AAUW Ohio Public Policy E-Newsletter – Sept. 2011
Dear Branch Presidents, Public Policy Chairs, Newsletter Editors and their Stand-Ins:
I hope you had a pleasant Labor Day holiday. I am happy to report that I have finally been able to restore the listservs I lost in a computer crash last spring and am able to resume sending my e-newsletter. I have incorporated the most recent officers from our new Ohio Yearbook; however, some branches did not submit new lists and therefore some names on my listsevs are no doubt outdated. If you are no longer serving in one of the capacities outlined after “Dear…”, please send me the category, name and e-mail address of the person who should be on my listserv, and I will make the change.
Meanwhile, since the AAUW Mission is “Advancing Equity through Advocacy, Education, Philanthropy and Research,” please give the item listed first—Advocacy–as much attention in your programming as possible in the coming year. It will be a pivotal one for the AAUW Public Policy Program as we will explore in this and coming issues. Have a great 2011-12 year!
Jackie Evangelista, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Chair
FOCUS SHORT TERM ON OHIO SB 5 AND HB 194; LONG TERM ON GETTING OUT THE VOTE IN 2012
At the recent Leadership Workshop I distributed a flyer related to the referendum drive to overturn HB 194. However, you can find even more information about it at: http://www.ohiofairelections.com/faq and even download your own petition for circulation among branch members and friends. The AAUW Public Policy Program stands strongly behind civil rights, an important one of which is voting rights. This webpage explains why this offensive, regressive bill is designed specifically to suppress the vote of certain segments of our citizenry including seniors. It could have been worse had the voter ID provision been included, but that could still be acted upon. However, if enough signatures can be gathered by Sept. 29, it will keep the current regulations in force until the election of 2012 since the issue will not qualify for this fall’s ballot due to the timing.
ON VITAL WOMEN’S ISSUES THAT ARE AT RISK
AAUW President Linda Hallman announced on Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26) AAUW’s participation in a coalition of women’s groups dubbed “HERvotes” with the HER standing for “health and economic rights” dedicated to protecting 10 vital women’s issues now deemed at risk. Please read an outline of these issues at:
http://msmagazine.com/HERvotes/index.htm, which explains the issue and why it is under threat. You might copy and distribute this page at a meeting this year and include it in your newsletter. If you have an open slot, you might also schedule a speaker on one or more of the issues once we move past the SB 5 vote.On a blog AAUW created for this campaign at: http://blog-aauw.org/hervotes/, where you can listen to a TV ad created for this campaign, Hallman wrote: “AAUW is proud to launch a serious investment in getting out the women’s vote for the 2012 election. With our new ‘My Vote: I Will Be Heard’ campaign, we will work to educate women across the country about the rights and privileges that are at stake in the upcoming election. We will increase the volume and direction of women’s voices and commit ourselves to getting women to the polls in record numbers. How will we do it? By doing what AAUW does best: educating, building community, and advocating. We have developed voter-education materials, including how-to manuals, community and campus outreach guides, and online and social media resources.” Branches, please decide how you can be involved.
LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE SUMMARY
The 2011 Leadership Workshop at Otterbein University in Westerville on Aug. 6 organized by Isabel Seavey of the Warren-Trumbull County Branch was well attended and is well summarized on the AAUW website at: http://aauwoh.org/aauwoh/2011/08/06/speakers-are-standouts-at-leadership-workshop-2011-get-what-you-missed-here/. There were a number of excellent public policy sessions including a keynote by Theresa Flores, a victim of trafficking who has written a book about her experience and works with Gracehaven, a Columbus area safe house. AAUW Ohio will continue its focus on the issue of trafficking this year, and a special page has been established on the AAUW Ohio website that you should check frequently to update you on the latest information at: http://aauwoh.org/aauwoh/about/projects/stop-trafficking-in-ohio/. There you can read about a new bill—H.B. 262, the Safe Harbor Act—introduced by now Rep. Teresa Fedor of Toledo, which gives us something concrete to advocate for.
The Leadership Workshop also featured a panel, which I organized and moderated, on important AAUW issues currently being savaged by Ohio state government—public education, reproductive choice and voting rights. You can view the former District 43 State Representative Steve Dyer’s punchy Powerpoint about education funding, the budget and SB 5 at the first link listed above. Dyer is now a fellow at a Innovation/Ohio, a progressive think tank that covers education and other issues listed at: http://innovationohio.org/issues/reports.