Take Action!

2024:
AAUW Women Advocate for
A More Perfect State with an Equal Rights Amendment
to our Constitution!

The MN House did pass the ERA bill. The MN Senate did not bring it to a vote before the 2024 Legislative Session ended at 12:00 a.m. on Monday, 5/20.

AAUW MN, as well as our branch, the Minneapolis branch, and other branches, joined ERA MN and the League of Women Voters advocating at the Capitol for passage of the bill that would allow Minnesotans to vote on the constitutional amendment in 2026. More action will be needed in the future. ERA MN is calling for a special session.


  • Scroll down a bit or click here to find out about AAUW National Two-Minute Activist opportunities.
  • Follow issues of particular importance to Minnesotans and Take Action on bills during the Minnesota Legislative Session here.
  • Find out about actions YOU can take to help manage water resources sustainably here.
  • See other resources and links for taking action here.

Two-Minute Activist – AAUW National

Two-Minute Activist is an AAUW National program that provides a quick and easy way to “send emails and texts to your legislators to fight for equal pay, family leave, stopping sexual harassment, equality in education and more.”

To become a “Two-Minute Activist” go to the webpage and simply click on the link for the issue you wish to support to read more about it, then:

  1. fill in your name and address
  2. use the suggested message text or personalize it as you wish
  3. click on “Send Message” and the message will automatically be sent to your US Senators and US Representative

Minnesota: Support an ERA Ballot Measure*

“The Minnesota Constitution is 166 years old, and while the majority of states have gender equity provisions, Minnesota has yet to include language enshrining equal rights based on gender. It is time to rectify this.” Read more and Take Action on the National AAUW website.

Support the Gender Equity in Education Act

“In the 47 years since its enactment, Title IX has opened doors for girls and women from classrooms to playing fields. But despite tremendous progress, challenges to equity in education still exist. That’s why we need the Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) to ensure schools and educational institutions have the resources they need to comply with civil rights law.” Read more and Take Action on the National AAUW website.

Find quick and easy Two-Minute Activist opportunities and signup to get regular action alerts on the National AAUW website.

*Please note: Two-Minute Activist pages for STATE activism is new to the National AAUW website. We hope to see more such pages in the future.

Take Action Minnesota!

March 7, 2024 – Update on last year’s bills and new bills in 2024

Following final disposition of bills can get pretty tricky. Bills that were introduced in the first year of the biennium may technically still be alive but are actually dead because their provisions were rolled into an omnibus bill. If a bill passed one body but not the other, it was sent at the end of session to a committee in that second body for further consideration.  If a bill was still in a conference committee, the conference committee is dead and both bodies must propose a new conference committee to continue work on the bill.  In the meantime, new bills have been introduced for consideration.  Below is a brief summary of the status of bills in some key interest areas for AAUW:

Equal Rights Amendments:
SF 37, the state ERA amendment bill, is currently sitting in the House Rules and Legislative Administration committee awaiting updated language before being sent to the House floor for passage and return to the Senate.

HF0197/SF47, which memorializes the U.S. congress to Ratify the ERA amendment despite missing the statutory deadline, passed last session and is now Resolution #1.

Reproductive Rights:
Several major bills passed last year – codifying reproductive rights in this state by eliminating obsolete laws that limited these rights and limiting release of public health records related to reproductive health. Remaining bills not acted on would have limited use of public funds for reproductive services.  Two new bills have been introduced in the area this year  – one requires that medical providers give appropriate, fact-based, information on reproductive health and repeals the current “informed consent” law; the other requires that health plan and Medical Assistance coverage include abortion services.  All bills still alive can be found on this reproductive rights page

Voting Rights:
A number of provisions related voting rights and election administration were included in last year’s Omnibus election bill.  This link takes you to a House Research Summary which explains the provisions. Over 170 bills on voting and election law have been introduced.  We have removed bills that we have identified as having been included in last year’s omnibus bill, but the remainder can be found on this voting rights page.

Pay Equity Bills:
As stated in our session update last year – the paid family and medical leave bill passed and the bill prohibiting employers from asking about past employment history passed as part of the 2023 omnibus Judiciary and Public Safety bill.  A third bill – allowing harassment payments paid to an employee to be excluded from the state income tax passed as part of the Omnibus Tax bill – CH. 64, article 1, sec. 11.   There are currently no “live bills” to follow in this area.

