Tag Archives: PublicPolicy

October Program Preview

Sacramento Branch of AAUW Presents (By Hedda Smithson)

Episode Two of “The Rights Stuff”:
                               The ERA and Reproductive Rights 

                             >>> Lights, Camera, Action!! <<<

Saturday, October 14, 10 AM in the Sacramento Fine Arts Center,
5330 Gibbons Drive, Carmichael

A joint meeting with *CHAR

                         Coming Attraction!!      Save the date!

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Do you know in which century this was first proposed? Do you know its current status? Are you aware of the repercussions of the Dobbs vs Jackson decision? For all this and more, join us! For this episode, would you like to be an actress, facilitator, or greeter? Please contact Liz Jordan; her contact information is in the membership directory. This episode is still holding auditions and rehearsals. We envision a lively presentation of a play, some geographical data and lots of small group discussions. We will be looking for ways to ACT!!

*Citrus Heights/American River Branch of AAUW

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards – and Printable Articles

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards Observation
Submitted by Liz Jordan

AAUW CA has approved a new project, the AAUW CA School Board Project, which is to enable monitoring school boards and how they may be affected by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials. This is happening in numerous other states and may also be underway in CA.

The AAUW California Public Policy Committee has been approached by an organization called Equality California, whose mission is to “… bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United Statesstriving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.”  Their current and most immediate concern is the country-wide wave to install extremely regressive members on school boards, by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups.

AAUW California shares this concern.  We recognize the intersectionality of the challenges faced by all women – be they straight, white women; women of color; or lesbian, bisexual or transgender women – and support the struggles of all our sisters.

As an organization that was founded on the principle of advancing educational opportunities for women and girls, we also share Equality California’s alarm at the speed and breadth of educational policies that are taking those efforts backwards.  We, like they, want to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen in California.

Equality California has called on us to join their efforts to assess the current climate in California, and to help them identify and support non-partisan school board candidates who can counter this trend.  Their organization is looking for qualified progressive candidates whom they will train and financially support to run in the most vulnerable districts.  The state Public Policy Committee has voted to engage, and the AAUW California Board of Directors has approved our decision.  Now it’s your turn – we need your help!  With over 9,000 members, we are in a unique position to provide “eyes and ears” on the ground to assist this project.  We are calling on each of you – the public policy leaders for your branches – to get us started by completing a brief survey – which you can find here https://forms.gle/fQj7JyBdiLLLwsTC6 – by the end of May. Once we have the results, we can determine additional ways in which you can each be of service.  Working together, we CAN make a difference!

Printable Newsletter Articles

Click here for Printable Newsletter Articles.

Public Policy

Public Policy News By Liz Jordan

AAUW CA Promotes its Priorities with the Legislature, Prepares for a Vote on New Ones

By Ginny Hatfield, Amy Hom and Kathi Harper, AAUW CA Public Policy Committee       

If you participated in this year’s Lobby Days on March 21 and 22, you know it was a whirlwind of activity.  Over two jam-packed days, 120 AAUW CA members from 50 branches met with 46 Assembly offices and 23 Senate offices.  Most of the meetings took place via Zoom and the majority took place without a hitch.  For the first time, some of our members met in person in Sacramento.

While most meetings were conducted with legislative staff, we were able this year to schedule 10 meetings with the members themselves — six Assemblymembers and four Senators.  In addition, Kathi Harper, AAUW CA Public Policy Chair, and Kathy Van Osten, our AAUW CA Legislative Advocate, met with the Governor’s staff and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.

We were happy to learn that our organization was known to many of the legislative staff and legislators with whom our members met.  Some had spoken to branches in their districts; others were familiar with our public policy priorities and expressed alignment and support for them; and a handful were appreciative of the background we provided about our mission and programs. A sterling endorsement came from none other than Alf Brandt, policy consultant for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, whose mother was an AAUW member in the 1940’s in Orange County.  He credits her involvement in AAUW “making me the man I am today.”

The reception of our “Top 3” bills — AB 1394, SB 287 and AB 549 – was generally favorable, especially the two social media bills.  Both staff and legislators could identify with the pervasive problem of having children who are or will be targeted by social media.  AB 549 needed a bit more explaining, as some were unfamiliar with CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  You can find more information on these and all the bills we are supporting here: https://www.aauw-ca.org/documents/2023/03/bill-tracking.pdf/.

During our Lobby Days event, we were able to get our message across to those who make our laws and to highlight AAUW, our mission, accomplishments and the benefits we bring to our communities throughout CA.  It was an empowering exercise in advocacy and for those of you who participated, AAUW CA thanks you!

