BPW/OH LEGISLATION UPDATE
By Kathy Telban, Legislation Chair
We’ve been busy – writing postcards, lobbying, voting and working the polls. Here is what we’ve accomplished together.
Post Card writing across the State in September
Post cards matter – writing personal notes matter and that is what we did.
September 17th Constitution and Citizens Day became the post card writing day. This day recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It celebrates the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Region 2 had selected this day to have a mixer for members to get together at a winery and thought writing post cards added a legislative focus for the fun. Seven members and a guest attended. The idea was turned into a state-wide initiative that other regions and locals were encouraged to get a group together as well.
A Post Card Writing Kit was developed and provided to clubs that gave them everything they would need to be able to write postcards to their representatives. For SB90, a strangulations bill, and HB121, spousal bill, we sent postcards to the entire committees where the legislation was stuck. Post cards, phone calls, and petitions focused on the Equal Rights Amendment with bills SJ1 to remove the time deadline and HRJ 891acknowledging the passage of the ERA and that it is valid. Both State and Federal reproductive choice bills were also included such as HB373/SB4557 the Right to Contraception and other bills that restrict or ban access to reproductive health care.
A state-wide virtual letter writing party had around 8 members across the state. A postcard template with the BPW/OH logo was provided that members downloaded from the Legislation folder and printed off the number of postcards they would need. After an hour writing and talking, we had over 100 postcards that were sent and arrived before the Lobby Day Brigade went to lobby at the Ohio Capital.
Lobbying the Ohio Capital in November
On Nov 29, six BPW members Shirley Jones (Akron), Leona Phillips (Vermillion), Kathy Telban (Akron), Liz Herrell (Coshocton), Charlon Dewberry (Toledo), Karen McCready (Ashland) met with their representatives and the staff of the Judiciary and Criminal Justice Committees where SB90 and HB121 were stalled.
Two or more members teamed up during visits. A packet was developed that could be left behind with information on the bills and our position along with a custom business card. We took pictures of all of it!
Members who couldn’t go to Columbus made phone calls to their members.
At the end before leaving Columbus the Brigade met for a late lunch and debriefed and shared what we learned and what happened during each of our visits. That is when Charlon shared she learned from Senator Manning’s staff that SB90 would be included in SB288, a larger criminal justice bill.
The Lobby Brigade with Senator Paula Hicks Hudson’s staff
Outcome of our Efforts
SB90 became part of the Criminal Justice bill SB288
and passed in the lame duck session. HB121 never came out of committee as well as all the state bills on reproductive choice. At the Federal level the Right to Contraception passed the House and was never brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Thank you for all your efforts and especially those BPW members who worked the polls on election day!!
Equal Rights Amendment
In March, it will be 100 years since the 28th Amendment was first introduced. It states: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. This amendment is still not in the Constitution.
Here is where we are. Even though the US House voted to eliminate the arbitrary deadline the Senate would not bring it to the floor for a vote. Representatives from the ERA Coalition (we are a partner) went to the Capital to lobby and educate Senators on the ERA and pressure Schumer to bring it to the floor for a vote so we can see who is supporting it or not. This was during the lame duck session when President Zelensky addressed Congress.
Reps. Bush (sixth from left), Maloney, Moore, Kaptur and Chu, alongside ERA advocates, including Ellie Smeal (right), president of Feminist Majority. (Courtesy of Carolyn Maloney) and published in Ms e-Magazine.
According the Ms. Magazine, late afternoon on Wednesday, Dec. 21,Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) marched from the House steps to the Senate to demand a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). They were joined by feminist advocates, including Ellie Smeal of Feminist Majority, Zakiya Thomas and Bettina Hager of the ERA Coalition, author Kate Kelly, NOW vice president Bear Atwood and members of Generation Ratify.
Equal Rights Amendment
Senator Schumer offered to bring the ERA to the floor and vote by unanimous consent, but the offer was declined since it got us nothing. If one Senator objected, it stops the vote and no one would be on record. To avoid a sit-in and its appearance while President Zelensky was in the Capitol Schumer agreed to bring the ERA for a vote before the end of March 2023.
In addition to focusing on passing SJ1, members sent emails to President Biden asking him to direct the deputy Archivist to publish the ERA.
There is also a court case that was heard by the DC Court of Appeals that involves the publication of the ERA. We are still waiting for their opinion.
Actions at August State Board Meeting
BPW/OH gives $1,000 to the ERA Coalition
The Board agreed to donate $1,000 to the ERA Coalition to support a media campaign. BPW/OH has been a partner since 2021 along with more than 280 other organizations across the country that are focused on the passage of the ERA.
The ERA Coalition now has a fully incorporated WOMAN Corp, the first and only ‘woman’ in America with rights the government will fight to protect. WOMAN Corp was founded to raise awareness about the disturbing fact that the American government protects, and continues to expand, the rights of corporations while the rights of women are stripped away. You can watch the video here: https://eracoalition.blog/2022/11/04/era-coalition-launches-woman-corp-to-raise-awareness-about-the-179-million-women-in-the-u-s-with-fewer-rights-than-corporations/
Also attached is a link to assets/social media toolkit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AlyprtZz-r4MBV7yTBJPFiHnFlnLb6xRcVNTQAs1Gzg/edit
Letter to President Biden
A motion was introduced and passed to have President Liz Herrell write a letter to President Biden requesting him to direct the acting Archivist to publish the ERA. She did this and included a special button produced by the ERA Coalition’s Publishing taskforce.
The ERA will be reintroduced in the 118th Congress. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) has expressed great interest in introducing a House Bill as the chief sponsor in early January and Senator Cardin is set to introduce an ERA bill in the Senate.
What would you like to do to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the ERA being introduced?
Work is underway to get a Constitutional Amendment on reproductive healthcare introduced and voted on in 2023. More to come.
Legislation Platform – Any Changes?
It is time to review our Platform and determine if changes are need. Changes will be discussed and voted on at the April 22nd State meeting.
Local organizations need to meet/work with their Region Legislation Chair/President so that any changes are sent to Kathy Telban, State Legislation Chair no later than March 24th the same date that the YC/ID information is due. You can find the current Platform at: Legislation/Advocacy | BPW OHIO and email changes to: BPWOHLegChair@gmail.com
Legislative News and What to Do is a weekly curated list of news articles that relate to our Legislative Platform. You can find them on our website at www.bpwohio.org/Legislation. If you want to be added to the distribution list email BPWOHLegChair@gmail.com
So, it is time to organize and be ready to write, call, rally, and lobby!
Highlights of the November State Board Meeting
Click on a picture to see more.
- Sat, Apr 22ColumbusApr 22, 9:30 AMColumbus, 3951 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214, USA2023 STATE LEADERSHIP MEETING Saturday, April 22nd Clintonville Women’s Club 3915 N. High St Columbus, Ohio 43214 9:30 a.m. Registration and Networking 10:00 a.m. Meeting Begins 2023-2024 Theme: We’re All STARS Successful*Tenacious*Audacious*Resilient*Smart
- Fri, May 19Mount SterlingMay 19, 8:00 AM – May 21, 12:00 PMMount Sterling, 22300 State Pk Rd 20, Mt Sterling, OH 43143, USA2023 BPW OHIO Annual Conference Deer Creek Lodge & Conference Center May 19-21, 2023 BE POSITIVE WOMEN - And Positive Things Will Happen Nancy Bocskor 2023 State Conference Keynote Speaker & Seminar Presenter