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Public Policy News – March 2017

2017 March 11

By Karen Rainey, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Chair,

New Voucher Proposal

Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is introducing a proposal to consolidate three school voucher programs and create the Ohio Opportunity Scholarship, with higher scholarship amounts based on a sliding income scale. The three programs targeted for consolidation are the Cleveland, the traditional EdChoice and the EdChoice expansion. (The Autism Scholarship and the Jon Peterson Special needs Scholarship programs would not be included.) The intent is to expand school choice to serve middle-class students.

All vouchers would be funded at the state level rather than deducted from a school’s state aid. Other differences in the new plan from existing programs are that geography (program boundaries) and “failing” schools would no longer be the deciding factors; the program would also be open to all grades. Parents earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level would be eligible for vouchers, based on a sliding scale. Base scholarship amounts would be set at $5,000 for elementary and middle school students and $7,500 for high school students. There is no cap in the proposal on the number of scholarships.

AAUW has long opposed the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education.  There is an additional concern with this proposed expansion that the program would aid families who can already afford a private school. The proposal is not yet in bill form; at some point, it could also be wrapped into the state budget. We’ll be watching.

Working with Indivisible Groups 

Indivisible groups have been formed in many of the communities where our branches are located. Their goals and methods frequently correspond with AAUW’s goals and approach to advocacy. Branches wishing to work with Indivisible groups may do so, provided that the focus remains non-partisan and does not violate AAUW’s rules around collaboration (Policy 600). Branches are free to advocate for those positions included in AAUW’s Public Policy Program and any questions about specific federal legislation can be directed to 

Sexual Assault on Campus

Did you know that Ohio spent $2 million in the past two years to develop model best practices for preventing and responding to campus sexual assault? That amount was allocated to the Department of Higher Education in the last biennial budget; the result is the publication of “Changing Campus Culture: Preventing & Responding to Campus Sexual violence.” In its first year, 79 out of Ohio’s 88 public and private campuses reported making significant progress implementing its recommendations.   You can find the report here:

More than 100 sexual assaults were reported on Ohio’s public campuses in 2013; the actual number is probably higher in that assaults tend to be underreported. A key recommendation is to empower staff, faculty, campus law enforcement and students to prevent and respond to sexual violence through training. As an example, bystander training encourages people to intervene if they think they witnessed an incident. Components are raising awareness, building a sense of responsibility, speaking up, and building skills and confidence.

If your branch has a college campus nearby, you can monitor the implementation of the recommendations, which were to go into effect last fall. Also know that AAUW has updated its Quick Facts on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in School and has other materials as well—including “10 Ways to Fight against Sexual Assault on Campus” and “Here’s Your Talking-Points Memo on Campus Sexual Assault.”   Title IX federal enforcement is now in doubt under Education Secretary DeVos, which compels us to be even more vigilant.

Legislative Update

House Bill 1, the bill to allow for civil protection orders to be obtained by victims of domestic violence in dating relationships, has passed the House by a vote of 92-2. There’s no word yet on Senate action.

Senate Bill 4, to expunge the records of victims of human trafficking who committed crimes as a result of being trafficked, has had two hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee but has no momentum at this time. The committee chair is Kevin Bacon; call him at 614-466-8064 to express your support.

House Bill 86 has just been introduced; it would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 beginning January 1, 2019. Sponsored by Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), it has been referred to the Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee. Although worthy of support, it likely won’t go far in this polarized legislature.

House Bill 49, the state operating budget, includes the governor’s proposal that teachers be required to do externships with businesses in order to renew their licenses, beginning in 2018. The governor’s intent is to inform teachers on what is needed to succeed in the world of work, but there is considerable pushback from teachers who cite the proposal as unnecessary and even demeaning to the education profession. This may not survive the budget process.

Convention Session: An Inside View of the State School Board

The Public Policy breakout session at the state convention on May 6 will feature two new members of the State Board of Education, both elected last fall and endorsed by AAUW. Dr. Antoinette Miranda and Meryl Johnson will give their perspective on the workings of the state board and on the proposed state budget for education. Plan to attend and bring your questions.

