League of Women Voters of NYS

 STATE VOTER

May 2017



From the State Office
May has been a busy month for the League. We have been ramping up our advocacy efforts and our hard work is finally paying off! This month the Assembly passed several of our priority bills: Single Payer, early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, single June primary, and legislation to include e-cigarettes under the Clean Indoor Air Act. We have been working hard on these issues and it's nice to see the Assembly responding to our efforts.
 
In the beginning of May, early voting was included on a Senate Elections Committee agenda. We organized a group of our members to attend the committee meeting and show that New Yorkers are serious about seeing this legislation passed this session. The sponsor of this legislation had petitioned to have this bill heard by the committee. Several other bills had all been petitioned to be heard in the committee including the Voter Empowerment Act. The committee voted down the other bills but did not vote down early voting. Instead the committee referred the bill to the Senate Local Government Committee.  
 
Senate Local Government Committee is chaired by Senator Kathleen Marchione. We were very worried that Senator Marchione would kill this bill as she was the only Senator in the Election Committee to oppose the legislation. Our members made countless phone calls to the members of the Local Government Committee urging them to move the bill to the floor to be voted on by all Senators. Senator Marchione opted to move the bill to the Rules Committee and did not allow members of her committee to vote on the legislation. Although this was not what we had hoped for, we were very happy that the Senator did not kill the bill in her committee.
 
It will be difficult to convince the Rules Committee to take up this bill before session ends, but all hope is not lost. Now that the Assembly has passed this legislation we are calling on our members to contact their Senators and urge them to support early voting! We have sent out several action alerts and created shareable advocacy documents that can be accessed here. We have a long road ahead of us but we are not alone in this fight. Stay tuned for information about a joint rally and lobbying effort that will take place in early June. More information will be released in the coming weeks.
 
In addition to these voting reforms, we have been pushing the Assembly to pass state contracting reforms that would give the Comptroller back his oversight authority in the awarding of state contracts. This push is a result of the recent federal and state incitements related to a major bid rigging scandal costing tax payers nearly $800 million. The investigation of this scandal is on-going but it appears that a lack of oversight and transparency allowed this contract rigging scheme to unfold.  We have been working with several of our good government allies to lobby the Assembly to pass legislation that would prevent future bid-rigging scandals from taking place. The bill we are supporting will increase transparency and reporting of contract agreements. The bill has already passed in the Senate with bi-partisan support. We are urging members of the Assembly to co-sponsor this legislation and vote in favor of its passage. You can read more about the legislation and our efforts here.    
 
Health care has been at the forefront of our minds recently. This month we were all appalled when Congress voted to gut the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a health care policy that would put millions at risk of losing their health insurance. Health care is a basic human right and we want to make sure that all New Yorkers have equal access to affordable health insurance. The League has long been a supporter of single payer health care in New York State. A single payer health system would take health insurance out of the private sector and allow the state to use its own resources to provide health insurance. This system would significantly reduce administrative costs and would ensure that all citizens have equal access to quality health care. This month, the Assembly passed the New York Health Act which would implement a single payer health care system in New York. This is not the first time the bill has passed in the Assembly but each year the bill stalls in the Senate. Currently the Senate version of this legislation has 30 sponsors including members of the Independent Democratic Conference. We have created an advocacy toolkit that is available here which highlights  which members we should be targeting in the Health Committee where the bill has stalled. The toolkit includes a contacts for Senators, a phone script, key talking points, and sample tweets.
 
The League has also been involved in working with our coalition partners to pass a bill that would prohibit employers from asking a potential employee's previous salary. This legislation is crucial in helping to close the wage gap. Earlier this month we participated in a press conference highlighting the importance of the bill and urging the legislature to pass the legislation before session ends. We are asking our members to reach out to the Assembly and Senate to urge them to pass this legislation. You can find more information on the bill and its impact here.
 
May has certainly been a busy month but our work is far from complete.  With only 4 weeks left of session we are getting close to the end. As we enter June we will need to do everything we can to see these issues move forward. Thank you to all of the members who have contacted their legislators to advocate for these bills!
 
Please be sure to follow the League on Twitter and Facebook so that you can stay up to date on what is going on in the legislature.
 
Jennifer Wilson, Director of Program and Policy
League of Women Voters of NYS
Jennifer@lwvny.orgTel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
IN THIS ISSUE
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Writers Wanted
Organ Donor Facts
57th Biennial State Convention - June 9-11
LEAGUE'S STATE CONVENTION IS COMING!
Our biennial state League Convention is being held at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool (just outside Syracuse) from June 9-11. All members are welcome to join us, as voting delegates, visitors or just as observers. Come see what the state League is doing - and help determine our leadership and programs for the next 2 years.
 
