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.

The AAUW of Oregon Breaking Barriers Achievement Award 2024 Recipient

Jenifer Willer, City Engineer for Eugene, Oregon

The AAUW Eugene-Lane Branch nominee is the recipient of this year’s Breaking Barriers Achievement Award. Jenifer Willer is a stellar example of a successful woman in a male-dominated field. Receiving the American Public Works Association (APWA) award as one of the Top Ten Leaders of 2022 increased her local visibility. She used multiple interviews and news articles to promote the need for women in engineering.

Jenifer also created and received budget approval for a new city Equity and Accessibility Analyst position in the Engineering Division. The position leads efforts to implement the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Transition Plan for the public right of way, provides training to staff, and supports the equitable implementation of city projects.

Jenifer has many professional technical and managerial accomplishments, such as spearheading an environmentally friendly sustainable pavement preservation program and connecting directly with city residents to ascertain how to improve things, furthering inclusion. To support Eugene’s Climate Action Plan, Jenifer obtained approval and funding for a Climate Action Analyst position within her department. This position provides a dedicated, focused resource to identify ways to implement the plan, such as where and when to plant trees and identify strategies and tools to reduce greenhouse emissions for projects.

13th Avenue protected bikeways in Eugene, Ore. Photo from City of Eugene

Eugene’s dedicated bike lanes are another significant public works project led by Jenifer and her team. These new lanes are creatively engineered to prevent cyclists from riding on sidewalks or the wrong way in an auto lane and improve traffic safety for drivers and cyclists.

Jenifer embodies professionalism, expertise, and personal dedication to improving the quality of life in her community through the advancement of public works services and technology. She has demonstrated the ability to succeed in her chosen field and to encourage and mentor new civil engineers. She has worked to educate others and continually seeks opportunities to talk about the field and its importance to all in their daily lives and their communities. Jenifer’s work at the City of Eugene supports AAUW of Oregon’s sustainability, equity, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Jenifer continues to reach out to the community with interviews and articles – to educate the need for women engineers. She emulates all the leadership qualities promoted by AAUW – communication skills, leadership skills, facilitation skills, inclusivity, collaboration, and partnerships. She is a role model for women and girls in much more than her engineering career!

AAUW of Oregon proudly recognizes Jenifer Willer as a “breaker of barriers!”

2023 Breaking Barriers Award Winner: Andrea Reeder

Andrea Reeder is currently the vice president and executive director of Asante Foundation in Medford, OR.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western Governors University.

Prior to her career in health care philanthropy, Andrea developed fundraising programs and capital campaigns for private schools across the country, impacting women and girls early in her career. She also spent 12 years as a restaurateur.

Andrea was hired by Asante in 2014 as Director of Development. In 2018, she was named Campaign Director, leading the strategic planning and execution of AsanteForward, a capital campaign to support Asante’s expansion efforts—the largest philanthropic effort in the history of the region.

Promoted to her current position in 2022, she now advocates and mentors women who are working and going to school.

2023 Legislative Accomplishments

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

The 2023 Oregon State Legislative Session has ended!  The AAUW of Oregon Public Policy Team is very pleased that many bills we advocated for and submitted testimony for made it through the House and Senate and signed by Governor Tina Kotek.

The 2023 Oregon State Legislative Session has ended!  The AAUW of Oregon Public Policy Team is very pleased that a number of bills we advocated and submitted testimony for this session made it through the House and Senate and are now law.

Senate Bill (SB) 599 requires landlords to allow child care facilities to be located in rental properties with some conditions if the tenant wants to operate such facilities.

HB 2468 is a companion bill to SB 599.  It authorizes the Early Learning Council to adopt reasonable requirements for landlords of tenants who operate certified family childcare home in tenant’s dwelling.

SB 519 calls for expungement of juvenile court records if requested.

SB 424 prohibits post-secondary institutions from withholding transcripts for students with outstanding bills due to the institution.

House Bill (HB) 2002 established reproductive rights and gender-affirming care as it was prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned.  The final (3rd) version was a compromise between Democrats and Republican Senators to end the Republican walkout in the State Senate.

