LWVMA Supports Safe Communities Act—April 5 Lobby Day

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports the Safe Communities Act, a bill to protect the civil liberties of all Massachusetts residents, ensure due process rights to people detained for civil immigration violations and ensure police and other local/state law enforcement agencies do not participate in immigration enforcement.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 5, at the State House for Immigrants’ Day, a lobby day in support of this bill, sponsored by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) organization. Find information about the bill here.

We will be advocating on behalf of the 1 million foreign-born residents of the Commonwealth and talking to our legislators about why they should support the Safe Communities Act and other pro-immigration legislation.

The event begins at 9 a.m. at the State House and lobbying will go until 2 p.m. There will be keynote speakers in the Hall of Flags from 10 to 11 a.m., after which we encourage you to meet with your legislators. There will be a rally outside the State House 1 to 2 p.m.

To register with MIRA click here and for information on Lobby Day click here. Please also email Immigration Specialist Karen Price to let LWVMA know you are coming. MIRA advises everyone to make an appointment in advance with your legislators. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.

The Safe Communities Act is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. James Eldridge (S1305) and in the House by Rep. Juana Matias (H3269) and has over 90 co-sponsors.

Recent executive orders make all noncitizens fair game for immigration enforcement and threaten to withhold federal funding from jurisdictions whose police refuse to detain any individual identified as suspicious by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Complying with these federal detention requests damages the relationship between police and noncitizen community members and their allies, and takes up police time that should be used to enforce state criminal law. It also taxes local financial resources, since cities and states are expected to foot the bill for detention. The Massachusetts Legislature has the means to protect its immigrant population from these federal-state immigration enforcement partnerships by passing the Safe Communities Act.

LWVUS has come out strongly in support of such efforts at the state and local levels. In a 2017 statement it said: “The League supports cities, towns, counties and states that make a decision not to cooperate with federal deportation and enforcement actions that include non-criminal undocumented immigrants.”

League Meet Up March 29 at 6:30 pm

Looking for ways to get involved?

Join League of Women Voters for a League Meet Up at the Bell in Hand Tavern, 45 Union St., Boston on Wednesday, March 29 at 6:30 pm.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy an evening out while you…

  • Meet and mingle with others interested in getting involved
  • Meet League members
  • Find out what the League is doing

Find the event and sign up on Facebook
Registration is encouraged but not required.

Questions: Email league@lwvma.org
Click here for an event flyer.

The Case for Carbon Pricing Webinar Now Available!

Registration for the webinar featuring renowned historian of climate science, Dr. Naomi Oreskes, filled quickly. Dr. Oreskes makes the case for why “Carbon pricing is the simplest and fairest way to reduce emissions.”

Although there is very little chance of a federal price on carbon right now, several states and regions already have or are moving toward a price on carbon. Results show that the economy can even be stimulated by carbon pricing, giving competitive advantage by advancing more quickly in the renewable and energy efficiencies sectors.

 Giving a background in the economics, Dr. Oreskes explained that the external costs caused by climate change (hurricanes, drought, agricultural disruption, sea level rise) are not reflected in the price of fossil fuels. But someone does pay that price. Economists recognize that external costs are a form of market failure. The most straightforward way to rectify the market failure is to put a price on carbon emissions.

Conservatives don’t like to admit market failure, but perhaps more importantly don’t want to see government intervention to rectify the failure. However, Judge Richard A. Posner, a well-known conservative thinker said, “Behavior that generates large external costs provides an apt occasion for government regulation.”

We are seeing a bit of political opening.  Republicans are recognizing that there is a need to remedy the market failure, and that the easiest way is carbon pricing.

In a final statement, Dr. Oreskes said that in addition to reducing emissions, “Carbon pricing maximizes industry flexibility and consumer choice.”  See Dr. Oreskes’ slides and handouts provided in the session: Carbon Pricing Methods, Carbon Pricing in North America, and Carbon Pricing Resources. You will find the webinar here. Dr. Oreskes presentation begins at 5:47 minutes.

LWVMA 2015-16 Annual Report Now Available

We are pleased to share the 2015-16 Annual Report of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.  The report recaps an extraordinary year of advocacy, voter engagement, and citizen education and celebrates the work of our local Leagues throughout the Commonwealth. Many thanks to our members and supporters for helping us Make Democracy Work!

To download and view the 2015-16 Annual Report as a pdf, click here.

LWVMA Co-sponsoring Criminal Justice Reform Forum March 25

LWVMA Is pleased to co-sponsor a forum on criminal justice reform, “The Politics of Justice: Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts,” along with the Leagues in Arlington and Winchester.

