April Opportunities for Action
Register now for LWVMA's Spring Conference:  
Joi n LWVMA, Rep. Niki Tsongas, and a lineup of inspiring speakers at our Spring Conference, "Beyond the March:  Women Leading the Way in Massachusetts," Saturday, April 28, from 9:30 until 3:00 at Clark University in Worcester.  The conference is open to all League members and to the public.  For information and to register, click here .
Elections and Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration:  It's time to get AVR passed!  Please contact your Representative and urge him/her to ask the Speaker to bring AVR to the floor for a vote.  See LWVMA's letter to House Speaker DeLeo .  Washington just became the eleventh state to adopt this important reform.  Massachusetts should be next.
                
Secretary of State William Galvin endorsed Automatic Voter Registration, now H.4320, at a State House press conference March 22.  See the Election Modernization Coalition's press release, and some of the coverage of the event here and here
                
The coalition also sponsored a visit from the former Oregon Secretary of State who described that state's experience implementing AVR.  Read coverage here and here.

Voter Registration at MITLWVMA has been invited to conduct a voter registration drive at MIT's Day of Action Tuesday, April 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Stata Center, 32 Vassar St., Cambridge. Help engage young people in the democratic process.  Want to volunteer? Please contact Judy Zaunbrecher, LWVMA voter service co-chair.

Moderator Training in Western Mass:  LWVMA is offering moderator training for both new and current moderators Sunday, April 8, 2-4 p.m., Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, 80 Locust St, Northampton.  Please register here .

Education:

Civics Education Lobby Day Tuesday April 3LWVMA strongly supports a civics education bill, formerly S.215/H.2016 and now S.2375, to assure that every student receives an effective civics education. We are working with MA Civic Learning Coalition #MAcivicsforall to pass it.

Plan to join us in a Lobby Day for civics education at the State House Tuesday, April 3. You can register for the lobby day here. The schedule is 9-9:40 a.m. registration, House Members Lounge; 9:40-10:20 opening remarks; 10:30-12:30, visit legislators; 12:30-1:30 lunch and closing, Room 347.

This bill has passed the Senate; please contact your Representative and urge a yes vote.  Go to the coalition's website  for a summary of this bill and other actions you can take.

Immigration

Immigration Lobby Day April 4: MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition) is sponsoring Immigrants' Day at the State House, the biggest lobbying day of the year for immigrants, refugees and allies, Wednesday, April 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hall of Flags.  After a brief program, meet with legislators and advocate for priority bills and funding for programs such as English classes and adult basic education.  Register here and see the Facebook event here.  

2020 Census Citizenship Question: Oppose the addition of a question on citizenship status to the 2020 U.S. Census. The national League has issued a strong statement condemning this last-minute decision by the Commerce Department.
                
Please contact Sen. Warren and Sen. Markey and indicate your support for S.2580 currently in the U.S. Senate, which would block the addition of this citizenship question to the Census. They need to know their constituents support this bill.
 
Criminal Justice Reform:

Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform bill, now S.2371, came out of the conference committee March 23. This is the final version of the bill and cannot be amended further. It is expected to receive an up-or-down vote in both chambers of the legislature in April. Advocates, including Colleen Kirby, our legislative specialist, consider it a very good bill; please ask your Senator and Representative to vote yes.
Also   send a message to Governor Baker asking him to sign this bill. Here's a   summary of the final version.


Gun Control:
 
Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill: H.3610, which establishes a civil procedure for removing guns from people who pose a significant danger of causing harm to themselves or others, is still pending in the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. (A slightly different version, H.3081, is no longer active.) Please contact your Senator and Representative and let them know you want this "red flag" legislation to be reported out of committee and to become law. It is strongly opposed by the Massachusetts branch of the NRA, so your legislators need to hear from constituents in favor of stronger gun control, even if you know they also support gun control.
                
If your state Representative is Harold Naughton, co-chair of that joint committee, the gun safety coalition needs your help for in-district meetings; contact Sue McCalley or Jennifer Muroff, our gun control specialists. You can also   call or email him .  Naughton's district includes the towns of Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, and parts of Northborough and Sterling.

Progress Update:
 
Bills reported out of conference committee and awaiting final votes in both chambers:
  • S.2371 Omnibus criminal justice reform bill
Bills that passed one chamber and are awaiting a vote in the other:
  • S.2375, formerly S.2306 To require a program of K-12 civics education and engagement. Passed Senate.
Bills reported favorably from committee and awaiting a vote in the first chamber:
  • S.1905 To improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.  In Senate. 
  • H.2091, now H.4320 To implement Automatic Voter Registration. In House.
  • H.2116 To authorize municipalities to assess a "water-banking" fee on large-scale water users to mitigate the impacts of major new and expanded developments. In House.
Bills sent to "study" and killed for session:
  • H.2777 To shift water pollution oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency to  Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (LWVMA opposed)
How to Contact Your Legislator:   
   
You can find phone numbers, email addresses and office addresses on the legislature's web page for your Senator and Representative. Go to www.malegislature.gov and click on the Legislators tab. If you don't know who your legislators are, click here.
 
The LWVMA Action Newsletter is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Action Newsletter by clicking here. Please review this Newsletter for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

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