality, affordable health care and family planning support, including individual choice in reproductive decisions and equity in women’s health research and treatment.

* Freedom from silence and fear of violence, including bullying, hate crimes, sexual harassment, and human trafficking.

* Greater availability of an access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, including access to quality, affordable dependent care and paid family leave.

* Increased support for programs that break through barriers for women and girls in STEM.

* Enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including protection of voting rights. Ensure that legislative districts are fairly drawn and government processes are transparent.

* Enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education.

* Passage and ratification of the Equal Rights amendment.

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STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS

The AAUW of Alexandria branch will utilize research, advocacy, and education to help human trafficking victims escape and find freedom from violence, which is one of AAUW of Virginia’s public policy priorities. 

Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative (a local non-profit organization) reports that from January 2016 to February 2017, there were 536 total trafficking victims in Northern Virginia. However, only 322 of them were recovered. Of the 536, 94% were sex trafficking victims (Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, 2017). 

There is an enormous need to help the human trafficking victims in Virginia. We need volunteers to help us: 

    • send strategic social media blasts, 
    • hold an annual conference,
    • connect us with law enforcement officials and human trafficking nonprofit organizations as well as other AAUW of Virginia branches, 
    • lobby, and connect us with sponsors for a bold, new innovation we are developing through our research. 

Please contact M. Elizabeth Hendrix or Gail Kalin if you are interested in leaving Virginia better than you found it and serving as an Everyday Hero!  We really need you and so do the human trafficking victims.

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FEDERAL LOBBY DAY SEPTEMBER 2018

Twenty-seven members participated in the Virginia Lobby Corp Day in the nation’s capitol on September 27,2018. The Alexandria Branch was represented by Anne Simpson, Nancy Kula, and Catherine Hughes. They were divided into sixteen teams of two or three members. Each team had at least one member with prior experience participating in a Lobby Day. Each team was given six senators to visit and a letter from AAUW giving the reasons why AAUW opposes Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination which were substantiated by documented evidence why we should be concerned about his record on women’s, and other, issues at the core of AAUW’s public policy priorities.

Much appreciation goes to Marcy Leverenz, from the Springfield-Annandale Branch, and Pam Yuen, from the AAUW National office for coordinating this effort, and our members for braving the crowds on the day of the Kavanaugh hearing.

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Since AAUW’s founding, our members and supporters have spoken out about policies important to women and girls. Without their voices, invaluable legislation would have never been passed. In recent years, such legislation included the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
AAUW’s policy work connects and rallies advocates at the local, state, national, and global levels to advance our work to empower women and girls. With the member-endorsed Public Policy Priorities as our guide, AAUW uses lobbying and grassroots efforts to push forward policies that break through educational and economic barriers for women. Our activities are strictly nonpartisan, but we do engage the political system. Put simply, being political is a way to influence legislation and regulation through government or public affairs, while partisan activities have a firm adherence to a party, faction, or person. Political vs. Partisan Guide

The AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department, with input from the member leaders of the AAUW Public Policy Committee, leads AAUW’s lobbying and grassroots efforts. However, AAUW member advocates across the country who give their time, energy, and voice to AAUW issues deserve the credit for truly advancing women.
AAUW Alexandria Branch members actively support AAUW public policy efforts in various ways. You can join them.

Lobby Corps

For more than 40 years, AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps volunteers have conducted tens of thousands of visits to Congressional offices on behalf of AAUW members and supporters urging lawmakers to support or oppose legislation that advances our public policy priorities.
Alexandria Branch members Nancy Kula and Sue Bodilly are Lobby Corps volunteers. You can become a member too by emailing VoterEd@aauw.org and letting them know of your interest.

Become a Two-Minute Activist

As a Two-Minute Activist, you will receive urgent email notices when your advocacy is needed most. AAUW will provide all the tools you need to call or send messages to your members of Congress, write letters to the editor for your local newspapers, contact your state legislators about pressing issues, and more.
Sign up to become a Two-Minute Activist right here.

Or, you can sign up on your mobile device by texting AAUW to 21333.

AAUW of Virginia Public Policy Priorities

Every two years AAUW of Virginia members vote on new Public Policy Priorities. The 2016-2018 Public Policy Priorities are:

1. Equitable access and advancement in employment for women, including vigorous enforcement of employment anti-discrimination statutes and adoption of additional protections to advance gender pay equity.
2. Opposition to the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards required of other public schools.
3. Access to quality, affordable health care and family planning support, including individual choice in reproductive decisions and equity in women’s health research and treatment.
4. Freedom from violence and fear of violence, including bullying, hate crimes, sexual harassment, and human trafficking
5. Greater availability of and access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, including access to quality, affordable dependent care and paid family leave
6. Increased support for programs that break through barriers for women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields
7. Enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including protection of voting rights. Ensure that legislative districts are fairly drawn and government processes are transparent.
8. Enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education
9. Passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Equal Pay

Pay equity has been a major focus of AAUW almost since our organization’s inception. Our first research into pay equity began in 1894, and our most recent research report was issued this past spring: https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/. Our research showed that in 2015 women working full-time in the United States were paid 80% of what men were paid, and Virginia women were paid 78%. However, when we look at gender pay data broken down by race, the statistics are even more dismal. Hispanic women and African American women in 2015 were paid, on average, 54% and 63%, respectively, of what White men were paid.