Adding this reminder: it’s time to vote on the updates to the Public Policy Priorities for 2023-25.   In response to input from 466 members, the state Public Policy Committee has recommended and the Board has approved 11 changes, which can be viewed here: https://www.aauw-ca.org/2023-proposed-public-policy-priorities/.  Highlighted additions include support for: civics education, access to diverse staff and curriculum, safe infrastructure and access to technology in our schools, gun violence prevention, and a fourth pillar to support women in leadership roles. Voting opens April 22. Make sure you make your voice heard!

Focus on Women’s Health

Focus on Women’s Health By Lisa Howard

With the Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court in May 2022, access to women’s health care was put at risk across the country.  Many of us have granddaughters, daughters and friends of child-bearing age that live in states where pregnancy now holds greater risk than it has for previous generations. The choice of pushing the decision back to the states has left many women who live in jurisdictions with government leadership supportive of women’s health wringing our hands about how to help as the horror unfolds in other states.  For the Sacramento AAUW women that gathered to discuss the threat to women’s health (the Reproductive Choice Committee), our first task was to gather resources.

While we haven’t yet figured out how to take action on this knowledge, we recognize that a first step we can each take is to share information with others so that more people understand what and where restrictions are being built into the law. Perhaps a small step each of us can take is to share the legal actions being taken and the resulting stories of impact on women’s individual lives with friends and families who are constituents of the leaders seeking to remove their rights.

Resources for you:

AAUW National Position on Women’s Health Protection
The Rally for Abortion Justice — and Beyond

Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act!

  • Contact your elected officials.
  • Write a Letter to your Editor
  • Build Community

AAUW members have been participating in Planned Parenthood events – https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/rightfully-ours/bans-off-our-bodies#events

Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a dashboard of state actions against women’s health – https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/dashboard/abortion-in-the-u-s-dashboard/

There are at least two women who have dedicated themselves to investigating and surfacing human stories that really provide personal context to the issues – https://substack.com/profile/535611-jessica-valenti

Reproductive Choice Committee Update

Reproductive Choice Committee Update By Liz Jordan

The Reproductive Choice Committee is reading “Lady Justice: Women, the law, and the Battle to Save America”, by Dahlia Lithwick, in three steps over the next three months.  This book tells the stories about 10 women who, since 2016, responded to issues of inequity with action, including Sally Yates, the acting U.S. Attorney General, who refused to sign off on the Muslim Travel ban; Becca Heller, the founder of a refugee assistance program who brought the fight to the airports; Roberta Kaplan, the litigator who sued the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville; and Stacy Abrams, who fought to protect voting rights of millions of Georgians.

This text includes substantial notes and references that may be of interest to one or all of us.  Following is our assignment for all who wish to participate:

  1. Read and/or listen to the book up to Chapter 4 or to page 67 by the next meeting, March 13 at 1 p.m.
  2. Select a passage in any part of the assigned reading we wish to discuss with the group.
  3. Look over the reference notes for the three assigned chapters and find a reference to investigate and share your findings with the group on March 13.
  4. We will ask one of our attending members to write a brief paragraph about one passage discussed and one reference that could be of interest to others for the April issue of Capital Ideas.

If you would like to join us for our discussion, please contact Liz Jordan.  Her contact information is available in the Directory.

Elections Finally Over –  How’d We Do in ’22?

Elections Finally Over –  How’d We Do in ’22?

By Kathi Harper, Public Policy Chair AAUW California

The election is finally over!  In addition to an end to the non-stop requests for donations, AAUW members can be pretty happy with the results.  Here are a few highlights:

  • 1 woman each was added to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, bringing the numbers to 124 (H) and 25 (S)
  • Of the total of 149, 54 are women of color
  • We lost the most powerful woman in government (Nancy Pelosi) but still have a woman on the Minority leadership team, Minority Whip Katherine Clark
  • Governors of 12 states are now women
  • 23% of all mayors across the nation are women, including our brand new and first female mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass
  • 20 women won new seats in the California Legislature and 30 female incumbents were re-elected, bringing the total to 50 – but still just 42%
  • All executive positions in California except Governor are filled by women, including Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, and Controller, as well as the Senate Pro Tem
  • Proposition 1 prevailed and women’s right to control their own reproductive choices is now enshrined in our constitution.

And here are some fun facts:

  • Only 3.2% of all members of Congress to date have been women
  • California has sent more women to Congress than any other state – a total of 47 to date
  • Vermont is the only state that has never sent a woman to either the House or the Senate

The State Public Policy committee thanks each and every AAUW California member who voted,  who assisted in our Voter Education (VE) campaign by spreading our messages on social media, who took the pledge to vote for Prop 1 (we had 437 sign up!) and who worked within their branches to do their own VE events.

