News You Can Use

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

We are sure pleased to introduce these ladies:  Barb, Meredith, Lisa and Carol.  You’ll find them and their contact info. in the updated Yearbook, accessible from the Members Only page.

MORE DATES TO PUT ON YOUR CALENDAR – MARCH 6, 7, 10, 17 AND APRIL 12, APRIL 17-19

Sara will contact Donna Wright, Roz Edelson, Anne Gant and Toni Ihander on the reminder calls

March 6th,    3:00pm in Columbia Hall – the Prep Group!!  Rosalie McCleary, Melanie Ryan, and Roz Edelson,    Susi Brown and Rhonda Alderman, Sara Meyer, Karen Kenyon
March 7th, 8am-3:30 is our WINGS Conference in Columbia Hall on the College Campus.  Your name and helping task follow:::  AND MANY THANKS!!!  PS:  You are most welcomed to come and experience all or any part of this impressive Conference.
Registration –7:30-8:30  Amber Marcia, Rhonda Alderman, DeeDee Deacon, Toni Ihander, Meredith Payton, Jan Nybakke, and ThitMar,
Runners –       7:30-8:30  Arline LaMear (We still need 2 more)
Child Care – 7:30-10:00-     Janice Horning and Donna Wright
9:45–12:30 –  Janice Horning and Janet Weidman , Meredith Payton
12:15 – 3:30    Janice Horning and DeeDee Deacon ,Meredith Payton
Photos – 7:30-8:30 – Michelle Roth, Sara Meyer

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Tuesday, March 10 5:30pm at the Astoria Library Flag Room.  This will be a member conversation on what goals we want to set for our Branch.  Please make a special effort to come and share who we want our AAUW to be…
Tuesday, March 17th, 7:00pm at the Astoria Library Flag Room.  We will hear from 4 of our  100 Women Who Helped Make Astoria Unique.
Sunday, April 12th 2:00pm at the Judge Boyington Building, 9th & Commercial, Astoria  Our AAUW Branch is co-sponsoring with the Lower Columbia Diversity Project a panel on Equity Pay.
Oregon AAUW State Convention at Eagle Crest, Bend, April 17-19.

WINGS VOLUNTEERS AND UPDATES

Thank you to all who are volunteering to help with our WINGS Conference March 7th.  Just in case you did not make note of what you have said you could do, here is a list so far.

Please note there is room for more help!

Hand out posters in Peninsula, Knappa, Warrenton, Astoria the first week of February

Solicit donations for scholarships and goody bags – mid January through late February

Reminder phone calls to registered women (March 5) and follow up calls after Conference (March 20-May)

Goody bag assembly (Friday March 6)

Program bag assembly (March 6)

Registration  (Saturday ,March 7, 7:00 – 8:30)

Child Care Runners (Saturday, March 7, 7:30-8:30)  need two

Child Care help (this is a changing opportunity – more as we progress)

BRIAN MAHONEY AND CLATSOP COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES

Lots of good information shared with our County Health Services director, Brian Mahoney.  Citizens and regulations require much from the employees and how they manage is quite impressive.  Budget cuts have trimmed their numbers to 3 full-time and 7 part time people.  From this energy, WIC and Public Health clinics happen, statistics are kept and used to monitor health, eating places inspected for cleanliness and laws enforced, septic systems, oversight of county water systems, and much more AND a budget has to be prepared, presented and implemented.    We appreciate how much is cared for by so few!

MINUTES FROM JANUARY 20

Minutes of Astoria AAUW Meeting, Tuesday 1/20/15 at 5:30, Library Flag Room
Regular chairperson and secretary were present
Correction from last month’s minutes:  In the minutes it was reported that our next meeting would be June 20th when it should have said January 20th.
Old Business:
WINGS (March 7th):  We need more volunteers for registration, child care, and handing out flyers.  Hours needed for child care is from 7:30-10:00.
“Farm To Table Movement” (Feb. 12th):  This is our next program.  To be held at Fort George at 7:00.  There will be no business meeting this  evening.
New Business:
State Convention (April 17-19th) @ Eagle Crest.  Registration will come out in a state newsletter.  There is some money to help pay for registration.
Upcoming Functions:  -“Farm To Table Movement” at 7:00 at Fort George.

