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July News for Members

 

Convention 2021

The 2021 LWVMA Convention “Expanding the Table: Making Democracy Work for Everyone” was held Saturday, June 26 on Zoom. Convention brings local League delegates together to hear distinguished speakers, approve program for the next biennium, elect a new board of directors, approve the budget, and network with leaders from across the state. This year, LWVMA welcomed Representative Liz Miranda (D-5th Suffolk) as our keynote speaker. Rep. Miranda is a member of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and was a key ally in the omnibus police reform bill that was passed into law on December 31, 2020. Rep. Miranda is a dynamic example of a legislator whose work amplifies this year’s Convention theme, Expanding the Table: Making Democracy Work for Everyone. Watch Representative Miranda’s remarks here.

Act on the VOTES Act

We had a successful lobby day May 3 for the VOTES Act, H.805/S.459, with lots of League participants, followed by a joint committee hearing May 19. You can watch the hearing here and read the Associated Press story with a quote from LWVMA here.

Janet Domenitz discusses the VOTES Act on behalf of the Election Modernization Coalition in an op-ed titled “How to Fix Three Main Deficiencies in How We Vote in Massachusetts. You can find the piece here.

If you have not yet done so, please email your state Senator and Representative and ask them to contact the Joint Committee on Election Laws and leadership to report the VOTES Act out of committee in its entirety and soon. The bill will make permanent the election reforms, including expanded voting by mail and expanded in-person early voting, that were enacted on a temporary basis for last fall’s elections. Please emphasize that you want same day voter registration included in the legislation the committee reports out. Click here for more details on the bill.
We think the legislature will extend the pandemic election provisions from June 30 until the end of December to cover this fall’s municipal elections. But the legislature needs to pass the VOTES Act in the next few months, so it is in place when those temporary provisions expire.

 

Hearings on Redistricting in MA – Ongoing

The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting has started holding hearings to collect public input for drawing maps for Congressional, state legislator, and Governor Council districts. The hearings are being organized by Congressional districts. The upcoming virtual hearings:
  • Congressional District 7: Monday, July 12, 10 a.m.
  • Congressional District 4: Monday, July 19, 12 p.m.
The livestream of these hearings can be accessed under the Hearings & Events section of the legislative website. While the hearings are being held by Congressional District, the Committee wants to hear from the public regarding redistricting for the state level districts in addition to the Congressional districts. In particular, the Committee wants to hear about specific insights about your community such as racial, ethnic, or language groups, school districts, transportation hubs, commercial districts, watersheds, and other communities of interest that should be considered in redistricting.
Oral testimony is limited to 3 minutes. We encourage you to publicize hearings in your community, listen to the hearings, or provide either written or oral testimony. Hearings will be posted here.
  • To provide live testimony during the hearing please complete the sign up form on the hearing page.
  • To submit written testimony, please use the Contact the Committee form on the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting website.
  • LWVMA will send emails to local Leagues as their district hearings are scheduled. Please email Judy Zaunbrecher if you plan to testify.
See the People Powered Fair Maps Toolkit for more information.

 

Once and for All, Medicare for All!

We need equitable health care coverage for all persons in the Commonwealth. H.1267/S.766 An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts, is now before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.
  • If your state representative and/or state senator is on this committee, contact her/him with a personal note of your support for the bill.
  • All LWVMA members please contact all the members of the Health Care Financing Committee here via email or a phone call (617-722-1432 and 617-722-2430). Ask that this bill be voted favorably out of committee in a timely manner so we can have an equitable health care bill discussed and passed in the 192nd session.
  • Senate committee chair: Email Sen Cindy F. Friedman here
  • House committee chair: Email Rep. John J. Lawn, Jr. here
Please make the call. Send the emails. Help get this bill out of committee. Let us finally have the discussion!

 

Guns, Safety, and the Edge of Adulthood Report

LWVMA is a member of the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which is focusing on actions that will address the root causes of violence and create anti-racist system change.  The Center for Court Innovation has released an in-depth and critical report on why youth pick up guns.

 

Help Promote Community Immunity Bill

This bill, H.2271/S.1517, An Act Promoting Community Immunity, supports student health by providing a consistent immunization policy across Massachusetts schools, daycare centers, and summer camps. By improving data collection, gaps in vaccination rates can be identified to allow for targeted intervention. The public data will allow parents to make informed decisions as to where to send their child to school, daycare, and summer camp. (Note: This bill deals with a streamlined, mandatory reporting process for laws already in place. Don’t confuse this bill with others being introduced to change immunization requirements in the state.)
Action 1: Please contact the Joint Committee on Public Health (committee chairs: Senator Comerford here and Representative Decker here) asking that a hearing be scheduled as soon as possible.
Action 2: It will be useful to have parents of immunocompromised children testify at the Joint Committee Hearing telling legislators how import this data is when making choices for their children. If you, a family member, or friend have a story you are willing to tell, please let legislative health specialists Val and Janice know here.

 

Join the Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee

Are you interested in working with other League members in the state on environmental issues and action? The LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee (EAAC) is gearing up again and is seeking new members as we look to the future.
The goals of the LWVMA EAAC are to inform members across the state on critical environmental issues and policies impacting Massachusetts, and to support and promote sustainable energy and environmental policy that incorporates meaningful provisions around environmental justice and equity, legislation and local action. The EAAC will meet monthly via Zoom on the 3rd Monday of each month, from 4:00pm-5:00pm.
If you’d like to be a part of this team, please contact Launa Zimmaro with your name, local League, email address, and a little bit about your interests and experience. We are grateful for your support and welcome any questions you may have. Click here for further information about the EAAC.

 

Racial Justice Resources Available

Not sure where or how to start work on Racial Justice? This LWVMA compendium contains a wealth of information whether you are just beginning to explore the topic on a personal level, or as a League seeking partners for change in your community. Browse materials here.
LWVMA Did Well in Last Legislative Session
LWVMA celebrates several major legislative victories during the 2019-2020 formal legislative session, including passage of pandemic election reforms, a major education funding bill, the ROE Act expanding abortion access and a strong climate change bill. Read about the session’s outcome here.

 

Membership Demographics and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Survey – Closes June 9

LWVMA has sent out its first-ever membership-wide demographics and diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) survey. We are hoping that every League member in Massachusetts will complete and submit the survey by June 9.
  • The information you provide in the survey will be anonymously reviewed in the aggregate
  • The survey should take less than 10 minutes
  • If you missed the survey in your inbox, please click here.
Why are we doing this? Because diversity, equity and inclusion are central pillars of LWVMA’s mission and strategic plan, we need to understand more about the composition of our membership and the progress we have made, thus far, toward our DEI goals and objectives. We will be sure to share the results once they are compiled.
Your participation in this survey is greatly appreciated – thank you for submitting your responses by June 9!

 

Help Pass the For the People Act

We’re close to passing once-in-a-generation legislation to protect the freedom to vote. The For the People Act (S.1) would:
  • Modernize our voter registration system;
  • Restore voting rights to formerly-incarcerated individuals;
  • Curb partisan gerrymandering;
  • Make campaign contributions more transparent.
President Biden was elected to office to improve our democracy — and that’s why LWVUS is calling on him to continue speaking out in favor of S.1 and to urge the Senate to pass it by any means necessary!
Sign the petition today to let him know you feel the same way! Together, we can strengthen our democracy.

 

Legislation Update

Check the LWVMA website to see which bills the LWVMA is supporting or opposing this legislative session and LWVMA testimony posted under League Supported Legislation 2021-2022. As our legislative specialists continue to review bills, additions to the list should be expected.