AAUW of Oregon Public Policy: Quarterly State Update

Claire Berger and Lisa Verner, Co-Chairs of Public Policy Committee

Committee Purpose(s):  To serve as a clearinghouse, communication center, and public policy advocate on behalf of AAUW of Oregon branches and members; and to encourage engagement in statewide and local public policy efforts that focus on the AAUW mission. 

Committee Goals: To restructure committee processes and protocol to align with purpose; expand committee membership; align all modes of communication; and help branches develop their capacity to support state legislative bills and local priorities.

Copyright: SvetlanaImnadze

 The AAUW of Oregon Public Policy Committee continues to function with an operational model that utilizes two subcommittees to coordinate with branches on public policy (Coordinating with Branches Subcommittee) and analyze and recommend state bills for approval (Bills Analysis Subcommittee).

The Bills Analysis Subcommittee has been watching 11 legislative bills that meet our mission. The bills focus on access to childcare, fixes to Measure 110 (opioids and addiction), affordable housing, a K-12 summer learning grant program, an increase in penalties for companies using child labor, expanding the Children’s Advocacy Center Fund that will set aside funds for establishing more centers around the state addressing abused children, and a bill that prohibits discrimination in textbooks, materials, libraries, etc. for public schools in Oregon. Although the 2024 is relatively short, many bills were introduced. The Committee submitted testimony against HB 4050, a bill to weaken the Fair Pay Act. Luckily, the bill didn’t make it. Peggy Shippen, from the Salem Branch, prepared and sent out an excellent public policy newsletter with more details on the designated bills of interest.

The Coordinating with Branches Subcommittee members analyzed information gleaned from branch interviews, and the full Committee organized the development of three ZOOM informational programs for members.  The first ZOOM session was on how to use the Oregon Legislative Information Session (OLIS) to check on legislative bills and was presented on February 20. The second ZOOM will focus on Book Banning in Oregon and will be presented during the Annual Meeting in April. The third and final ZOOM program will provide information on the November 2024 Election Ballot Measures. The final ZOOM is slated for an early Fall presentation.  Training on Public Policy and use of the Public Policy ToolKit at the branch level is available. Two branches have indicated a desire to move forward in the upcoming months.  Another branch has requested a ZOOM program on public policy.

AAUW of Oregon Public Policy Committee includes: Claire Berger and Lisa Verner, Co-chairs; Nadyne Rosin; Susan Teel; Linda Lybecker; Catherine Lutes; Diana Ricks; Pat Lehman; Sue Klumph; Sharron Noone; Regina Braker; Jo Rossman; Peggy Shippen; and Mary Pat Silviera.

Anyone interested in contributing stories or engaging in the newsletter process should email Peggy Shippen at shippen63@gmail.com. Anyone interested in joining our public policy committee should email Claire Berger at claire.berger248@gmail.com or Lisa Verner at lisaverner815@icloud.com.

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