Session opens this week: Turn The VOLUME UP!!!

“It isn’t over. There is much more to do.”
Alice Paul’s last words 

This past Sunday was Alice Paul’s 130th Birthday.  Rights are never given, they are claimed and

When Alice Paul first introduced the ERA, this was the most popular phone in the US.

taken. Our foremothers worked for over 70 years for suffrage, and we are part of this great tradition of courage and grit. It’s in their spirit and honor that I ask you to turn that volume all the way up!

 
First, I ask you again to reach out to the Privileges and Elections Committee in Virginia to insist that they bring the ERA through to the floor of the House of Delegates for a public and proud vote! (Click here for that guide.) It’s vital that we keep the heat on these legislators in particular.

Let’s get the ERA to the Floor!!

But, we still need that roaring crowd cheering for the ERA to the ears of all our state senators and delegates. On the Contact Congress & General Assembly page of our blog, I have updated the contact information for the 2015 session members at both the state and federal level.

Second, please contact the members of Congress and ask them to support removing the ratification deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment by supporting H.J. Res. 43 (House) and S.J. Res.15 (Senate). Suggest they encourage deadline removal to colleagues in their caucus, across the aisle, and in the other house. (See Media & Messaging for more detail.)

Third, let’s continue to email / Facebook / tweet / call our state level representatives.They equate volume and consistency of contact with voter interest and urgency. So, let’s create that sense of urgency for them.
Here’s a list of some representatives we have not yet contacted. The whole kit is over on the blog. Click on their names, and you can access their websites, which gets you to all their social media. If you have the time, I invite you to go beyond this list, and start repeating contacts. Feel free to rinse and repeat as often as you like. As I say — roar of the crowd!

What to Say:
(adapt to representative’s house, embellish at will)
Dear Honorable (Senator / Delegate) ___________,
I urge you to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in this session of the General Assembly. Your colleague, (Sen. Ebbin / Del. Surovell), is sponosoring (SJ 216 / HJ 495), and I encourage you to support and vote for this bill. Both you and the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve to stand proudly in affirmation of the constitutional equality of women.
With my thanks for your service,
Your Name
Your Address

 Delegates to email: 

Rust, Thomas Davis                DelTRust@house.virginia.gov
Scott, Edward T.                    DelEScott@house.virginia.gov
Sickles, Mark D.                     DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov
Simon, Marcus B.                   DelMSimon@house.virginia.gov
Spruill, Lionell, Sr.                  DelLSpruill@house.virginia.gov
Stolle, Christopher P.              DelCStolle@house.virginia.gov
Sullivan, Richard C. (Rip), Jr   DelRSullivan@house.virginia.gov
Surovell, Scott A.                   DelSSurovell@house.virginia.gov
Taylor, Scott W.                     DelSTaylor@house.virginia.gov
Torian, Luke E.                     DelLTorian@house.virginia.gov
Toscano, David J.                  DelDToscano@house.virginia.gov
Tyler, Roslyn C.                    DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov
Villanueva, Ronald A.            DelRVillanueva@house.virginia.gov
Ward, Jeion A.                     DelJWard@house.virginia.gov
Ware, R. Lee, Jr.                  DelLWare@house.virginia.gov
Watts, Vivian E.                   DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov
Webert, Michael J.                DelMWebert@house.virginia.gov
Wilt, Tony O.                        DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov
Wright, Thomas C., Jr.          DelTWright@house.virginia.gov
Yancey, David E.                  DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov
Yost, Joseph R.                    DelJYost@house.virginia.gov 

Senators to email:
Saslaw, Richard L. district35@senate.virginia.gov D 35
Smith, Ralph K. district19@senate.virginia.gov R 19
Stanley, William M., Jr. district20@senate.virginia.gov R 20
Stosch, Walter A. district12@senate.virginia.gov R 12
Stuart, Richard H. district28@senate.virginia.gov R 28
Vogel, Jill Holtzman district27@senate.virginia.gov R 27
Wagner, Frank W. district07@senate.virginia.gov R 7
Watkins, John C. district10@senate.virginia.gov R 10
Wexton, Jennifer T. district33@senate.virginia.gov D 33
I cannot thank you enough for your work. I know how tight time is for all of us. You have my greatest admiration.

