League of Women Voters of Kentucky Winter 2011 e-Voter
Dear fellow League members,
Like you, we were saddened by the events that happened in Tucson last week. We looked to our National President, Elisabeth MacNamara, to express how we all feel. We quote here her message to all of us, “The League of Women Voters joins with all Americans in expressing our shock and dismay at the tragic shootings in Tucson last weekend. We express our deep sorrow to the families of the victims, and offer our sincere hopes for the recovery of Representative Giffords and the other survivors. We applaud the courage of the individuals, thinking they were just out for a Saturday conversation, who took immediate action to help the injured and end the rampage.
“What can we make of this madness, this senseless act of violence? And terrible though this event was for all of us now, what might the long term effects be? Will it make public figures – politicians, media figures, celebrities – more mindful of the potentially harmful impact of their angry words – or will everyone continue to put their own agendas first, without regard to the climate they create? Will it make the public more trusting of the patriotic motivations of their elected leaders – or will respect for them be further diminished? Will it make our elected leaders more willing to reach out to meet and hear from their constituents directly – or will it reinforce the growing gap between voters and those they put in office? Will it allow Americans to feel comfortable and welcome in the public space – or will they conclude that it is safer to stay home and drop out of the conversation? It is clearly time for each of us to consider these issues, individually and as a community.
“For 90 years, the League has worked to facilitate the civil exchange of different points of view, to bridge the gap between the voters and the elected, and to help improve the functioning of government. We hope that moving forward our nation will come together to foster and strengthen the very essence of our representative democracy: ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
We agree with the sentiments of our National president and pledge, going forward, to continue providing forums in which all citizens will be free to express their political opinions knowing that they will be received in a civil manner.
Nita Smith and Terry Naydan
Co-Presidents, LWV of Kentucky
A Day at the Legislature – February 16
All members of the League are invited to join Nita and me for “a day at the legislature” on Wednesday, February 16, at the Capitol in Frankfort. We will meet in the cafeteria annex at 9:30 am. After discussing the bills we are supporting or opposing, the group members will separate to observe a committee meeting of their own choice. We will meet again for lunch, hopefully with a member of the legislature joining us for a few minutes to inform us about what bills he/she is working on.
Individual League members may wish to visit their own legislators to lobby for our position on a bill or just to say hello. Legislators’ offices may be contacted during normal business hours by calling LRC at 502-564-8100. Please call ahead so that they can give you an appointment time.
You may then wish to see either a session of the General Assembly or Senate. (We will obtain tickets for you to observe the Legislature “in action” if you inform us ahead of time). You can leave the gallery anytime you wish if you cannot stay for the entire session.
We hope many of you can join us as a visit to the Legislature is always an informative.
Bills We are Supporting
HB 21 – sponsored by Rep. Wayne – An act relating to public financing of judicial campaigns. We agree that judicial races are different from other races and should not be influenced by moneyed interests.
HB 70 – sponsored by J Crenshaw, A.Simpson, B.Yonts – An act relating to persons entitled to vote. Amend the KY Constitution to allow former felons who have paid their debt to society to have their right to vote restored to them automatically.
Bills We are Opposing
SB 111 – sponsored by D.Seum, D. Williams – An act permitting a parent to enroll for attendance a child in the school nearest to the child’s home. This may not always be feasible for many reasons. School systems must decide how to best use their facilities for the benefit of their students.
SB 6 – sponsored by J. Schickel, B.Smith – An act relating to unauthorized aliens. This bill would expand the state’s authority to enforce federal immigration law. It includes provisions that authorize police to attempt to determine a person’s immigration status if he/she is stopped for another reason, such as a traffic violation, and is suspected of being an illegal immigrant. This bill has passed the Senate. It is similar to Arizona’s immigration law.
We will issue updates from time to time on the bills we are watching.
First Call to Convention
LWV of KY State Convention Saturday, April 9
We are making plans for our one-day Convention at the beautiful Boone Tavern in Berea on April 9th. Each local League is entitled to send delegates. According to our bylaws,
Leagues are entitled to one voting delegate for every 10 members up to 50 members and one delegate thereafter for every additional 20 members. For example, if your local League has 70 members, you would be entitled to six voting delegates.
We vote for officers of the KY Board at convention and for directors at Council. Our Nominating Committee will present a slate of officers to the delegates. However, delegates can nominate a member from the floor of the Convention for any office as long as they have notified that person ahead of time.
We welcome proposals for the state program from local Leagues as long as they are received by the KY Board at least three weeks before the convention. As an example, at the National Convention, we voted to study the federal role in education as well as a study of privatization of government services. We may wish to study these areas of government at the state level. We welcome your suggestions.
We will have two plenary sessions, one in the morning, where we make proposals, and one in the afternoon, where we vote on them. We will have a wonderful luncheon in the new Skylight Room at the Boone Tavern. At our luncheon, we have invited a member of the House to speak on the 2011 legislative session. We are looking forward to meeting with members of the League from around the State. Please join us if you can.
Energy Efficiencies Study Completed
We have just completed our Energy Study and we will be sending you the results very soon. We will use this document as a guide for supporting or opposing environmental bills that will come up in the next legislative session. Now that we know more about energy efficiencies, we feel we can judge fairly future proposed bills on the subject. Thank you to all of you who participated in the study. We especially need to thank Elizabeth Crowe, the chair of the Energy Study, as well as Nancy McDuffie, and Joan Lindop, who were the other members of this important committee. Thank you for your guidance and hard work!
Dates to Remember
Wed, Feb. 16 A Day at the Legislature – meet at 9:30 am in annex caferia
Sat., April 9 State Convention at the Boone Tavern in Berea
The League of Women Voter of Kentucky
Suburban Park, Bldg. D, Ste. 103, 1009 Twilight Trail, Frankfort, 40601