A few more specific updates on a few more specific bills and issues.
We've been tracking Medicaid Expansion and, by now, you know that's because it stands to have a disproportionate impact on Wyoming's women. Here's the recap: There was a committee bill that failed on Day 1. There was a personal bill that failed on Day 5. There was a second reading budget amendment that failed on Day 8. There was a third reading budget amendment that failed on Day 10.
And though Rep. Connolly's Medicaid Expansion 3rd reading budget amendment failed on Friday night, more and more people are speaking out in favor of the program. There were two pro-MedEx letters in yesterday's Casper Star Tribune, here and here.
We cannot encourage you strongly enough to SPEAK OUT. TELL YOUR STORY. SAY YES. Post them on the HealthyWyo facebook page. Write them in letters to the editor. Explain your position to your Senators and Representatives. Call. Text. Email.
This is an important issue for everyone in our state, and we need more voices saying yes!
There is a lot of action this week that will determine whether bills live or die a procedural death. We've come to the part of the session where it is possible to run the clock out on legislation. For example, the Senate has scheduled zero committee meetings for today so anyone who was waiting for the Senate to move a bill before the procedural deadline has their answer: That bill is officially dead.
Want to know more about this week's procedural deadlines and what they mean for bills? The calendar for the session is here. Everything must crossover on or before Thursday.
As we've mentioned, there is not much left in the way of legislation that would be beneficial to women (though there are plenty of bills left that would be detrimental; we'll cover that tomorrow after we see what lives and dies). (And we're planning a full analysis of bills that benefitted women and undermined women. Keep an eye out for that as the session moves on.)
So what is left that you can act on?
The House Labor Committee plans to hear a Retirement bill later today, upon adjournment. Encourage yes votes on the bill! Here are the members of that committee. (Outreach only needs to go to the House Members because it is a House Committee that will hear it today.)
Again, this bill is quite straightforward and simply says that Department of Workforce Services will, among other efforts to promote their mission also:
(viii) Promote and provide information about current and potential retirement savings opportunities and strategies available to employers, employees and workers in the state.
Why does this matter? Why do we flag this as a bill that is beneficial to women?
Retirement issues and efforts are especially important to women. Due to the gender wage gap, unpaid caregiving responsibilities, and career interruptions, women generally have fewer assets at retirement and are more likely than men to age into poverty. Check out what that looks like in stark, graphic terms:
You've probably experienced this yourself with a parent, a grandparent--or perhaps personally. It is a less-often discussed component of the gender wage gap. And, for Wyoming, where the majority of the over-70 population is female, the majority of the paid caregiving population is female (and working for low wages), and the majority of the unpaid caregiving population is female, it is a tremendous issue and a cycle of potential poverty we want to start to address.
Get involved! Reach out to the Reps on House Labor now.
And now we're off to the Capitol to meet the 120 (!) citizen lobbyists who participated in yesterday's SHAPE training offered by Equality State Policy Center. The training was amazing and these newly minted advocates are ready to go.
Hope to see you there!