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On Monday, Kiki delivered your 6,100-name petition all over Harrisburg; visited dozens of legislative offices; spread the word to anyone who would listen about SB 440 and HB 352; AND spoke at a conference of the Pennsylvania Women's Commission! Whew. Her report is so amazing, and awesome, I am sharing with you the whole, wonderful thing...

Good Morning,
I am still recovering from my trip to Harrisburg on Monday, October 23rd. Thus my delay in getting my report out to you. My dear friend and colleague Debbi accompanied me on this trip. She had never been involved in any political activity so this was quite an eye opening experience for her.

I had prepared a packet for each member of the Judiciary and Labor & Industry committee which included a letter requesting they take action on the legislation and letting them know that on that date I was also delivering e-petitions of over 6100 names from the website to Rep. O'Brien and Sen. Gordner. Also in the packet was The Motherhood Manifesto DVD and a copy of Cooper's article on Maternal Profiling.

We started the day leaving my house at 7:00 a.m. arriving at the capitol around 9:30 a.m. Our goal was to deliver as many packets as possible before I went to another facility to speak at the PA Commission for Women's quarterly meeting at 11:45 a.m. I carried with me in the capitol the bouquets of lollipops courtesy of Kristin. On these long stems were pink lollipops with a small insignia that said "it's a Girl!". The lollipops came in various shapes including a baby carriage, rocking horse and baby handprints.

Fortunately, we wore our racing sneakers and were glad we did. We started with the senate side of the capitol. As I presented each packet to the staff of the senators I said that I was there about SB440 which when passed
would prohibit questions of interviewees regarding their marital/familial status during job interviews. I pointed out what the contents of the packet were making special emphasis that Pennsylvania's reluctance to pass this legislation was included in a documentary film. I asked that as a member of the committee responsible to get this bill to the floor for a vote, would the senators please encourage Sen. Gordner to bring this bill to the committee and vote yes on it. I mentioned that there are over 6,100 signatures from people all over the country on the web site supporting this legislation and those petitions are with Sen. Gordner and Rep. O'Brien.

I usually got a perfunctory professional stare as I gave my little speech. Before leaving, I presented the staff member with two lollipops as our way of saying thank you for considering the legislation and as a symbol for all baby girls being born in Pennsylvania now and those to come, that this law gets passed so they don't have to face degrading, discriminatory job interviews when they grow up. Let me tell you, that gesture of giving those lollipops was the greatest ice breaker!! Immediately a smile came to their faces. I invited them to please take a look at the DVD and read Cooper's article. All assured me they would make certain their bosses would get the packet.

We ran around the capitol for the next hour and a half trying to locate offices and making deliveries. They also told us the public elevator was out of service. I was worn out before we left for the Commission meeting.

The PA Commission for Women were wonderful. Tiffany Strickler, Deputy Director, showed the first 15 minutes of the DVD and I was introduced by Leslie Stiles, Executive Director. I gift wrapped and delivered to each
person there a copy of The Motherhood Manifesto Book, DVD, and a copy of the flyer we are using at ESU for the upcoming film presentation and panel discussion here. I told them how inclusion of this story in the book and DVD has brought great attention to this archaic legislation. I invited them to take the book and film back to their home towns and organize house parties or other events where they can show the film and told them about the website.

The members discussed how they have found that so many people still do not know about the legislation or the 50 year old law. Many have been challenged, as have all of us, that there MUST be federal protection under Title VII. Leslie shared that after she had met me (three years ago), she would make a point to tell my story at every event she spoke at. At one point, someone told her that she should check her facts because this issue is protected federally and Leslie will certainly be embarrassed if she keeps telling this story without having checked her facts. Leslie pointed out to this well-meaning person that it most certainly isn't illegal in Pennsylvania to ask such questions nor is there federal protection. I was glad to notify the commission that I also included a copy of the article sent to us by Debra Levy of Mothers and More documenting the EEOC regulations on marital status discrimination in their gift packet should they be challenged in the future by well meaning people who assume or insist there is federal protection:

The Commission has subcommittees and Joanne from NOW along with Tiffany and others are on the legislative committee. They had just discussed this legislation prior to my arrival. It was brought up that possible reluctance by legislators to open this amendment is because gay rights activists want to jump on in to include protected categories such as same sex marriage. They said that Rep. Dally would re-introduce next year but he wouldn't be disappointed if they found someone else to do it. The Commission mentioned creating a "report" card to send out to their members about how lawmakers stand on this issue.

One of the Commissioners, an elderly woman, told us a story about when she first started working, she was asked during her job interview what type of birth control she used!!! She also mentioned that she felt there would be a 25% turnover in the house and senate due to voter dis-satisfaction over the recent wage hike they voted themselves. She mentioned one female candidate who she felt strongly would win who also is a victim of job interview discrimination. That would certainly help our cause.

Someone else mentioned some very troubling statistics. (I'm so sorry that I'm forgetful of names). This person said that Pennsylvania ranked 4th to last with regard to women who are registered to vote. Further, we ranked 4th to last with regard to women who registered but didn't even go to the polls to vote!

Ok, so then it was back to the Capitol right after that meeting with Debbi in tow. We started delivering the packets to the House of Representatives committee members of the Judiciary Committee. Same talk - same presentation. We went to so many places, we were tired and feeling drained until....

...people in the hallways seeing me with this bouquet of lollipops started asking me what they were for. Naturally, I took the opportunity to enlighten them on the legislation and the symbolization of the lollipops.

Back down the halls we went. I was so exhausted, keeping in the back of my mind a two and a half hour ride home, I wanted to just say the heck with it and put the packets in the mail. I think Debbi felt the same way. But then we walked into another office...I said we were here about HB352. A woman named Nicole perked up and said, "oh my Gosh! We were just talking about that bill!!" She and her colleagues were so excited to meet us and hear about the contents of the packet. I invited them to please take some time and see the DVD - they promised they would. Ceremoniously, I presented them with the lollipops which further added to their excitement and delight. Nicole said, "we're going to help you with this you know. What do you need us to do?" I said that they needed to get O'Brien to get the bill out of committee like now and at least give the committee members a chance to vote on it. Even if it is too late, O'Brien can't keep the bill hostage forever. I asked them if they would please continue to support this issue because if it doesn't pass this time, we'll be back next year. Oh, it was so wonderful to see their enthusiasm.

More offices, more presentations, more aching feet.

Then, towards the very end of our day, we walked into an office and I asked to see Rep. Frankel. The man who greeted us said he was Rep. Frankel. I introduced myself and asked him that as a member of the Judiciary Committee would he please encourage Rep. O'Brien to bring the bill out and would he vote yes on it. His face lit up and he said, "Oh you have my support. Not to worry." Georgia Berner, who ran for congress, has already been in touch with him and he supports this issue 100%.

During the course of the day, knowing in the back of my mind that these bills will probably die again, I wondered if all this leg work was worth it. Then I remembered the words of Linda Jerkens of Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights who told me that everything I do and everything I have done for this cause, even if the law hasn't changed yet, is not done in vain. Every e-mail sent, document shared, article published, is one more step to enlightening more people about this issue and bringing attention to it.

That and knowing that over 6100 people around the country took their time and effort to sign the petition, I wasn't going to let them or you all down, we kept on delivering.

After the last packet delivered, we treated ourselves to a Starbuck's white hot chocolate loaded with whipped cream, and we dragged our weary bodies back to the car. As I sit here, feet elevated, still recuperating from our big adventure, I realize every step was worth it.

I apologize for the lengthiness of this report, but it was a very long day - rewarding - but long.

The weary traveler,


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