Senator Diane Allen of the New Jersey State Senate was honored with the First Annual Dean McManus Spirit of NFWL Award. The recipient of this award embodies Dean McManus’s dedication to this organization. Her gentleness, innate goodness, and pure heart infused everything she did, whether during a meeting, a presentation, or a casual conversation. Dean was an extraordinary woman who taught us to never give up, to always give back, to inspire others, and to be inclusive. The Spirit of NFWL awardee is a woman who has triumphed over adversity, who gives back to the community, and who inspires others to do the same. Senator Diane Allen is someone who has given herself for the betterment of NFWL. She is a woman of great ideals, yet one willing to fight in the trenches, just as Dean did when she truly believed in something. Senator Diane Allen has triumphed over adversity, gives back to the community, and inspires others to do the same.
Representative Kathy Bernier spoke about her work on Wisconsin AB 146, which expands the circumstances under which dental hygienists are permitted to practice dental hygiene, increasing access to dental care, especially in rural areas.
Representative Charlotte Douglas of the Arkansas Legislature spoke to the group about a few initiatives she has supported. In 2015, she sponsored Act 952, which requires that a unit on dating violence be taught in grades 7-12 as part of the health curriculum. The unit will focus on healthy relationships and teach students the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior. She also sponsored legislation, now Act 873, known as Laura’s Card, which requires that law enforcement agencies give a victim or victim’s family a printed document that explains victim’s rights, information for assistance, and the officer’s contact information.
Representative Julie Emerson spoke about her role in pushing for the 10-bill justice reform package that was passed into law. She specifically authored and introduced Act 262, which limits the ability of state occupational licensing authorities to deny otherwise qualified candidates on the basis of a previous criminal conviction.
Councilwoman Lydia Assefa-Dawson & Councilwoman Susan Honda spoke about their ongoing struggle to end homelessness in King County, WA. They reflected on the 2005-2015 strategic plan to tackle the issue, which succeeded in ending homelessness for almost 40,000 people. They also reflected on their continued challenges to remain committed to ending homelessness for the over 10,000 individuals still in need in their district.
Councilwoman Tanya Seabrooks spoke about her work on establishing felony expungement informational sessions for job seekers, employers, and community leaders in her district of Radcliff, KY. The sessions provide critical opportunities for the disenfranchised and Councilwoman Seabrooks has been essential in expanding the opportunities for her constituents.
Representative Lisa Subeck spoke about Wisconsin SB 393 which would would restrict shackling of incarcerated women during labor and childbirth and would ensure incarcerated women have access to needed maternal support services, including the supplies for pumping breast milk, postpartum health care, and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.