To register for Convention in any capacity (voting or not), see the Registration Kit here or register online here. A reminder that all registrations were due TODAY, but we will accept late registrations. (If you want to be a voting delegate, check with your local League President to see if they have filled all the delegate spots)
 
Workshops are free and open to all (Friday, 8-9pm, Saturday, 8:30-9:30am and 8-10pm)- but we would prefer that you register for them so we have enough seating in the rooms. You can read the descriptions of all the workshops, caucuses and information session in the Pre Convention Kit here. The Pre Convention Kit also has the proposed budget, proposed bylaw amendments, proposed program and positions (including a recommendation for a concurrence on a Death with Dignity position), and the officers and directors nominated for the next 2 years - all items that will be voted on during plenary sessions at Convention.
 
On Saturday, June 10, we have a lunch with a speaker , Sally Roesch Wagner, (Professor, Syracuse University and Director, Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue) presenting The Rest of the Story of the Suffrage Movement. Join us for lunch and the speaker ($40) by registering here or just come by for the speaker at 12:30 at no cost! All are welcome.
 
Dinner on Saturday evening is also open to all members . There will be a reception at 5:30 and dinner (6:15), with presentation of awards to local Leagues. Register here for $50 to include reception, dinner and presentations.
 
Finally, we are offering a tour of Seneca Falls with dinner at the Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls for all members and their friends or family ($70 per person). This tour is on Friday, June 9, with buses leaving the Liverpool Holiday Inn hotel at 12:30. Visits include the Elizabeth Cady Stanton home, Women's Hall of Fame, and the Women's Rights National Historical Park and Wesleyan Chapel. Register for the tour here (download, print and mail) or directly online here.

To reserve a room at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, call (315) 457-1122  using the code LWV 
or go to Holiday Inn Syracuse/Liverpool website  and use the code LWV to receive the reduced rate of $110 per room per night. This block expires on May 18. There are a limited number of rooms available only until May 18; after that date, there is no guarantee of rooms or the price. 
 
Volunteers are Needed!
Volunteers are needed to help at the state Convention. You should all send as many voting delegates as you are entitled, but if you have others that want to attend only part of Convention, encourage them to become volunteers. Here are some reasons why:
  • Delegates can volunteer during non-plenary hours.
  • Visitors can volunteer during plenary and observe plenary at no charge.
  • Volunteering is a great way to meet and network with fellow Leaguers.
Contact Joan Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator, at 315-488-4339 or by email at jaj62@twcny.rr.com.
 
Come join the fun and meet some new League friends!
WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE HISTORY
100th Anniversary Dates
November 6, 2017                 100 th Anniversary of Woman Suffrage in New York State
November 19, 2019               100th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters of New York State
February 14, 2020                 100th Anniversary of National League of Women Voters
August 26, 2020                   100th Anniversary of the official certification of the ratification of the 19th
                                                  amendment by the US Secretary of State

Resource Packet for Local Programs
A packet of resources for local Leagues to organize programs and events on women's suffrage history has been mailed to every local League - and a new page has been created on the state website with links to all the info, as well as a calendar to see what events are scheduled, and a blog on significant events and locations in women's history in NYS. Check out at all the resources at  http://www.lwvny.org/programs-studies/womens-suffrage/index.html. You might find a book or movie that you'd like to read or watch together with some League friends!  

LWVUS has created a new logo to be used during these next 4 years to celebrate the League's 100 th anniversary. We have customized it for NYS (on left). We have also created buttons  that are for sale from the state office (on right) for $1 plus tax and shipping. 
NEW VOICES App for Political Advocacy on Your Phone

You can help us with our advocacy agenda by downloading our  new app on your phone (IPhone or Android). Voices is a political advocacy app that s hares action alerts from the League directly to your phone. These action alerts will allow you to quickly call, email, or tweet at your legislator with the touch of a button

The alert will provide you with a sample script, email, or tweet and give you the power to lobby on these issues quickly and easily. You can download the app to your smart phone or tablet by using this link:   https://tryvoices.com/lwvnys or by searching " Voices: Political Advocacy" in the Apple App Store or Google Play on your cell phone. Please download the app so that you can help us take action as we move forward this session.


LOCAL LEAGUE NEWS
Everyone is busy meeting with legislators and planning their annual meetings! At the state level, we are busy planning for the Students Inside Albany Conference which begins on Sunday and then the state Convention on June 9th! So, Local League News will have to wait until next month! Keep up all the great work you are doing.
League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;  FAX: 518-465-0812
Website: www.lwvny.org
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS