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8th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day is Feb. 2

2017 January 9

The 8th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day will be held at the Statehouse on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This year, a second event is planned: the first annual Ohio Youth Trafficking Prevention Summit, on Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., also at the Statehouse.

Events are free but tickets are required.  You may register at Eventbrite. These events are hosted by Rep. Teresa Fedor. 

Public Policy News – January 2017

2017 January 7

By Karen Rainey, Public Policy Chair, AAUW of Ohio

Happy New Year! Here’s to a fresh start and renewed resolve to make a difference for women and girls.

In this issue

  • Issue of the Month: Update on Education issues
  • March on Washington Jan. 21; State March Jan. 15
  • Congressional Redistricting: Kasich Endorsement
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Update on Education Issues

School funding. In the last moments of the 131st session of the General Assembly, Rep. Andrew Brenner, Chairman of the House Education Committee, dropped a bill that would totally change how schools are funded. House Bill 628 was, its sponsor said, intended to be a starting point for discussion of school funding reform. The plan would do away with all local levies and fund schools with a new statewide property tax, Ohio Lottery profits, and General Revenue funding. Under the bill, the state would also assume all local bond debt for school districts. (Cost savings would be achieved through the state’s better bond ratings.

Essentially, the money would follow the child. Charter schools and traditional public schools would be funded at the same rate, except that e-schools would be funded at a 70% rate because they have less overhead. All state scholarship programs would be eliminated. Transportation would be handled by educational service centers on a regional basis.

The state property tax would likely be set at 38 mills. Brenner is not pushing to include his proposal in the governor’s budget; he expects months and possibly years of discussion to reach a consensus and bipartisan support.

So, what do you think of the possibilities? No more local levy campaigns? No more special vouchers? More coordinated transportation? Let us know your reaction.

Graduation rates. Concerned that large numbers of students are not meeting the new standards for graduation, the State Board of Education has voted to form a workgroup of parents, legislators and education officials to recommend how to proceed by April. Lowering the standards was discarded as an option at this time.

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). ECOT lost in the courts again in a bid to prohibit the state from reviewing its log-in duration data to determine enrollment—and reimbursement. ECOT plans to appeal.

State Ranking. A Quality Counts report by Education Week, a national education trade newspaper, has given Ohio’s education system a “C.” That places Ohio 22nd among the states and the District of Columbia. The ranking is based on factors including student achievement, education financing, preschool enrollment and graduation rates. The Ohio Department of Education responded to the ranking as an opportunity to evaluate ways to improve performance and to raise expectations for students. Achievement gaps attributed to poverty are a major problem.

Marches on Washington and in Ohio

AAUW has now endorsed the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington. A recent email notes that the national office will be open to marchers as a gathering/warming center (1310 L St., NW). You can check the association website for details. More recently plans have been made for a Sister March on Sunday, Jan. 15, in Columbus, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at COSI and marching to the Statehouse. The Facebook link for the state march is:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1839160356298611/. Events include a Save Health and Social Rights Rally at the Sheraton Hotel beginning at 6 p.m.   If you plan to participate, please share your photos and your impressions on our Facebook page.

Congressional Redistricting

The latest development in the efforts to reform congressional redistricting is a request from Governor Kasich to include a reform measure in the state budget. The governor suggested that the legislature follow the model for change that was adopted by voters in 2015 for redistricting state legislative districts. In citing the need for reform, he noted that politicians and voters alike are locked into conservative and liberal “silos” and do not respect or tolerate other views. The unexpected endorsement by the governor was met with skepticism on the part of legislative leaders, who do not want to give up their current prerogative to draw the lines.

The coalition Fair Districts=Fair Elections continues to be our vehicle for pursuing reform. You can add your personal endorsement at www.fairdistrictsohio.org.

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

The 8th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day will be held at the Statehouse on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This year, a second event is planned: the first annual Ohio Youth Trafficking Prevention Summit, on Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., also at the Statehouse. Events are free but tickets are required.  You may register at Eventbrite. These events are hosted by Rep. Teresa Fedor. 