We’re the background noise, but we need to be consistent. Members of the Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition will be in Richmond consistently over the session. Advocates from VA NOW and Women Matter will be especially focused on the ERA, and will be making personal contact with legislators and their staff daily. Our efforts will go a long way to supporting their presence.
Again, my thanks to Richmond Sunlight for your amazing work! I could not do this without you!

For Women!
Simone Roberts
Web Editor/Historian/ERA Coordinator   
Virginia NOW
Virginia ERA Network

Push START on ERA in the Commonwealth

Push START on ERA in the Commonwealth.

Yes, I’m going to ask you for more during this holiday season. Your time, not your money.

Our legislative session is very short in 2015, and its coming soon. We must try to move the ERA to floor of the House of Delegates for a public vote.

The bill to ratify the ERA is buried in the Governance Committee where Delegates can vote not to bring it to the floor, but not suffer the consequences of that vote. Committee votes don’t get recorded

Through December and the session in Jan-Feb, I will send CC emails giving you the following:

  • Names, emails, Facebook pages, Twitters, and phone numbers for relevant federal and state representatives;
  • Suggested talking points/messages/tweets for your interactions;
  • Links and hashtags and all that jazz to help you get yourself and others connected to these efforts.
Our goal is to contact EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the recalcitrant House of Delegates and US House of Representatives to demand ratification. In VA, to being the bill to the floor and vote in public. In Congress, to lift the arbitrary ratification deadline.

You’ll get a handful of names every week. Contact as many as you have time for — ideally 5 or 6. They will be from all districts. Members must hear from all Virginians — not just from their carefully drawn districts of like-minded voters — because this is a national issue. Members of our coalition partners will making contact as well — it will not be just us out there.

This “hear from all” approach is not conventional, I know.
But convention is obviously not working for us.

We need their attention and action. Business as usual simply has not and will get women into the Constitution. We’re feminists. We go way beyond convention, and we will do so now.

To join this action in VA, and get updates about work in other states too,please choose one of the sign-up options at the left. Both of those will get you the same updates, so just choose one. Emails/updates will come regularly.

I don’t want to bother all our contacts, every week, for the next few months. I know not all of you are interested in ratifying the ERA.

Lots of other issues also need work, and VA NOW wants to respect your interests and your time.

Just note that for the next few weeks, I will send these emails to most of our lists. They will all have the subject line “ERA Campaign.” I’m only doing that to give as many as possible the chance to catch one of these emails and sign-up for the dedicated list or blog updates.

I wish you and yours health, happiness, and equality in the new year!

Constant Contact
Sign-up Here
Click the ERA Only button to join the list dedicated
to ratification.
(You know, if you want more CC emails.)

Follow this blog, or
sign-up for its email updates.
(Because, you get enough CC emails.)
For Women!
Simone Roberts, Historian/ERA Coordinator

Legislative Update: Governor’s Edition

Hello wonderful VA NOW advocates and allies,

You may be wondering, what happened to the pieces of legislation we were tracking?? Well, some have died, others are currently waiting in a conference committee for the House and Senate to strike an agreement on amendments, and some have passed both the House and Senate and are on their way to the Governor’s Desk.

I’d like to offer the opportunity for you all to gain some experience advocating for legislation to Governor McAuliffe if you are interested in doing so! The Governor has to sign, amend, or veto legislation prior to April, but we’d like to get a head start now. 

What does this mean??

Essentially, this email should be very similar to the emails you have been sending out to the committees you’ve been following. Remember–a good email has a mixture of personal opinion, facts and statistics, and why this is worth the cost (if applicable). I have attached both our final billsheets and our fact sheets from the beginning of session for your convenience. Click the links for more issue info: other resources for domestic violence legislation; other resources for anti-bullying legislation

In the billsheet posted at our website, the bills that are starred are still in a committee conference; all other pieces of legislation are ready for the Governor’s signature!

