Climate and Energy Solutions Series continues with Winchester Forum October 4

The forum will address the sources and health impacts of air pollution. Dr. Buonocore will discuss his research on the cumulative health co-benefits of a proposed carbon fee in Massachusetts. A summary of this work can be found at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website.

Snacks and conversation will start at 6:30. A Question and Answer session will follow.

This event is part of LWVMA’s Climate and Energy Solutions Series. It is free and open to the public.

Click here for an event flyer.

Co-hosted by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Winchester and LWV of Massachusetts, Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy, and Winchester Farmers’ Market Community Hub.

For a list of partnering organizations for the Climate and Energy Solutions Series click here.

Jonathan Buonocore, Sc.D., is the program leader for the Climate, Energy, and Health program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Jonathan’s research topics range from improving understanding of the health and environmental risks of pipelines, underground gas storage, and other midstream oil and gas infrastructure, to understanding health “co-benefits” of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and different energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, to understanding the health implications of fires in Indonesia. Jonathan received his doctoral degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Environmental Science and Risk Management in November 2013.

Jonathan also holds a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Clarkson University.

Hundreds Attend “Extreme Events and Climate Change” Forum at New England Aquarium

September 14, 2017–A sold-out crowd filled the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX® Theatre for “Extreme Events and Climate Change: What We Know and What We Can Do,” co-hosted by LWVMA and LWV-Boston, the New England Aquarium, and UMass Boston School for the Environment.

Dr. Ellen Douglas of UMass Boston laid out the evidence for the causes of climate change, its impact on sea level rise in Massachusetts, and efforts to overcome the devastating changes in store for the region through mitigation and adaptation.

This event is part of LWVMA’s 2017 Climate and Energy Solutions Series and will soon be available for viewing on the Aquarium’s YouTube channel.

The slide presentation may be viewed here.

To see her presentation in person, Dr. Douglas will be speaking at the final forum in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series. LWV-Falmouth and LWVMA will co-host “Extreme Events and Climate Change Boston Area and Cape Cod: What We Know and What We Can Do” on November 4 at 1 p.m. at Falmouth Public Library. Speakers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Woods Hole Research Center will provide a local perspective.

Click here for a Falmouth forum flyer.

LWVMA Opposes Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Provisions in Gov. Baker Bill

September 8, 2017–The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports efforts to address the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, but we do not support the provisions in Governor Baker’s bill to add to existing mandatory minimum sentencing in the case of a drug sale leading to death.

The Massachusetts Sentencing Commission has been thorough in its examination of the sentencing guidelines in Massachusetts and has found that conventional drug enforcement and treatment of offenders is most effective in reducing drug consumption or drug-related crime. The Commission is currently working on reforming and updating these guidelines. We are concerned that Governor Baker’s provision will increase drug overdose deaths if some people fear reporting an overdose.

During this time of increasing deaths due to opioids, we want to encourage everyone to report overdoses so that the most lives are saved. We applaud Governor Baker’s concern over this crisis, but we fear the mandatory minimum sentencing provision will slow progress.

Carbon pricing gaining advocates and momentum!

Putting a price on carbon is the most effective way to reduce emissions and change consumer behavior.

With increasing pressure to address climate change, and carbon pricing bills from both the Massachusetts Senate and House, there is growing momentum in the legislature to pass a carbon pricing bill this session.

Three webinars from the LWVUS Price on Carbon team highlight the importance and value of pricing carbon.

 

League Condemns DACA Policy Reversal

September 5, 2017–The League of Women Voters today condemned the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program.  Read the full statement from LWV President Chris Carson here:

“This administration’s decision to rescind the ‘Dreamers’ program is shameful and does not serve national interest.

“As a country of immigrants, we are made stronger by our diversity. Yet time and time again, this administration has discriminated against immigrants and communities of color.

“Reversing the DACA policy will have a devastating impact on our economy. Ending this program will increase unemployment.

“Thousands of the Dreamers protected by DACA were brought to this country as babies and have no memories of their birth country. These individuals are paying taxes, contributing to Social Security and Americans, in everything but the name.

“The League of Women Voters is opposed to deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants and we urge congress to pass a clean Dreamers Act to protect, not turn away, the 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States as children.”

 

 

Election Modernization Coalition Statement on Illinois Governor Rauner’s Signing of Automatic Voter Registration Bill

Boston, MA/August 28, 2017–Today, Illinois became the tenth state, along with the District of Columbia, to successfully enact automatic voter registration (AVR). Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed into a law a bill that creates more accessible and secure elections by automatically registering voters unless they opt out of the program. The bill won bipartisan support and passed unanimously in the legislature earlier this year.

The new law will add roughly one million new eligible voters to the voter rolls. Similar laws in other states have been proven to increase turnout and make elections more secure by modernizing the voter registration process. It is a common sense and long overdue reform.

As organizations that have worked tirelessly together for many years to remove barriers to voting, we applaud the action of Governor Rauner and the Illinois state legislature and call on the Massachusetts legislature to pass Automatic Voter Registration in our state. As the cradle of liberty, Massachusetts should lead the way towards removing unnecessary barriers for voting and ensuring that every Bay Stater has a voice in our democracy.

