January News from the Maine Women’s Lobby

See All: Monthly E-Newsletter

31 Jan 2016

“So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen.  To vote.  To speak out.  To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.  To stay active in our public life so it reflects the goodness and decency and optimism that I see in the American people every single day.” –President Obama in his final State of the Union address

 

2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS

This month the second half of the 127th Legislature got underway. Thanks to the generous support of our members, we’re able to continue to be a strong advocate for Maine women during this legislative session.

Some of the issues we’ll be working on include:

  • Helping nearly 70,000 Mainers receive health care through a bipartisan effort to accept federal funds available to Maine under the Affordable Care Act;
  • Expanding access to dental care because dental care is another important part of health care—especially for pregnant and post-partum women;
  • Providing pregnant women with more control over where to safely deliver by supporting a bill to create a licensing program for midwives in Maine;
  • Adopting real solutions that help move Maine people out of poverty for good—and standing against any attempts to make it harder for families living in poverty to get back on their feet;
  • Raising Maine’s minimum wage and eliminating the subminimum wage for workers who receive tips—who are mostly women; and
  • Strengthening protections for victims of trafficking.

Our partners in the Alliance for Maine Women spoke about some of these legislative priorities at Women’s Day at the State House. The Alliance works to ensure that all Mainers have the economic, social, and political power to make decisions about their bodies, sexuality, health, and families – with an emphasis on securing these rights for Maine Women. Those who attended on January 21st also participated in workshops such as Standing Up for Reproductive Justice, Raising Maine’s Minimum Wage,Advocacy 101, and Changing the Conversation Around Poverty.

Read more about Women’s Day at the State House on our blog and MPBN.

Read some of the remarks from the Alliance for Maine Women press conference on our blog.

Throughout the legislative session we’ll be sharing opportunities to take action. If are particularly interested in helping with one of the issues mentioned above, please contact Molly at 207.622.0851 x2 or mbogart@mainewomen.org.

You can check out the status of bills, listen in to public hearings, watch or listen to the action the floor of the House and Senate, and more by visiting legislature.maine.gov.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Webinar: Expanding Access to Paid Family Leave & Earned Paid Sick Days

Wednesday, February 24

Noon – 1 PM

RSVP to kkilraindelrio@mainewomen.org or 207.622.0851 x3

Sometimes we all need to take time to get well or to care for a loved one. It might be a few days during flu season or it might be longer after a surgery or the birth of a child. But the majority of workers in Maine and our country can’t afford to take the time they need because they can’t earn even one paid sick day or they don’t have access to paid family & medical leave.

In this webinar, we’ll explore opportunities to change our workplace policies to better reflect the needs of families in the 21st century. You’ll also learn about opportunities to take action to move these policies forward.

20th Annual Girls’ Day at the State House

Tuesday, March 1

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Maine State House and Cross Office Building, Augusta

For two decades we’ve brought together 100 eighth grade girls from across the state for this special day. The girls learn about the importance of women’s leadership and how public policy decisions get made. There are several ways you can help make it a successful day for the girls who participate:

  • Become a mentor. Our volunteer mentors spend the day with a group of ten girls – we can’t do the day without them. We also have a few other volunteer roles that only happen for part of the day. Contact Molly atmbogart@mainewomen.org or 207-622-0851 x2 if you’re interested in volunteering.
  • Be a Girls’ Day sponsor. If you or your business would like to make a financial contribution to support this special day, contact Kathy atkkilraindelrio@mainewomen.org or 207-622-0851 x3.

Did you or someone you know attend one of our first 19 Girls’ Days at the State House? We’d love to connect with you as we celebrate our 20th anniversary of this special event. Let us know about your experience by talking with Molly at 207.622.0851 x2 or mbogart@mainewomen.org.

 

TALKING ABOUT THE FEDERAL COURTS

On January 28th, Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Kate Knox of Bernstein Shur, and Zach Heiden of the ACLU of Maine shared their expertise about the federal courts. The Art of Advocacy: How the Federal Courts Serve as an Effective Tool for Change was cosponsored by the Maine Women’s Policy Center, the Women’s Law Association at the University of Maine School of Law, and Courts Matter to ME.

Courts Matter to ME is a coalition that raises awareness about the importance of the federal courts and the growing number of vacancies on the federal bench that impede justice for us all. Our own Eliza Townsend wrote an op-ed about this with Patty Weber of the National Council of Jewish Women: Senate stalling on federal judge nominees needlessly harms justice system. And earlier this month, Courts Matter to ME hosted a tweetstorm with the hashtag #CourtsMatter2016. Some resolutions we’d like our U.S. Senators to adopt are:

1.  Prioritize clearing the backlog of judicial emergencies.

2.  Nominate and confirm federal judges with diverse backgrounds.

3.  Ensure qualified judicial nominees receive timely votes.

4.  Stop playing politics with our judicial system.

Follow @CourtsMatterME, #WhyCourtsMatter, and #SCOTUS on twitter for more updates on the federal courts.

 

SHARE YOUR HEALTH CARE STORY

Our friends at Southern Maine Workers’ Center are working to collect 1,000 health care surveys from across Maine before March 15th to help all of us better understand the challenges of the current health care system and what needs to change in order for us to have our needs met. We all need health care so all of us have a perspective that matters.

Health Care is a Human Right Survey

Now – March 15

Survey: bit.ly/1JWD4vv

 

NEWS ROUNDUP

We share a lot of news on Facebook and Twitter—that’s one of the reasons you should definitely connect with us on those sites. But in case you missed any of our posts, here’s some of the news stories we thought you might want to read this month:

Why we are suing for equal access to abortion

43 years after Roe v. Wade, why we (still) need reproductive justice

ME Human Rights Commission issues guidance on sexual orientation discrimination in schools

Conditions now favorable for expansion of Medicaid coverage in Maine

Anti-expansion stance keeps Maine’s uninsured rate from falling

After federal move, paid parental leave programs starting to expand in U.S. cities

The FAMILY Act would support us when we need it most

Mainers gather in Winthrop to share stories about immigration

The response to sex trafficking must be all-encompassing

These are the issues that lead to sex trafficking and how to prevent them

Self-care is a Political Act

 

SUPPORT THE MAINE WOMEN’S LOBBY IN 2016

One way to ensure that the Maine Women’s Lobby has a steady stream of income throughout the year is to make a recurring donation as a Loyal Lobbyist.

MAKE A DONATION

Your gift of $16 a month—or whatever works for your budget—helps us create a future where all of us can live our lives free from violence and discrimination, with access to a full range of health care, and with real economic security.

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