Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

January 13, 2020
In This Issue:
STEERING COMMITTEE
Elayne Berger, Book Sale Chair
Nancy Dimattio, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Bonnie Isman, Voter Service
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Susan Millinger, E-bulletin
Deanna Pearlstein, Event Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson
CALENDAR
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January 14, Climate Action Day: Call your legislators about LWVMA's priority Climate bills if you can't go to Boston. More information below.
January 18, 2020, starting at 11:00 a.m., Women's March, Springfield. Gather at Northgate for pre-march activities from 11:00; walk to City Hall begins at noon. For more information, see below.
January 18, starts at 9 a.m., 36th Annual Martin Luther King Community Birthday, Amherst Regional Middle School. See below for more information.
January 20, 2 p.m., Meeting of the Sustainability and Climate Action Committee, Applewood. All welcome. Call 413-835-0290 for directions if needed.
January 20, 2:30 p.m., Book Group Discussion of Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow at Applewood.
January 28, 9:30 a.m., Lobby for Election Day Registration. Meet at Rm 428, State House. See the Voter Service Section below for more information.
February 6, 10 a.m., LWVMA's Day of Action, meet at Rm 428, State House. More info at LWVMA News below.
February 12, Last Day to Register to Vote in March Primary.
February 15 , 12:30 p.m., Birthday Party for LWVUS, 100  years old on February 14, Ginger Garden Restaurant (corner of Rte 9 and University Drive.) Reservations required. 
March 1, 3-4:30 p.m.,  LWVUS and Local Program Planning, TBA.  
June 25-28, 2020, LWV 54th National Convention, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill & the Liaison, Washington D.C. 
 

To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit lwvamherst.org and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
Don't forget to visit the Amherst League of Women Voters Facebook page and "like" us. Marla Jamate, our Facebook editor, does a great job and deserves a wider LWVA audience.

Our web page is currently under reconstruction by our technologically-savvy and overworked webmaster, Kathy Campbell. Be patient, please!

LOOKING FOR people willing to take pictures occasionally at a LWVA event. Contact the editor.

 
STEERING COMMITTEE:A message from this month's chair, Elayne Berger 

While sorting books during the sale of the summer of 2018, I realized how much I enjoyed helping out our League in this particular way. As my family had a sabbatical year coming up in 2019, I knew I would miss out on "all the fun" of that year's event, and so I suggested that I would be back in 2020 and willing to chair this summer's sale. Now I am a bit terrified at the enormity of the effort. Still I just remind myself how impressive the group of people I have met at the various League events are, and then I take a deep breath and know that we will have another great sale!

I have been perusing all the reports on the past sales, and there are some excellent ideas that we can incorporate this year. In closing, I look forward to seeing everyone in the weeks to come and especially during the last week of June through the days of August!
 
-Elayne

 
SPECIAL NOTICE FROM THE MEMBERSHIP CHAIR
 
   
LAST DUES NOTICE: To be considered an active member of LWVA in 2020, dues must be turned in by January 18th. Send them to Membership, LWV of Amherst, P.O. Box 2372, Amherst, MA, 01004-2372. You can use last year's form,  and find it and information about dues levels  here.
 

In Memoriam.
 
The Steering Committee regrets to report the recent death of Amherst League member and past president, Lois Dethier. We send our most sincere sympathy to her family and friends. We are grateful for her many contributions to the League and to the community.
 
EVENTS THIS WEEK OF JANUARY 13

PIONEER VALLEY WOMEN'S MARCH 2020
UNITE IN SPRINGFIELD JAN 18TH
 
This year, Springfield Women Organizing (coalition) is taking the lead. LWVA is a co-sponsor  of the March. Join the contingent marching with our banner. Some will be wearing a "centennial" costume, winter version. (We don't have a horse, but we're working on the whites -- Old-fashioned hat, long white skirt, white jacket or short coat (for 30 degree weather), sensible shoes. If you have any of these to share, please let me know--or come walk with us. We're working on "VOTES for WOMEN" sashes for the marchers. Be sure to carry a shoulder bag with registration information!
 
People are asked to gather at Northgate, 1985 Main St. (North of Union Station) by 11 for pre-March activities. The March is planned to start at noon, following an 0.7-mile route from Northgate to City Hall. The Rally will be on City Hall steps around 1 or a little before. An Activist Fair inside will be held in City Hall immediately following.
 

LWVA at 2018 March 
There will be an LWVA group attending the MLK Breakfast in Amherst first, and then going down to  arrive at Northgate before noon. There's a link for general carpooling and information about parking here  on the March website.  
 
SIGN-MAKING PARTY-IN AMHERST Thursday Jan 16, 6pm -7:30 pm hosted by League of Women Voters Amherst and the Peace Development Fund. 44 N. Prospect Street, Amherst (Behind CVS and St. Brigid's) We'll have some supplies, but please bring poster board, markers, etc. if you can!
 
