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Legislative Update from Marcia Kelley Online Branch Member and Public Policy Advocate

AAUW hi resView from Oregon’s Capitol 2013 Session
February 22

Week three of the Legislative session is ended and things are moving fast.  It seems a frantic pace for so early in the session.

Monday kicked off when the House Higher Education and Workforce Development committee moved the “Tuition Equity” bill  HB 2787 to the house floor.  Students who were brought to Oregon by parents and have graduated from an Oregon high school will be allowed to qualify for  in-state tuition.  We have spent money on their early years and if they are to continue to progress and be productive members of our society they need to have a fair chance at continuing their education.  The bill passed the house floor Friday 38-18 with four members absent.  It now goes to the Senate where similar bills have passed in the last few years.

As usual there are new tax credits being proposed.  Thursday I testified for AAUW against a $1000 tax credit for private schools, education expenses and materials for home schooling for K-12 schooling (SB 500).  There is also a corporate tax credit it that bill for $10,000 a year.  A companion bill, SJR 23, which would allow public funding for private schools including religious schools against which I also testified, was heard at the same time.

I also testified against a bill that would reward AA and Bachelor degree earners with $250 and $1000 respectively.  These rewards would only reward students who have graduated from an Oregon high school and finish their schooling within 3 and 5 years of graduating high school.   Our testimony centered on the inequity of time limits, limiting part time students or returning students.  We suggested that the money forgiven in tax receipts would be better spent in the university system or providing more support for early education to help assure a more secure future for  all our students not just those who can get through schooling within the time limits the bill set forth.

We have also testified about SB 222 which in concept is a good idea.  However one provision of the bill as it is currently drafted would require 6 college credits to receive a high school diploma.  We will be monitoring this bill’s progress.  The impetus is to allow students to get to college with credits already on record.  However a one size fits all as the bill is currently drafted is disturbing.

One of the best ways to help working families with every increasing financial stresses is through the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.  People have to be working to get this credit.  Oregon currently has as a tax credit 6 % of the Federal credit.  The Governor, understanding that the dollars coming back to families through the EITC  go directly into community by families spending them on groceries and other necessities, has proposed bumping up the percentage to 8 percent.  There are two bills scheduled for hearing on March 1st in the Senate Finance Committee.  SB 326 would extend the credit six years and SB 507 would raise the rate to 18 % of the Federal credit.  These dollars are especially relevant to our rural communities that are still struggling economically.  We will be asking you to contact your legislator when we know in what direction the bill will move.

We also had the kick off for the Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance breakfast Wednesday.  Normally we have not had any hearings on bills on the list.  This year four bills had already been on the agenda in the first chamber.   I will include a list of the bills and their numbers in my update.

Marcia Kelley
Public Policy Advocate


PS  If you are in Salem during session let me know and we can arrange to meet.

Lilly Ledbetter – Grace and Grit – Book Review

Book Review
Grace and Grit
by Lilly Ledbetter with Lanier Scott Isom

Ledbetter is widely known as the “face of pay equity” because of her discrimination lawsuit against Goodyear and the resulting legislation that bears her name. After suing Goodyear, Ledbetter was awarded back pay and other remedies in a jury trial; however, in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling in a 5-4 decision.

In direct response to the court’s problematic ruling, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law in 2009, restoring the long-standing interpretation of civil rights laws and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission policies that allows employees to challenge any discriminatory paycheck they receive.

The above information is what one reads in the media. The story is still evolving as fair pay is still not a reality in 2013. I have met Lilly in person, heard her speak, and followed the progress of the litigation. But none of it prepared me for the sadness and outrage I felt when I read Grace and Grit. Lilly tells her story about not only her livelihood, but her life being threatened. And the discrimination she describes–lies, sabotage, dirty tricks– took place shift after shift, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
The reader enjoys getting to know Lilly in her growing-up years, and learns of the complicated relationship between Lilly and her mother, and the family structure and expectations that taught her the values she continues to hold today. The support her husband gave her, even in his failing health, was a joy to read amidst such awful challenges.
Her tenacious hold on her work ethic, and the pride she had in a job well done, sometimes worked against her. I found myself cheering her on and amazed at her tenacity. Lilly is an incredible role model and heroine. You will enjoy her story.

Two Books by Oregon Women

Online Branch
AAUW of Oregon
Book Review
December 2012

In the fall of 2012 my husband and I travelled through eastern Oregon.  In each town we visited local museums.  One thing I have learned over the years is that local museums have excellent selections of books by local writers.  At the Baker City Museum I purchased two books I would like to share with you.

The first is Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail by Susan G. Butruille.  The book is in two sections.  Part one deals with true and often sad stories of the women who traveled the Oregon Trail, how they came to make this journey and what life was really like.  There are poems, songs, recipes, quilt patterns, and intimate details of the lives of many women who risked everything to get to Oregon.

Part two is a detailed Guide to Women’s History Along the Oregon Trail. Susan and her mother retraced the Oregon Trail by automobile from St Louis to Oregon City finding and documenting each Oregon Trail landmark.

This is a very interesting and informative book.