HB 2535 calls for doulas to be available pre- and post-birth to pregnant women inmates at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.

HB 3005 provides financial assistance for allowable costs related to early childcare infrastructure activities.

HB 2727 calls for a work group to examine strategies for expanding this state’s early learning and care facilities.

The full text of each bill can be found in the “Text” section located under each bill number in OLIS (Oregon Legislative Information System) https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1 .

Our heart-felt thanks go out to each member of the Bills Analysis Subcommittee of the State Public Policy Committee: Chair Regina Ayars, Claire Berger, Trish Garner, Jo Rossman, Sharron Noone, and Lisa Verner.

DEIB Agenda Items: Let’s Get to Work!

You may also have noticed the addition of “Belonging” to “DEI.” Our task is not just to “include” others or lower barriers that allow “them” to join “us” and our ways of doing things.

Belonging is more. It’s the feeling that everyone is an important, integral, valued, and respected member of our group. That everyone is needed to paint the whole picture.

1. Revision of Diversity Statement. Apropos of the “belonging” concept discussed above, we are thinking about changing AAUW of OR’s Diversity Statement. It’s an effort to incorporate the concept of “belonging” into our DEIB efforts. This is something the Board will have to determine but it would be helpful to hear from you. Here is proposed language:

In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks an inclusive organization, leadership team and board of directors where all people are seen, heard and respected. We welcome diversity and strive to build a caring and equitable community.

Here’s what our Diversity Statement currently provides:

In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks an inclusive membership, workforce, leadership team and board of directors. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, geographical location, national origin, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
(rev. AAUW, June 2018)

2. Formation of State Diversity Committee:  I believe it would be a good idea to form a State Diversity Committee. Please let me know if you are interested!! [Trish Garner at garner37@mac.com]

3. Examples of Branch Diversity Action: Many of you have likely already done something like this, but in advancing DEIB, your Branch may wish to (a) hold a luncheon or breakfast [Sunday?] honoring women from underserved communities or (b)have individual AAUW of OR members join organizations more diverse than we are and establish relationships with members of those organizations. Just some thoughts.

January 2023 Public Policy Update

The State Public Policy Committee is preparing for the upcoming legislative session and attended Legislative Day Committee Meetings in early December as a precursor to the formal opening of the 2023 Legislative Session in late January or early February.

The committee is looking for possible legislation that addresses our mission of gender equity and identifying specific legislators and organizations that support the legislation.

The areas of interest include housing, education, early childhood and childcare, healthcare, and age discrimination.

An age discrimination bill (LC 2503) is moving forward and does five things:

  • Restricts the use of characteristics such as salary, retirement, and pension eligibility and healthcare costs which are common subterfuges for age discrimination;
  • Ensures that older workers are given a fair chance during hiring processes by prohibiting employers from requiring age or graduation dates of applicants before completing the initial interview;
  • Prohibits the use of age-preference language in job advertisements;
  • Reaffirms that a bona fide seniority system or offer of voluntary early retirement plans are not discriminatory; and
  • Removes the age restriction on apprenticeship training to comply with federal law.

Given that a bill like this was approved by the committee in the last session, we will support the bill and the organization POWER (Protect Older Workers Employment Rights) to advance the bill.

The committee expects to identify other legislation as bills start to emerge.

The committee urges all AAUW branches and members to familiarize themselves with their local legislators elected to office in the November mid-term election. Some areas have new representatives due to redistricting. We will send out a link to all members with access to their updated legislator contact information in January.

Nadyne Rosin and Claire Berger, Co-Chairs

Fall Oregon News: AAUW-OR YouTube is a Wealth of Resources

August is the time when Oregon AAUW typically holds a Summer Leadership meeting.  We held the last one in person in August 2019 at Western Oregon University.  Since then, our meetings have been on Zoom (remember Summer Skills Camp, Summer Skills Camp 2.1 and Continuing Education?), and we had more sessions than we would have if we had met in person. Our brilliant Events Coordinator/Zoom Guru, Nancy Brown, has recorded (and carefully edited!) and posted over 35 sessions on YouTube.

