Archives for February 2014

LWVMA Responds to IRS Proposed Regulation Changes for 501(c)(4) Organizations

Posted Feb 25, 2014

LWVMA sent the following response to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding proposed changes in the regulations that govern what kind of political activity and how much of that activity a Section 501(c)(4) organization can carry out. Comments can be sent to the IRS through this link through February 27.

This spring, Massachusetts League of Women Voters members will go into high schools and register graduating seniors to vote, an important step to adulthood.  In the election to fill Massachusetts statewide executive offices this fall, the Massachusetts League will prepare a voters’ guide on all the candidates and sponsor candidate forums.  All 200 members of the state legislature will be elected in the fall, and Leagues in cities and towns across the state will hold local candidate forums to give voters the chance, often their only chance, to hear and question those candidates.

All of these important and completely nonpartisan voter service activities will be jeopardized if the proposed IRS definition of “candidate-related political activity” includes such efforts to inform voters.  The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, representing 47 local Leagues with 2,650 members, strongly urges the IRS to correct that proposed definition and instead to apply the “facts and circumstances” tests currently used by the IRS for 501(c)(3) organizations to 501(c)(4) organizations as well.  Citizens need for the League of Women Voters to be able to continue to register and inform voters.

At the same time, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts believes the “dark money” system of campaign financing and political activity must be stopped.  The IRS should prohibit “candidate-related political activity” by 501(c)(4) organizations.  Such activity, which includes any form of mass communication that clearly identifies candidates and political parties, can be directed to tax-exempt 527 organizations, which can carry out any activities they want, but with the requirement that the source of funding be disclosed.  Voters deserve to know who is paying for campaign activities.

Truly nonpartisan voter services activities, such as those provided by the League of Women Voters at the national, state and local levels, should be allowed and encouraged.   Activities that support specific candidates and political parties should have to disclose all the sources of their funding.  Our democracy can thrive only when its citizens are informed and aware.

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts urges the IRS to change its regulations to stop the secret “dark money” that pollutes our elections, but to continue to allow the League to conduct its nonpartisan voter service activities.

For the LWVUS response to the IRS click here.

LWVMA to Co-sponsor “Remember the Ladies” March 24

Remembering the Ladies EventPosted March 7, 2014 Cokie Roberts, a contributor to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and political commentator for ABC News, will celebrate the contribution of women in American history as part of a forum sponsored by the Pioneer Institute, a public policy research organization. LWVMA is a co-sponsor of this exciting program.

“Remember the Ladies: Women in U.S. History, Literature and Schooling” will be held at the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston Monday, March 24, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The forum is free and open to the public, but reservations will be required.

Roberts, author of two books, Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, about women during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, will discuss the role of women in American history.

The other keynote speaker is Valerie Boyd, biographer of the African-American writer, Zora Neale Hurston.

The keynote speakers will be followed by a panel of historians, academics and experts on K-12 education.

For an event flyer, click here. And register for the event here.

National Committee on Voting Rights Hearing March 31

Posted Mar 15, 2014

The National Committee on Voting Rights will hold a hearing on voting issues in New England Monday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston. LWVMA is a supporter of this project.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice in Boston is organizing the event, in which volunteer commissioners will hear testimony on problems, successes and opportunities for reform in the election process throughout New England.

The committee is seeking testimony from voting rights organizations, other organizations, and from individuals.

This hearing is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to ncvr.lawyerscommittee.org for the national effort and nehearing.lawyerscommittee.org for the New England hearing.

Leagues in several states, including Arizona, Michigan, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Minnesota, have participated in similar hearings, designed to gather information on voting issues in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision on the Voting Rights Act.

Food and Agriculture Forums from LWVs Andover/No. Andover and Newton

Posted Feb 14, 2014

From Farm to Plate: How We Sustain Local Farms

Saturday, March 1, 2014; 2-4 pm
Andover Memorial Hall Library, 2 N. Main St., Andover, MA
Presented by the League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover
Flyer: Click here.

  • We know that eating local food sustains our local farms, but what more should we be doing?
  • What are the issues facing the farmers in Essex County? And how can consumers ensure that local food remains a viable option?

A trio of local farmers will talk about how food and farming affect us all, from animal welfare to energy efficiency to farmland preservation to immigration reform.

Lisa Colby—Colby Farm, Newburyport
Glenn Cook – Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury
Rich Bonanno, Pleasant Valley Gardens, Methuen

The Politics of Food; You Are What You Eat

Wednesday, March 12, 2014; 7:30 – 9:00 pm
John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton, 675 Watertown Street, Newton, MA

The League of Women Voters Newton invites you to attend a panel presentation on agriculture to help us prepare to answer the questions posed by the national League’s Agriculture Study.

Panelists:

Steve Goodwin, Dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dean Goodwin joined the faculty in the Department of Microbiology in 1986 and focused his research on environmental microbiology and the use of microbes to produce biodegradable polymers. Dr. Goodwin received a BS in Zoology from the University of Maine, an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. From 2001, Dr. Goodwin served as Dean and as Associate Dean for the former College of Natural Resources and the Environment prior to becoming CNS dean in 2009. He is active on the boards of many regional organizations, including Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture (CISA), the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, and the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI).

Greg Maslowe,   Farm Manager, Newton Community Farm
Greg has worked as an organic gardener for many years. He is accredited by the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) as an organic land-care professional. He is also a doctoral student in Boston University’s Science, Philosophy, and Religion program. He studies environmental ethics, with an emphasis on agriculture. His dissertation examines the ethics of using genetically modified organisms in agriculture. Newton Community Farm is a model of sustainable farming and energy use.

