Women's Legislative Network


Hello Friends,
Network headerAs board members of the Women’s Legislative Network, we look forward to meeting many of you at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Minneapolis Aug. 18-22. We hope you will attend our sessions, share your ideas and make new connections. We particularly invite new friends to attend our board meeting, reception and lunch about women and small business. Our complete schedule is below.

The mission of the Women’s Legislative Network is to promote the participation, empowerment and leadership of women legislators. The Network is bipartisan and includes every female legislator in the states and territories.

Please submit items for future issues of this newsletter, and always feel free to contact us with ideas or questions.

Wishing you a lovely summer,
The Women’s Legislative Network Board

NCSL Legislative Summit

NCSL Summit LogoThe Network's complete schedule, with room numbers, is online here. Below are some highlights.

Monday, August 18
4-5:30 p.m.
Network Board Meeting
All are welcome to attend our summer board meeting. We will share highlights from 2014, brainstorm future program ideas, and discuss fundraising for the Network’s 30th anniversary year.

Tuesday, August 19
8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Women’s Legislative Network Leadership Training
Welcome and Coffee
Women in Legislative Leadership Roundtable Discussion
Hear from female legislative leaders about their experiences moving up the ladder.
Panelists: Pam Jochum, Senate President, Iowa
Becky Lockhart, Speaker of the House, Utah
Sandra Pappas, Senate President, Minnesota

Driving Engagement through Strengths, Emotional Intelligence, and Energy
Carol GrannisTami EvansTrainers: Carol Grannis and Tami Evans, Leading Edge Coaching and Development

Even in the best of times, it can be stressful working in a state government environment. With endless budget challenges, partisan bickering and significant state issues, it can be hard to lift colleagues, staffers and even ourselves out of the funk. That’s why it’s critical to drive engagement throughout your agency and office. Part One of this session is about maximizing engagement through strengths-based leadership. Part Two focuses on your emotional impact on others and what you can do to connect and move ahead with colleagues and constituents. Part Three is about energizing yourself through four critical wellsprings. All three parts are delivered with the unique blend of research, best practices, and improvisational comedy that Leading Edge is known for. By the end of the day, you will leave renewed, taking critical tools and skills you’ll need to lift yourselves and others up.
(Lunch will be served)

Wednesday, August 20
9-10:15 a.m.
General Session: Ending Human Trafficking
Human trafficking in the United States exploits tens of thousands of children and vulnerable victims each year. Two women, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and humanitarian Cindy McCain, are working with Congress, the states and through private initiatives to bring national focus on trafficking, ensure that victims are not treated as criminals and to develop policies to end it.

4-5 p.m.
Women’s Legislative Network Roundtables
Join us for informal roundtable discussions about women in politics, leadership, hot topics, and anything else on your mind!

5-6 p.m.
Women’s Legislative Network Reception
Join us to honor the Women's Legislative Network executive board and female lawmakers from around the world.

Thursday, August 21
6:30–8 a.m.
Walk for Wellness

12:30-2 p.m.
Women’s Legislative Network Luncheon and Business Meeting
Join the Women's Legislative Network for our annual elections and a keynote address about women and small business in Minnesota.
Representative Marion O'Neill, Minnesota
Laura Ooley, CEO, Appmosphere, Minnesota

Join the Women's Legislative Network Advisory Council

GavelAdvisory Council members are liaisons between their states and the Network. They work with the Executive Board to fulfill the Network’s mission of promoting the participation, empowerment and leadership of women legislators. Other responsibilities include:

  • Keep the Network apprised of events, issues or policies affecting women legislators in their states. This often takes the form of short articles for the Network’s monthly newsletter.
  • Provide program ideas and suggestions for Network events at the NCSL Fall Forum, Legislative Summit and webinars.
  • Provide assistance when Network events take place in their states, or suggest future activities in their states.

Each state, according to the bylaws of the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL, has two Advisory Council members. Several states have vacant positions. Review the list here, and contact us if you’d like to represent your state.

Across the states

"Strong Sisters: Elected Women in Colorado" now in Production

Colorado CapitolIn 1893 Colorado gave women the right to vote, the first time in history that women's suffrage was granted through a popular vote. The very next year voters sent three women to the State House of Representatives. Since then, more than 240 women have served in the Colorado General Assembly. Now Colorado leads the nation in its proportion of women lawmakers— 41 percent.

“Strong Sisters: Elected Women in Colorado” tells the unique story of political women in Colorado. The compilation of oral histories from past and current female elected officials will result in a documentary film and a rich historical archive to be used for generations to come.

So what’s going on in Colorado? Is there something in the water? Why does Colorado have this proud history of electing women to public office? Read more about the project.

