AAUW Sacramento Branch Public Policy Update

AAUW Sacramento Branch Public Policy Update By Arlene Cullum

It has been an exciting opportunity for me to reconvene the Sacramento AAUW Branch Public Policy Committee these past few months.  Although very new to AAUW, I originally joined to help impact outcomes for women and girls in California.  During my tenure in a hospital director role for thirty years in Women’s and Children’s services, I have had the opportunity to advocate on the national and state levels to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and newborns, and children with special healthcare needs.  I look forward to the chance to focus on issues affecting economic security for all women, the promotion of high-quality public education and assuring equality and social justice for this population.

I am so incredibly awed by the depth of public policy background and the diverse public policy and advocacy experience of the members of our branch committee.  We have representation of attorneys, prior Congressional aides/assistants, former mayoral representative, lobbyists, university advocates, and individuals who have worked extensively with coalitions that support and promote needs of women and girls.

Sue Miller, the State AAUW Public Policy Co-Chair, provided us a comprehensive overview of the national and state priorities for public policy for AAUW, the role of the state committee, and the relationship of our branch committee to the state committee.  The focus of the State committee is on leadership training this year.  In the State newsletter and on the State website, you can find information on the webinars that include topics such as Get Out the Vote, How to Talk with your Legislator, among others.  The two coalitions to which the California AAUW is participating includes Stronger California and the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

The typical calendar of activities for the State Committee includes monitoring the State budget release mid-January followed by a meeting the end of February to select bills for that legislative session that meets the criteria for the AAUW Public Policy priorities.  The State Committee in conjunction with the AAUW lobbyist, determines either a support, oppose, or watch status on each bill.  In 2021, there will be a State Lobby Day, most likely April 15 and 16, 2021.  The committee will review the May Revise of the State of California budget and weigh in on issues in that forum as well.  As the bills make their way through their legislative committees, the lobbyist and State committee monitors the progress.  Our committee has prioritized the following activities for the coming year:

  • October 14: Co-host Ballot Initiative Review (McGeorge Law Students) with CHAR
  • Early Fall: Provide input to State Committee on public policy priorities for 2021-22 sessions.
  • Late Fall: District office visits to Representative Kevin McCarthy, Senator Richard Pan and Congresswoman Doris Matsui.
  • Late Fall: Host a Lobbying 101 virtual webinar in conjunction with the National Women’s Political Caucus.
  • Spring: Participate in State Lobby Day