January Opportunities for Action
 
The legislature resumes its work and the pace of legislation will pick up. Most bills still in joint committees, which include most of the bills we are following, must be reported out of committee or have action on them extended by Feb. 7 or they become inactive for this session. Hearings have been completed on most bills, so the actions needed will be to get bills out of joint committees, bring them to the floor for a vote and encourage legislators to vote in favor of our bills (or in opposition on the ones we oppose). If you are interested in the status of a particular bill on our website here, please contact the specialist in charge at specialists@lwvma.org.
 
Elections & Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration: Join LWVMA and the other members of the Election Modernization Coalition for a lobby day on automatic voter registration at the State House Wednesday, Jan. 31, 9:30 a.m. to noon. We need your help! We will be working hard to get the automatic voter registration bill out of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and to the floor of the House for a vote.
 
Sign up here to participate in the AVR lobby day. 
 
What is a lobby day? It's a day when citizens meet with their legislators at the State House to explain why an issue (in this case AVR) is so important. We will spend an hour teaching you the tips and tricks to speaking with legislators before sending you off to attend scheduled meetings with your legislators to advocate for this vital reform. Nothing makes as strong an impression as in-person visits from constituents.
 
Registration and training will take place in Room 428 in the State House (24 Beacon St., Boston).

Can't make it to Boston? Call your state Representative that day and ask him/her to urge the Speaker to bring automatic voter registration (H.2091/S.373) to the floor for a vote. It would also be great if you sent a letter to the editor of your local paper supporting AVR. You can find a template for a letter from an individual here. Sign up
here to let us know that you are submitting a letter, so we can track our statewide impact. There's a fact sheet on automatic voter registration here.

Immigration:

The coalition, including LWVMA, supporting the Safe Communities Act is planning a Day of Action Wednesday, Jan. 31, which will primarily involve calling legislators on that day. Watch for more information later this month. Learn more about the Safe Communities Act (S.1305 and H.3269) here. 

Environment & Energy:

Free Admission to Local Environmental Action Conference March 3: The LWVMA Steering Committee for Environmental Action and Advocacy is offering League members free registration for the Local Environmental Action Conference Saturday, March 3, at Northeastern University. LWVMA is a lead co-sponsor of the conference, which focuses on what individuals and organizations can do locally to support environmental action.
 
The first 15 League members to register through LWVMA (not through the conference website) will receive free admission. Any League member interested in attending can register with LWVMA, and we will arrange registration for the first 15 (LWVMA will follow up with details if there are more than 15 sign-ups). Additional League members may attend for a $35 reduced rate. We thank the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund for supporting the Steering Committee's work.

For free admission: Sign up prior to Feb. 15 at this LWVMA link. Sign up soon; we have free registration for only 15 members. Do not register through the Conference website if you wish to get this free admission. If you have questions, contact Karen Price.
 
New Legislative Envoy Program:
 
LWVMA is creating a corps of Legislative Envoys to link local Leagues with our legislative efforts at the State House. We are looking for one or two interested members in each local League to become envoys. The program begins this month.
 
The Legislative Envoy Program formalizes the links between the state League's Legislative Action Committee and local Leagues. With better connections between our state League legislative specialists and local Leagues, we can be more effective in moving legislation and acting on legislative priorities when swift, coordinated action matters most.
 
Are you interested in being more involved with the League's activity in the state legislature? Take a look at the information on this program here, and if you have questions or are interested, contact Colleen Kirby, the program's administrator.
  
Moderator Training:

Are you interested in becoming a League-trained moderator for candidate forums?
 
LWVMA is planning a training session for both new and current moderators at ActonTV's studios in Acton on Thursday, Feb. 15. Watch for details and a sign-up form in League emails soon.  
    
Progress Update:
 
What happened on our bills last month:
  • H.2148, which would require producers to take responsibility for the collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronic products, was reported favorably by Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
  • Two bills now being followed by our new environment and natural resources specialist, Loring Schwarz, have been reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Revenue. The bills are: H.3662 An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue, which would increase the real estate recording fee surcharge if the state match of CPA funds for local projects cannot be met; and H.3855. An Act relative to land conservation incentives, which would increase the amount available for tax credits for qualified donors of land for public conservation purposes.
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 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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