Our monthly e-newsletter from the Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine Women’s Policy Center
It’s a good thing we get an extra day this year because 2016 has already been jam-packed. In this edition of our e-news, we’ll share some of what we’ve been working on during the legislative session so far, we’ll provide ways you can help raise awareness about the importance of the federal courts, and much more.
As Black History Month comes to an end and Women’s History Month begins, we also wanted to share these words of inspiration from Audre Lorde:
“There is no simple monolithic solution to racism, to sexism, to homophobia. There is only the conscious focusing within each of my days to move against them, wherever I come up against these particular manifestations of the same disease.”
TWO DECADES OF GIRLS’ DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE
Tomorrow, March 1st, is the 20th Annual Girls’ Day at the State House. More than 100 eighth-grade girls from across the state will spend the day with us in Augusta. They’ll explore how laws get made and learn more about why women’s leadership matters. It’s always one of our favorite days of the year.
We’re able to provide this special experience at no cost to the students thanks to the help of our many volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors. Thank you!
Time Warner Cable
The VIA Agency
Law Offices of Joe Bornstein
Maine Education Association
Karen R. W. McGrady
Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust
P.W. Sprague Memorial Foundation
Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation
If you participated in Girls’ Day when you were in eighth grade, we’d love to talk to you. Contact Molly at 207-622-0851 x2 or email@example.com.
The federal courts play a big role in many of the issues you care about. The decisions of the Supreme Court (also known as SCOTUS on social media) can influence policies for generations. That’s why it’s important that the Supreme Court be at full strength. Unfortunately, since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this month, Republicans in Senate Leadership and on the Judiciary Committee have made statements that they will not let the usual nomination process move forward. That’s just not acceptable.
We were glad to hear both Senator Collins and Senator King say that they think the process should move forward. Since it is Republican politicians speaking against the process, we’re asking Senator Collins to urge her colleagues to follow her lead and let the process work.
Add your voice by signing the petition today:bit.ly/CollinsPetition.
A Responsibility I Take Seriously by President Obama
Follow #DoYourJob and #SCOTUS on social media
THE SUPREME COURT TAKES ANOTHER LOOK AT ABORTION ACCESS
Arguments for the most important abortion case in decades, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 2nd. In recent years, anti-abortion politicians have been pushing through legislation that makes it harder and harder for women to access safe, legal abortion care. TRAP laws—which place unnecessary regulations on health centers that provide reproductive health care with the intent to force them to close—have passed in states like Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi with devastating results for women.
Do we really have a right to safe, legal abortion if we can’t access care because of distance, cost, and other obstacles?
We’ll be joining with other organizations to raise awareness about this case on Wednesday. Use the hashtags #StopTheSham, #UndueBurden, #HB2, and#SCOTUS to follow the latest on social media. Show your support by joining this Thunderclap:http://bit.ly/1WSBPPG, and use this Twibbon on your profile picture: http://bit.ly/1oKsM87. If you’re in the Portland area, you can join us for a press conference in Monument Square at Noon on March 2nd.
The Legislative Session has been very busy this month. Here are some highlights of bills we’re supporting.
- Last week the Health & Human Services Committee took up LD 633, An Act To Improve the Health of Maine Citizens and the Economy of Maine by Providing Affordable Market-based Coverage Options to Low-income Uninsured Citizens. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Saviello (R-Franklin) and would allow Maine to accept the federal funds already set aside for our state under the Affordable Care Act to provide affordable health coverage to people with low incomes.
- LD 1477, An Act To Protect Victims of Sexual Assault, would help reduce barriers for victims of sexual assault who wish to raise their child and have the parental rights of the person who raped them terminated. Cara Courchesne of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault wrote this excellent piece about why we need this law: A woman shouldn’t have to co-parent with the man who raped her. LD 1477 is sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland).
To take action on LD 633 or LD 1477, contact Kathy at 207-622-0851 x3 or firstname.lastname@example.org she will connect you to the best way to help.
- Legislators are considering a bill that will align educational and supervision standards for Dental Hygiene Therapists (DHTs) with new, nationally-recognized guidelines. DHTs were established in 2014 to provide safety net clinics and private practice dentists a way to extend dental health care to people across our state. LD 1514 would allow DHTs, under the supervision of a dentist, to provide routine oral health to people in places where it isn’t readily available. This is particularly important for pregnant & postpartum women, children, and seniors who struggle to access this vital care in rural parts of our state. Take action atdentalaccessforme.com.
HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT
The YWCA of Central Maine and the Southern Maine Workers’ Center are collaborating to host a potluck and story share event in Lewiston as part of their ‘Healthcare is a Human Right’ campaign. This event will be an opportunity for community members to break bread, share healthcare stories, and take action toward a more just and accessible system.
For more information, contact Natalie at the YWCA at 207-795-4050 or Cait at Southern Maine Workers’ Center at 207-370-9477. There is also a Facebook event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/1708690856032353/.
CELEBRATING 23 YEARS OF FMLA—LOOKING AHEAD TO WHAT’S NEEDED NOW
When President Clinton signed the Family & Medical Leave Act into law, providing some workers with 12-weeks of protected unpaid time off to care for a new baby, recover from surgery or an illness, or care for a sick loved one was a big step forward. But today it’s not enough. As we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of that landmark legislation, we also highlighted the need for all workers to have access to paid family & medical leave.
Here’s a roundup of some of the best pieces written about this issue this month:
It’s Time to Ask, Why Wouldn’t You Support Paid Leave?by Ellen Bravo
FAMILY Act is the way to go by Michael Connolly
How to level the playing field for working families by Sen. Elizabeth Warren