Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

November 25, 2017
In This Issue:



December 6, 3:30-5:30 p.m , LWVA Members Holiday Party, 197 Pondview Dr. For directions, call 253-5179 or email
December 14, 2-3:30 p.m., LWVA Board Meeting,
Amherst Room, Jones Library. Open to all members. December 18, Deadline for material for e-bulletin.   
January 15, 2 p.m. [note time change], Book Group discussion of Jane Glover's Mozart's Women, 23 Greensleeves, Jane Price hosting. 
January 16, 2-3:30, LWVA Board Meeting, Amherst Room, Jones Library. Open to all members.
February 10, LWVA Birthday Lunch for members and their guests, time and place TBA.   
March 1, 7 p.m., Forum on Proposed Charter, ARMS.
March 15, 7 pm., Candidates' Night, ARMS,  
To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit, click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates" and fill out the brief form found there.

LWVA News: Recent Accomplishments

National Security Secrecy, a new book and talk by Sudha Setty

Our very own LWVA Board Secretary and Law Professor at Western New England School of Law came before us on November 14th to speak about her new book, National Security Secrecy, Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law.

Sudha raised concerns about our democracy given how, since the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, national security policies and laws have been decided in secrecy in the executive branch and carried out without any checks or balances from the other two branches of government. Always this is justified as necessary to fight terrorism, but is not designed or voted on by our elected congress nor vetted in the courts.

Sudha gave three examples where this is so: the torture program initiated under the Bush administration (where victims are not allowed to sue the government), Snowden's exposure of many classified documents, and the use of drones program. She also compared our national security to those of the EU, the UK, and India.

Sudha has a wonderful way of explaining difficult concepts in an accessible way. The discussion following was lively and we all learned a lot! Many thanks to Sudha for a memorable evening.

-Marcie Sclove

LWV Amherst Health Care Committee Lobbies for Single-Payer Healthcare

November 14, 2017 was "Day on the Hill" in Boston. Six members of the Amherst LWV Health Care Committee under the leadership of Jackie Wolf were among the group representing Western Mass who went to Lobby for Medicare for All in Massachusetts. Last week the single payer movement took a big step forward when the State Senators passed an amendment to a health care bill directing the non-partisan Health Policy Commission to compare the actual health care costs in MA for three 
years to what the cost would be under a single payer model. The bill must now be approved by the House.
 -Rosemary Kofler  
Affordable Housing Forum, October 25
You may view the Amherst Media video of the Affordable Housing Forum, which was co-sponsored by the Amherst League, at this site. 
Civic  Opportunities: Service on Town of Amherst Boards, Committees and Commissions  
At our Annual Meeting in June, one of the directions to the Board concerned vacancies in the boards and committees of the Town of Amherst. Following up on that 
direction, and as a first step, we have obtained a list (as of November 15, 2017)
of all such vacancies -and there are many.
For your information, with the number of vacancies in parentheses, here they are: 
Agricultural Commission (3) 
Amherst Center Recreation Working Group (2) 
CDBG Advisory Committee (4) 
Community Preservation Act Committee (1) 
Conservation Commission (1) 
Design Review Board (1) 
Downtown Parking Word Group (2) 
Historical Commission (1) 
Human Rights Commission (2) 
Hampshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee (1) 
Kanegasaki Sister City Committee (6) 
La Paz Centro, Nicaragua Sister City Committee (5) 
Leisure Services & Supplemental Education Commission (2) 
Planning Board (1) 
Public Shade Tree Committee (1) 
Transportation Advisory Committee (1) 
Water Supply Protection Committee (2) 
ASSOC Zoning board of Appeals (1)

There are 48 Town boards, commissions and committees; the above list is just  of those that currently have vacancies. Residents of Amherst have much to offer by being on those boards, committees and commissions. We all have much to gain by becoming better informed about our community and by working with their community representatives on our common issues.
The websites have information on how to apply to fill a given vacancy.   
Here is a link to the list of vacancies,which is visible as a download. Here is a link to a list of the current members of these committees.    
 -Elizabeth Davis  
 Join the Campaign to Persuade Legislators to Support Carbon Pricing bills 

According to a recent post on LWVMA Action on the Environment: "Carbon pricing is 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." (For link, click here.)

You can help bring this legislation out of committee for a vote. Although most of our Western Mass legislators already have expressed their support, a few have not. If you have friends or family members in the district of Smitty Pignatelli (4th Berkshire),  or if you have contacts in the Springfield area, please consider asking them if they will contact their legislators to urge their support of moving the bills out of committee.

Moreover, Climate Action Now, one of our partners in the Massachusetts Coalition for a Clean Energy Future, is expanding its campaign into Central Massachusetts. To help out this effort, please consider contacting any friends or family you may have there, especially in the greater Worcester area, to contact legislators.

Full chamber for a hearing on carbon pricing bills, June 2017.

LWVMA has talking points on carbon pricing legislation in the November issue of Mass League Action newsletter, which can be found here.
Questions? click   here for local contact.

-Susan Millinger for the Local Committee on Social Justice


The latest news on Automatic Voter Registration:

"Nov. 9, 2017/BOSTON, MA - Citing very low voter turnout in Tuesday's municipal elections, advocates from the Election Modernization gathered at the State House in Boston today to urge the Massachusetts legislature to adopt Automatic Voter Registration." (The coalition includes the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.)
For more information, click here.

Strong Showing at Day on the Hill

The League showed up on Beacon Hill Tuesday, October 24 to "move the needle" on our legislative priorities-automatic voter registration, carbon pricing/energy, safe communities and immigration, and criminal justice reform, with presentations on those bills from Nancy Brumback, Launa Zimmaro, Karen Price and Colleen Kirby.
For more information, click here.


The National has a new website. Check it out here. One of the improvements is that you can move to the League Management site directly from this site.

Want to send a message to your Congresspeople to support Automatic Voter Registration? Click here.

This monthly message is for anyone interested in the League, not just members. If you know someone who might be interested, forward this message and invite them to subscribe themselves, using the link below.