As always, your questions and comments are welcomed. You can email me at kgraauw@yahoo.com, or call 740-368-9001.

 

Here’s what AAUW accomplished in 2016

2016 December 29
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According to a message from AAUW Action Network, here’s what AAUW accomplished this year:

More than 200,000 messages went out to state and federal legislators.

AAUW Action Network supporters in all 50 states made their voices heard on our priority issues. With your help, we contacted all 435 U.S. House offices and 100 U.S. Senate offices throughout the year!

6 states passed new equal pay laws in 2016.

AAUW members played a key role in achieving new equal pay laws in California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Utah. Yes, those are red, blue, and purple states taking action to close the gender pay gap — thanks to you and AAUW.

714 resource guides were delivered to Title IX coordinators in 29 states.

AAUW branches and supporters delivered critical new resources released by the U.S. Department of Education to make our schools safer and more equitable. This first tool kit of its kind was created at AAUW’s prompting, and now we are delivering the good news nationwide.

We collected 2,200 signatures on AAUW’s petition urging Anheuser-Busch to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge.

Just three months after the pledge was released, on Women’s Equality Day, Anheuser-Busch signed the pledge. To date, more than 100 companies have signed on and committed to closing the gender pay gap.

We celebrated 44 years of Title IX with Sen. Harry Reid.

AAUW presented Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) with our Title IX Champion award at a packed Capitol Hill reception in June. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Dina Titus (D-NV) also spoke to the crowd of 300 attendees about the positive impact Title IX has made in our country’s schools. AAUW has long been a protector and defender of Title IX, and your strong voices have helped to make this groundbreaking civil rights law a real success story.

Members organized more than 900 get-out-the-vote events in 46 states.

AAUW branches, Younger Women’s Task Force chapters, and student organizations hosted voter registration drives and candidate nights with AAUW’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard resources. If you haven’t told us about your get-out-the-vote or voter education event, it’s not too late!

19 AAUW members were elected to state legislatures.
We know of 19 AAUW members who were elected to state legislatures or state senates in 2016. Do you know of any AAUW members in office? Be sure to tell us about them!

12 AAUW delegates attended the White House United State of Women Summit.

AAUW members were invited to the inaugural United State of Women Summit, where they heard from influential leaders including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and AAUW’s longtime friend Lilly Ledbetter.

The AAUW in the Statehouse newsletter launched with1,767 subscribers.

This new monthly e-bulletin provides updates on state policy from across the country, tips and resources for more effective advocacy, and insider information about good and bad bills in the states. For dues-paying AAUW members, this is a free benefit! Subscribe online, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly e-bulletin, Washington Update, to keep up to date on all the latest news in our nation’s capital.

Members hosted more than 200 Equal Pay Day events nationwide.

AAUW members and supporters hosted local events to mark Equal Pay Day 2016. At the national office, staff held a block party where Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) thanked AAUW for our work. (Start getting ready for the next Equal Pay Day: April 4, 2017.)

AAUW was 1 of 55 industry-wide Power of A Award winners.

The AAUW State Public Policy Program won a silver award at the American Society of Association Executives Power of A Awards for grassroots innovation and notable impact in the program’s first year.

2,786 Lobby Corps meetings were held with congressional staff.

The AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps held thousands of meetings with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for AAUW priority issues. These dedicated members represent AAUW advocacy areas (like equal pay, paid leave, voting rights, and college affordability) every week Congress is in session.

AAUW co-hosted 2 congressional briefings.

AAUW co-hosted U.S. House and Senate briefings on women and minorities in STEM and on sexual harassment in education with the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, an important coalition we chair. These coalition events not only educate Hill staffers, but they also show Congress the broad support for our issues.

We testified in support of salary transparency for 63million workers.

AAUW’s Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy Lisa Maatz was invited to testify at a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearing. She testified in support of requiring employers to submit wage data to help increase salary transparency and close the gender pay gap. The new data that will soon be collected by the existing EEO-1 form will be a critical research and enforcement tool.