New State Public Policy Brochure Available 

AAUW Ohio’s public policy program brochure has been reprinted and is available if you should want copies for distribution. Just send me an email ( with an address and the quantity needed.

Useful Resources

Here’s a reminder that the Women’s Public Policy Network has published “What’s at Stake for Women if the ACA is Repealed.” You can find it at It’s a great resource when you’re discussing what needs to be preserved if the ACA disappears.

Innovation Ohio’s feature On the Budget now has available a comparison of school funding in the years 2010 and 2018 by school district. You can find it at

Policy Matters Ohio’s feature Budget Bites just posted an item on affordable college and Ohio’s underinvestment in higher education. You can find it at

As always, your questions and comments are welcomed.

Get past issues of Public Policy News.


Young women leaders can apply for AAUW Ohio NCCWSL scholarship

2017 March 2
by admin

Spread the word: Young women who want to enhance their leadership skills may apply for the AAUW Ohio scholarship to NCCWSL, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, which will be held May 31-June 3 at the University of Maryland in College Park.

NCCSWL is just one AAUW Campus Action Project.

AAUW Ohio will support the conference by underwriting two students to attend it. Each student will receive $400 toward their registration.

Student leaders should download the application and apply by the March 29 deadline in order to be considered.

Scholarship recipients are expected to complete a follow-up learning activity on their campus or with AAUW Ohio and its branches.

Apply for Branch Awards

2017 March 2

It’s time! Apply for your branch awards and register today for AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2017, with its theme of “Women:Be the Change,” and help advance equity for women and girls.

Don’t delay and register today. Then get your applications ready to make sure your branch gets the recognition it deserves.

  • Get the Starz Awards application form and instructions.
  • Communication Star Award: Get recognition for your branch as a 2017 Communication Star for its use of print and online communications and social media. Get the guidelines and entry form online. Entries must be received as hard copies by March 16, 2017.
  • Programming Award: Send your Branch Program Booklets for the 2016-2017 Mission-Based Programming Awards to Jo Dye, Program Vice President, at 645 North Court St., Circleville, OH 43113 by March 16, 2017.
  • Daffodil Award: Criteria will include the Diversity Goals for branches. Branches must meet at least three of the goals. To apply for recognition, branches must send a written statement on their accomplishments, with documentation, to the Ohio Diversity Chair, 157 Third St., Cardington, OH 43315. Statements should include branch name, name and signature of president, telephone number, e-mail for contact and name of diversity chair. Material must be received before March 16, 2017. Press clippings, news articles in branch publications, listings form branch yearbook, photographs from events or meetings constitute documentation.

Silent Auction: Fill a Purse for Change at Equity Day & Convention

2017 March 1

This year’s AAUW Ohio Silent Auction at AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2017 will have a new theme: Fill a Purse for Change.

The idea behind the theme is to replace a basket with a purse and fill it with items for the auction. As a branch, you can purchase a designer bag and just put that bag in the auction to raffle as another option. We suggest that you provide one fabulous purse — filled or not filled — with a value of at least $150.

Philanthropy VP Deborah Wooldridge will provide the auction with a Luis Vuitton bag or a Michael Kors bag to get things rolling. Remember that Vera Bradley bags are always a hit and catch the interest of bidders.

Another thing we will be doing this year is a Race for Change Contest among the Districts. As tickets are bought stickers will go up on a board throughout the conference and we will announce the District winner at the ending session. Many organizations do this at international, national and local conferences and this will let everyone have a chance to be philanthropic.

Let’s bring our checkbook and support AAUW funds through giving!   Our goal at the Conference this year is $5,000. I know we can do it because we all want change for women and girls!

If you need more information, contact Deborah Wooldridge at

Read the Winter issue of AAUW of Ohio Orbit — and register for Convention

2017 February 16

Winter is here but spring is not far away — and that means it’s time to register for AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2017. And if you do so before Feb. 28, you’ll get the best rate possible by being an Early Bird.