Contact Governor McAuliffe  

What do we recommend taking action on?

Domestic Violence and Stalking: SUPPORT

HB 567 Sexual battery; touching a person’s intimate parts, etc., penalty. Introduced by: Vivian E. Watts

Sexual battery by touching a person’s intimate parts; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of sexual battery (punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor) if, within a two-year period, such person sexually abuses against the will of the victim more than one victim or sexually abuses one victim on more than one occasion.

HB 708 Assault and battery; family or household member. Introduced by: C. Todd Gilbert

Assault and battery against a family or household member. Adds unlawful wounding in violation of § 18.2-51 and strangulation in violation of § 18.2-51.6 to the list of offenses that, if a person has been previously convicted of two such offenses within a 20-year period and such offenses occurred on different dates, enhance the penalty of assault and battery against a family or household member from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

HB 1233 Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking eligible for Program. Introduced by: David J. Toscano

Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking. Makes victims of stalking eligible for the Address Confidentiality Program. Under current law, only victims of domestic violence are eligible for participation. The bill also allows the Office of the Attorney General to cancel a program participant’s certification if the participant obtains a name change through an order of the court and does not provide notice and a copy of the order to the Office of the Attorney General within seven days after entry of the order.

 

 Voting Rights: SUPPORT

HB 669 Absentee ballots; date requirement. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring

Elections; absentee ballots; date requirement. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide the date, or any part of the date, on which he signed the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection.

HB 670 Absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring

Elections; absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide his full middle name or his middle initial in the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that absentee ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection, unless the voter also failed to provide his full first name. The bill also provides that a signature that is reasonably similar to the voter’s legal name is sufficient for purposes of casting an absentee ballot.

HB 838 Absentee ballot; procedures for return of envelope. Introduced by: Mark L. Keam

Elections; absentee ballot procedures. Provides that an absentee ballot will not be voided solely because the envelope containing the ballot was imperfectly sealed so long as the outside envelope containing the ballot and its envelope has been sealed and there is evidence that a good faith effort has been made to seal the ballot envelope.

 

Education: SUPPORT

HB 1187 School Safety, Virginia Center for; bullying. Introduced by: Jennifer L. McClellan

Virginia Center for School Safety; bullying. Requires the Virginia Center for School Safety to use the definition of bullying found in § 22.1-276.01 of the Code of Virginia for purposes of training on evidence-based antibullying tactics and providing information to school divisions regarding school safety concerns.

 

Education: OPPOSE

SB 236 Student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Introduced by: L. Scott Lingamfelter

Limited public forums for student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Requires each school division to adopt a policy to permit a student speaker to express a religious viewpoint at all school events at which a student is permitted to publicly speak. The policy shall declare each such school event to be a limited public forum, provide a neutral method for the selection of student speakers, and require each school principal to provide a disclaimer in advance of each such school event that the school division does not endorse any religious viewpoint that may be expressed by student speakers.

And always remember: if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to talk about any piece of legislation we are monitoring, do not hesitate to contact me directly! Please have a wonderful week and talk with you soon!!

Vicki Yeroian, BSW
Statewide  Director of  Lobbying, VA NOW
lobbyingdirector@vanow.org

Advocacy Teams & Tasks Week 5 (Feb 17-21)

Hello wonderful VA NOW advocates and allies,

This is your fifth weekly update to our VA NOW General Assembly action! Thank you to those who got active last week on voting rights, gender equity, and poverty reduction!! To remind you, we have asked all our all star GA volunteers (yes, that’s YOU!) to commit to the following:

~~ Writing at least two emails to committees you are interested in following, one in Jan and one in Feb.

~~ To try to make it out to a committee meeting when legislation is being voted on OR (more realistically) send an email to your selected committees when you are alerted that bills are being voted on.

~~ To attend an advocacy day to gain more experience with the legislative process.

So, what’s up this week??