Next Meeting:  (time change)  March 17th at 7:00 in the Library Flag Room (Tales of our 100 Women)

Hostess:  Kerri Stubb with Sara Meyer
Minutes by Toni Ihander, Secretary

STUDENT CO-OP APARTMENT UPDATE

Three AAUW members met with members of the LCPS Board and continue to plan for a student co-op apartment for 4 Clatsop Community College  women by next Fall.  SO—we will need 2 bunkbeds, 4 small desks,  and dressers for furnishing a one bedroom apartment in the Franklin Apartments!!  If you can share any of this, please hold on to them!  This is a really great step in  helping women get that education they want…

SILVER SALMON AFTER OUR LAST MEETING AND PIZZA AT BAKED ALASKA

I’m having a good time this year, made extra special with getting to know our membership better.  Two recent exchanges saw 4 sharing stories at Silver Salmon after our January 20th meeting and then we invited our new members to a gathering at Baked Alaska where 8 gals had a good sharing on January 29th.  Top that with our party at Jan Nybakke’s home and you can see why I really like us!!  I’ll be looking for company after our 5:30pm meeting on March 10th, and hope you can plan to join me!  (Sara)

STEM PROGRAM WITH TILLAMOOK AAUW

Tillamook AAUW uses the Community College campus and a 4-H dorm to house the just completed 7th grade girls.

For 2015, they plan on accepting 35 girls from the Oregon Coast to attend the week-long camp sometime in June.

If you or any branches are interested in helping financially or by volunteering, you can reach me by my email: mkg4953@gmail.com.

Astoria AAUW will interview applicants from Warrenton, Knappa and Astoria schools. (If you’d like to join Meredith and Jan, let Sara know)  The grant Tillamook AAUW received from National is $10,000, but they still need to raise funds for costs beyond the grant.

If you are in a STEM profession, you could volunteer to present at our Professional Women’s evening event; a time when the girls meet women in a variety of STEM professions. Our camp last summer was a wonderful success, and we’re hoping this next one will be bigger and better!

LEGISLATIVE DAY IN SALEM JANUARY 13TH. 

THE LATEST:

You have hopefully received an email from national AAUW about Legislative Process Day which takes place on Tuesday, January 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 a..m. at the Oregon State Library, Rooms 102 / 103, Salem.  The purpose of the Day is to acquaint ourselves with the “how to’s” of the legislative process so we can more effectively advocate about the issues we believe are so important for the women of Oregon. I’m attaching an agenda — although it is still in draft form — which includes legislative and media panels.  Co-Presidents Joyce Zook and Penney Hoodenpyle, as well as Trish Garner, will be speaking briefly about AAUW of Oregon’s efforts to maximize our impact on our state’s legislative process.  The Oregon League of Women Voters website for registration is:   http://www.lwvor.org.

STATE PUBLIC POLICY NEWS

This is from our State Public Policy Chair, Trish Garner.  It’s good reading and gives us opportunities to have an impact. Please let Sara know if you want to work on the ChildCare survey, and connect with the action alert to lend our strength to the legislative process!

Hello One and All –

The 2015 Legislative Session is off and running !! That means that it is time for all of us to get serious about our input on the bills that we are interested in. It has in fact been so busy — and I am learning so much, so quickly about the Oregon legislative process — that I’d better get to this email or it’ll be too late!

There are three sections. The first is an Action Alert about a meet-and-greet at the Capitol this coming February 11th. Please let me know if you can come. The 2nd section outlines our legislative agenda, and I have attached a summary copy of the bills that relate to our three priorities — Pay Equity, Paid Sick Leave and Childcare Financial Assistance for Students. As to the latter issue, I propose a Project — that each branch collect information abut the challenges student parents experience in obtaining childcare. I then discuss “Whats Next,” which poses some additional ways that you can become more directly involved in the public policy process.

ACTION ALERT

Before Before getting into the meat of the issues that relate to the broader legislative agenda, I have just learned that there will be a Pay Equity Lobbying 101 meeting / coffee / meet-and-greet on Wednesday, February 11, beginning at 9 a.m. in Room 167A in the Capital. It is generally sponsored by the Bureau of Labor and Industries and Commissioner Brad Avakian is expected to attend. A number of legislators, including Representative Vega Pederson and Jennifer Williamson also plan to attend, as well as representatives from the Oregon Council on Civil Rights. The schedule is as follows:
9 a.m. – Coffee and Introductions
10 a.m. – Lobbying 101
11 a.m. – Floor visit
12 p.m. – Meet and Greet with Legislators
1 p.m. – Legislator visits (if desired)
Please Come !! I know this is late notice, but if you an — Please let others in your branch know of this event. Let me know if you can come!! I’ll be there.