You’ll find registration and program details inside the Winter 2017 issue of your AAUW of Ohio Orbit.

Also in this issue: 

  • A fresh look for our Silent Auction: Fill a Purse for Change. And a call to open our checkbooks to meet our $5,000 fundraising goal for Convention.
  • Now that we’ve marched and cheered a great film, it’s time to educate and advocate for women and girls: a message from President Christine Siebeneck
  • State updates on charter schools, sexual violence, and human trafficking policies from Karen Rainey, state public policy chair
  • Be a star and apply for your branch awards: Get the details and the links
  • Find out which branches are tops in growth
  • District meeting news
  • Updates from our branches, including a member who is now serving on the Ohio Board of Education
  • AAUW at the Women’s March
  • Links to resources from national AAUW

You can also download past issues of Orbit.

Be the change: Register for AAUW Ohio Equity Day & Convention 2017

2017 February 12

It’s time! Register today for AAUW Ohio Equity Day and Convention 2017, with its theme of “Women: Be the Change,” and help advance equity for women and girls.

Registration is open! So don’t delay and register today to get the best registration rate through May 1.

Dates: May 5-6, 2017

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Columbus-Worthington, 175 Hutchinson Ave., Columbus.

Hotel Reservations: Make reservations at 800-870-0349. Our special rate is $129. Identify yourself as a part of AAUW 2017 Convention to secure the special rate. Breakfast is included with your hotel stay. Reservation deadline is April 15.

Spread the word: Download our Convention flyer and pass it on!

FYI: Our annual meeting will move to Friday evening, May 5, so we can devote the full day of Saturday, May 6, to Equity Day.

Attendance Incentive

With five paid two-day rate registrations, the branch president (or her designee) attends free! Early bird registrations count toward this goal. Branch president registrations will be reimbursed.


We are team building with millenials by having Saleha Azmi run a student track alongside our traditional program, which will be open to all attendees. Azmi, a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, started the school’s student chapter.

Bowling Green State University student leader Saleha Azmi, who started the AAUW student chapter at BGSU and was featured in BGSU news, will lead a special track for millenials.

Then to send us off on a high note, we have DeLores Pressley, motivational speaker and personal power expert. This international keynote speaker, author, and life coach is founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide.

Overall, this convention is for everyone, members and guests. There are opportunities to promote the woman you choose to be! Show them the superhero in you!

Get more details

Get all the details about AAUW of Ohio Equity Day and Convention. They include:

  • Registration rates, including Early Bird, regular, late, student and non-member rates
  • Program
  • Advertising in the event program book
  • Silent Auction: Fill a Purse for Change
  • Menus
  • Branch award submissions

Download our Convention flyer and pass it on!

How ACA repeal will affect women: A fact sheet, a meeting, and sample tweets

2017 February 11

ACA Impact on Women Fact Sheet Social Media Toolkit

 Under a new president and Congress, lawmakers have vowed to push forward with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), jeopardizing the healthcare coverage of nearly 1 million Ohioans. If the ACA is repealed without a viable replacement, Ohio women stand to lose access to affordable healthcare coverage and vital services for reproductive, preventative, and primary health.

The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network created a fact sheet to show how women have benefited from the ACA, and what exactly is at stake if it is repealed. The fact sheet is available online as a PDF.

Columbus meeting on ACA

In addition, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., Columbus City Council President Zach Klein is hosting a community discussion on the potential impact of an Affordable Care Act repeal, how to utilize local resources and advocate for access to healthcare.  Here’s the Facebook link for more details about the free event and how to reserve tickets.

Meanwhile, consider tweeting about this using one or more of the sample tweets below.

