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Public Policy News – February 2017

2017 February 1

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

Keeping up the momentum: What we can do after the Women’s March

 In this issue:

  • Issue of the Month: Working in Coalition–Roe Together Events
  • Women’s Public Policy Network Update to 131st General Assembly Record
  • Potential Impact on Women of Repeal of the Affordable Care Act
  • What to Expect in the Governor’s Budget

Working in Coalition: Roe Together Events this Month

Stronger together isn’t just a campaign slogan, it’s a guiding principle for making a difference, especially with volunteer organizations. We speak more convincingly when we speak with one voice. The coalition Freedom of Choice Ohio (FOCO) has been an integral part of AAUW Ohio’s public policy program for more than 20 years, as we have supported annual lobby days, Roe anniversary events, and legislative calls to action. (The primary purpose of Freedom of Choice Ohio is to advocate for reproductive rights and to provide member organizations and the public with information and education on public policy matters related to protecting and preserving reproductive freedom, including the availability of safe, legal abortion and contraception.)   Now the call to action is taking the form of a series of activist boot camps around the state—in Columbus Feb. 8, Cleveland Feb. 9, Dayton Feb. 18 and Toledo March 2. (Cincinnati’s event is Jan. 31.)

The serious threats to reproductive rights and women’s reproductive health are incentive enough to participate in the boot camps. The events are free, but registration is needed to provide adequate food and materials. Here are the sign-up sites:

Columbus, Wednesday, Feb. 8: Temple Israel, 5419 E. Broad St., 6-9 PM. www.eventbrite.com/e/roe-together-columbus-activist-bootcamp-registration-31509278099

Cleveland, Thursday, Feb. 9: SEIU, 1771 E. 30th St., 6:30-9:30 PM. www.eventbrite.com/e/roe-together-cleveland-activist-bootcamp-tickets-31135658593

Dayton, Saturday, Feb. 18: Harmony Creek Church, 5280 Bigger Rd., 12:00 PM. www.eventbrite.com/e/roe-together-dayton-activist-bootcamp-registration-31509554927

Plans are still being made for the Toledo event on Thursday, March 2. Watch for details.

Women’s Public Policy Network Legislative Update

Our newest coalition partner, the Women’s Public Policy Network, has updated its legislative scorecard with the final actions of the 131st General Assembly relating to women’s economic security. You can find it here: www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.org. The final analysis shows that of the 22 policy goals, more than two-thirds scored a ‘D’ or an ‘F.’ Three policy goals moved from ‘D’ to ‘F’ when last-minute amendments prohibited cities from passing minimum wage increases or being required to provide paid family leave. You can use the scorecard, together with the economic security agenda, as a reminder of what needs to be done in this new session of the legislature—and to keep your representatives accountable on these significant issues.

Potential Impact on Women of Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Now in its final edits is an important piece outlining what’s at stake for women if the Affordable Care Act is repealed—also coming from the Women’s Public Policy Network. It should be on the website (www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.org) within the next week and can be widely shared. The goal is to be sure that our members of Congress do not repeal the ACA without a viable replacement. There’s a Twitter hashtag, #ProtectOurCare that can be used to share the fact sheet.

What to Expect in the Governor’s Budget

Declining state revenues, the impact of the state income tax cuts back in the last Taft administration, are resulting in an austere budget proposal. Even so, more state tax cuts are being recommended, to be offset by a 0.5 percent increase in the state sales tax. Here are some specifics relating to education:

  • An overall increase in K-12 funding of about one percent. This will mean cuts for some districts, generally equal to their school population loss.
  • A freeze on higher education tuition and fees at public institutions for two years.
  • A cap of $300 on the cost of textbooks for students at public colleges and universities, with the institutions picking up any additional costs.

It’s proposed that Medicaid expansion be preserved, provided that Congress does not pull Medicaid funding in a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.   The hearing process is just beginning—we’ll be watching as matters progress.

As always, your questions and comments are welcomed.

 

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