Archives for July 2013

LWVMA Testifies at Final Gun Law Hearing

The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security held the last of five public hearing to take testimony from people across the state about the need for strengthened gun laws in Massachusetts Friday, Sept. 13, at the State House.

LWVMA focused its testimony at this hearing on guns and domestic violence.  Anne Borg, co-president, spoke of the League’s long-standing support of domestic violence prevention programs and the danger guns pose to victims.  She was joined by Marilyn Ellsworth of the Sudbury League, a volunteer victim’s advocate, who told the story of a Concord woman whose abuser still had his guns and was still a gun dealer, despite seven restraining orders.

Testifying with them were representatives of Jane Doe, Inc., the victims’ advocacy organization, and Emerge, an abuser education program.

The committee also heard powerful testimony from the parents of two of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims and from Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino, all in support of stronger gun laws, drawing applause from an auditorium packed with supporters of gun control legislation.

The joint committee held four other hearings around the state, and LWV members testified at all of them. The hearings drew large crowds from all sides of the gun safety issue. These hearings will inform the Committee’s work in crafting a gun safety bill for consideration by the full House and Senate, with floor debate likely later this fall.

LWVMA has joined the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which coordinated testimony at the hearings.  LWV has very strong positions on gun control at both the state and national level, though the state League has not yet taken a position on any of the specific bills that have been introduced since the joint committee will most likely craft a new bill for the legislature’s consideration.

Additional restrictions likely to be considered for a revised Massachusetts gun safety law and which are covered by existing League positions are:

  • Universal background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales, no exceptions.
  • Standardized licensing procedures with enforcement of existing laws.
  • Prohibition of high-capacity magazines and all assault weapons.


Mayors Against Illegal Guns “No More Names” Rally

News article from July 8 Worcester hearing with League Legislative Specialist Terry Yoffie pictured in red.

News article from August 2 Springfield hearing attended by League members from Sudbury, Amherst, and Northampton as well as the state League.

LWV Newton

League to Newton Mayor Setti Warren: Reconsider Engine 6

LWV Sudbury

Sudbury DPW Director Receives Honor


LWV Sudbury

Sudbury’s DPW director wins River Steward Award

League Night at Fenway Park

On August 28, 130 League members and guests attended the first “League Night at Fenway Park.” The League was recognized before the game, with Natalie Kassabian representing LWVMA on the field with Wally, the Green Monster. We also had a table near Gate A where Sharyn Roberts led the voter registration effort. During the 5th inning, a message from the League was displayed on the outfield message board saying “Happy Women’s Equality Day from the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts”. Thanks to everyone who came to see the Sox beat the Orioles (4-3).

LWVMA Legislative Specialists

Legislative Action Chair Nancy Brumback
Legislative Director Carole Pelchat
Affordable Housing, Basic Human Needs Clare Gordon
Agriculture, Casino Gambling Louise Haldeman
Legislative Expert Susan Welby
Education, Finance Terry Yoffie
Elder Affairs Pat Costello
Elections and Voting Linda Freedman
Environment Launa Zimmaro
Fiscal Policy June Michaels
Good Governance Carolyn Lee
Health Care Judy Deutsch
Natural Resources Lynn Wolbarst
Transportation Robin Roberge
Water Resources Susan Abbott

LWVMA Meets Delegation from Vietnam

LWVMA officers met with seven members of the Vietnam National Assembly who were touring the United States under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. The U.S. visit was designed to acquaint the Vietnamese with Congress and with our political system, and we were asked to talk about how a non-government organization works to achieve its legislative goals, both individually and in coalition with other such organizations.

Marilyn Peterson and Anne Borg, co-presidents, Karen Price and Nancy Brumback, vice presidents, and Natalie Kassabian, program and administrative coordinator, discussed the League’s history and mission, our programs at the local and state levels, and our efforts to lobby the legislature on such topics as election law reform, gun control, and environmental issues.

Our visitors included the seven members of the National Assembly—one woman and six men, two interpreters and guides from the State Department and WorldBoston, a local council which first invited us to participate in such foreign exchange visits last year.

We met in a conference room at the State House, thanks to the effort of Sen. Michael Barrett’s staff, and Sen. Barrett also spoke to the group about the state legislative system and the work that the League does.

Questions from the delegates indicated their interest in the League. They asked whether we had any men as members and how many, where our funding comes from, how we prepare information for the legislature, and what a legislative hearing is like. They were curious who the League would support in an election between a woman who didn’t support our programs and a man who did, and we hope we made it clear that the League never supports individual candidates. And as one noted, “If you could get all the women to join you, you could take over. No one can stop all the wives and mothers.”

LWV Massachusetts

Voters’ rights groups calling for updated election laws

LWVMA Seeking Executive Director

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is a dynamic, nonpartisan political organization with a passionate and deeply engaged volunteer base with 3,000 members statewide. We are seeking a part-time Executive Director who shares our passion for civic engagement and can provide insightful leadership to assist us in achieving our mission: to encourage informed and active participation in government and influence public policy through education and advocacy.

The LWV carries out its mission at three levels, national, state, and local. LWVMA encompasses 48 local Leagues representing over 100 cities and towns. Our part time Executive Director will be the public face of the League in Massachusetts along with the Co-Presidents, and will work with the Board of Directors, statewide committees and local League organizations to achieve the League’s mission. The Executive Director will also be responsible for managing the state office in Boston. Click here to access the job description for this position.

Applications are due August 9, 2013.

LWVMA Approves Study on Campaign Finance

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts approved a new study at its convention May 17-18 in Peabody.

The study, “Massachusetts after Citizens United. SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?” will consider whether or not the League’s existing campaign finance positions are adequate to meet the challenges of Citizens United and related recent Supreme Court decisions, and if not, what additional positions are needed.