In June 2022, at our first in-person board meeting in two and a half years, the Board agreed that we should hold off on a summer meeting and instead re-introduce you to the wonders of Zoom/YouTube so that you could explore the topics that interest you at your own pace. After you view sessions, we encourage you to talk with your colleagues, state officers, and other branches to discuss what you learned and what you want help with.

To help you determine what you might be interested in, we have arranged the YouTube presentations by general category. The list is not comprehensive, but once you get on our YouTube channel (AAUW of Oregon YouTube), you will see other programs you might want to view. Besides the training events, there are videos of annual meetings, awards celebrations, special branch programs and lobby events.

Note: AAUW Oregon YouTube is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJOb-EcZjf55EiP_r8upeYQ. When we get 100 subscribers, we can get a custom URL that is easier to find. So, please subscribe if you haven’t already.)

Programs related to leadership

  • Making Meetings Worthwhile and Fun – 8/19/20
  • What Do AAUW State and National Do For Us? – 8/8/20
  • Exemplary Branch Programs – 8/22/20
  • Where Will We Find Our Next Leaders? – 8/13/20
  • AAUW Membership Matters – 8/15/20
  • Roberts Rules of Order & Mock Meeting – 10/26/20
  • Leadership Succession – 11/16/20
  • AAUW Fund: How to Support AAUW and Why – 12/10/20
  • How to Build/Rebuild a Branch – 1/6/21
  • AAUW Five Star Program – 1/14/21
  • Mission Related Programs – 1/20/21
  • Town Hall with AAUW Board Chair Julia Brown – 3/22/21
  • Care and Feeding of Volunteers – 8/18/21
  • Successful Branch Projects – 11/3/21
  • Meet AAUW CEO Gloria Blackwell – 1/24/22

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Anti-Racism

  • The Votes for Women Movement in Oregon and the Continuing Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights – 8/9/20
  • The Work We Need to Do – 8/11/20
  • What Needs to Change? – 10/28/20
  • Traumatic Real Origins of Thanksgiving – 12/1/20
  • Bias and Hate and What the Oregon DOJ is Doing – 1/29/21
  • How Far We Have Come – 1/4/21
  • Coalition Building for Oregon’s Latinx Families – 2/21/21
  • Critical Race Theory – 8/23/21


  • Tech Talk with Nancy: Using Zoom – 10/19/20
  • Tech Talk with Nancy: Facebook Pages & Mailchimp – 5/6/21
  • Mailchimp – 12/14/20
  • Instagram for Branches – 1/17/21
  • Tech Talk with Nancy: Instagram Posting from a Computer – 3/13/21
  • Tech Office Hours with Lily – 12/6/21
  • Working Effectively with Social Media to Promote Your Branch – 8/10/21
  • Website Fundamentals – 8/19/21
  • Is Mailchimp for Your Branch? – 8/25/21


  • Prof. Kimberly Jensen keynote: The Votes for Women Movement in Oregon – 8/3/20
  • Mindful Activism and Self Care – 8/15/20
  • Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson keynote – 4/20/21
  • Why We Are in AAUW: STEM with West Linn High School Robotics Team – 8/16/21
  • Downsizing: Don’t Let Stuff Stop You – 8/26/21
  • Aging Gracefully – 4/8/22
  • Rep. Pam Marsh Keynote: Bridging the Gap – 4/8/22
  • AAUW CEO Gloria Blackwell Opening Remarks – 4/9/22

Fall Oregon News: On the Ballot

There will be four referenda on this November’s ballot. Here they are for your perusal as well as the pros and cons to aid your choice in voting. We all know AAUW members excel at making our voices heard at the ballot box.

Oregon Measure 111, the Right to Healthcare Amendment, is on the ballot in Oregon as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 8, 2022.[1]

  • A “yes” vote supports amending the state constitution to require that the state “ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”
  • A “no” vote opposes amending the state constitution to require that the state “ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”

Measure 111 would add a section to the Oregon Constitution establishing a right to “cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care” for every Oregon resident. The amendment would require the state to balance the obligation of ensuring a right to healthcare against funding public schools and other essential public services. The amendment also states that legal remedies for lawsuits brought against the proposed section may not interfere with the balance between a right to healthcare and funding other essential public services.

