December Opportunities for Action
The legislature is on holiday recess until early January, but you can still take action on bills you feel strongly about. Some options are to meet with your Senator and Representative in the town or city where you live to discuss specific bills, or to send an email about the importance of getting bills we support out of joint committees and to the floor for a vote. And be prepared for many more opportunities to take action after the first of the year. Most bills have to be reported out of their joint committees by Feb. 7 to remain active, so we will be pushing to get our bills reported favorably and brought to the floor for a vote. Happy Holidays!
Victory for Contraception Bill!
This new law
protects no-copay birth control coverage for 1.4 million Massachusetts women. It makes Massachusetts the first state to protect birth control access since the Trump administration opened the door for any employer to deny its employees insurance coverage for birth control for any religious or undefined moral reason. This legislation protects insurance coverage for all forms of birth control without copay in Massachusetts, no matter what happens on the federal level. It was supported by insurance providers as well as women's health advocates.
Elections & Voting:
Automatic Voter Registration
This important bill and League priority needs a push to get it to the floor of the House. Please tell your state Representative you support H.2091/S.373 to bring Automatic Voter Registration to Massachusetts, and urge him/her to ask the Speaker to bring AVR to the floor for a vote. You can find talking points
. It will also help if you send a letter supporting AVR to the editor of your local newspaper. You can find a template for a letter here. Sign up
to let us know that you are submitting a letter, so we can track our statewide outreach and impact.
Save the Date: LWVMA and its partners in the Election Modernization Coalition will host an AVR Lobby Day on Wednesday, January 31 from 10-noon at the State House. Details to follow. Please plan to come to move the AVR bill forward. We need all hands on deck!
Progress in Criminal Justice Reform:
The House and Senate have both passed versions of a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that contain nine of the 10 provisions we have supported and will go a long way toward updating the state's criminal justice system. The two versions are now in a conference committee to determine the final form of the bill. Please email your Senator and Representative and ask them to urge the committee to include the strongest possible reforms in the final version. Ask for as few mandatory minimum sentencing options as possible; a threshold of at least $1500 for a felony larceny conviction; higher ages for juvenile justice jurisdiction; and consideration of caretaker status in some sentencing decisions to take children's needs into account. Click here for background information.
Environment & Energy:
LWVMA is supporting eight bills related to energy and the environment, providing written testimony and testifying at hearings for all the bills heard to date on our priority list. Legislators are now working to revise some bills and determine which bills will move out of committee. There is growing recognition among advocates and legislators of the need for comprehensive energy legislation, rather than single-issue bills, to address the urgent need to act more aggressively on climate change. Work is underway to craft a comprehensive energy bill for consideration this session. It is unclear if the bill will be a rework of an existing bill or a completely new bill; either way, a comprehensive approach to address climate change will be a crucial step to a clean energy future. An important action you can take now is to arrange for in-district meetings with your legislators to urge action on the energy bills supported by the League and voice your support for a comprehensive approach. For help with this, contact Launa Zimmaro, our environment and energy specialist.
Volunteer at Mass. Conference for Women:
We need volunteers on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is great opportunity to network with other women and League members. Please email
if you can volunteer.
LWVUS Backs We the People Act in Congress:
LWVUS Offers Civility Tools:
The national League
Senators and Representatives to cosponsor and support the We the People Democracy Reform Act of 2017, S.1880/H.3848. The reforms include automatic voter registration and Election Day registration, a public campaign financing system to match small donations to candidates, campaign finance reforms, and independent redistricting commissions.
The bill was introduced at the end of September. You can thank Senators
for co-sponsoring it already, and ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor as well.
- What are you most thankful for about living in America?
- How do you feel about the deep divisions and incivility we see now in our country?
- What can we do to revive civility and respect and find more effective ways to listen to each other and work together?
Tools and materials
are available to support conversations at family gatherings, within faith communities, on campuses, and on social media.
Q&A on the Status of Legislation:
The legislation committee of the LWV of the Cape Cod Area recently asked the state League's Legislative Action Committee a number of questions about the status of legislation at this mid-point of the legislative session. Because other Leagues and members might be interested, we have re-printed the questions, along with answers from Nancy Brumback, Legislative Action Committee chair, below:
If a bill was filed last January and assigned to a committee but no hearing has been held, what are its chances of advancing?
How to Contact Your Legislator:
You can find phone numbers, email addresses and office addresses on the legislature's webpage for your Senator and Representative. Go to
and click on the Legislators tab. If you don't know who your legislators are, click