What is legislative advocacy?
Political power includes amplifying voice and perspective to advocate for the issues you care most about. Via IGNITE young women receive training and hands-on advocacy experience. Participants learn:
- the basics of why it is critical their voice is heard,
- how to be an effective advocate, and
- the ins and outs of their local and states’ lawmaking process.
IGNITE young women are championing policies that:
- Protect women's rights
- Maximize voter participation
- Champion civic education for all students
Join youth-driven campaigns in Washington, California, Colorado, and Texas.
House Bill 1053 "Tampon Tax"
Bill Summary: Essential feminine hygiene products are unaffordable for many Washingtonians and as a first step, removing taxes to for these products will help to alleviate the issue. According to the State Department of Revenue, women in Washington still pay over $5 million annually in taxes on tampons, sanitary napkins, and menstrual cups. Washington currently exempts the sales tax for prescription drugs and food items that are deemed necessities. Menstrual health products are not tax exempt in Washington even though they are deemed medical necessities by the Federal Drug Administration. Feminine hygiene products are not a luxury and women should not be penalized.
Update (May 17, 2019): This bill will move forward in the legislative process in 2020. Because of IGNITE women's advocacy, the bill has moved the furthest it has then in past legislative sessions and we will continue to champion this bill in the next session.
"IGNITE's Seattle College Council decided to fight against the tampon tax because women's basic needs should not be economically exploited. The fact that tampons and diapers are taxed while Viagra is not is evidence of the gender disparity within American politics. Intentional or not, a tax on tampons gives cis-men the power to regulate our bodies. The tampon tax is an economic burden to anyone who menstruates, including trans-men, while it disproportionately hurts poor women of color."
- Louie Tan Vital, IGNITE Seattle Fellow, sharing why her College Council selected HB 1053
PASSED Senate Bill 7: Prevent Sexual Misconduct at Higher Ed Campuses
Bill Summary: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one out of four female undergraduates will be victim to some form of sexual assault before graduation. Moreover, according to RAINN, nearly 70% of victims don't inform the police and that a mere 25% of reported assaults eventually result in an arrest. These jarring statistics reflect the need for universities and colleges to increase prevention and support systems for many of our students. SB 7 is an important first step in ensuring that our students are safe by requiring institutions of higher education to provide training and awareness in the prevention of sexual misconduct. Additionally, the bill ensures that institutions are held accountable by establishing procedures for investigations, protections for involved persons, and reporting.
Update (June 17, 2019): This bill has been signed by the Governor. Campuses will have until August 2020 to adopt sexual misconduct policy for enrolled students.
"The time is now for us to take preventative measures to stop sexual assault on college campuses before it happens. Senate Bill 7 is a step in the right direction because it focuses on prevention and emphasizes the consequences. We also picked this bill because it includes implementing sexual harassment training at every facility."
- Ayah Ziyadah, IGNITE Denver Fellow, sharing why her College Council selected SB 7
Assembly Bill 31 "Tampon Tax"
Bill Summary: Essential feminine hygiene products are unaffordable for many Californians, as a first step removing taxes for these products will help to alleviate the issue. Currently, women in California still pay over $20 million annually in taxes on tampons, sanitary napkins, and menstrual cups paying on average $7 a month for forty years of their lives. California law exempts health items like walkers, medical identification tags, and prescription medication, including Viagra®. Menstrual health products are not tax-exempt in California even though they are deemed medical necessities by the Federal Drug Administration. AB 31 recognizes that essential feminine hygiene products for women need to be made more affordable and accessible.
Update (May 17, 2019): The bill will move forward in the legislative process but the Governor has included funding for the exemption in the May Revision of the budget proposal, a good sign for the tax exemption to become law in June when the Governor signs the budget bill. The tampon tax exemption was included in the budget, not AB 31 specifically.
House Bill 375: Voting Accessibility for College Students
Bill Summary: According to the Texas Tribune, Texas had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country with only 28.3% of the population voting in 2014. Although voting did increase by 18% in the 2018 midterms, it is still abysmal by any standard. While voting amongst all groups increased in the last election cycle, young adults still had the worst voter turnout. An estimated 31% of eligible people ages 18 to 29 voted in the 2018 midterms, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). To tackle this issue, HB 375 requires that polling places be made accessible to young adults on institutions of higher education. HB 375 recognizes the importance of polling place accessibility and ensures that students on campus have the opportunity to cast their ballot at a convenient location on campus which is a first step to increase voter turnout.
Update (May 17, 2019): The bill was referred to elections committee but never received a hearing before the deadlines. IGNITE women will continue to advocate for voter access in Texas and in the interim will continue to educate legislators and community members
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