Sample Tweets on ACA

  • #ACARepeal may cost millions for states like OH receiving fed funds via Medicaid expansion. What else is at stake?
  • It’s vital to let lawmakers know an #ACARepeal is dangerous & harmful for women & families. #ProtectOurCare
  • The stakes are high, particularly for women, if the #ACA is repealed. #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • The #ACA has greatly benefited women. Find out exactly #whatsatstake for women under #ACARepeal #ProtectOurCare
  • Millions of women gained access to affordable healthcare under #ACA. #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Incr access to care for women of color contributes to reducing health disparities #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Thanks to the #ACA, more young women have been able to access coverage #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Under the #ACA: Women no longer charged more for coverage simply bc they’re women #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • The #ACA guarantees women coverage for preventive services such as birth control w/o copays #ProtectOurCare
  • The #ACA protects against insurance discrimination for survivors of DV. #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Under the #ACA: maternity care coverage is guaranteed w/o extra cost to women #ProtectOurCare #WhatAtStake
  • The #ACA requires employers to accommodate nursing mothers in the workplace #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Women can no longer be denied coverage, charged more b/c of pre- existing condition #ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake
  • Insurance companies can no longer discriminate, deny coverage for gender-related health conditions #ProtectOurCare
  • Under #ACA, low & middle-income women provided financial assistance to purchase health coverage #ProtectOurCare
  • Under #ACA, low-income women receive care from providers like PP via Medicaid reimb & Title X #ProtectOurCare

Hashtags to use in your tweets

#ProtectOurCare #WhatsAtStake #ACA #ACARepeal


Stand up for our right to choose: Attend an Ohio event

2017 February 2
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and its coalition partners are sponsoring some terrific events this Winter. Consider attending an event near you.
2/8/17 in Columbus
We know 2017 will bring many challenges to abortion access and reproductive health care in Ohio. What we need to learn is how to fight and who will stand with us. The Freedom of Choice Ohio coalition is hosting a series of activist bootcamps training. Join us and you’ll learn about legislation, messaging, and tactics to continue the fight for sexual freedom.
2/9/17 in Cleveland
Freedom of Choice Cleveland Coalition is hosting an evening of education and activism on reproductive choice. The evening begins with a panel discussion to address the moral, legal, legislative, and practical consequences of recent attacks on reproductive rights, as well as providing insights on how to respond effectively through direct action. Following the discussion, groups will host advocacy stations, where guests will be invited to engage in educational and advocacy activities around these issues.
2/15/17 in Columbus

‘Comedy @ Ace of Cups’ and Columbus Stands Up for Choice! are proud to present our next pro-choice and pro-local comedy show and rally, benefitting NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio!

Public Policy News – February 2017

2017 February 1

By Karen Rainey, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Chair,

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.

Cleveland, Thursday, Feb. 9: SEIU, 1771 E. 30th St., 6:30-9:30 PM.

Dayton, Saturday, Feb. 18: Harmony Creek Church, 5280 Bigger Rd., 12:00 PM.

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: 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 ( 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.


AAUW Medina County Branch offers scholarships

2017 January 30

The Medina County Branch of the American Association of University Women is accepting applications for two $1,000 scholarships to be given to “non-traditional” women undergraduate students who will be attending an accredited college or university for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Carol Rommel and Denise Douglas (center) were awarded scholarships by the Medina Country Branch in 2010. They were accompanied by daughters, Cheyenne Rommel (far left), sophomore at Cloverleaf High School, and Elizabeth Douglas (far right), new graduate of the University of Akron.

Applicants must be residents of Medina County. The deadline for submission of the application, college transcript, and professor recommendations is April 1, 2017.

The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of financial need, academic achievement, and clarity of stated goals and objectives. The applicant must be attending an accredited college/university.

A “non-traditional” student is a woman who has returned to college to finish an undergraduate degree, or a woman who delayed entering college for several years after completing high school or earning a GED.

For information or applications, call Cheri Ingraham, Scholarship Committee Chair, at 330-723-3355 and leave a telephone number, or contact her by email at

Information is available through The Akron Community Foundation at You may also visit the AAUW Medina Branch web page: