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Ohio Public Policy E-Newsletter-May 2010

From Jackie Evangelista
jevangelista@roadrunner.com
Your Ohio Public Policy Chair

Dear Branch Public Policy Chairs, their Stand-Ins and Newsletter Editors:

It’s time for a changing of the guard. If you will be leaving your position as public policy chair, please let me know who your replacement will be along with her e-mail and/or snail mail address. If you are a “stand-in,” please consider taking the position for the upcoming term or at least encouraging your president to appoint a chair and inform me. If you are a newsletter editor, please publish something from this newsletter or some other AAUW public policy communication in your upcoming edition, and if you are leaving your post, please let me know who will be replacing you along with her e-mail address. Finally, if your branch has not yet planned programs for next year, please advocate for additional programs on policy issues that are so important to women. This issue includes many ideas. You are more likely to attract new members if it appears that your branch is working to learn about and advance issues that help women and girls. Have a great summer! Jackie

Sneak peak at the Leadership Workshop

State Senator Teresa Fedor

Those of you who attended our recent state convention may have participated in the breakout about human trafficking and returned home shocked about the fact that Ohio ranks fourth in this vile and illegal practice—mainly because our laws are very outdated. Senator Teresa Fedor has introduced SB 235 that would bring Ohio law in line with federal guidelines and create a stand-alone felony for human trafficking. I am pleased to share the early news with you that Senator Fedor has agreed to co-keynote our Leadership Workshop on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware and tell us about research done on trafficking in Ohio and about her bill.

She will be joined by Marlene Carson, a victim of trafficking who started a safe house called Rehab’s Hideaway in Columbus for young girls and women trying to escape a life of forced prostitution. I will also present ideas about how to lobby for SB 235. If you are itching to do something now to support Senator Fedor’s bill, please go to the Polaris Project website. This page presents a summary of the situation in Ohio and includes a section about “What You Can Do.” If you click on the link under the second suggestion, you will be taken to a page that allows you to send an e-mail directly to your state senator, much like the AAUW Two-Minute Activist does on the national leve

If you want to plan a program on this topic, attend the Leadership Conference, review the above website or go to: www.TraffickingResourceCenter.org for more information and ideas. Even though 27 out of 33 Senators of both parties have co-sponsored this bill, I am told that it is unlikely to come up for a vote before fall as a number of amendments are being considered and the Senators leave for the summer in early June giving us time to become informed and energized about this bill and other legislation that is much needed in Ohio. Because we would really like to help motivate other women to become active on this issue, we plan to invite central Ohio AAUW members-at-large and other like-minded women to attend this portion of the Leadership Conference. The registration form should be available in the next month, but in the meantime please mark your calendar and plan to attend this year’s Leadership Conference on Aug. 14 in Delaware.

An easy public policy project

If you were at the state convention and heard me talk about a fun and easy project my branch did for Equal Pay Day called an “Unhappy Hour,” you can skip this section. But for those who weren’t there, I wanted to encourage you to try this project next April.

The idea, which I found on the AAUW website, is to approach a local restaurant/bar owner, explain that women earn only 77 percent of a comparable man, and ask if he or she will allow women to eat and drink at 77 percent of the menu prices on Equal Pay Day (23 percent off). Tell him or her you will work to publicize the idea and bring patrons into the establishment that day. Equal Pay Day is always held on a Tuesday, which is a day when most restaurants/bars are not very crowded.

My branch distributed a one-half page flyer printed on hot pink paper that described the Unhappy Hour and included our e-mail address, and the restaurant placed a stack of the flyers on a table just inside its door for several weeks before Equal Pay Day. Those who wanted to take advantage of the offer had to present the flyer. You can also send out news releases to local newspapers, radio stations and event websites. The restaurant owner later told me that they took in about $450 more than they would have on a normal Tuesday night.

This year AAUW provided stickers encouraging passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and posters about Equal Pay Day at no charge to branches doing projects. The restaurant in my area handed out the stickers with the checks and displayed the poster prominently just inside the door. If your branch has members over a wide area encompassing many towns, you could approach multiple restaurant owners about this ide

For other Equal Pay Day project ideas, go to the AAUW website. AAUW offers a “Program in a Box,” which includes ideas for how to observe this day at: http://www.aauw.org/member_center/programs/ upload/EPD_PIAB.pdf. Please plan now to observe the day in some way.

Ask Elena Kagan

President Obama has announced that his nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court is Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Kagan has already begun meeting with senators on Capitol Hill, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that confirmation hearings will begin on June 2

AAUW will be submitting questions we would like the senators to ask Solicitor General Kagan during these hearings and wants us to be a part of that process. We can submit our questions at: http://capwiz.com/aauw/home/. A reminder that AAUW now has a separate website for its action work. As a result of the re-organization that occurred at the convention last summer, which made AAUW a 501©3 organization, the policy portion was cleaved off into a separate offshoot, The AAUW Action Fund, which is a 501©4. Its website is www.aauwaction.org. Please check it out and bookmark it.

Use Program in a Box for public policy ideas

The AAUW website offers extensive programming assistance to branches called Program in a Box. You’ll need your membershipnumber to log into the Member Center where the Program in a Box ideas reside. You’ll find it on the label of your latest Outlook magazine, or your treasurer should be able to give it to you, or the access page has a “look-up” featur

The Program in a Box includes a full detailing of the idea along with many suggestions about how to carry it out. Here is a listing of the ideas listed under the heading “Public Policy Outreach:

  • ” Women’s Summit on Affirmative Action Women’s Summit on Work/Life Balance
  • State Lobby Corps Public Policy Brunch Meeting with a Public Official
  • The Shriver Report—A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything
  • Pay Equity
  • Woman-to-Woman Voter Turnout

In addition to the Program in a Box ideas, consider devoting one meeting to reporting on the 111th Congressional Voting Record, which details how our legislators voted on various bills in both houses AAUW considers important to women’s progress. In this edition, AAUW began tracking whether legislators were willing to co-sponsor bills as well. Your members may be interested to know which bills AAUW considered important enough to track and how your representatives voted. You can download the 111th Congressional Voting Record at the new aauwaction.org website. If you don’t want to devote a program to the idea, you could summarize the report in your newsletter.

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