Archives for December 2013

LWVMA 2014 Legislative and Advocacy Agenda

Posted Dec 29, 2013

LWVMA has released its 2014 Legislative and Advocacy Agenda brochure. The brochure is available to download. To obtain copies of the brochure email For a one-page handout of the 2014 Legislative and Advocacy Agenda, click here.

LWVMA 2014 Legislative&Advocacy Adgenda-web-cover

Deadline for Local League Grant Applications Feb 17

Posted Feb 2, 2014

The next application deadline for the Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grant Program is Monday, February 17, 2014. The grant program offers funds of up to $250 to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service.

For information, eligibility, and application  click here.

To submit a grant or for questions email

Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible.  Click here to donate.

Last scheduled grant deadline in 2014 is June 2, fall dates will be announced.

Updated Bottle Bill Signatures Certified

Dec 16, 2013

With the Secretary of State’s office making it official, the Campaign to Update the Bottle Bill announced that its initiative petition qualified today with well over the required amount of signatures. The top signer of the petition, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said: “This is an important day for the City of Boston and for the entire Commonwealth. The passage of this bill will help clean up our neighborhoods, expand recycling, and save cities and towns money at a time when we need it the most.”

The Secretary of State’s office issued a letter saying the petition had garnered a total of 94,950 certified signatures, 35% more than the required 68,911 to qualify. “While an initiative petition drive is never easy,” commented Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, “collecting signatures for this bill, which is so widely supported by the public and so long delayed by the Legislature, felt like making a touchdown.” The coalition collected 130,000 signatures (prior to certification).

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA), a key organization in the petition drive, deployed members all across the state. “This issue knows no boundaries,” said Lynn Wolbarst of Sharon. “Our League members in Amherst and Gloucester are as enthusiastic as those in Martha’s Vineyard.” LWVMA collect 20,000 of the signatures through a collaborative effort among 36 local Leagues.

The petition drive succeeded with help from many local and state organizations, including the Environmental League of MA, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and the West Boylston Solid Waste Action Team, among others.

Read what the media is saying about this latest success!


Jan. 28 Forum CANCELLED

Updated January 27, 2015 (10:30 p.m.):  Due to the blizzard, the Jan. 28 panel discussion is CANCELLED.  We hope to reschedule this event.  Please check back shortly for the new date.

How is the marked rise in economic inequality affecting civic participation and political expression in the United States? Is the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else influencing whose voice is determining political and policy issues? What are the implications of extreme economic inequality for the democratic ideal of “one person, one vote”?

Please plan to attend the panel discussion, “Economic Inequality and Political Participation — Whose Voice Is Heard?” co-sponsored by LWVMA and Bentley University’s Valente Center for the Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, January 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bentley University, 175 Forest Street, Waltham.  The panel will take place in Bentley’s Wilder Pavilion (Adamian Academic Center 165).

Noah Berger, Executive Director, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center; Hahrie Han, Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College; and Kay Schlozman, J. Joseph Moakley Professor of Political Science, Boston College will be the speakers. Juliet Gainsborough, Associate Professor of Political Science at Bentley, will moderate, and Bentley President Gloria Larson will help us introduce the event.

This forum is free and open to the public, but we are asking LWVMA members and their guests to pre-register to ensure sufficient seating.  Consider inviting students from your high school to attend the forum with you.

Please click here to let us know you’re coming and bringing others. And click here to download an event flyer.

Questions? Please contact the LWVMA office at 617-523-2999 or

LWVMA Joins Transportation Coalition

LWVMA has joined the Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) coalition. T4MA is a nonpartisan, diverse coalition of Bay State organizations working together to create safe, convenient, and affordable transportation choices for everyone in Massachusetts.  Its 30 members have expertise in transportation, affordable housing, social justice, public health, the environment, planning and smart growth.  Member organizations include the Conservation Law Foundation, MASSPIRG, Metropolitan Planning Area Council, and the MBTA Advisory Board.  See the coalition website

T4MA is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing low-carbon transportation choices throughout the commonwealth. It also works to ensure that the transportation system provides a path to economic opportunity for those without cars, like youth, seniors, and low-income residents. It supports maintaining and growing an affordable and robust public transportation system, completing streets with bikeways and sidewalks, and developing walkable neighborhoods around transit.

T4MA’s major issues reflect LWVMA’s transportation position adopted in May 2013, particularly: Support a transportation system to move people and goods which includes a variety of transportation modes, with emphasis on increased public transportation services and other viable alternatives to reduce vehicle miles traveled; is efficient, convenient, and cost effective; is safe and secure; serves all segments of the population and diverse geographic needs; minimizes harmful effects on the environment; is integrated with land use; and is supported by extensive public education.

T4MA’s stated positions are:

  • Our transportation system is a vital part of our economy, providing economic opportunity and ensuring everyone can get where they need to go.
  • Massachusetts needs a transportation network that offers safe, affordable, and convenient choices to our residents and businesses, including public transportation, sidewalks, and bikeways.
  • People without cars, including youth, seniors and low-income residents, should have the opportunity to get to the schools and jobs that will help them pursue their dreams.
  • Transportation investments should enhance mobility, expand economic opportunity, reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, and support healthy, sustainable communities.
  • Public stewards of transportation funds should be held accountable for wisely, fairly and transparently using public dollars.

Coalition Collects Enough Signatures to Put Updated Bottle Bill on Ballot

12/2/2013 BOSTON–Supporters of a ballot Initiative to update the state’s Bottle Deposit Law gathered on the steps of the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday to announce they collected almost double the number of signatures needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.

“From Salem to Stockbridge, from North Adams to New Bedford, we have signatures and support from citizens in every single one of the state’s 351 cities and towns,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG. “It’s hard to find someone who objects to reducing litter and increasing recycling.”

Although 68,911 valid signatures are required to put a question on the ballot, the Updated Bottle Bill campaign gathered 130,000 signatures, nearly double what is needed.

“We originally hoped to get 100,000 signatures, however we met with so much success and positive feedback that we just kept going,” said Lynn Wolbarst, environmental specialist with the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

This petition effort was spearheaded by a broad coalition of the state’s environmental, civic and advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, the Sierra Club, MASSPIRG, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, and the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.

The state’s bottle bill, the nickel deposit on soda, was originally passed over 30 years ago. The deposit covers only carbonated beverages, the popular beverage when the original bill passed. Now water, juices, and sports drinks dominate the marketplace, and there has been a sharp increase in litter of those types of containers. Recycling rates of soda bottles and cans, covered by the 5¢ deposit, is nearly 80%, but only 23% of water, juice, and other non-covered beverage containers are recycled. Legislation to update the law has been introduced for almost a decade but has never passed.

Now with 130,000 signatures turned in – over 105,000 certified by city and town clerks– attention will turn back to the legislature, which has several months to act on this bill before it heads to the November 2014 ballot.

“It defies logic that the Legislature has sat on such a popular, common sense, and money-saving bill for so many years,” noted Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “Maybe this overwhelming signature drive will finally get the message to them to pass this bill.”

# # #