First, this will be our last week of action alerts! The General Assembly Session is coming to an end, and this is the last real week to make a direct impact. So please, if you have not sent out your Feb committee action email, please do so this week! I will send you all an update with how session turned out at the end of the month in the Richmond NOW Feminist Newsletter–look out for an email from rva.now@gmail.com!

Second, billsheets for this week are linked at vanow.org/represent/vanow-in-action. Every week they are updated, as some of the legislation we are monitoring dies or gets passed by indefinitely in committee. Remember, we are tracking bills related to the following topics–

+ Family Health
+ Community Safety
+ Social and Economic Equity
+ Civil and Human Rights

Third, you will see an updated committee tracking document, which is how you can find out where legislation you are interested in currently is! Since we will only be sending out an email once a week, please be sure you  take a minute, two or three times a week, to check the docket of the committees your bills are in and see if you should send out an email or not. Links to all dockets are in the committee tracking document.

What we recommend taking action on this week: (below the fold)

More

Advocacy Feb 10 -14

Hello wonderful VA NOW advocates and allies,

This is your forth weekly update to our VA NOW General Assembly action! Thank you to those who got active last week on reproductive justice, domestic violence and stalking, payday loans AND to those who attended our 2014 Women’s Lobby Day! We had a wonderful day of action!! To remind you, we have asked all our all star GA volunteers (yes, that’s YOU!) to commit to the following:

  • Writing at least two emails to committees you are interested in following, one in Jan and one in Feb
  • To try to make it out to a committee meeting when legislation is being voted on OR (more realistically) send an email to your selected committees when you are alerted that bills are being voted on.
  • To attend an advocacy day to gain more experience with the legislative process

So, what’s up this week??

 First, this week is crossover, meaning all bills that have passed the House will be moved to the Senate and assigned to a committee. All bills that have passed the Senate will be moved to the House and assigned to a committee. Crossover is tomorrow; all bills that have not passed the House or the Senate by the end of session on Tuesday will automatically die.

Second, I have attached our VA NOW billsheets for the week. Every week they are updated, as some of the legislation we are monitoring dies or gets passed by indefinitely in committee. Remember, we are tracking bills related to the following topics–

  • Family Health
  • Community Safety
  • Social and Economic Equity
  • Civil and Human Rights

Third, you will see an updated committee tracking document, which is how you can find out where legislation you are interested in currently is! Since we will only be sending out an email once a week, please be sure you  take a minute, two or three times a week, to check the docket of the committees your bills are in and see if you should send out an email or not. Links to all dockets are in the committee tracking document. 

What we recommend taking action on this week:

Voting Rights:
 
(Both in House Privileges and Elections)
Support SB 16 Absentee voting; persons age 65 or older on day of an election are entitled to vote absentee ballot.
Support SB 11 Absentee voting and procedures; secure return of voted military-overseas ballots.
 
(Both in Senate Privileges and Elections)
Support HB 670 Absentee ballots; name and signature requirements.
Support HB 838 Absentee ballot; procedures for return of envelope.
 
Gender Equality:
 
(In House Privileges and Elections)
Support SJ 78 United States Constitution; General Assembly to ratify and affirm Equal Rights Amendment
 
Poverty Reduction:
 
(Both in House Counties, Cities, and Towns)
Support SB 10 Water and sewer; discounted fees and charges for certain low-income and disabled customers
Support SB 67 Discounted fees and charges; City of Richmond may develop criteria for certain customers. 
 

The link to all standing committees in the General Assembly: http://lis.virginia.gov/141/com/COM.HTM

 

If you end up misplacing any documents, like our fact sheets or what our strategy is for writing Committee emails, please note you can always check out our VA NOW website to stay updated and informed on the issues. The direct link is here: http://vanow.org/represent/vanow-in-action. You can also view our most current billsheets and committee tracking documents on our VA NOW blog site, here: https://virginianow.wordpress.com/ 

And always remember: if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to talk about any piece of legislation we are monitoring, do not hesitate to contact me directly! Please have a wonderful week and talk with you soon!!

 
Vicki Yeroian, BSW
Statewide  Director of  Lobbying, VA NOW
lobbyingdirector@vanow.org
 

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