March Opportunities for Action
Vote in the March 3 Presidential Primary!

Election Day Registration Needs a Push
The Election Day registration bills remain in the Joint Committee on Election Laws, with the reporting deadline extended to April 30. A final Election Day registration bill needs to come out of committee as soon as possible to have time to make it through the legislative process. We delivered cards to all legislators at our LWVMA Day of Action Feb. 6 asking for Election Day registration.  

Please help keep EDR high in legislators’ minds. Even if you have already done so, send your state Senator and Representative another email noting passage of Election Day registration this session is important and a great way to mark the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. Ask them to urge the legislative leadership to bring EDR out of committee and up for a vote.

Act on Domestic Violence Bill
Palma McLaughlin, our specialist on children’s and family issues, asks you to contact your state Senator and Representative on a bill, H197/S125, that would require salon employees to take a free, one-hour, online course on domestic violence awareness. It is supported by the industry, the employees, and the domestic violence community. The free training is provided by a national organization and can be done at any time. The bill has been reported favorably out of joint committee.

League members can speak to the idea that providing a hairdresser with some training in how to recognize and respond to a client who is victim of domestic violence makes sense. The lead sponsor, Rep. Christine Barber, pointed out that the mostly male legislators don't understand how women talk to their hairdressers and that the salon is a "safe space." She noted her mother has been in a relationship with her hairdresser longer than with her father. Palma has had conversations with hairdressers who say they see signs of domestic violence all the time and don't know how to respond. Palma believes that the League may be able to move the needle on this bill. See our testimony and our position on domestic violence Where We Stand p. 37-38.

Housing Lobby Day March 11
Join us at Housing Day at the State House Wednesday, March 11, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Great Hall at the State House. The morning program includes remarks from Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The Citizens' Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is organizer for the event; registration is required so legislator events can be coordinated.  Register here. Look for Clare Gordon, LWVMA affordable housing legislative specialist, at the event.

LWVMA 100th Birthday Gala
Please join us at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Norwood on Sunday, May 31, to celebrate LWVMA's 100th birthday. The event will be 1 to 3 p.m. in the Tiffany Ballroom, so mark your calendars now! We are pleased to welcome Danielle Allen as our featured speaker. Dr. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. She is widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America. Ticket information coming soon.

Help With Student Video Contest
This year’s student video contest, the Teen Voting Rights Challenge, asks high school students throughout the Commonwealth to make a 30-second video answering the question “Should 16-Year-Olds Have the Right to Vote?”

Please help us get the word out by contacting schools in your area, download a flyer and post it in your community, and share information on Facebook and Twitter. Contest details are here. Entries should be submitted online through March 31. Winners will be announced by May 15.

Consider being a judge for this contest. You will receive a link to all the videos and information on how to rank them. All the work is done in April from your own computer on your schedule.  If you want to be a judge, email Taylor Grenga.

Census Action You Can Take
You and all other households in the nation will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau March 12 explaining how to complete your Census form. The Census Bureau is encouraging people to fill out the form online this year.

Be sure your household completes the form! And encourage friends and relatives to do the same. Here’s a video on how to complete the Census form online. Please share it on social media and elsewhere. Be counted!

Census Questionnaire Assistance Centers
The 2020 U.S. Census starts this month, and one way to ensure that every person living in Massachusetts is counted is by setting up or volunteering at a local Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC). QACs are physical locations, such as libraries, Councils on Aging, town or city offices, where individuals can receive information about the Census and where trained staff and volunteers can assist them with filling out Census forms online or by phone. If your organization or an organization that you know is interested in signing up to become a QAC, please sign up here.

Please note the Census Bureau will not be setting up QACs. It is up to civic organizations, local complete count committees, libraries, churches, local and state elected officials, and other organizations to provide this service to the public.

You can check with your local Complete Count Committee, library or town office to see if there is a QAC in your town if you wish to volunteer.  

A training webinar by the State Complete Count Committee and MassCounts is being scheduled for March 9 (time TBD) to provide training both for organizations interested in setting up QACs and for QAC volunteers. More specifics will be sent to the 2020 Census share email group; if you wish to join that group, email Brynne Gorman

International Women's Day Breakfast March 12
This year's International Women’s Day celebration focuses on “Sharing the Torch: Intentionally Building Diverse Leadership Through Intergenerational Activism.” The breakfast event will be Tuesday, March 12, at Simmons College from 8 to 10 a.m. A panel discussion, moderated by Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB Channel 5 Boston CityLine, will include Beth Chandler, Executive Director, YW Boston; Sasha Goodfriend, President, Mass NOW; and Ruth George, Manager of Youth Engagement and Outreach, City of Boston.

LWVMA is a partner for this event. Tickets are $15, payable at the door, but advance registration is requested. RSVP here.  

New England Regional League Conference
All League members in Massachusetts are welcome to attend the 14th Annual Leadership Conference at York Community College in Wells, ME, Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5. With the theme, “Engaging the Future,” the conference will spark action to engage those who can’t or don’t participate in our democracy. Speakers include LWVUS CEO Virginia Kase. Full agenda and registration information is here. Meet other New England League people! 

Save the Date for Women's Advocacy Day
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women will hold its Women’s Advocacy Day lobby day for legislation affecting women and girls Wednesday, May 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Great Hall of the State House. Look for details closer to the date.

Legislation Progress Update
The deadline for reporting bills out of the joint committee to which they were assigned has passed. There were three common actions.

Some bills were reported out of committee and have begun the process of moving toward a vote. Most will first be assigned to the Rules or Ways & Means Committees in either the House or Senate. Bill numbers will have changed from the original number, but you can follow the “Bill History” on the legislature website starting with the original numbers. For our testimony, see our website here.

Other bills received an extension of time for the joint committee to make a decision. Three League priority bills are in that category: Election Day registration, the ROE Act to expand abortion access, and the Safe Communities immigration bill. The longer those bills stay in committee, the less time they will have to be passed this session.

The third option was for bills to be “sent to study,” which means they will not proceed any further this legislative session.  

To see the list of what happened in February to most of the bills the League has been following, click here.
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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