League of Women Voters of NYS


June 2017

From the State President
I write this from outside Washington, DC where Judie Gorenstein (VP, Voter Services) and I are among the 1 or 2 delegates from each of 42 (!) states - from Alaska to Florida - that are here for the LWVUS Council. The whole 3-day event is devoted to transforming the League for our next century and builds on conversations started at Convention 2016 and continued at the Pocantico conference in January which involved 30 LWV members and staff (including Laura Bierman, Jane Park, and me from NY). 
     Judie and I talked non-stop on the drive down about our state Convention and the forward-looking themes it embodied and about the issues local Leagues as well as the state League are dealing with. We still have many topics left for the drive home and will be eager to share with you many of the insights we'll glean here this weekend. The agenda is packed.
     Meanwhile we are both so grateful to all of you who managed to get to Liverpool (Syracuse) earlier this month for the state Convention.  An evaluation form was sent to you recently and we hope you'll respond. We always want to know how well we met your needs and what we can do better or just differently next time.
      I could only attend the workshops that I was helping present, but the discussions that I heard there and in caucuses were very lively and always thoughtful, even when you had serious concerns to share. We know that hearing from one another is what you most love about Convention, so I hope you had plenty of opportunities for that and got many new ideas.
       I also hope you enjoyed Sally Roesch-Wagner's speech about dangerous women, about the influence of the Native American's matriarchal culture on the suffragists, and about Matilda Joslyn Gage, who gets way too little credit for her brilliant contributions to the movement. We thank HumanitiesNY for sponsoring a talk that was full of surprises and challenges to us today.
       The new board met only briefly after the Convention closed, with too little time to review all the "directions to the board," but these will be the topic of our July meeting. We will consider all of them and share our responses as soon as possible.
       Many of us went to Seneca Falls the day before Convention and were incensed that recent federal funding cuts made some spaces less accessible to us (and in this important year, no less) but I'm hearing that the inspirational comments by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Melinda Grube) really eased the blow and I've let her know how much many of you said you appreciated her. She donated personal time to sit and answer questions with each table during our good dinner at the beautifully restored Gould Hotel, and I think she enjoyed it as much as many of you did. 
       We are also grateful to our very warm and engaging organizer and tour guide, Lynn "Spike" Herzig, and we've made him a member of the Geneva LWV in appreciation. I also know we were all interested to hear from Katie MacIntyre that the first president of our trip's sponsor, Generations Bank, was a signer of the Declaration of Sentiments presented at the 1848 Convention there in Seneca Falls by Stanton et al. We thank Generations Bank for their good support of a great warm-up for our Convention.
        I'm falling in love with Seneca Falls and will be heading back there for Convention Days July 14-16 which has an amazing assortment of lectures and other presentations. Melinda (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) says that the Frederick Douglass whom they're bringing in from some distance away is especially impressive - come see her interact with him. And no, he's NOT still alive - it's reenactor Nathan Richardson. Let me know if YOU' will be there. I'll look for you. 
Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
 darethompson@gmail.comTel: 518-465-4162
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Organ Donor Facts
57th Biennial State Convention - June 9-11
The State Convention was held June 9-11 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY. Approximately 100 people attended the workshops, information sessions, plenary, tour of Seneca Falls, speakers and awards presentation! Fun was had by all!
Handouts from the workshops, caucuses and info sessions are being posted to the state website (click here), under the Convention and Council tab on the left. We will be adding lots of photos, too, but for now, go to our Facebook page to see all the friendly faces. 

Congratulations to all the Local Leagues Who Won Awards!
The list of winners is below but go to the state website and read the Awards Program (click here) to see a description of the winning program!

Based on LWVUS Roster Membership Numbers from  February 1, 2015 to January 31, 2017
 Audrey Price Memorial Membership Award
 For outstanding membership growth in small Leagues (membership under 50.)
  LWV of Eastern Putnam County
Honorable Mention:
LWV of Cazenovia, LWV of Central Nassau, LWV of Cortland County, LWV of Geneva, LWV of Long Beach, LWV of Smithtown, LWV of Steuben County

Anna Lord Strauss Membership Award
For outstanding membership growth in medium-sized Leagues (membership under 50-150.)
  LWV of Cooperstown
Honorable Mention:
LWV of Chautauqua County, LWV of Larchmont/Mamaroneck, LWV of New Castle, LWV of the Rivertowns, LWV of Schenectady County, LWV of Tompkins County, LWV of Saratoga County