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

As you know, the 2015 legislative session has begun and the first deadline to “drop” bills has passed. Legislators now only have a limited number of additional or “priority” bills they can present for legislative consideration, so the list of bills I am sending you should therefore generally describe the legislative agenda — at least insofar as the matters we are interested in. The next deadline is April 10th — if Committee work sessions have not been scheduled for a given bill by that date, it won’t proceed any further and will be “dead.”

The Bills We are Focusing On

A summary of each bill follows, which legislators are sponsoring it and the Committee to which it has been assigned. I would appreciate your reviewing this list. If there is any other legislation or issue you know about that we should be tracking, please let me know. I would also ask you to check and see whether your legislator is included in the “sponsor” list. Knowing this information will be important when you communicate with your Representative about legislation.

Sick Leave

As an introduction — the first sick leave policy was passed in San Francisco in 2006. Washington, DC did so in 2008, and Seattle and Connecticut followed with similar legislation in 2011. New York City, Newark and Jersey City, NJ have also implemented sick leave policies. Last year Portland and Eugene passed sick leave laws. At present, Oregon House Bill 2005 and Senate Bill 454 propose mandatory sick leave for all employees at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 56 hours per year. I have some information regarding the success of the sick leave measures in San Francisco and Connecticut, and in particular how they show that the business community has not in fact been hurt by the passage of the measures. Please let me know if you wish me to send out this information (this email seems long enough !!!)

The differences between Portland and Eugene’s policies presage some of the debate which will likely play out in our state legislature. The City of Portland passed a “protected sick time” law on March 13, 2013 in which all businesses within the city limits must provide sick leave. Employers with 6 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid, protected sick leave per year. Employers with fewer than 6 employees must provide up to 40 hours of “protected” sick time, but can choose whether to provide paid or unpaid time. Eugene adopted the 40-hour time frame but also provided that all employed persons will earn paid sick time while they work, regardless of the number of employees. The issue which will surface at the state legislative level is not only whether to pass sick leave legislation at all or what it might look like, but also whether the state sick leave legislation will preempt local law. This cuts both ways. As we can see, House Bill 2005 and Senate Bill 454 are more generous than both Portland’s or Eugene’s laws. If, on the other hand, the legislature decides to pass paid or protected sick leave laws that provide for fewer benefits and provides that it will preempt local law, then the more generous local laws will be overruled. Of course, the legislature can also decide not to preempt local decisions in this area regardless of how they define sick leave benefits.

I am also attaching some information from Family Forward, one of the coalitions we work with, about this issue.

Pay Equality

This issue is presented with House Bill 2006 and, to a lesser extent, Senate Bill 491. The House bill is fairly straightforward: it is an unlawful employment practice to pay employees of the opposite sex at different wages rates to those who hold equivalent jobs. I will note that the Chief Sponsors do not include House Speaker Tina Kotek or other House leadership members, but does include Democratic Senate Leader Diane Rosenbaum. I am not sure what this means, but I do take note of it. The Senate bill provides that a state contracting agency cannot prequalify contracts for goods and services if the bidder employs 40 or more workers and the contract exceeds $500,000 unless the bidder submits a certificate that shows that it has completed a training program for compliance with pay equity provisions. I anticipate a lively debate on Bill 2006.

Also related to the pay equity legislation are House Bill 2010 regarding flexible, predictable and stable work schedules and House Bill 2007 regarding wage transparency. In looking at these bills and if support for Pay Equity is not sufficient, House Bill 2010 may be seen as a fall-back position — but we do not want to see the issue framed in this way or have this outcome take place. As many of you may recognize, House Bill 2007 echoes the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that AAUW has so ardently supported.

Minimum Wage

Although an increase in the minimum wage is not one of our named priorities (which include Pay Equity, Paid Sick Leave, Childcare Financial Assistance for Students), it is relevant to the entire pay equity issue. In fact, some may see an increase in the minimum wage as a replacement for and an equivalent to pay equity. The argument there is that more money in the hands of workers includes women as well — while, of course, still maintaining gender (and class) inequality. As you will see, there are two bills on this issue. Both provide for graduated wage hikes, but House Bill 2009 eventually raises the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. House Bill 2008 / Senate Bill 327 halts the increase to a level of 5 cents above the federal poverty level for a family of four. I am attaching the information on federal poverty levels so you can see what that means.