This bill is widely supported but has no funding mechanism or plan for implementation. It would be the first adopted by any state to secure the right to affordable health care for all state residents.

Oregon Measure 112, the Remove Slavery as Punishment for Crime from Constitution Amendment, is on the ballot in Oregon as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 8, 2022.[1]

  • A “yes” vote supports: repealing language from the state constitution that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments and adding language that authorizes an Oregon court or a probation or parole agency to order alternatives to incarceration for a convicted individual as part of their sentencing.
  • A “no” vote opposes this amendment to repeal language from the state constitution that prohibits slavery or involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime.

Measure 112 would remove language in the Oregon Constitution that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments, thereby prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude without exception. The amendment would also add language authorizing an Oregon court or a probation or parole agency to order alternatives to incarceration for a convicted individual as part of their sentencing.[2]

As of January 2021, Oregon was one of 10 states that had a provision prohibiting enslavement and involuntary servitude but with an exception for criminal punishments.

Oregon Measure 113, the Exclusion from Re-election for Legislative Absenteeism Initiative, is on the ballot in Oregon as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 8, 2022.[1][2]

  • A “yes” vote supports disqualifying legislators from re-election following the end of their term if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse.
  • A “no” vote opposes disqualifying legislators from re-election following the end of their term if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse.

The measure is well supported financially and by a variety of state officials, unions and public service organizations.

Oregon Measure 114, the Changes to Firearm Ownership and Purchase Requirements Initiative, is on the ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute on November 8, 2022.

  • A “yes” vote supports this ballot initiative to: require permits issued by local law enforcement to buy a firearm; require photo ID, fingerprints, safety training, criminal background check, and fee payment to apply for a permit; and criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or transfer of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
  • A “no” vote opposes this ballot initiative thereby maintaining existing law, which requires a seller/transferor to request a background check before firearm purchase.

Measure 114 would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.[1]

Because this measure is controversial and being followed nationwide, here is what a yes or no vote means:

  • Result of Yes vote: Yes vote requires a background check, safety training, state police to maintain new permit/firearm database; prohibits certain size magazines.
  • Result of No Vote: No vote retains current law, Seller/transferor must request criminal background check; permit, safety course not required; no magazine capacity restrictions.

Fall Oregon News: Celebrating Scholarships

We’re bursting with pride at the scholarships awarded over the last year by branches from all corners of the State of Oregon.

South District

Ashland Branch

Co-Presidents Regina Ayers and Catherine Lutes

For the 2022-23 academic year, the Ashland Branch awarded nearly $33,000 in scholarships to five students at Southern Oregon University (SOU) and four students at Rogue Community College (RCC). The nine scholars will be featured at the annual Celebration of Scholars, hosted by the Branch, on September 28, at SOU.

The nine students represent a broad range of subject areas. In the SOU graduate division, one scholar is attaining her Master’s in education while two others are doing their graduate work in clinical health counseling. There are two senior SOU scholars: one majoring in chemistry and the other in biology. The four scholars attending RCC work in anthropology, allied health, general studies and human services.

The Ashland Branch raises money for the SOU and RCC scholarships through annual appeals and fundraisers. Each school’s funds are managed by its respective foundation, SOU Foundation or RCC Foundation. The Branch has supported and awarded scholarships since 1996.

Our Named Scholarship Program honors a contribution or bequest of $50,000 or more.  The three SOU Scholarships are named in perpetuity for the Katherine and Ron Lang Family, Judy Yin Shih, and the Kate and Jim Wolf-Pizor Family.

Grants Pass Branch

Co-Presidents Kay Hawkins and Nancy Lester

For the 2022-2023 academic year, the Grants Pass Branch was proud to award a total of $14,000 in scholarship money. All scholarships were for Rogue Community College students.

$2500 was awarded to the recipient of the Frog O’Faire Scholarship. AAUW Grants Pass Scholarships were awarded to five worthy recipients, each receiving $2000. Also awarded to an outstanding student was the Katherine Francis Bilas Memorial Endowed Scholarship of $1500.