Harriet Goldberg Award
For outstanding membership growth in large Leagues (membership over 150.)
LWV of the City of New York
Honorable Mention
LWV of Buffalo/Niagara
  LWV of the Hamptons and Arlene Hinkemeyer, Chair
LWVH 100th Anniversary Committee
Honorable Mention
LWV of Albany County,  LWV of Cooperstown,  LWV of Eastern Putnam County  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT
    LWV of the City of New York
     (Voter & Telephone Information Services Committee)
    LWV of Eastern Putnam County
Honorable Mention
LWV of Albany County, LWV of the Hampto ns,
LWV of Saratoga County, LWV of Shelter Island
  LWV of the Hamptons & LWV of Huntington
Honorable Mention
LWV of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester,  LWV of Scarsdale
LWV of New Castle
Honorable Mention
LWV of Albany County,  LWV of Saratoga County,  LWV of Huntington
 LWV of Broome-Tioga Counties
Honorable Mention
LWV of St. Lawrence County MAL Unit, LWV of Eastern Putnam County, LWV of the Hamptons, LWV of the North Country (Essex, Clinton and Franklin Counties)
LWV of Syracuse Metro Area
Honorable Mention
LWV of Albany County, LWV of the Hamptons, LWV of Saratoga County, LWV of Shelter Island,
LWV of Central Nassau

Photos from the Seneca Falls tours and Convention - more to be posted on the website shortly!

 On the porch of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's home

LWVUS Board Member, Maribel Balbin, and LWVNYS President, Dare Thompson with suffragists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Bloomer



Honoring retiring Legislative Director, Barbara Bartoletti, and Election Law Specialist, Aimee Allaud.

2017-19 Board of Director (l to r)
Jane Park, Betty Ann King, Suzanne Stassevitch, Dare Thompson, Sally Robinson, Judie Gorenstein, Carol Mellor, Lori Robinson (absent, Sheila Miller Bernson).

Legislative Wrap-Up
Jennifer Wilson, Jennifer@lwvny.org
Legislative Session Wrap-Up
We made it to the finish line! Unfortunately, there were no trophies at the end of this race. The legislature went home with a pile of unfinished business related to mayoral control and taxes. Not much was accomplished this year. Not just for the League but also for other organizations.
Here's what did get done: Raise the Age, including e-cigarettes in the Clean In-Door Air Act, and regulations for Paid Family Leave.
Here's what didn't: voting reforms, procurement reforms, Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and Single Payer Health Care.
We are disappointed but also hopeful. This year we made great strides toward achieving our goals.  We had significant progress on early voting and the reproductive health care legislation, and we were able to build new coalition partnerships with other organizations. We are already looking ahead to next session and strategizing how to make even more progress. But first, let's reflect on what happened this year.
This session we pushed hard on early voting, and for the first time ever the bill moved from the Senate Elections Committee to the Senate Rules Committee. The League was instrumental in making this happen. Our members lobbied their Senators for weeks leading up to its vote in the Senate Elections Committee. On the day the bill was taken up, nearly 20 of our members filled the committee meeting room to watch the Senators vote. Originally the bill was referred to the Senate Local Government Committee, but after a week of our members urging the committee's chair to move the bill, it was sent to Rules. Although we were disappointed that the bill was never taken up in the Rules Committee, this was still a major win.
In May, the Assembly passed early voting in their house for the second year in a row. They also passed electronic poll books, no-excuse absentee voting, the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, and consolidation of primary elections. In total, they passed 11 voting reforms that would make voting easier and more accessible. We were very happy to have so many reforms pass in their house this year and expect to see even more reforms to pass in the Assembly next session.
In November, eight individuals, including state employees, were indicted related to a bid-rigging scandal that involved $800 million in state contracts. The League partnered with several good government groups, economic think tanks, and the Comptroller's office to put together a list of clean contracting reforms that would prevent future bid rigging scandals from occurring. The reforms included creating a publically available database of deals to track how state funds are spent, implementing safeguards to ensure individuals applying for state contracts cannot bribe decision makers with dark money through campaign donations, and restoring the Comptroller's oversight authority of state contracts. Although we lobbied both houses right up until the final days of session, the bill did not pass. 
At the beginning of session we joined Planned Parenthood for their annual lobby day. The event had more than 1,000 attendees who were all ready to fight to pass the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA). The CCCA would mandate that insurers cover all forms of birth control, not just those they choose to cover. It would also allow 12 months of birth control to be dispensed at one time. The law would ensure all women and men have adequate contraception that must be paid for by their insurer. The RHA would codify Roe v. Wade in New York so that if federal laws were to change, New York women would still be guaranteed their right to choose.
The two bills passed in the Assembly early in the session. We worked with Planned Parenthood and NYCLU on moving these bills in the Senate for the remainder of the six months. We met with members of the Senate throughout the session, nearly every day, urging them to bring these bills to the floor for a vote. Unfortunately, the two bills were never taken up and women's reproductive health remains in the balance.

Next year will come fast - and we'll be ready to fight again!

Staff Announcements
No local League News this month. Instead read about all the local Leagues' accomplishments in the Moments in the Sun document on the website (click here)!
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