Pam Wilmot, Common Cause Massachusetts

Meryl Kessler, League of Women Voters, Massachusetts

Beth Huang, Mass Voter Table

Janet Domenitz, MASSPIRG

Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, MassVOTE

Jonathan Cohn, Progressive Massachusetts

A pdf of this statement is available here.

 

LWVMA Statement on Charlottesville and Boston Rallies

Boston, MA/August 18, 2017–As our nation grapples with the terrifying and tragic events in Charlottesville, and as the City of Boston braces for a “Free Speech Rally” on the Common tomorrow, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) must speak out.  For almost 100 years, the League has been a nonpartisan defender of democracy.  While we cherish the individual rights of free speech and assembly, we feel a special responsibility to make our voice heard when those rights are used to incite hate and violence, and when they serve as tools to divide our nation rather than unite us as a free people.

Representing 3,000 members in over 100 Massachusetts communities, LWVMA strongly and unequivocally condemns racism, bigotry and violence.  With one voice, we reaffirm our commitment to these core, democratic values: promoting social and economic justice, securing equal rights for all, and combating discrimination and poverty.

We applaud Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for taking a coordinated and clear stand against hateful rhetoric, intimidation, and violence and for reminding us all, in Boston and the Commonwealth, of what we stand for: civil rights, equality, unity in our diversity, love, and justice for all.  As Boston readies for tomorrow’s rally, let us all keep these greater goals in mind and work together to achieve them.

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Board and Staff

LWV To Host Major Climate Change Forum at New England Aquarium Sept. 14

As the climate changes and global temperatures rise, extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey are becoming more frequent.  As a coastal state, Massachusetts is increasingly at risk from dangerous storms and a rise in sea level.  Professor Douglas will provide an in-depth look at the climate changes that have already occurred as well as those that scientific models predict for the future.  She will also provide information about plans to address and respond to climate change, delving into these questions:

  • What have we observed from our changing climate?
  • What changes are in our future?
  • What plans are in the works to adapt to these changes?

A Question and Answer session will follow.

Click here for an event flyer.  All concerned citizens are encouraged to attend!

This event is part of the Aquarium’s Lecture Series and of LWVMA’s Climate and Energy Solutions Series. It is free and open to the public. Registration is required through the Aquarium’s website.

Co-hosted by the New England Aquarium’s Lecture Series, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Boston and LWV of Massachusetts, the UMass Boston School for the Environment.

For a list of partnering organizations for the Climate and Energy Solutions Series click here.

Election Modernization Coalition Applauds Ruling On Voter Registration Deadline

Boston,MA/July 24, 2017–A decision handed down today by a Suffolk Superior Court judge opened a huge window that has been shut to many eligible voters. As a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, MassVOTE, and the Chelsea Collaborative, Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled that the 20-day voter registration deadline in Massachusetts disenfranchises thousands of potential voters and is unconstitutional.

As organizations that have worked tirelessly together for many years to remove barriers to voting, we are thrilled with this decision and we applaud the work of the plaintiffs and their attorneys. We are also gratified that the decision refers to the successes of early voting and online voter registration, reforms for which we advocated for years.

We still have more barriers to voting in Massachusetts than we should tolerate, and more solutions—such as automatic voter registration and election day registration—than we are using. We look forward to continuing our work to make democracy thrive in Massachusetts.

Pam Wilmot, Common Cause, Massachusetts

Meryl Kessler, League of Women Voters, Massachusetts

Beth Huang, Mass Voter Table

Janet Domenitz, MASSPIRG

Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, MassVOTE

Jonathan Cohn, Progressive Massachusetts

LWVMA Thanks Secretary Galvin for Refusing to Comply with Voter Record Request

The League strongly condemns the recent request from President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for voter records, including private information, from all 50 states; at the same time, LWVMA applauds Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin for refusing to comply with the request and has sent him a letter thanking him for his stance.  We encourage LWVMA members to also contact Secretary Galvin to thank him for his refusal to comply with the commission’s request.

The letter to Secretary Galvin from LWVMA Co-presidents Mary Ann Ashton and Linda Matys O’Connell reads:

July 5, 2017

Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108

 

Dear Secretary Galvin,

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts applauds you for your refusal to turn over voter records to the Election Integrity Commission, as reported in several media outlets this past week.  We thank you for your continuing efforts to ensure that voters’ right to privacy and to vote are protected in our Commonwealth.

The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) has issued a strong statement condemning this week’s request from Kris Kobach, vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, for state voter records.  We agree with you that the law in the Commonwealth has established that the voter record is not a public record, and stand firmly with you that these records should not be released and that voter’s privacy should be protected.

With our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition, we have worked with your office to improve and protect elections, and recognize that you are committed to ensuring that there are no opportunities for voter fraud or for voter suppression in our state.  We thank you for your many efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth’s voters, and look forward to continuing to work with you.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Ashton                                                       Linda Matys O’Connell
Co-president                                                               Co-president