Public Policy and Legislative Agenda

Denise Murden & Janine Greenwood

 Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy

Same Day Voter Registration in Virginia

The following article provides information on how legislation passed in 2020 to allow same-day-voter-registration in VA will be implemented for the November 8 election for the first time. AAUW-VA advocated for the passage of this legislation and welcomes this expanded voting opportunity. It does not negate the need for voter registration and other Get Out the Vote efforts that we hope our members will engage in, but now those efforts can continue right up to election day. Early voting begins on September 23, providing plenty of time to encourage our family, friends, and neighbors to vote. We hope you find this information useful.

https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/07/13/same-day-voter-registration-is-coming-to-virginia-heres-how-itll-work/

AAUW of Virginia Members–
In response to a Washington Post article on June 15, 2022, that focused on the views of the current Virginia Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Green, AAUW-VA has sent the following to Governor Youngkin:

Dear Governor Youngkin,

In the days just before our nation celebrates the federal holiday of Juneteenth, we learned that the Virginia Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Colin Greene, has chosen to ignore the overwhelming evidence of the disparate impact of race on maternal and infant health in Virginia. In so doing, Dr. Greene discounts the voices of Virginia Department of Health experts who have studied this issue for years, many of whom speak from personal experience. AAUW of Virginia stands firmly for equity for all women, including women of color, and the right of all women to have access to quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare. 

AAUW-VA believes in the need to address structural and systemic racism, and to improve racial, ethnic and gender justice. We continue to advocate for equity in women’s health care, and support other organizations who are engaged in these efforts. 

 We expect you to ensure that Virginia’s Health Commissioner is familiar with the conclusions of the extensive research that has been conducted concerning equity in health care. Virginia’s citizens deserve no less. 

The letter was signed by our Presidents, Leslie Tourigny and Suzanne Rothwell, and our Co-Vice-Presidents for Public Policy, Susan Burk and Denise Murden. Members are encouraged to contact their State delegate and senator to inform them of AAUW-VA’s position and ask for their support.
The Washington Post article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/06/15/racial-disparities-health-care-youngkin

Susan Burk/Denise M. Murden

Co-Vice Presidents for Public Policy

ELECTION NEWS: Please note a few important election details this year:

  1. As a result of redistricting, many voters will find themselves in new Congressional and State House and Senate Districts. We encourage you to get acquainted with if and how your districts have changed by typing in your address at https://www.vpap.org/redistricting/.
  2. The general election on November 8 will include various municipal elections as well as for the U.S. House of Representatives, so now is the time to ensure you and others are properly registered and beginning to get acquainted with both the candidates and their stands on issues important to us. AAUW-VA will continue to provide updates throughout the election season and we encourage you to work on helping us Get Out the Vote in 2022!

AAUW is a member organization of the ERA Coalition, which continues to press forward with actions needed to have the ERA become a part of the U.S. Constitution. The ERA Coalition provides regular updates on progress and needed actions. 

Further, if you have not yet written to our U.S. Senators to let them know you want the ERA ratified, be sure to use AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist tool to do so right away. It takes just a minute or two to complete the form and send it. Do it here: https://www.aauw.org/act/two-minute-activist/era/

2022-2024 AAUW-VA Public Policy Priorities

The covid-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities of our nation and took a disproportionate toll on women, most notably women of color, thereby compounding the historic economic disadvantages that they have faced. These inequities will persist for years to come without policies and legislation that resolve them. The following priorities provide a basis for AAUW of Virginia members’ actions at the local and state levels.

Equality, Individual Rights, and Social Justice

  • Support actions to make the ERA the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • Support full access to civil and constitutional rights, including affirmative action and voting rights and an amendment to Virginia’s Constitution that affirms the right to vote
  • Support measures to ensure fair, nonpartisan redistricting and transparency in government
  • Support self-determination of women’s health decisions, including reproductive rights
  • Advocate for freedom from violence and fear of violence, including bullying, hate crimes, sexual harassment, and human trafficking
  • Advocate for diversity and inclusion as mission-based values

Economic Security

  • Support adoption of measures to close the gender pay gap and promote fairness in compensation and benefits
  • Support equitable access and advancement in employment and leadership opportunities for women
  • Advocate and promote support for quality, affordable health care and childcare; paid family and medical leave and paid sick days; family planning services; and senior care and services
  • Support a livable minimum wage standard and policies and programs to eliminate food and housing insecurities

Education

  • Support Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education and the enforcement of such laws
  • Support adequate and equitable funding for quality public education for all students in order to reduce educational disparities and ensure students have equitable access to distance learning and school meals
  • Oppose use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary schools and to charter schools that do not adhere to the civil rights and accountability standards required of other public schools
  • Promote and protect programs that meet the educational needs of girls and women at all levels, including STEM fields
  • Support increased access to affordable higher education for women and disadvantaged populations.

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Reporting Your AAUW Public Policy Events & Activities

Is your branch holding a public policy advocacy event or activity?  The AAUW public policy staff wants to help you make the most of your upcoming advocacy events and activities! Please use this form to share your plans and let them know how they can assist you.   Upcoming AAUW Advocacy Activity & Events  Form

After  your event is over use this form to report your results: Advocacy Event Report Back Form AAUW wants to spotlight all of your amazing work!