The second book is entitled The Prairie Keepers – Secrets of the Zumwalt by Marcy Houle.  A really good book!  Marcy was a graduate student at OSU in the mid-1990s when she was sent to Wallowa County in eastern Oregon to count hawks and study their habitat for an entire season.

The Zumwalt Prairie encompasses most of Wallowa County. It is one of the last remaining natural prairies in the west.  The prairie’s preservation is a priority for many of the local ranchers who have lived there for years and years. The alphabet soup of government agencies, who should care about the prairie but don’t seem to, is not only sad but also comical.

Marcy hikes nearly every inch of the prairie relishing her time in the grasses and flowers.  She learns to climb trees, ride a horse, drive a very old truck, identify nests, and band baby hawks.  She counts the hawks as well as the gophers and squirrels they eat.  The ranchers are helpful and welcoming.  Most government workers consider her an interloper and a problem.  She has some interesting adventures with the men she must work with.  A huge bull named Henry provides some tense moments.  Marcy convinces the community to help in a buteo rodeo to make sure all the baby hawks on the prairie are banded before they migrate south for the winter.

An interesting look at a very unique part of Oregon!

Penney Hoodenpyle
Online Branch Member

Pay Equity in Oregon – Moving Forward

Hello AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department, AAUW of Oregon Leadership Team and Branch Presidents,

Last evening, Tuesday, October 2, I took the opportunity to attend a Community Forum on Equal Pay held in Portland. The event was organized by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.  Commissioner Avakian has challenged the Oregon Council on Civil Rights to role out a plan to address wage disparity.  (He anticipates Oregon to be the first state in the country with a pay equity plan.) Six council members, one of whom is an AAUW member, attended and heard testimony from attendees. Prior to the testimony, council members gave overviews of five pay equity models–four in Canada and one in Switzerland.
The content and networking opportunities at the event were incredible! AND there will be another similar event in Eugene on November 15. I highly recommend every AAUW member attend. And take your membership recruitment forms!!
For more information:
OR Council on Civil Rights website –
The OCCR invites you to take a survey: Pay Equity Feedback Form. It can be found at Please encourage all AAUW members to take the survey.
Finally……….I have attached notes I took at the event in case you are interested in learning of some details. Feel free to share this message and the attachment.

Breaking through Barriers with Advocacy,

Mardy Stevens
AAUW Leadership Corps

Oregon Council on Civil Rights within the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries
Community Forum on Equal Pay
October 2, 2012

Notes –
1) The council chair’s overview of the council’s work sounded as though we were at an AAUW event! And she acknowledged a lot of the council’s awareness was brought forward by the councilor who just happens to be an AAUW member!!! One male council member referenced Lilly Ledbetter.

2) Attendees included a state senator, a candidate for the Oregon supreme court, a state representative, a Tualatin City Councilor, a staff member at U of O who is secretary of the AFL-CIO, Andrea Paluso of Mother PAC Teressa Raiford, Oregon director of Unite Women, and members of the commissioner’s staff.

3) Comments from testimony included:

* Mothers in the work force, without children, earn more.
* Motherhood is the leading predictor of poverty in old age.
* Need transparency and clear thresholds in monitoring pay equity.
* Fear is a key issue, and it is heightened among minorities.
* There is an impact on whole families when women are not paid fairly. And this progresses to an impact on communities. Pay equity is not just a women’s issue.
* Advice to the councilors: Hold accountable the leaders of groups you talk to.
* Volunteer work is undervalued.
* Women’s family responsibilities impact the pay gap.
* There is a need to address technical support for employers.
* The highest paid individuals in Oregon are Asian men. The lowest paid individuals in Oregon are Hispanic women.

4) Next Steps for the Council:
* Create PSAs to empower.
* Put action plan together in the next few months.

The Oregonian August 22,2012

Wired Class of 2016 has little use for radio, TV sets by Dinesh Ramde

These are among 75 references on this year’s Beloit College Mindset List, a nonscientific compilation meant to remind teachers that college freshman born mostly in 1994, see the world in a much different way.

The students are also accustomed to seeing women in positions of leadership. They came of age at a time when Madeleine Albright was serving as the first female U.S. secretary of state, and women have held the position for most of their lives.

The lists have begun attracting attention from government agencies, athletic organizations and other groups that want to know how the younger generation thinks. Nief and McBride will be sharing their insights with  employees of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. in October.

The new generation gets a lot of its news from Jon Stewart’s ” The Daily Show.” But if they miss an episode, they can always get instant news from You Tube (No. 5 on the list).

The theme of last years list was how wired the incoming class was. This year’s class includes students who might be bitter at the previous generation, Nief said. While their elders went to college in good times and had jobs waiting for them, these students grew up watching their parents worry about unemployment and foreclosures.

That sentiment was captured in item 16, which notes unemployment has risen 2 percentage points in their lifetimes.

But they also live in an era of potential. Gene therapy has always been available, and they don’t waste time with outdated technologies like radios and point and shoot cameras.

Thought this might be interesting about what the future generation is like.

Margaret (Maggie) Burton AAUW Online President