Until two years ago, Florida AAUW published a set of public policy priorities. At that time, I presented the following rationale for not publishing such a document. Because our bylaws and operating procedures require this set of priorities, I proposed then and propose now that the state of Florida accept the national public policy priorities as our public policy priorities for Florida. Here is the rationale for not publishing our own document:
- It is not useful
- It is phrased in general terms and we need specifics for legislative action e. g. Lobby Days and Action Alerts.
- We already have a national public policy phrased in general terms.
- It is confusing to local PP officers because they think anything I or the Public Policy Committee suggest should have gone through the biennial vote on public policy. That is not true.
- While it might be useful to have some long-term public policy goals, having a predetermined set of public policy priorities for a two-year period that is more specific than the national public policy priorities could be limiting to our actions in response to quickly developing state issues. I do not want to see a situation in which we would be prevented from addressing legislative developments just because they are not listed in the state priorities.
- It presents a potential conflict with national bylaws:
ARTICLE X. STATE OR MULTISTATE ORGANIZATIONS
Section 2. Purpose. These organizations shall further AAUW purposes, program, and policieswithin their respective areas. Bylaws of such organizations shall not be in conflict with these AAUW Bylaws.
Also, from the AAUW Board of Directors Manual: 300 Program and Policy
PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM. The AAUW Public Policy Program is adopted by a vote of the membership every two years. It serves to present AAUW’s Public Policy Principles and the Action Priorities which will focus national resources and nationwide energy. This external statement of federal priorities identifies short-term policy objectives based upon their viability, critical need, strong member support, and potential for distinctive AAUW contribution. Members, branches and states initiate action consistent with AAUW’s Use of Name Policy. (See Policy 119, Section II.)
I ask for your vote in the one member one vote process to accept the AAUW national public policy priorities for 2017 through 2019 as the public policy priorities for Florida. We do need your vote because a quorum a 5% of the membership is required to complete the one member one vote process. You should have received an email from Fong Cheng (he’s a long-time AAUW information technology specialist) with instructions as to how to vote. When you go to the ballot, you will notice that the full text of the AAUW 2017-2019 Public Policy Priorities has been included. Please note that you are not voting on those priorities themselves. Those policies were adopted by a vote of all members nationwide leading up to the 2017 national convention. They are the priorities of all AAUW. You are merely voting whether to accept them in lieu of a special Florida set of public policies and a public policy document. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Patricia DeWitt, Director for Public Policy, AAUW of Florida