AAUW California Public Policy Update

Updates from AAUW California Public Policy Committee By Kathi Harper

Note: Kathi Harper is the Co-Chair of the AAUW CA Public Policy Committee

Abortion Justice

Although the constitutionally guaranteed right to an abortion has been systematically under attack for decades, it is currently in danger of disappearing altogether.  As AAUW National recently noted, ”Every person should have the ability to make their own informed decisions regarding their reproductive life.  It is beyond time for abortion to be secured legally, funded fully, and equitably available for all who need it, when they need it, without shame or stigma.”  With the recent refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the onerous Texas case, it is clear that we can no longer count on the courts to protect this critical right.  Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.  Watch for Action Alerts from National, use them to keep pressure on your representatives, and sign up now for the 2-Minute Activist if you haven’t already done so by clicking here https://www.aauw.org/act/two-minute-activist/.

Be sure to let us know if members from your branch participated in the Rally for Abortion Justice on Oct. 2, along with Beach Cities, Palos Verdes, San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Alameda, Carlsbad-Oceanside-Vista, Los Altos-Mt. View, San Jose and Morgan Hill, and send pictures if you have them to publicpolicy@aauw-ca.org.

Legislative Updates

Our last five priority bills that were awaiting the Governor’s signature have been acted on. Here are the results:

  • SB 62 (requires fair pay, instead of “by the piece” payment, for garment workers) SIGNED
  • AB 367 (free menstrual products must be provided in girls/women’s bathrooms in schools)  SIGNED
  • AB 887 (allows domestic violence restraining orders to be filed electronically) SIGNED
  • AB 123 (increases paid family leave benefits to 65 – 75 percent of regular pay) VETOED
  • AB 1074 (requires hotel and janitorial workers who have lost their jobs due the pandemic to be prioritized for hiring as businesses reopen) VETOED

Economic Equity

Oct. 21 was Latina Equal Pay Day – the day Latina women, who are paid just 57 cents to every white male’s dollar, finally catch up from the previous year.  To help raise awareness, our coalition partner Stronger California is hosting a Latina Equal Pay Day & Essential Women Workers Virtual Summit.  If you are interested in joining to learn more and hear from iconic civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, as well as California’s First Partner Jennifer Newsome, click register to register.