Action & Advocacy:JLA Day At The Capitol
By Melissa Redmon, Public & Political Affairs Committee Chair
The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc.
On February 20, members of The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA) gathered in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building of the Georgia State Capitol to learn about important proposed legislation and about how to advocate to their state legislators in our annual Capitol Day. Following breakfast, President Carla C. Smith welcomed the attendees and PAC Chair-Elect Sara Cadagin provided an overview of JLA’s public stands. The public stands are a collection of statements governing JLA’s advocacy efforts in the areas of education, health, and aid and protection.
State Representative Teri Anulewicz, a JLA member, spoke to the group about proposed bills that would increase the potential sentence for those repeatedly convicted of pimping and pandering (HB 281) as well as about efforts to increase access to public transportation. JLA Political Action Committee member Adele Stewart highlighted the work of GA STOMP (Stop Tax on Menstrual Products) on HB8 which would include feminine hygiene products in the list of medically necessary products exempt from sales tax. State Representative Debra Silcox, another JLA member, spoke about her road to the state legislature and her work on the Georgia Assembly’s MARTOC (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee) and HB 158 which is aimed at increased access to HIV medication and was recently passed out of the House with a unanimous vote. State Representative Chuck Efstration spoke to the attendees about HB234 which is a multi-faceted effort to expand responsibility for business and individuals benefiting from human trafficking, ensures treatment and trauma-informed rehabilitation services for child victims of sex trafficking, and expands Georgia’s nuisance laws.
JLA Vice-President of Advocacy & Initiatives Kristin Bernhard reminded the group of the importance of access to early childhood education and JLA member Ashlie Oliver shared her advocacy experience in JLA and the YWCA’s Georgia Women’s Policy Institute. Members of Oliver’s cohort helped secure the passage of legislation that would allow victims of domestic violence to terminate apartment/housing lease agreements without penalty. Additionally, Oliver also walked the group through a demonstration of how to talk to their legislators both at the Capitol during the session and in their legislative offices. The program ended with a group photo at the Capitol and closing remarks by JLA PAC Chair Melissa Redmon. While in the Capitol, several members took the opportunity to work the ropes or watch some of the legislators at work from the House or Senate galleries.
You can keep up with these and other important legislation on the Georgia General Assembly’s website, www.legis.ga.gov. There, you can search by bill number or keyword to find and track the progress of a particular bill. JLA’s PAC committee reminds everyone of their ability to advocate for issues important to them by contacting their local state representative or senator. Find out who represents you at www.openstates.org and make your voice heard!