Medford Branch

Co-Presidents Lisa Hughes and Carol Koszyk

For the school year 2022-2023, the Medford Branch awarded a total of $16,200 in scholarships. They gave $13,500 toward the education of women attending either Rogue Community College (RCC) or Southern Oregon University (SOU). Three $2,700 scholarships were awarded to women attending RCC; including one Technical Scholarship and two $2,700 were awarded to SOU students.

The Branch also awarded $2,700 in scholarship money to support young women so they can attend educational events that will help cultivate and challenge their curiosity like ACADEMY: a week-long camp on the SOU Campus for academically talented students completing grades five through eight and AWSEM (Advocates for Women in Science): a one-day gathering for students in grades six through eight who are interested in learning more about STEM careers. For ACADEMY, the Branch awarded three scholarships of $750 each; for AWSEM, the Branch awarded ten scholarships of $45 each.

Roseburg Branch

Co-Presidents Marisa Fink and Betty Mack

The Roseburg Branch awarded three scholarships this year to Umpqua Community College students. One of the recipients is majoring in psychology and plans to attend the University of Oregon upon completion of her Associate’s degree. Another recipient is a Certified Nursing Assistant majoring in nursing. The third recipient works full time while also completing her nursing degree.

North Central District

Gresham Area

One $3,000 scholarship to a second-year student at Mt. Hood Community College.

Hillsboro/Forest Grove

AAUW HBFG normally gives two student awards. One award is to a student that had to interrupt her higher education and has now returned to complete her degree. We also provided a scholarship to NCCWSL. Unfortunately, we did not provide funding for NCCWSL in 2022. Instead, our branch elected to provide two students awards, each $2500. The students are attending Pacific University.  In 2023, we will probably resume the student and NCCWSL funding.

Lake Oswego

Lake Oswego AAUW provided scholarship funds to Oregon Tradeswomen to provide tuition for women for an apprenticeship program in the building trades. We are pleased that this program and their director, Lisa Palermo, have received local and national attention for their program. Lisa was awarded the AAUW “Breaking Barrier’s” award and Oregon Tradeswomen were featured on the front page of the Oregonian with President Biden.


Over the last several years the Portland Branch has raised sufficient funds to provide three $1,500 scholarships each year for Portland Community College students who were following a STEM curriculum with concrete plans to achieve a four-year degree. These scholarships at PCC have been in effect for decades.

At its June 1, 2022, meeting the Portland Branch board voted to establish an AAUW Portland branch through the PCC Foundation, and transferred $10,000 from the branch account to start the endowment. The fund needs to grow to $25,000 within the next 5 years before its proceeds can award scholarships. Tax benefits for retirees, the lower maintenance cost associated with an endowment versus an annual scholarship, and the legacy aspects were all reasons to move to an endowment.

Online Branch

The Online Branch does not award scholarships to institutions of higher learning. However, we do award one scholarship to the NCCWSL Conference (National Conference for College Women Student Leaders) to a college woman leader chosen from a pool of applicants, as funds permit. The scholarship amount is for $1200 to attend the conference in person in Maryland in May. Since the conference was virtual in 2022, we did not have any applications this past year.

Tigard Area

The Tigard Area Branch is proud to be able to sponsor a student at Portland Community College. Applicants write an essay that is read by a panel of members who work together with Portland Community College to select a candidate. In the past, we have been able to support many wonderful applicants.

Seaside Branch

First Generation ( June Stromberg Scholarship)

Seaside High School recipients:

  • Two received $1500
  • One received $2000

Warrenton High School Recipients:

  • Two received $1000

Cheri Folk Leadership Award

  • One Clatsop Community Grad now attending OSU received $1000

Returning Student after Absence

  • One woman received $2000

Helen Gronquist 2nd Year returning First Generation

  • One woman received $1500

Central District

  • Albany Branch – 4 ($350 ea.) scholarships awarded to Linn Benton Community College women studying in the fields of STEM
  • Salem Branch – 1 $1000) scholarship awarded to Chemeketa Community College student studying in a field underrepresented by women (STEM)