We broke the news that 91 percent of colleges likely underreported incidents of campus rape in 2014.

AAUW policy staff members Lisa Maatz and Anne Hedgepeth were invited to speak at the National Press Club’s Newsmaker Conference in January about AAUW’s analysis of campus sexual assault data, which found that 91 percent of colleges disclosed zero reported incidents of rape in 2014. When campuses report zero incidents of rape it simply does not square with research, campus climate surveys, and widespread experiences reported by students — and zero-reporting should be a red flag to advocates that there may be problems with the school’s reporting system and Title IX response.

AAUW leaders in 18 states helped demand better data on harassment in schools.

AAUW’s analysis of federal data showed that 67 percent of U.S. school districts reported zero allegations of sexual harassment or bullying during the 2013–14 school year. AAUW state leaders in 42 states sent letters to governors asking for the state to correct the zeros. A reported zero usually indicates that a school failed to recognize, address, and report the sexual harassment that we know students — especially girls and LGBT students — struggle with every day. To date, members have received responses from 18 states.

AAUW tracked 120 pieces of legislation in Congress, and more than 1,050 bills at the state level.
By tracking legislation, AAUW successfully championed the passage of congressional bills on issues ranging from sexual assault prevention to public education. Through Action Network, we were also able to stop or improve harmful measures such as the Russell Amendment, which would have opened the floodgates for taxpayer-funded discrimination in federal contracts and grants. When we needed to influence the conversation, you made your voices heard loud and clear through AAUW Action Network. State public policy chairs played a key role in monitoring state bills using AAUW’s innovative legislative tool, State Net.

Action Network members and supporters submitted8,896 comments to the federal government.
These coordinated public comment efforts resulted in better regulations on AAUW priority issues such as equal pay, data collection, and civil rights in K–12 schools.

Feeling inspired by what we did together?
Help AAUW continue speaking truth to power in 2017.
With your support, AAUW will continue to be a valued ally or a fierce critic — whichever is needed in the year to come.

Meet Starz deadline: Donate by Jan. 1

2016 December 22
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Reminder: The fund giving per the STARZ deadline is due by Jan. 1. Ohio’s Philanthropy Fund is #4411. This fund will be used to benefit Ohio’s AAUW programs.

Get the news about AAUW of Ohio in Fall issue of Orbit

2016 December 20
AAUW of Ohio has the jump on Equity Day & Convention 2017 so that you can plan ahead and make sure your branch is well-represented at our main event of the year. You can read all about it in the late Fall issue of Orbit. Here’s what you’ll find:
  • Highlights, rates, dates, deadlines and awards. Get the news about AAUW of Ohio in the Fall issue of Orbit, along with special offers for AAUW Ohio Equity Day & Convention 2017. See Pages 1, 2, and 4.
  • A message from President Christine Siebeneck: We have more work to do than ever. See Pg. 2.
  • Abortion: The hot-button issue by our public policy chair Karen Rainey. See Pg. 3.
  • News about bylaws and district meetings that are coming your way. See Pg. 4.
  • What are our branches up to? What resources can you access from National AAUW? See Pg. 5.

You can also download earlier issues of AAUW of Ohio Orbit.

Meanwhile, happy reading and Happy Holidays!

Action Needed Now: Ask Governor to Veto Abortion Bans

2016 December 6

Please call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555 and urge him to veto any abortion bans.

The Ohio Senate has taken the “Heartbeat bill,” the worst of the proposed abortion bans, and added it as an amendment to HB 493, a bill to address child abuse and neglect reporting. By a floor vote of 21-10 late Tuesday, the added amendment bans abortions from the time a heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks and before a woman may even realize that she is pregnant.

AAUW has opposed the “Heartbeat bill” (HB 69) on the grounds that it unconstitutionally restricts abortion access during the first trimester and allows no exceptions for rape, incest, severe mental illness or fetal anomalies that could endanger life or health. These are conditions that should evoke our compassion, not a one-size-fits-all legalistic imperative.

