Susan Burk and Sylvia Rogers, Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy, represented the AAUW of Virginia at the League of Women Voters annual Pre-Session Legislative Roundtable in Richmond on December 5, 2018. Susan outlined the lobby day activities planned for the new Session. On January 16th bound copies of our booklet “Unfinished Business” will be hand-delivered to Gov. Northam, Lt. Gov. Fairfax and all delegates and senators in the General Assembly. On February 6th AAUW will host a reception for all female members of the Assembly. This will be followed by a 2nd round of lobbying on February 7th.
Sylvia reported that the two public policies we are focusing on this year are pay equity and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She noted that we are working on the ERA with other organizations statewide under the umbrella of the VAratifyERA campaign.
There are 3 very strong ERA resolutions this year: HJR 577 (Chief Patron Del. Sam Rasoul and Co-Chief Patron Del. Kaye Kory), HJR 579 (Chief Patron Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Co-Chief Patron Sen. Glen Sturdevant). And HJR 583 (Chief Patron Del. Jeion Ward). There appears to be majority support for the ERA, which is perceived as a nonpartisan issue. The single pay equity resolution was pre-filed in January 2018 by then Sen. Jennifer Wexton. It would prohibit unequal privileges and benefits on the basis of sex; and it would prohibit employers from punishing employees for discussing salary info with co-workers.
Presenters from 19 other groups, such as OneVA2021, NARAL, Progress Virginia, the ACLU, and the Sierra Club, outlined proposed bills and actions expected in the General Assembly. These included the state’s financial position, redistricting, fracking, transportation, conservation, education, Medicaid expansion, and many other topics.