--Barbara Pearson 
 

MARTIN LUTHER KING BREAKFAST

The 36th annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast will be held Sat., Jan. 18 at the Amherst Regional Middle School cafeteria.  The event begins at 9 a.m. After the breakfast the program moves to the auditorium for music, a speaker and presentation of student scholarship awards. A community award is presented to a resident as well.

The League supports the event. There will be a table for LWVA members: if you would like to join us at the table, please call 253-5179. For those wishing to support the Community Breakfast but also participate in the Women's March in Springfield: some LWVA members will be leaving in time to get to the meeting point before the noon March begins.

Tickets are available at Hastings.
 
CLIMATE ACTION NEWS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 14 IS CLIMATE ACTION LOBBY DAY: CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS IF YOU CAN'T BE IN BOSTON

Launa Zimmaro, co-Chair of the LWVMA
Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee, recently sent out this letter:  
 
Dear League and Climate Action Advocates,
We are rapidly approaching the end of another legislative session. Many are concerned that there will be little to no meaningful action on climate legislation again this session. I am writing to ask each of you to do what you can to let your legislators know that you care about climate action and want strong climate bills to move this session (specifics below). If you can't attend in person tomorrow, please take 5 minutes to call  your representatives with that message. Click HERE  to find legislator contact info for your district. If they are supporters, thank them, and ask them to reach out to their colleagues and leadership voicing their support.
 
Bills on the League's High Priority climate bills list we'll be advocating for on the 14th (also endorsed by our coalition partner, Mass Power Forward) are listed below. 
  • The 2050 Roadmap Bill (H.3983)  Rep. Meschino
    • mandates that the State reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, consistent with the the global scientific consensus.  
    • ensures a specific plan for reaching the targets set
    • includes crucial milestones for 2030 and 2040
  • The F.U.T.U.R.E. Act (H.2849/S.1940) An Act For a Utility Transition to Using Renewable Energy Senator Cynthia Creem Rep. Lori Ehrlich & Rep. Christina Minicucci  
    • creates a viable gas system path to transition to delivery of safe, renewable energy
    • greater involvement of the public in Department of Public Utilities decision making process
    • includes provisions to enhance safety of existing gas lines
Mass Power Forward high priority actions for the 14th are: Environmental Justice, 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 and Equitable Investment.  
 
 
For those of you able to attend, meet at 10:30 at the Paulist Center, 5 Park St. across from the State House,or meet Launa Zimmaro in Room 437 of the State House at 11:30 a.m. for a quick review of League priority climate bill. In addition, a hearing on carbon pricing legislation, a long-standing advocacy priority for the League, has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Hearing Room A2. It would be great if you could attend at least part of this hearing to show legislators that carbon pricing has public support. 

COMING IN FEBRUARY

Saturday, February  15: Annual Birthday Lunch   

We are honored to have our State Senator, Jo Comerford, herself a League member, as our speaker for this year's annual birthday lunch.

This year the event is a very special one, since we will be celebrating the one hundredth birthday of the national League of Women Voters (created on February 14, 1920). 

Meet at 12:30 at Ginger Garden (corner of Rte 9 and University Drive) for the usual yummy meal. Invitations have been mailed.





ON-GOING ACTIVITIES
 
 
  The 2020 US Census and LWVA Task Force to 'Get Out the Count': some facts you may not know


*Amherst is the 9th hardest to count city/town in MA!
*Every household will receive a letter from the US Census Bureau between March 12-20.
*3 ways to be counted and respond: phone, mail, on-line - new this census year!
*It's in the Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 2.
*It's about redistricting.
*It means $675 billion in federal funding; $16 billion for Massachusetts - that means $2,372 per person either gained or lost if not counted and potentially losing millions in federal dollars if our Amherst 'difficult to count' population is undercounted.
*It's about Fair Representation.
*Your data are protected by law and is confidential; you will not be asked for citizen status, your social security number, bank accounts.

LWVA is an active partner collaborating with LWVMA, the Town, Jones Library and other organizations involved in this important effort. We are preparing educational materials and handouts and planning to table and assist with on-line census applicants. An LWVA Task Force to help 'Get Out the Count' is forming.

Let's work together to ensure that young, old, citizen and non-citizen, in homes or without, documented and undocumented are counted.

If you'd like to be part of our League effort, please contact 
Adrienne Terrizzi.

All are invited to attend these upcoming Census Events
· Thursday, January 16th from 6:30-8:00 PM: Census Community Conversation - Jones Library Woodbury Room
· Census Press Conference, Amherst Town Hall - TBD

VOTER SERVICE NEWS: Lobby for Election Day Registration  

The following is taken from the January issue of LWVMA's Mass League Action 

Let's honor the 100th anniversary of the League and women's right to vote by passing Election Day registration (EDR) in Massachusetts. Join LWVMA and our election modernization coalition partners in a lobby day to push for EDR Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the State House.
 
Meet in Room 428 at the State House at 9:30 a.m. for registration, with a briefing on the EDR bills at 10. The coalition will set up meetings with legislators for those who register in advance   here. You will meet with your state Representative at 11 a.m., and state Senator at 11:30. 
 
