On March 31, 2023, we gathered to celebrate the end of the legislative session. We discussed policy wins for the year and how they impact our work and people involved. We also discussed areas where more work is needed with a mixture of disappointment and optimism. The evening was a success in helping us all recover from the busy season and look forward to next year’s session.
We kicked off the evening with some socializing, hors d’oeuvres, and signature mocktails/cocktails. The drinks were created to honor influential women in Utah’s history, including Senator Luz Escamilla, the recipient of YWCA Utah’s Public Official of the Year award for 2023. Our host, Shireen Ghorbani got the show started, welcoming everyone to the event. We heard from Representative Judkins regarding her successful bill, HB 314 Remedies for Victims of Domestic Violence Amendments.
Mayra Sanchez, the executive director for Comunidad Materna en Utah and Representative Ashlee Matthews spoke on the current state of and future plans for perinatal and maternal mental health policies in Utah. We awarded Senator Luz Escamilla with our Public Official of the Year award. This award is presented by the Public Policy Committee of the YWCA Utah Board of Directors to an outstanding public official who demonstrates commitment to advancing the well-being of Utahns and who champions racial and gender equity in the spirit of our mission and vision. In 2023, among 103 bills tracked, Senator Escamilla sponsored nine of the bills we supported based on our 2023 policy priorities. That is the highest number of supported bills from any single legislator this year.
We honored YWCA Utah’s policy staff beginning with a video featuring our Director of Public Policy, Gabriella Archuleta. Liz Owens, CEO of YWCA Utah, expressed her gratitude for the policy work that Gabriella does and spoke about the importance of policy to the values and mission of YWCA Utah. Finally, our 2023 legislative interns were recognized for the passionate work they put in during the 2023 session.
Huge thanks to everyone who showed up to the recap event and to those who work tirelessly throughout every session. This work can only be done together! Please visit the link below for pictures from YWCA Utah’s 2023 Legislative Recap.