LWV Winchester

Contact Us

Website  www.lwv-winchester.org
Mailing Address
League of Women Voters of Winchester
P.O. Box 1033
Winchester, MA 01890
Email info@lwvwinchester.org

Join LWV Winchester

Mission

The League of Women Voters of Winchester is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. We influence public policy through education and advocacy.

Contributions & Programs

  • The Winchester League has developed a Guide to Winchester Town Meeting that is available to all residents.
  • LWVW holds an annual voter registration event at the Winchester High School and neighboring towns.
  • Our annual “Moveable Feast” provides lunch for the Winchester town employees to thank them for the work they do throughout the year.
  • In 2013 LWVW members researched and developed a “Thank You Winchester Taxpayers” flyer highlighting our taxpayer dollars at work.
  • The Winchester League organizes candidate forums and interviews for local and state elections. We solicit questions from the public to be used at these events and publicize our events to reach a maximum audience.
  • We arrange “Hot Topic” events on local issues for the broader community to hear opposing views on current issues.
  • We award the LWVW Annual Civic Leadership award to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to civic life at a local or state level.
  • The Winchester League holds its annual meeting in June where we also celebrate our Annual Civic Leadership awardee.
  • We communicate monthly by email with our members during the entire year except for the summer months.

Annual LWV Winchester Movable Feast

Each year, rather than a traditional party for ourselves, LWV-Winchester hosts a “moveable feast” for our town employees. We move from fire station, to DPW headquarters, to the library, and this year to Town Hall. It has become a welcome tradition.

Participation in LWVMA and LWVUS

The Winchester League participates in LWVMA Day on the Hill, Council and Convention. In 2013 we applied and were accepted in the Membership and Leadership Development Program. We also participate in program planning initiatives and consensus studies at the State and National level. The League was awarded a LWVMA Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grant in 2013 to hold two citizen information forums about the proposed renovation of Winchester High School.

Our History

While the goal of the League of Women Voters is to educate citizens so that they are better able to shape their future, it is sometimes helpful to look backward to our past. For the Winchester League, the links to our past go back over a century. Handwritten minutes in a lined ledger book begin, “A meeting of those interested in women’s suffrage was called by Miss Pond, state organizer, at Madame Nowell’s, Winchester, March 20, 1888, at three o’clock.” Its goal was “to secure political enfranchisement of women”.

A month later on April 10th, noted suffragette Lucy Stone spoke at the second meeting. Later speakers included William Lloyd Garrison, Alice Stone Blackwell and Maud Park. Programs were intended to educate women about government, citizenship, laws, school suffrage, prohibition and the like. The Winchester League has continued to educate and inform members of the Winchester community and beyond, helping them to become active and involved citizens.

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Launches “Dear Future Governor” Student Video Contest

February 1, 2014 / Boston — With the Massachusetts gubernatorial election just nine months away, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has launched the “Dear Future Governor” Student Video Contest, an opportunity for high school students around the Commonwealth to let the next Governor know what’s on their minds.

LWVMA invites all Massachusetts high school students to create two-minute videos illustrating a problem or issue in their communities that they hope the next Governor will address.  The three top winners will be awarded $1000, $500, and $250, and their videos will be publicized by LWVMA.

Entries may be submitted online from February 1 through March 31, 2014 at www.lwvma.org.  Judging will take place in April, and winners will be announced in May.  The Judging Committee—composed of members of LWVMA, as well as members of the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council—will look for a clear and compelling message, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.

“The main goal of our ‘Dear Future Governor’ Student Video Contest is to provide an opportunity for young people to speak out on the topics that are important to them and possibly help shape the next Governor’s agenda,” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler.

The contest is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues.  Official rules and further details are available at www.lwvma.org.

About the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts

Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy.  With 48 local Leagues throughout the state and approximately 3,000 members, LVWMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide range of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, state budget and finances, public education, and public safety.  Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. For more information about the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, go to www.lwvma.org.

LWV Lotte E. Scharfman Memorial Fund Participates in Boston Globe GRANT Program

Posted Feb 2, 2014

If you are a Boston Globe or bostonglobe.com subscriber, you can help support our citizen education programs through a new GRANT program.

Please “vote” for the League of Women Voters Lotte E. Scharfman Memorial Fund on your Boston Globe GRANT voucher!

Globe subscribers have received or will soon receive a silver envelope containing a Globe GRANT voucher worth up to $100. This voucher can be used to designate a non-profit of your choice to receive free advertising space in The Boston Globe.

We hope you’ll choose to write in “League of Women Voters Lotte E. Scharfman Memorial Fund” as the non-profit you’ve designated. Write in 133 Portland St., Boston, MA as our location. Then return the GRANT voucher in the envelope provided.

Look for your envelope soon, and please return your voucher right away. Thank you for helping LWVMA to support citizen education and participation! Visit The Globe if you have questions or call LWVMA at 617-523-2999617-523-2999.

If you are a Boston Globe subscriber and have not yet received the silver envelope, or if you are an online subscriber who has not yet received a GRANT program email, please contact Natalie Bean, GRANT program Customer Service Representative, at natalie.bean@globe.com or (617) 929-3198.
  1. Look for your silver envelope in your mail.
  2. Write in “League of Women Voters Lotte E. Scharfman Memorial Fund”  located at 133 Portland St., Boston, MA.
  3. Mail in your voucher in the pre-addressed envelope to support citizen education programs!