February 23, 2024 – Legislative update on the ERA amendment

First, a big thank you to all the members who attended the ERA rally on the first day of the legislative session!  A number of AAUW members from other branches (Stillwater, Hutchinson, Minneapolis and Duluth) were also in attendance so as a statewide organization we made our presence felt.  Thanks also to those who could not attend but contacted their state legislators.  Together we will see this bill pass this year!

So what is the status and process for passing SF 37, the state ERA amendment bill?

This bill passed the Senate last year but did not make it to a House floor vote before the end of session.  At that point the bill was referred to the House Rules and Legislative Administration committee for the interim. 

As Representative Her told us when she spoke at our branch on February 6th, interested parties have been working for the last several months to develop additional language that ensures that the amendment would explicitly include gender and reproductive rights.  As soon as we get a written copy of the language, we will post it.

This new language needs to be adopted in the House committee and then sent back to the House floor for a full vote.  Because the House is changing the bill language sent over by the Senate, the amended bill must go back to the Senate.  The Senate can vote to concur with the changes, or it can vote to not concur and send the bill to a conference committee. If the Senate concurs, the bill will be law.  If it goes to conference committee the language worked out by the conference committee will go back to both bodies for a straight up or down vote.

Although Representative Her stated that she has been promised early action on SF 37, the House Rules and Legislative Administration committee has yet to meet nor are any meetings scheduled yet.  Majority Leader Jaime Long is the chair of this committee.  We need to continue to send him and Speaker Melissa Hortman the message that we want this bill taken up soon. Contact information for both can be found at House Leadership contact information.


Why lobby for an Equal Rights Amendment
to the State Constitution? 

  1. Many people believe gender equality is the law of the land but neither the state nor federal constitution specifically provides equal legal protection regardless of gender under the law.
  2. Even though 38 states ratified the national equal rights amendment, they did not do so within the time frame set for ratification in the authorizing legislation.
  3. Bills have been introduced at the federal level to remove the ratification deadline. In the meantime, more than 20 states have included this protection in their state constitutions (see the states HERE).
  4. Early in the 2024 legislative session will be our best chance to help pass a bill to vote on adding an equal rights amendment to the Minnesota Constitution!

Put your support in writing! We are encouraging all members to to call, write, or email their State Senators and Representatives supporting equal rights for all – regardless of gender.

Find contact information for your State Representative and Senator HERE.
Suggested text for your letter: Word FormatPDF Format

More information on the ERA and ERA Minnesota:

Join Kelsey Waits, AAUW MN VP Public Policy, as she reviews a brief history of ERA efforts including why we need it, arguments for and against, why now, and next steps. Video Link

Slides provided by ERA Minnesota.

Branch Advocacy Initiative

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Public Policy & Environment Committee’s Branch Advocacy Survey. The results were used to prepare a resolution on advocacy that was approved by our membership at our 4/25/23 Annual Meeting.

Click HERE to read the survey report.
Click HERE to review the approved resolution.

Watch for emails from our committee and visit this page regularly to get updates and information on actions you can take on important issues. 

Take Action on Managing Water Resources

Many thanks to Maggie Karschnia for a very informative
and action-oriented presentation.
Slides and graphics used with her permission.

In addition to her work at the U’s Water Resources Center and Sea Grant Minnesota, Maggie serves on the Board of the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education. You can learn more about how MAEE works to strengthen the role of education as a solution to our environmental and societal challenges HERE.

Other Resources for Taking Action

  • Find your Federal and State legislators here.
  • Go to https://www.mnvotes.org/ to access comprehensive elections and voting information, including registration and absentee ballots, at the MN Secretary of State website.
  • Set up a MyBills account: MyBills allows you to track House and Senate bills in the Minnesota State Legislature by bill number and topic. When you log in, your bills will be listed along with information about recent or upcoming significant action. You must log in to see this information, MyBills does not send email alerts.
  • Check on individual bills of interest to you in the Minnesota State Legislature here.

American Association of University Women – St. Paul Branch

990 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105
(651) 227-4477
info@aauwstpaul.org

© Copyright 2023 AAUW St. Paul Branch