Updates from the District of Columbia Council

Kenyan McDuffieAs part of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the D.C. Council approved a landmark new measure from Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s Government Operations Committee providing eight weeks of paid family leave to District Government employees for the birth or adoption of a child or the care of a family member with a serious health condition, among other qualifying events. Only three other states have similar laws, and the United States is the only industrialized country without national paid family leave. Under the current District Family and Medical Leave Act, many District residents are entitled to 16 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave, and the new paid family leave can be used as part of the full 16. “This bill puts the District at the top of the list of the most family-friendly jurisdictions in the nation,” said McDuffie. “Too many people cannot afford to take unpaid leave to care for a new child or a loved one. Women, in particular, will see the benefits of this bill, as they are so often penalized by time spent out of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities.” The bill awaits the mayor’s signature.

On June 23, the D.C. Council’s Judiciary & Public Safety Committee held a hearing on Councilmember McDuffie’s “Wage Transparency Amendment Act,” one of several bills he introduced to improve working conditions and promote family-friendly workplaces. Currently, D.C. employees can’t freely discuss their wages without fear of retaliation by their employers. This legislation is intended to enable employees to better negotiate their wages and discover instances of pay discrimination. Citing a “national conversation about pay equity,” McDuffie said the bill is also an attempt to reduce the pay gap in the District, particularly for women and people of color. The bill now awaits a markup by the committee.

"Why I Support Medicaid Expansion" by Florida Senator Audrey Gibson

Audrey GibsonI wholeheartedly support Medicaid expansion for our great state of Florida. I support the work of the 93 community organizations described in the article below, via Health News Florida.

Ninety-three organizations in the state that are working in coalition under the title Health Care for Florida Now are asking Floridians to sign a petition calling for the state to accept federal funds to expand coverage to low-income adults who are in the so-called “Coverage Gap.” In 2013 the Florida House voted not to accept the $51 billion over 10 years in federal funds available for the program under the Affordable Care Act even though the Senate approved it and Gov. Rick Scott said he would sign it. In 2014's session, the debate never occurred. But most of the money is still available if Florida’s Legislature had a change of heart, the coalition says.

The group’s petition notes that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of Healthcare expansion for the first three years, while the state will never be required to pay more than 10 percent of that cost in any year. Expansion will cost the state an estimated $2.1 billion over the next 10 years, increasing the state’s share of the Medicaid budget by only two percent, while drawing down $20.3 billion in federal funds.

Most of those who will finally become insured are those just above the current Medicaid threshold because they are working but still cannot afford private insurance. This includes individuals earning up to $15,400 and families of three earning up to $26,300. This means at least one million more uninsured Floridians will get coverage in the next six years. More insured Floridians translates to more jobs, less uncompensated care, and a healthier society.

News from Pennsylvania Representative Marguerite Quinn about Human Trafficking Bill

Marguerite QuinnThe General Assembly recently approved and sent to the governor a bill that will provide new tools to help law enforcement officers address the growing problem of human trafficking in Pennsylvania. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, generating over $32 billion annually. The United Nations estimates roughly 20 million people worldwide are subject to forced labor or sexual exploitation, including 1.2 million children. In Pennsylvania human trafficking is taking place in both urban and suburban communities, and victims are commonly transported along the state’s interstate highway system. Senate Bill 75 aims to address weaknesses in the state’s current law by expanding the definition of human trafficking to include sexual servitude, as well as forced labor, and by outlining additional criminal and civil penalties for anyone involved in the trafficking process, including patrons of the sex trade, legal entities, businesses, and even those who obstruct justice during trafficking investigations. The legislation also offers protections to victims, including identity protection during the trial, financial restitution upon conviction of perpetrators and expungement of other minor crimes if they were committed while being trafficked.

News from U.S. Virgin Islands Senator Janette Millin Young about Women's Conference

Janette Millin YoungOn Friday, July 25, Women Striving for Success Inc. will host its second annual conference, “Success! Imagine it. Plan it. Capture it.” This full day of networking, training and empowerment sessions for personal and professional enrichment will take place on St. Thomas. Women Striving for Success Inc. started as a grassroots movement in 2012, incorporated in 2013 and operates as a nonprofit community of women business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals supporting each other in personal and professional development.

This year’s conference includes sessions about how to successfully present your products, services and yourself. Keynote speaker Melanie Jones is the market unit vice president of sales operations for Coca Cola Refreshments in South Florida. Her story, advice and direction will inspire others to strive for success, as will the informative work sessions with notable human resources coaches, public relations professionals, inspirational speakers, attorneys and financial experts. Special guest Julius Jackson, Olympian and worldwide boxing champion, will get conference attendees fired up to go out into the business world with confidence. Because it takes a strong partnership between public and private sectors to succeed, speakers also include Yvette Collozo, the U.S. Small Business Administration district director for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and Jennifer Nugent-hill, the CEO of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority.

Last year, more than 220 business and professional women of all ages and from a variety of industries came together at the first conference, along with 15 exhibitors and 18 presenters. This year’s conference promises to continue and expand upon that momentum.