The forum will be Saturday, March 25, 12:45-5:00 p.m., at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 630 Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington Center.   You can preregister here.

Speakers will include:

  • Sen. Will Brownsberger on the Council of State Governments omnibus bill
  • Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan on restorative justice
  • Idris Abdullah of Teens Leading the Way on juvenile justice
  • Sen. Ken Donnelly on mental health issues and pretrial reform
  • Cassandra Bensahih of Jobs Not Jails on the Justice Reinvestment Act
  • Rahsaan Hall of the ACLU‑MA’s Racial Justice Program on the racial implications of this season’s proposed legislation.

There will be also time for networking and action opportunities, and Bill Gardiner, Colleen Kirby and Rep. Dave Rogers will offer an optional 30-minute workshop on interacting effectively with legislators.

This forum is organized by the Mass Incarceration Working Group and co-sponsored by 25 organizations.  Questions?  Email end-mass-incarceration@firstparish.info.

2017 LWVMA Convention in Framingham April 28-29

Brian McGrory, Editor, The Boston Globe

The 2017 LWVMA Convention “The Future of Democracy: Facing the Challenges” will be held April 28-29 at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, MA. 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.

Make plans to have your League well represented at LWVMA Convention 2017. Click here for more information and to register now! The Registration deadline is April 17. Click here for a Convention flyer.

Schedule of Events:    

April 28
April 29
11:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m.
Lunch Buffet and Welcome
12:00 p.m.
Continental Breakfast
Speaker: Wylecia Wiggs Harris, Chief Executive Officer, LWVUS, Impact, Engagement, Sustainability
7:30 a.m.
Panel Discussion: Time for Us To Be Heard: Millennial Voices in the Massachusetts State Legislature
2:00 p.m.
Focus Groups: Members Speak Out
9:45 a.m.
First Plenary Session
3:45 p.m.
Focus Groups Report Out
LWVMA Next Steps
11:20 a.m.
Cocktail Reception, LWVMA Board Candidates Meet & Greet
6:00 p.m.
Lunch Buffet
Speaker: Rachael Cobb, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Government, Suffolk University
12:00 p.m.
Speaker: Brian McGrory, Editor, The Boston Globe
7:00 p.m.
Second Plenary Session
1:45 p.m.
Budget and Convention Q & A’s





























New “Money In Politics” Toolkit Now Available

The new Money in Politics Toolkit from LWVUS is now available. This latest version represents the culmination of many years of work on this critical area of League advocacy.

As stated in the introduction of the kit: “YOU have a right to know WHO is running for office, WHO is raising money for WHICH candidates, HOW MUCH money are they raising, and HOW that money is being spent. YOU have a right to elections that are free from corruption and undue influence. CANDIDATES have a right to a fair and equitable contest that promotes strong citizen participation. WE ALL have a right to a democracy that works for all. Reform starts at home! Dive into how your community and state regulates money in politics and then advocate for reforms where needed. We’re here to help! Use the ACTION Kit to get you started.”

The Action Kit, sample letter to the editor, and questions for elected officials can all be found here. It’s time to take this action to the next level! The Action Kit will be an invaluable resource for local Leagues and all concerned citizens working to take on this issue.

LWVMA Environmental Committee Awarded Grant!

We’re pleased to announce that the LWVMA Environmental Advocacy and Action Committee has received a $2750 grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to expand our outreach and public education efforts on environmental issues to local Leagues and the public .

The role of the Environmental Advocacy and Action Committee is to create a coordinated, state-wide plan of action to advance meaningful clean energy policy in the Commonwealth. The Committee includes local League members from around the state who will work within their local Leagues and League regions to share information and resources with League members and the general public through forums, webinars, print and social media, etc.

The grant will help build the Committee’s outreach capacity and development of educational resources.

For more information about the work of the Committee, contact Launa Zimmaro  or Karen Price.

January 2017 Awards to Three Local Leagues

Three Leagues received Daniel Scharfman citizen education grants in January.

LWV Arlington received a grant for its Candidates’ Night. LWV Hamilton Wenham received a grant for a program bringing books about civics to elementary schools. LWV Plymouth received a grant for its civics bee.

The next deadline to apply for a Scharfman grant is April 17. Information and an application form are available here.

We Are Grateful for YOU!

As we enter this season of thanks, we want to express our gratitude for all you do to Make Democracy Work in your communities and throughout the Commonwealth! The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts depends on you — our members and supporters — to advance our mission.

You are the linchpin of our non-partisan, hands-on work to safeguard democracy and create lasting change.  You are the key to our success!

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the League.

With wishes for a warm and wonderful holiday,

The LWVMA Board of Directors,
the Citizen Education Fund Trustees, and the Staff