Every election, Massachusetts denies eligible voters the ability to register or update their information on Election Day. Two out of three of those prevented from casting a ballot are actually registered but are ruled ineligible because their registration contains simple errors that could be fixed with EDR.

We have to act to ensure that EDR legislation is reported out of committee and gets to the floor for a vote.  Register now to lobby Jan. 28.
 
REMINDER: LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN MARCH PRIMARY IS FEBRUARY 12
AFFORDABLE HOUSING COALITION: Some Tidbits about Housing
 
 
1- According to an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on January 8, the proposal to create affordable studio apartments on Northampton Road is moving ahead, although it is behind the original schedule. The Valley Community Development Corporation (VCDC) is preparing the paperwork to submit to the state, seeking funding from the state's Housing Innovations Fund and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The application process was slowed down because the original local architect, Kathy Ford, has retired, so VCDC had to find a new architect. The League supported this project last year, and the Town Council voted to support it with town funds.

2- A new apartment complex is being finished in Sunderland, just over the town line, off Route 116. In January they announced they are seeking people with housing vouchers that cover part of their rent. Finding an apartment that accepts those vouchers is a major stumbling block for low-income people and families, so this is good news.

I was struck by the rents that will be charged and the income limits for people or families who can receive subsidies, and thought passing on that information would be enlightening for those of us who have owned our own residence for years (or decades) and have no direct contact with the cost of housing now. "North 116" will have 150 apartments, 38 of which (25%) will be designated as affordable housing. Rents (per month) range from 1 bedroom $1331 for a one bedroom to $1845 for a three bedroom.Maximum Allowed Income (set by the federal government, based on median  incomes for the Springfield Metropolitan Area) range from $49,700 for a 1 person household $49,700 to $82, 350 for a 6 person household. An article in the Greenfield Recorder in July 2019 predicted the apartments would be ready in July 2020.

3- The next meeting of the Housing Coalition is scheduled for Tuesday, January 21, 6:30 p.m., at the Bangs Center - weather permitting!

-Elisa Campbell

LWVMA NEWS
 DAY OF ACTION PLANS: LWVMA Day of Action Feb. 6 
   
On February 14, 2020, the League of Women Voters will celebrate the actual 100th birthday of our founding. To celebrate our legacy, support the anniversary plans already scheduled, and amplify our League voice, LWVUS is holding an official Day of Action.  
 
LWVMA is planning a State House Day of Action to celebrate the League Thursday, Feb. 6. We invite all members to join us in Room 428 at the State House at 10 a.m. We've invited Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka to speak, and will honor those legislators who are members of the League. We will also distribute reminders to all legislators that passing Election Day voter registration is a good way to celebrate this anniversary. And there will be birthday cake. 
 
From January 2020 Mass League Action
 
Progress Update from LWVMA

Three of our bills have passed one chamber of the legislature and are in the other:
  • H3846 The Greenworks bill to provide a mechanism for funding mitigation, resilience, and adaptation measures, passed House and is in Senate
  • H3500/S1230 To ban toxic flame retardants, passed Senate, is in House
  • H3118/S2042 To improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, passed Senate, is in House
Several bills have been reported favorably out of joint committees and will move on toward a vote. The deadline to report bills out of committee is Feb. 5; those that are not reported out or don't receive an extension are no longer active in this session. These bills are now out of committee:
  • H761/S464 To promote environmental justice
  • H832 To implement 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, a roadmap for 2050
  • H2865/S1935 To define highly energy-efficient buildings
  • H1948/S1332 To license midwives for out-of-hospital births
  • H1853/S1235 To evaluate and regulate medical step therapy protocol
  • H1959/S1274 To make menstrual products available without cost in schools, prisons and shelters
  • H1288/S775 To increase the production of low-and middle-income housing
  • H102/S36 To set floor for welfare benefits and reduce child poverty
  • H104/S37 To repeal family cap on welfare benefits
  • H751/S490 To create statewide sewage discharge notification system
  • H1781, S1645 To permit a "water-banking" fee on large-scale water users
  • H1173/S678 To create a common application for safety-net services
-from the January issue of Mass League Action.
LWVUS NEWS
LWVUS's Day of Action

For more information about LWVUS's plans for Days of Action, see the toolkit here.
 
Interesting blogs at LWVUS:
   
Here's a link to four blogs written by LWVUS CEO Virginia Kase. The first is on highights of the year 2019 for her; the last is "Facing Hard Truths About the League's Origin," which is well worth reading.
E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in January  
The Editor of the LWVAmherst e-bulletin, Susan Millinger, can be contacted here. The Associate Editor is Trish Farrington; Janice Ratner proofreads the issues; Kay Fite checks the links. Contributors to the January 2020 e-bulletin include LWVA members Elayne Berger, Elisa Campbell, Phyllis Lehrer, Barbara Pearson, and Adrienne Terrizzi.
 
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