For a more detailed analysis of the election results, visit https://www.aauw-ca.org/got-voter-fatigue/

AAUW CA Tidbits

AAUW CA Tidbits, Forwarded by Liz Jordan

AAUW CA Office New Mailing Address:

Due to the closure of our local UPS facility, we have moved our mailing address to:

AAUW California
PO Box 160067
Sacramento, California 95816-0067  

AAUW FUND                                                                                                                           

Karen Vanderwerken, Director, AAUW Fund Committee Chair, aauwfund@aauw-ca.org

Zooming In: factoids from our record four Fund Events:

  • 38 of 41 California scholars/grantees presented.
  • 376 members registered with 141 unique viewers.
  • 57 average number branches attended each session.
  • 17 branch positions participated.

View the 2022 recipients, read their bios, watch any of the videos of the four Fund Events, and/or donate to AAUW by clicking HERE.

Are you looking for a branch or IBC program speaker?  Schedule one of our scholars/grantees to provide a more detailed presentation through April 2023. Click HERE to request a scholar/grantee speaker for your branch.


Dec. 31, 2022, is the deadline for donating this year to AAUW Fund. Use Branch/Individual Contribution Form when sending in branch and member donations.

Remember Legacy Circle Gifting!  What will be your AAUW legacy?
Contact Charmen Goehring at charminme@yahoo.com or Judy Horan at queenjah@pacbell.net

Consider using your IRA RMD (required minimum distribution) by giving directly to AAUW. Contact: cfo@aauw-ca.org.

Giving your time, your energy, and your dollars — all make AAUW California Fund great.


NOMINATIONS & ELECTIONS                                                                                   

Charmen Goehring, Nominations & Elections Chair, nominating@aauw-ca.org

This year we are looking for a President-Elect to serve one year followed by two years as president. I know that Sandi will be leaving some big shoes to fill. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses to share. Come forward and let your light shine. We need someone who cares about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Women’s Rights, Financial Security and so much more.Please think at least twice before you say you can’t do it.  AAUW matters, women matter, everyone deserves a chance.  If President-Elect is too big a bite, how about CFO or one of the director positions?


National Member Perks

You may not know or, perhaps, have forgotten that AAUW members get all sorts of perks. You can get discounts on cruises, cars, and car insurance. Check out the bucketsful of deals on the national website HERE. And whenever you take advantage of these benefits, AAUW receives royalties to support its work.


Public Policy

The election is finally over and overall, AAUW members can be pretty happy with the results.  Here are a few highlights:

  • One woman was added to each house of Congress: the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, bringing the numbers to 124 (H) and 25 (S).
  • Of the total of 149, 54 are women of color.
  • With Nancy Pelosi stepping down as Speaker of the House, we lost the most powerful woman’s voice in government, but still have a woman on the minority leadership team, Minority Whip Katherine Clark.
  • Governors of 12 states are now women.
  • 23 percent of all mayors across the nation are women, including our brand-new and first woman mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass.
  • 32 women won seats in the California Legislature (total confirmed 44, three pending)
  • All executive positions in California except Governor are filled by women, including Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, and Controller.
  • Proposition 1 prevailed and women’s right to control their own reproductive choices is now enshrined in our constitution.

The state Public Policy Committee thanks each and every AAUW California member who voted, who assisted in our Voter Education (VE) campaign by spreading our messages on social media, who took the pledge to vote for Prop. 1 (we had 437 sign up!), and who worked within their branches to do their own VE events.

Next challenge:  Let’s add California to that list of states with a woman governor!  Together we can – and will – change the world!

Public Policy: Lobby Days

Lobby Days are Here Again…. By Ginny Hatfield, AAUW California Public Policy Committee Member

Save the Dates …. March 21 and March 22, are the AAUW CA scheduled Lobby Days, so mark your calendars and be sure to sign up to participate when our Lobby Day registration arrives in your January mailbox.

Advocating for our top three priority bills is fundamental to achieving our legislative priorities by addressing economic security for all women, providing equal access to public education and insuring social and racial justice for all members of society. We need all members on board and will be counting on you to reach out to our elected officials in the CA Legislature.

Our Public Policy Committee will make it easy for you to do so. This year, instead of a full week, Lobby Day will consist of two days and will occur while the Legislature is in session, not on break. Hopefully, this will provide more opportunity to actually speak with a member in lieu of a staffer.  Our plans are to make it hybrid – virtual and in-person. Those branches in and around Sacramento would have the option of in-person meetings at the Capitol with the remaining branches meeting virtually or in-person with staffers in the district. So, a bit more flexibility this year as the committee feels it’s beneficial to establish relationships with our elected leaders’ local staff.

