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Category: Front Page News

2013 LWVMA Convention

The 2013 LWVMA Convention “The Future of Our Democracy: What’s Next?” was held May 17-18 at the Boston Peabody Marriott in Peabody, MA. League members throughout the state convened to conduct the business of the League for the next biennium. In addition the convention featured speakers and workshops, as well as a silent auction.

Election of Board of Directors

Officers

Marilyn Peterson, Eva Valentine, Anne Borg
Marilyn Peterson, Eva Valentine, Anne Borg
  • Co-President: Anne Borg, Newton
  • Co-President: Marilyn Peterson, Acton Area
  • First Vice-President: Karen Price, Needham
  • Second Vice-President: Nancy Brumback, Sudbury
  • Secretary: Dee Ortner, Concord-Carlisle
  • Treasurer: Andrea Kozinetz, Newton

Directors

  • Jean Cherdack, Northampton Area
  • Marlene O’Brien, Wellesley
  • Carole Pelchat, Greater Haverhill
  • Becky Shannon, Amherst
  • Launa Zimmaro, Concord-Carlisle

Workshop Materials and Presentations

Nine workshops, led by League members, were held. Click on the workshop title to get materials from each workshop.

  1. Advocating for environmental issues
  2. Growing and retaining members: It’s all about visibility
  3. We have to fix that!  Updating the way we run elections
  4. Create and Maintain a League Facebook Page
  5. Events that engage young people: Civics Bee, Yellow Rose Events
  6. Making an Impact in Your Town or City
  7. Money in Politics: Last year’s issue or still a problem?
  8. Think beyond Candidates’ Night
  9. Effective Lobbying from Our LWVMA Positions

Two LWVMA Members Receive “Above and Beyond Award”

The LWVMA board of directors awarded two LWVMA members the Above and Beyond Award for outstanding contributions to the state League.

erin award
Erin Pastuszenki

Erin Pastuszenski of Concord-Carlisle League was honored for her service as Chair of the 2011-13 Nominating Committee.

ruth award
Ruth Race and Eva Valentine

Ruth Race of the Topsfield-Boxford-Middleton League was honored for her many years of service as the Field Service Representative for the Merrimack Valley/North Shore region.

LWVMA Approves Study and Action Priorities

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts approved an ambitious program of study and action for the next two years at its convention May 17-18 in Peabody. About 100 members of the League attended the convention for two days of workshops, speakers, and business meetings.

The following program and action priorities were approved:

A new study, “Massachusetts after Citizens United. SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?” will consider whether or not the League’s existing campaign finance positions are adequate to meet the challenges of Citizens United and related recent Supreme Court decisions, and if not, what additional positions are needed.

LWVMA also adopted a new position on transportation by concurrence with the position of LWV of California. In brief, the position supports 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.

LWVMA selected three areas for Action Priority. The state League and its local Leagues will seek opportunities to participate in action addressing these issues. Opportunities may include, but are not limited to, support or opposition of legislation at all levels of government, participating in approved coalitions, conducting issue forums, encouraging attendance at events and rallies, and lobbying officials.

  • Improving elections, including, but not limited to, voting systems that are easy to use, administer and encourage voter turnout, election financing/money in politics, voter registration and engagement, and opposition to voter suppression efforts.
  • The environment, including, but not limited to, reduction, reuse and recycling measures; measures to address climate change; and comprehensive water resource management.
  • Civic education and engagement, including, but not limited to, encouraging civic education in our schools and civic engagement in our communities and our state and municipal governments.

Lastly, LWVMA will establish two review committees which should report back to the membership at Council 2014 to:

  • Consider the uses of technology in voter registration and voting and research the positives and negatives associated with each technology, including the security of such systems.
  • Develop a plan for state action on transportation, taking into account local League studies and action on transportation.

Vote June 25 for US Senator from Massachusetts

Remember to vote in the special election for US Senator from Massachusetts on June 25. Candidates include Gabriel Gomez (Republican), Edward Markey (Democrat), and Richard Heos (Twelve Visions). For information on voting, polls and absentee ballots, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

Be an informed voter! Look beyond the television ads and consider the positions and vision of each candidate. Two of the three full debates between Markey and Gomez are posted on YouTube. The second debate was held June 11 (click here). A final debate was held on June 18 (click here).

Remember: Democracy is not a spectator sport!

 

LWVMA Supports Bills to Strengthen Low-Income Families

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities in support of  bills that would encourage educational opportunities and support financial stability for low-income families and individuals.

The bills, S.37 and H.93, An Act Promoting Financial Stability and Asset Development for Low to Moderate Income Families, are sponsored by Sen. James Eldridge and Rep. Linda Forry.  They encourage vocational education and other programs to help families and individuals receiving state assistance to become self-supporting and financially independent.

In her written testimony to the joint committee, Clarice B. Gordon, LWVMA legislative specialist on meeting basic human needs, pointed out that the majority of assistance recipients are young mothers with children.  “It is particularly important that these women are allowed and encouraged to pursue their education.  The short time that they are receiving aid is often the best time in their lives they will ever have to finish high school, take college courses or improve their vocational skills. Little is gained by having these women fulfill their work requirements in low paying jobs and be no better prepared two years later to support themselves and their children,” she wrote.

The League testimony added that aid recipients pursuing further education should not be subject to requirements that prevent them from effectively completing that education, and that aid recipients who are working should be granted reasonable allowances to permit them to continue working such as owning a reliable car or deducting expenses such as uniform costs.

LWVMA Joins Gun Safety Coalition

The LWVMA Board voted to join the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, a group working to enact additional gun safety legislation in the state and to encourage stricter enforcement of existing laws.  This move is consistent with LWVUS’s decision to make gun safety a national League priority.

The coalition is supporting legislation that achieves these goals:

  1. Universal background checks for ALL gun purchases, including private sales and gun shows.
  2. A strengthened background check system (by supporting MA joining the federal NICS database; MA is one of only nine states that has not yet joined).
  3. A suitability standard for all gun licenses with discretion for local licensing authorities.
  4. Prohibition of military assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips.
  5. Stronger penalties, improved enforcement and improved law enforcement training for gun-related crimes, including failure to report lost or stolen guns and trafficking of firearms.

June 2 Deadline for Local League Grants

The Trustees of the LWVMA Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund (LESF) have scheduled an additional funding cycle for the Citizen Education Grant Program. The deadline for submission of the grant application is June 2, and the money would be dispersed no later than mid-July.

The additional funding cycle was added primarily because the first fall deadline (2013) will be October 1, with payments disbursed at the end of October. While the grant committee felt this date will allow Leagues to hold their first fall board meeting before the deadline, it may be late for those Leagues planning early fall events or projects. Leagues can submit an application June 2 for planned early fall activities.

Click here for guidelines, application, and summaries of the approved grants.