The amended bill must still be returned to the House for concurrence, but the House passed the “Heartbeat bill” previously and is expected to concur with the Senate action. And in this rush to end the session, it’s possible that the 20-week abortion ban will be added to another bill and passed as well. Please, in your request to the governor, urge him to veto any abortion bans.

Public Policy News – December 2016

2016 December 4
By Karen Rainey, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Chair, kgraauw@yahoo.com

In this issue

  • Issue of the Month: Advocacy
  • Congressional Redistricting
  • Lame Duck: Concealed Carry on Campuses and Day Care Centers: Other Bills
  • January March on Washington

Advocacy

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. A vintage quote, often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, it sums up our need to be politically aware—on guard to protect our rights and “promote the general welfare.” Given the unpredictability of our president-elect and the majorities in both the state legislature and Congress that are hostile to several of AAUW’s positions, our members will need to step up to protect our gains and prevent their erosion.

What can you do? At a minimum, be sure that branch members are “Two-minute activists.” It’s easy to sign up—just go to www.aauw.org/what-we-do/public-policy/two-minute-activist, insert an email address and you are now a part of AAUW’s Action Network for congressional alerts.

While we don’t have anything quite comparable at the state level, we can issue action alerts and need member response. With a new state budget coming up soon, we will have major challenges in public school funding and in other programs we support.

Congressional Redistricting

In the absence of any action by the Constitutional Modernization Commission, the Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition is pressuring the General Assembly to place congressional redistricting reform on the November 2017 ballot. Please go to www.fairdistrictsohio.org/take-action to see how you can help make this happen. There’s a petition to House Speaker Rosenberger to move this legislation—it’s easy to sign. Did you know that in Ohio, every incumbent member of Congress was reelected? We need to provide a more competitive environment to encourage fairer representation.

Update on Lame Duck

HB 48, Concealed Carry. This bill passed the House a year ago by a vote of 68-29; it is now being heard in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. It would allow hidden, loaded guns to be carried into day care centers, airports, some local government buildings, and open the door for guns on college and university campuses. AAUW’s position on gun violence prevention focuses primarily on changing the climate to prevent bullying and harassment. However, many members have strong feelings about gun control and public safety and may be moved to act.   It’s likely to be on the Senate floor very soon; tell your senator if you oppose this bill.

SB 127, 20-Week Abortion Ban. House hearings have not yet been scheduled although passage in lame duck is a high priority for Ohio Right to Life. AAUW opposes the bill because it does not make any exceptions for rape or incest, and does not recognize the difficult medical situations a woman may face in seeking to end a pregnancy at this stage, including the discovery of fetal or genetic anomalies. As noted last month, the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society and the American Medical Association oppose the bill because it places limitations on treatment for serious conditions. Please call your representative www. ohiohouse.gov/members to request a vote against this bill.

January March on Washington

You may have seen a recent email from Lisa Maatz saying that AAUW has not yet endorsed the January 21 March on Washington, which will coincide with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. She is waiting for more details about the event. I do know that several buses will be going from around the state—if you plan to go, it may under the auspices of another organization. We’ll keep you posted.

As always, your questions and comments are welcomed.

 

Rally at Ohio Statehouse for reproductive rights today!

2016 November 16
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Today, from 5 – 7 p.m., join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Preterm, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Women Have Options – Ohio, and New Voices Cleveland for a rally at the Ohio Statehouse to take a stand against the bans!
Check out the Facebook Event page

Today’s the day: Make your voice heard

2016 November 8
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 It’s Election Day! Make your voice heard.

From the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ballot, your vote matters and will have a critical impact on the outcome of this election. Be sure to:

– Verify your registration status is up to date.

– Confirm your polling location, even if it has been in the same place for years.

– Bring required ID and know your rights regarding providing identification.

Be informed. Check out this information about candidates and issues.