Our AAUW legislative advocate will be scheduling meetings with the member offices willing to participate, and once you return your Lobby Day survey, the committee will begin to assemble branch participants and match them with Assembly and Senate districts in order to assign teams.  We will provide you with material on the bills we are supporting and have scheduled a mandatory training webinar for March 20, so you’ll have the information at your fingertips. If you have participated in Lobby Day in the past, we would love to hear from you on what worked and what didn’t. Please send your comments to publicpolicy@aauw-ca.org.

Lobby Day is our chance to make a concerted impact on the priorities and values we, as AAUW members, hold dear.  It brings out the “advocates” in all us for improving the economic and educational lives of women and girls. And goodness knows, we need that commitment now more than ever.  So, mark those calendars and join us on Lobby Day/s.

Reproductive Choice Update

Reproductive Choice Committee By Liz Jordan

Note: The Reproductive Choice Committee meets on the second Monday of each month from 1 to 2 p.m.

At our last meeting, we heard reports on the current political situation on reproductive choice in the states of Arizona, Nevada and Idaho.  Both Arizona and Idaho have become states that are banning, or attempting to ban, a woman’s choice.  Nevada appears to be maintaining a position of support for the right to choose.  We did learn that 60 or more clinics in 15 states are closed, and 14 states have no clinics offering reproductive health care.

The committee has created a Resources List on Google Docs to which we are continuing to add, with annotations, sources both purely factual as well as those using facts to support opinion and argument.  It is available to any branch member and can be made available to others asking to take a look at what we have found thus far.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 14, 2022 from 1 to 2 p.m. The agenda will focus on those questions we have not yet researched.  All members are welcome to join us.  Please contact Liz Jordan for the Zoom invitation.

Public Policy News

2021-22 Legislative Session Closes with Big Wins for AAUW California By Kathi Harper

Note: Kathi Harper is the Chair of the AAUW California Public Policy Committee

At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 30, 2022, the 2021-22 legislative session officially came to a close as it marked the Governor’s deadline for signing or vetoing bills.  The AAUW California Public Policy committee is pleased to announce that we achieved a 70 percent success rate on the bills on our legislative agenda, and 25 of our 36 bills are now law, including seven of our eight top priority bills.  The following is a brief synopsis, by each pillar of our Public Policy Priorities:

Economic Security for All Women

Eight of our bills were signed by the Governor, one was vetoed, and one died in the Legislature.  The most significant bill under this pillar was AB (Assembly Bill) 92, which we co-sponsored.  AB 92 was introduced in 2020, and became a 2-year bill, which is why it remained on this year’s agenda. This bill originally sought a 1-year waiver of supplemental child-care fees for low-income families, with a request for a sliding scale to be applied thereafter. In his 2021 budget, Gov. Newsom included $120 million for two years’ worth of waivers. The bill was then amended to request an additional year of waivers through October 2024, with a sliding scale to then be implemented. Unfortunately, the amended bill was vetoed; however, we are still proud of the work we did to get those two years of waivers in the budget, so we still consider it a win!

Equal Access to Quality Public Education for All Students

Six of these bills were signed by the Governor, one was vetoed, one was approved by the Legislature (no signature required) and two died in the Legislature.  Of particular note under this pillar are three of our top priority bills:  AB 1968, which requires campuses to develop and post uniform guidelines for reporting sexual assault; AB 2881 which provides additional support for college students with dependent children; and AJR 23 (Assembly Joint Resolution), a Title IX 50th Anniversary Proclamation.

Social and Racial Justice for All Members of Society

Eight of these bills were signed by the Governor, one was vetoed, one was incorporated by the Governor into an Executive Order, one was approved by and two died in the Legislature.  We saw success on all four of our top priority bills in this area:  AB 1666, which provides protection for those from other states seeking abortions in California, as well as for those providing services here, from the enforcement of a related civil judgment from their home state; SB (Senate Bill) 523, which requires insurance coverage for over-the-counter contraceptive products; SB 1375, which allows certified nurse-practitioners to perform some early-term abortions; and SCA (Senate Constitutional Amendment) 10.  SCA 10 was introduced in the Senate as a measure to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to enshrine in the California Constitution the right to an abortion and to contraception. When this measure passed in the Senate, it became Proposition 1.

To see the results of all the bills on our 2021-22 legislative agenda, check out our webpage for a full agenda summary, here:  https://www.aauw-ca.org/documents/2022/10/results-of-2021-22-legislative-session.pdf/, or to view our Bill Tracker, here: https://www.aauw-ca.org/documents/2022/10/bill-tracking.pdf/.