Childcare Financial Assistance to Students

There are two tracks to this legislation. One is the extension of a tax credit for childcare expenses for those who meet certain income levels and work or attend school (House Bill 2115 and Senate Bill 47). You will also see that House Bill 2015 addresses the same issue but approaches it differently. This bill provides for a subsidy or voucher (not a tax credit) for parents enrolled in coursework in the same manner as those who receive subsidies under the Employment-Related Child Care (ERDC) program. These benefits are keyed to the federal poverty level and at this point the Department of Human Services has placed a cap on enrollment of about 9,500 individuals. It is difficult to predict which bill will succeed, but given the low amount of incomes that eligible women receive in order to qualify for the subsidy, it is unclear whether a tax credit would really have a a significant impact on student parents.

I want to add here that I believe that if there is one bill which we can most directly influence, it is House Bill 2015. It is not necessarily in the forefront of legislative or media attention such as, for example, Pay Equity and Paid Sick Leave. Its importance, however, is HUGE. We need to be heard !!

A PROJECT ??

In looking into the issue of childcare financial assistance to students, I was inspired and very impressed with the work that the On-Line branch did in collecting information about child care alternatives in a number of local colleges. Co-President Joyce Zook collated the information and prepared a report, which I attach. I believe it would be great if each branch embarks on a similar study. We need to let our legislators know how limited the child care resources are for our students. Please let me know if this sounds like a good idea to and whether I can anticipate receiving a report from you. [Hint, hint !!] Joyce says that the following are questions they asked or discovered to be important:
1. Are child care programs on campus or very near campus?
2. Are fees reduced for college students?
3. Is there an application process in place for a student to request reduced rates for child care?
4. Do these programs allow working parents to bring children for care? If so, is there a difference in the rate for care?
5. Can any student get child care services (or is there a limit)?
6. Does the child care service allow “drop-ins” or half-days of care?
7. Is there a waiting list for student parents who have applied for care, but have not been offered services because there is no space for them?
8. What are the hours of operations for child care? Are they flexible to allow for care when students may be in evening classes?

If and when you are interested in this Project, I would also suggest getting some examples from students or school officials about the need for childcare financial assistance. We could then present these experiences to legislators and in Committee hearings in support of childcare financial assistance legislation. I would make sure, however, that the people who give us this information know that it may be used for that purpose. I do not propose identifying the speakers except as a “student from Portland Community College” or “an administrator / teacher from Clatsop Community College.” I am sure you will not have any difficulty in identifying these kinds of stories, and being able to present this information is critical to advancing the legislation.

WHAT NEXT?

It would seem to me that at this point each of you may wish to consider how active you want to be in the legislative process. I have heard over and over again from legislators and lobbyists that real experiences from real Oregonians can have a real impact on whether legislation passes, languishes or goes away. You have an opportunity to be a part of this process by contacting your legislator and/or participating in Committee hearings. If you wish to contact a legislator, you need to make an advance appointment with the office staff. You can write a statement to be presented at a Committee hearing — although a one-pager is more than enough, or you can come to Salem and testify. If you do wish to engage in these activities, please coordinate with me. We want to make sure that our communications are on message, coherent and effective — and importantly, reflect the positions of AAUW of OR. There are also some protocols to follow when speaking with your representative or testifying — they are straightforward but important.

As you may know, you can sign up to track bills through the Oregon legislature website (https://www.oregonlegislature.gov). I will, of course, be doing my best to track this information and advise you what is happening, but I hope that some of you would like to establish a more active presence as well. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO!! WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER !!

If you have any questions about how to make your presence in Salem more effective, please mark your personal and branch calendars to attend Lobby Day — which takes place on Tuesday, May 12. Portland Branch member Liz Estabrooks will be organizing the event (eae2126@columbia.edu). Thank you Liz!

As a final note, I want to let you know that Representatives Jessica Vega Pederson and Jennifer Williamson are launching an Oregon Women and Families Economic Success Agenda. Attached is an initial description of the Agenda and, as you will see, their interests are right up our alley! I will certainly be following up on this Agenda, but I commend it to your attention as well.

Whew! That is it for now. Please let me know if this information is helpful. In case you have not already noticed, I believe that we have a real opportunity to have an impact on legislation which is important to the women of Oregon.

Warmly (and don’t forget to look at the attachments below !!),
Trish

Trish Garner
Chair, Public Policy
AAUW of OR
503-407-2341
garner37@mac.com

NATIONAL AAUW NEWS

You are hereby ordered to access our national website at www.AAUW.org

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