– Encourage others to vote. Copy and paste this message and click to share on Facebook or post on Twitter.You can also share a photo of your “I Voted” sticker with AAUW on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram using #ItsMyVote. Another great idea is to forward this email to a friend!

All voters should have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) if you experience any problems casting your ballot, or witness problems at the polls. Non-english speaking voters can receive assistance from partner hotlines 888-Ve-Y-Vota (Spanish), 888-API-VOTE (Asian languages), and 844-418-1682 (Arabic).

To create real change, women must be part of the conversation, and the most powerful way for us to chime in is at the polls. Make your voice heard today — VOTE!


Get ready for Election Day with this info!

2016 November 2

votebannerIn an email from Ohio’s own Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy, comes the information below.

Research shows voters are more likely to participate if you make it easy. They’re also more likely to vote if someone personally asks them to do so. Here’s everything voters need to turn out on Election Day. Encourage friends, family, neighbors, and contacts to speak their minds at the polls!

  • Logistics. From where to go to what to bring, here’s everything you need to know about Election Day. Voting laws have changed across the country — don’t let your friends and family be caught flatfooted, and worse, disenfranchised. If you need a ride to the polls or want to offer one, visit CarpoolVote.
  • Candidates. Who’s on your ballot and where do they stand on the issues affecting women and their families? The AAUW Action Fund’s 2016 Voter Guides offer head-to-head candidate comparisons on a wide range of issues for many Gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, while our Congressional Voting Record documents incumbents’ records on priority issues.
  • Issues. Ballot measures can advance or undermine policies that help working families. We’ve put together this handy guide to ballot initiatives in select states.
  • Help. Have questions about the voting process and your rights? Experience or see problems at the polls? The Election Protection website and hotline (866.OUR.VOTE) are available to assist voters across the country. Use it!

There’s too much at stake for women to let others make decisions for us — and when we don’t vote, that’s exactly what we do. Help make sure our voices are heard AAUW of Ohio Voting Record 2016November 8 and beyond — it’s time to GET OUT THE VOTE!

More on Ohio voting

Statewide

In addition to what Lisa says, remember to share the latest AAUW of Ohio Voting Record. The AAUW Voting Record scores the votes of our state legislators on bills important to AAUW of Ohio members.  Please print copies, email the link to your lists and make copies available to branch members and a wider audience as well.

Ohio U.S. Senate Race

Find out where Portman and Strickland stand on the issues.

Ohio State Board of Education and your Local Boards

Did you know that AAUW Ohio and its branches are free to endorse candidates in all nonpartisan electoral races such as the Ohio State Board of Education and your local boards of education? In doing so, you will help advance AAUW’s public policy position on public education and help inform the public.

In fact, three Northeast Ohio branches—Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst, Cleveland and Northeast— recently endorsed Meryl Johnson, a retired Cleveland public school teacher, union activist, and member of the Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst Branch, for the District 11 seat on the Ohio State Board of Education. Parts of all three branch territories fall within District 11. They then asked AAUW Ohio to support their decision and endorse Meryl during the convention business meeting on April 9 in Worthington. The resolution, which also encouraged branches to replicate the action, passed.

Your Ohio Public Policy Committee encourages you to investigate those running for both the Ohio State Board of Education and the local boards of education that fall within your branch territory. About half the elected state board members are on the ballot every two years. There are 11 elected members, who represent districts that are comprised of three Senate districts, and eight appointed members. Since the terms run for four years, this allows for overlap and continuity. You can read about the current board members. To help you determine which member(s) serve your branch territory, refer to the state board map.

The seats that will be elected in 2016 include:

  • District 1, currently held by Ann Jacobs of Lima.
  • District 6, currently held by Michael Collins of Westerville (not running again)
  • District 8, currently open (runs from Mahoning to Meigs County along the eastern Ohio border)
  • District 9, currently held by Stephanie Dodd of Granville
  • District 11, currently held by Mary Rose Oakar of Cleveland