Join LWVMA for Women’s Equality Day on Thursday, August 24th

The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition, which includes LWVMA, celebrates Women’s Equality Day Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Swan Boat Landing in the Boston Public Garden from noon to 1 p.m. The League will be registering voters and we need some volunteers. If you’d like to help, please contact Mary Ann Ashton.

Speakers will include Fredie D. Kay, CoalitionPresident; Megan Costello, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement; and Eric Jenkins-Sahlin, documentary filmmaker, who is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s great-great-great-grandson.

William F. Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth, will unveil the Suffrage Centennial Display Panel Project, a joint effort by his office, the Massachusetts Archives and the Commonwealth Museum.        

For more information on the event, click here.

New The Citizen Lobbyist Handbook Available Online from LWVMA

LWVMA has created a new handbook, The Citizen Lobbyist, explaining the legislative process in Massachusetts and detailing the most effective ways to communicate with legislators at all levels-local, state and federal. Take a look here and share this link with fellow activists.

Join the LWVMA Ballot Question Study Committee by July 27th

The application deadline for the Ballot Question Study Committee has been extended to July 27. To apply, click here.  

Participating in a state League study committee is a great way to research an issue with a small group of League members. The committee’s efforts will eventually lead to local League consensus meetings and, depending on the outcome of the consensus, possible new position and action steps.

At the LWVMA 2017 Convention, our membership approved a new state study of the ballot question process in Massachusetts, which will be conducted over the next two years. We are currently putting together a new study committee to develop study materials and questions. Local League consensus meetings will likely be in the fall of 2018 through early 2019, leading to a position presented to Convention in 2019.

What will the committee study?

  • The stated goals of ballot questions as outlined in the MA constitution
  • Money spent on ballot questions and spending trends
  • Signature requirements to start the process and to get a question on the ballot
  • The length, subject matter and complexity of ballot questions
  • Regulations around accepting and rejecting signatures
  • Procedures in other states
  • Procedures for changing current laws and procedures
  • Other areas identified during the study process

How do I join the committee?

  • Complete the application by July 27
  • Interviews with applicants will be conducted in August
  • The study committee will begin its work in early fall
  • The committee will do most of its work during the 2017-2018 academic year

What will the committee do?

  • Hold regular teleconferences and possibly some in-person meetings
  • Research the processes involved in Massachusetts ballot questions; independent and group research
  • Produce background materials:
    • Background materials for local Leagues and Members-at-Large
    • Consensus questions and study guide
    • Presentation materials for consensus meetings
    • Proposed steps to take action on a new position (if adopted)

To complete the application, download the application form and edit the file in Word. Return the completed application to Brynne by July 27.

Questions?  Contact lwvma@lwvma.org.                                                                                

Where does LWV stand on the Election Integrity Commission request?

FROM LWVMA:  The League strongly condemns the recent request from President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for voter records, including private information, from all 50 states; at the same time, LWVMA applauds Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin for refusing to comply with the request and has sent him a letter thanking him for his stance.  We encourage LWVMA members to also contact Secretary Galvin to thank him for his refusal to comply with the commission’s request

LWVMA Opportunities for Action

Throughout July, the Massachusetts legislature will continue to hold hearings on bills related to our LWVMA action priorities.  LWVMA’s legislative specialists are following these bills closely, speaking with legislators, and testifying at hearings — and they would welcome the support of your presence at those hearings. 

We also encourage you to contact your state legislators to support or oppose specific pieces of legislation. Legislators’ contact information is here, and our testimony is here as it becomes available.  

Want some tips about how to lobby government officials on issues you care about?  Please check out our brand new Citizen Lobbyist handbook, full of practical guidance about how to make your voice heard.

And please save the date for Day on the Hill, LWVMA’s annual lobby day, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 9:30 a.m. to noon at the State House.

July Opportunities for Action

Elections and Voting 

Automatic Voter Registration: Continue the momentum on Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) after our hugely successful lobby day last month.  We need our members to take action!

a. Review the fact sheet on the AVR bill

b. Check out this list of legislators; the ones in boldface are already co-sponsoring the AVR bill, S373/H2091.  

c. If your Senator and Representative are co-sponsors, call and thank them and ask them to urge the Joint Committee on Election Laws to report the AVR bill out favorably and soon.  

d. If your legislators are not co-sponsors, ask them to sign on and support AVR.  

Election Integrity Commission:  The League strongly condemns the recent request from President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for voter records, including private information, from all 50 states; at the same time, LWVMA applauds Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin for refusing to comply with the request and has sent him a letter thanking him for his stance.  We encourage LWVMA members to also contact Secretary Galvin to thank him for his refusal to comply with the commission’s request

Women’s Issues

Tuesday, July 11:  1 p.m.  Hearing on bill repealing “archaic” laws.  Joint Committee on Public Health, Hearing room A-2, State House.  Hearing on S784 An Act negating archaic statutes targeting young women, to repeal outdated laws related to contraception and abortion, including a law that contraception can be prescribed only for married women.

Tuesday, July 18: 10:30 a.m.  Hearing on bill to assure insurance coverage for contraceptives. Joint Committee on Financial Services, Hearing room A-2, State House.  Hearing on S499/H536 An Act relative to advancing contraception coverage and economic security, also called the ACCESS bill, to provide insurance coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices without copays or deductibles.

Tuesday, July 18:  1 p.m.  Hearing on bill to repeal out-of-date laws.  Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Hearing room A-1, State House.  Hearing on S805 An Act relative to archaic crimes, which, like S784 being heard by a different committee July 11, would repeal outdated laws, including those related to contraception and abortion.

Criminal Justice Reform 

Senate retreat on July 12: Contact your Senator about criminal justice reform! The Massachusetts Senate is holding a retreat July 12 to determine which criminal justice reform bills to focus on.  Please call or visit your Senator before then and stress that the League wants to see comprehensive criminal justice reform this session.  Let your Senator know the Governor’s bill is not enough, and we support bills for reducing the criminalization of poverty, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, sealing and expunging criminal records, increasing the felony larceny threshold, medical release, pretrial and bail reform, reducing and more oversight of solitary confinement, and expansion of community-based restorative justice programs.  See all the bills we support here.

Tuesday, July 18: 1 p.m.  Hearing on bill to increase the felony larceny threshold.  Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Hearing room A-1, State House.  Hearing on S873/H967 An Act relative to larceny, which would raise the value before a theft would be considered a felony from $250 to $1,500.

Environment 

Environmental Specialist Opening:  Our Legislative Action Committee needs a specialist to cover environmental legislation related to solid waste and natural resources.  Interested? Want to know more?  Contact Nancy Brumback, LAC chair.

Save the Dates for Environmental ForumsOur Climate and Energy Solutions Series resumes in the fall with a forum at the New England Aquarium’s Omni Theater Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This event is part of the Aquarium’s Lecture Series, and is co-sponsored by LWVMA, the Aquarium, and the UMass Boston School for the Environment.  The remaining forums are planned for Winchester Oct. 4, Lexington Oct. 19, and Falmouth, date to be determined.  

Affordable Housing

Tuesday, July 25:  Hearing on bonding bill to support affordable and moderate-income housing.  Joint Committee on Housing, time and hearing room to be determined, check here closer to the date.  Hearing on H.675, An Act financing the production and preservation of housing for low and moderate income residents, to invest $1.7 billion in bonds through the capital budget for affordable housing over five years, producing new units and purchasing housing units that have had affordable restrictions that are expiring.

For questions or additional information on these events, email Nancy Brumback, Legislative Action Committee chair, nbrumback@lwvma.org.

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