In 1920, suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League of Women Voters to help women fulfill their new responsibilities as voters. Today, the men and women of the LWV carry on that legacy. We are a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. In the Bluegrass State, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky is proud to carry on that legacy.
The Kentucky League of Women Voters sent a letter to Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt and Secretary of Education Hal Heiner cautioning them about implementation of charter schools and recommending use of Annenberg guidelines outlined in “Public Accountability for Charter schools: Standards and Policy Recommendations for Effective Oversight.” A story in the Bowling Green Daily News tells the story.
The KY Voter Fall 2017 can be found here. Read about LWV US changes under consideration in a report on the 2017 LWV US Council, along with an overview of our 2017 Kentucky Convention. Also learn about the state League’s letters to Commissioner of Education, Stephen Pruitt about Charter Schools and to Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson regarding the state’s Medicaid redesign. Also note the upcoming local League candidate training workshops. Please share that information with your friends and colleagues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wanda Lynch, President
August 10, 2017 502-875-6481
Kentucky League of Women Voters Submits Comment on State’s Plan to Redesign Current Medicaid Program
LOUISVILLE, KY– Kentucky state League of Women Voters’ president, Wanda Lynch, sent the the following letter to Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Secretary, Cabinet for Health & Family Services of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The League of Women Voters of Kentucky (LWVKY) wishes to comment on the state’s plan to redesign our current Medicaid program, including the Expansion, into a system now known as Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health (HEALTH).
We are especially concerned that the components of the HEALTH plan—as detailed in the updated and annotated #1115 waiver request to CMS—may not be in keeping with established National and state League positions.
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents. Other health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level for health care. Statement of Position on Health Care, as Announced by National Board, April 1993 and supplemented by concurrence, June 2016. (http://lwv.org/content/health-care)
At our own State Conference on April 13, 2013, League delegates approved a recommendation that members “monitor the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, insisting on transparency, oversight of contracts, and accountability in order to maintain the focus on the equitable distribution of health services.”
Note that, at both the National and state level, League members are concerned about the “equitable distribution of services.”
If the waiver is approved, it is our understanding that the restructured Medicaid/HEALTH program will impose premium and community engagement requirements on persons already doing all they can to cope with insufficient income, transportation problems, and/or few employment opportunities–especially in rural areas. We also question the harsh penalties to be levied on those who fall behind in premium payments or fail to report a change in income within a comparatively short time frame. The “lock-out” periods could impact those with chronic illness, patients who need ongoing treatment or medications.
LWVKY does applaud the recent state initiatives that will tighten regulation of payments to the managed care organizations (MCOs) who direct the delivery of Medicaid services. Such “oversight of contracts” and call for accountability are in keeping with our position.
We urge all who are working on the state’s proposal to protect access to care, to facilitate compliance by eligible enrollees, to keep the “equitable distribution of health services” uppermost in their minds.
Learn more about the work of the League of Women Voters: http:///www.lwv.org. “Like” the League on Facebook: facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters. Follow us on Twitter: @LWV and Instagram: @leagueofwomenvoters.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding and advocacy of major public policy issues.
Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, co-presidents
March 21, 2017
League of Women Voters’ 2017 Convention to be held in Louisville, March 31-April 1
LOUISVILLE, KY-The League of Women Voters of Louisville will host the 2017 state League of Women Voters’ Biennial Convention on March 31-April 1.
Members from across the state will meet Friday evening at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, 401 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy, for dinner with speaker Deborah Yetter, Courier-Journal Investigative Reporter, talking about “Fake News.” Dinner is at 7:00 p.m.and the program at 7:45 p.m.
The business meeting will open at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, April 1, at Lang House, 115 S. Ewing Avenue. Members will elect officers and adopt budgets and programs for the coming year. Lunch speaker, Jason Bailey, Executive Director, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, will discuss Tax Reform in Kentucky. Workshops will focus on Money in Politics, Redistricting, Member Recruitment and Preparations for the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage and the League’s founding.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Your Spring 2017 Kentucky Voter and Call to Convention can be found here. New leaders in Frankfort and Washington are filing many bills that are of concern to the League. Review the latest list of bills that we support or oppose, read the Voter for Convention details and view pictures and an overview of League Day in Frankfort.
The KY League’s biennial Convention will be hosted by LWV of Louisville March 31-April 1. Read more about it in the Voter and download the agenda and registration form here. You will want to join us to hear featured speakers, Deborah Yetter, investigative reporter at The Courier Journal, discuss “Fake News” and Jason Bailey, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, share information about “Tax Reform.” Register Today!
One of every 11 Kentucky citizens of voting age, or 312,000 people, cannot vote according to Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, an updated 2017 report of the Kentucky League of Women Voters. In Kentucky, persons convicted of felony offenses permanently lose their right to vote. Because of this restriction, 26 percent of African Americans of voting age are disenfranchised, meaning one in every four members of the African American community are excluded when it comes to electing their representatives at the local, state and federal levels.
Since publication of the League’s 2006 report which showed disenfranchisement of 186,000 persons, another 126,000 citizens, an increase of 68 percent, have lost their voting rights.
Kentucky is one of only four states that ban former felons from voting, ranking third in the rate of disenfranchisement overall and first in disenfranchisement of African Americans. Many states allow persons to vote once their sentences have been served and some never take away voting rights, allowing prisoners to vote.
In Kentucky, former felons may appeal to the governor to have voting rights restored, but the number of persons regaining that right is left to the discretion of the governor and has varied widely.
In 2016, the legislature enacted House Bill 40, expanding the opportunity for former felons to seek expungement of their felony convictions, which would also restore their right to vote. The application requires a five-year waiting period and a $500 fee. In the first six months after HB 40 became law, fewer than 400 applicant requests for expungement were granted, representing a fraction of the 312,000 citizens who have lost their right to vote. Many of these persons made a mistake as a young person. They are now working, paying taxes and participating as citizens in everything but the most important aspect of being a U.S. citizen – voting. The League reports that the restoration of voting rights promotes rehabilitation and reintegration into the community and cites public opinion surveys showing eight in ten U.S. residents support voting rights for citizens who have completed their sentence.
We applaud Governor Matt Bevin, Justice Cabinet Secretary John Tilley and Senator Whitney Westerfield, who are promoting Senate Bill 120 to provide supports for former felons to make a smooth and successful transition from prison to their communities and employment. We would suggest, however, that restoring the right to vote should be included in the many ways SB 120 helps felons re-enter society. Restoration of voting rights is another way to help these citizens become contributing members of their communities and to reduce recidivism, thus saving the state the high cost of additional convictions and incarceration.
We support Senate Bill 120. We also support legislation that would expand the opportunity for expungement of felonies and reduce application fees. We ask the governor to expeditiously restore felons’ right to vote by issuing executive pardons to those who have applied. In addition, we ask legislators to support Senate Bill 69 or House Bill 170 which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot allowing citizens to decide whether to automatically restore voting rights to those who have made mistakes but paid their debt to society.
Terry Naydan and Nita Smith, Co-Presidents
League of Women Voters of Kentucky
The League’s report, Felon Disenfranchisement in Kentucky, can be found at https://lwvky.org/about/publications/
Published by the Lexington Herald-Leader, 2/21/17; The Courier-Journal, 2/22/17