Friends of the network

New from the Center for American Women and Politics: Teach a Girl to Lead

Teach a Girl LogoThe Center for American Women and Politics is proud to unveil our newest initiative, Teach a Girl to Lead™. TAG aims to make women’s political leadership visible to the next generation and to inspire girls and young women to see themselves as future public leaders. The TAG site is full of useful resources for teachers, youth group leaders and parents to help them teach the young people in their lives and communities about women’s leadership and civic engagement. Meeting women public leaders shows girls—and boys—that leadership is not just for men. The Leaders Lineup map helps you find current and former elected and appointed women who are available to educate young people about women’s public leadership, politics and government. You can also sign up to join the Leaders Lineup in your state.

Dyan Alexander Selected to Lead Women in Government

WIG logoAfter an extensive search, the Board of Directors of Women in Government (WIG) is pleased to announce that Dyan Alexander has been chosen as the organization's new executive director. Representative Helen Miller, 2014 chair, shared the news at the Women in Government Midwest Meeting in St. Louis. "Dyan is an outstanding choice to lead us to the next level,” Miller said. “She has the skills and the ability to grow and increase the visibility of Women in Government.”

Prior to accepting the position, Alexander served as the director of policy for Women in Government and most recently filled the role of interim executive director. She brings a broad range of experiences in the profit and not-for-profit worlds. Her knowledge of public policy, advocacy and fundraising make her a perfect fit for WIG’s future needs.

Alexander held a number of key positions at Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP over a 15-year time span including federal government affairs manager, global government affairs manager in London, state government affairs director of operations and state government affairs director of lobby channels and issue management. Her numerous career accomplishments show her leadership capabilities on the federal, state and local levels.

In accepting the position Alexander said, “I am honored and excited about the future of Women in Government. With the team of WIG’s Board of Directors, the competent staff, dedicated sponsors and intelligent women legislators, there is no end to the opportunities available to Women in Government.”

America Saves: Resource Packets Available

MoneyWe know that the hard work of getting people to change their financial behavior takes time, which is why America Saves wants to assist your efforts to encourage financial action and savings throughout the year. About every six weeks, we provide organizations with a resource packet that focuses on one aspect of saving. We hope that this material will help you communicate with the public, constituents and other organizations about how your company or organization promotes and encourages saving. Each packet includes a guest post from America Saves, social media content and tools and resources. Recent packets include “How to Build an Emergency Fund” and “Test Your Credit Score Knowledge.” All materials are available for download here.

NCSL Resources

Webinar July 31: Energy Development and the Department of Defense: State Policy Options

WebinarJoin NCSL for a FREE webinar on Thursday, July 31, at 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/ 12 p.m. As states and localities experience a dramatic increase in the number of siting and construction permits for utility-scale renewable energy and associated electric power transmission projects, the potential for conflict with Department of Defense (DoD) activities increases. The resulting DoD impacts could be minimized by careful planning, including actions that states and local communities may wish to support. Renewable energy and electrical transmission projects can interfere with nearby military installations and airspace by obstructing flight paths or creating electromagnetic interference. A number of states have included the DoD in the project-planning or review phase with the goal to expedite the permitting process and mitigate potential impacts to DoD operations. This webinar will include best practices from legislators and state and federal executive offices. Register today.

Working Families: A Legislator's Toolkit

Working FamiliesHalf of all Americans would be unable to procure $2,000 in 30 days. That means many people are a major car repair or an unexpected medical bill away from a financial crisis. The vast majority of families—82.2 percent in 2008—have at least one member who works. Yet, despite their efforts, many of these families face significant challenges to achieving their goal of economic security. Since 2002, The National Conference of State Legislatures / Annie E. Casey Foundation Partnership on Family Economic Success has assisted legislators who want to create more opportunities for working families to succeed. Learn more about working families issues and how state legislatures have responded.

Child Migrants to the United States

ChildThe United States is experiencing a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children arriving on the southern border, gaining humanitarian and political attention and challenging federal and state resources and management. As of June 14, 2014, more than 52,000 children had been apprehended, a doubling of arrivals compared to last year. This brief highlights recent trends in arrivals of unaccompanied children, an overview of the federal unaccompanied-minor program and the federal response plans. Read more here.

State Traffic Safety Legislation Database

HighwayThe National Conference of State Legislatures works in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to bring you up-to-date information about traffic safety bills that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Traffic safety topics include: Aggressive Driving, Automated Enforcement/Photo Monitoring, Child Passenger Protection, Distracted Driving, Driver’s Licensing, Impaired Driving, Motorcycle Safety, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, School Bus Safety, Seatbelts and Occupant Protection, Senior Drivers Issues, Slow-Medium Speed Vehicles, Speed Limits and Teen Driver Issues. Access the database here.