MORE April Opportunities for Action
Attend LWVMA's Spring Conference:  
Join LWVMA, Rep. Niki Tsongas, and a lineup of energizing speakers at our Spring Conference, "Beyond the March:  Women Leading the Way in Massachusetts," Saturday, April 28, from 9:30 until 3 at Clark University in Worcester.  The conference is open to all League members and to the public. For information and to register, click here .
Gun Control

Gun Bill Lobby Day April 30: Join LWVMA and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence at the State House to support passage of  H.3610, the extreme risk protection order (ERPO) bill to temporarily remove guns from people who may harm themselves or others. The bill has been reported favorably out of its joint committee. There will be speakers from 11 to 11:45 a.m., then visits with legislators. Lobby day participants are asked to contact their own Senators and Representatives to make appointments to stop by after noon that day.  Please register here for the lobby day and/or to help the coalition distribute literature about the bill to legislators at other times.

Elections and Voting:

Automatic Voter RegistrationIt's time to get AVR passed! If you haven't already done so, please contact your Representative and urge him/her to ask the Speaker to bring AVR, H.4320, to the floor for a vote. See LWVMA's letter to Speaker DeLeo here . Continue the League's almost-100-year effort to improve access to the ballot box.
Explain that automatic voter registration would benefit those who move frequently such as young people and military families and could add an estimated 680,000 Massachusetts residents who are eligible but not registered to the voting rolls. This bill has been carefully crafted to assure that non-citizens are not accidentally registered to vote and to give those who wish to decline to register an opportunity to do so.    


2020 U.S. Census:

Oppose Citizenship Question: Help oppose the addition of a question on citizenship status to the 2020 U.S. Census. The national League has issued a strong statement condemning this last-minute decision by the Commerce Department.

LWVUS has put together talking points  to use when addressing the citizenship question in the 2020 Census. LWVUS is working on a petition to Congress and will roll out additional materials soon.

Women's Issues

Women's Advocacy Day May 16: Join the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women's lobby day Wednesday, May 16, in the Great Hall at the State House to learn the legislative status and to lobby for women's issues including equality in disability insurance and family leave.  The schedule is registration and coffee 9:30-10:30 a.m.; speakers 10:30-11:30 a.m.; visit legislators 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; and report back and lunch, 1-2 p.m. Register here .
 
Environment & Energy:

Worcester Energy and Environment Town Hall: Participate in a discussion of energy and environment issues and legislation Wednesday, May 16, 6:30-8 p.m., Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church, 55 Illinois St., Worcester, co-sponsored by LWV of Worcester and LWVMA. Sen. Harriette Chandler will discuss pending legislation and take questions, and various environmental organizations will discuss priority issues. The event is free and open to the public.  Register here .
 
LWVUS Cap and Trade Webinar: LWVUS is offering "Cap and Trade - An Introduction," a webinar with Dr. Emily Wimberger, Wednesday, May 9, 3-4 p.m. Cap and trade systems are the dominant method of pricing carbon globally. Wimberger, chief economist at the California Air Resources Board which manages California's cap and trade system, will give an overview of that system. Registration is limited to 100 people. Register here.

Children's Issues:

Lift the Cap on Kids: The Cap on Kids - also called the family cap - denies welfare benefits to children conceived while the family received assistance. Currently, 8,700 Massachusetts children and their families are harmed by this outdated policy that many other states have eliminated. LWVMA supports H.85 and S.34 to repeal this cap, bills currently in the House and Senate Ways & Means Committees.

The
 desired result could also be accomplished by adding funds to the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children budget to provide $100 per month more for each "family cap" child, but these funds are not in the recently released House FY 2019 budget. Rep. Marjorie Decker is filing an amendment to the House FY 2019 budget to provide the spending to effectively lift the cap on kids. Please call your state Representative today and ask him/her to co-sponsor the Lift the Cap on Kids budget amendment.             

Immigration:
 
Update on Safe Communities: The coalition for the Safe Communities Act, recognizing that the bill is unlikely to pass this year, is proposing that some key provisions should still be adopted by other means, including in the state budget. The coalition and the bill sponsors have identified three specific provisions that could be adopted as outside section amendments to the budget. Please ask your legislators to support these amendments during the budget deliberations. You can find details here .

Progress Update: Action on LWVMA Bills since April 1
 
Signed into law:
  • Success! Two major criminal justice reform bills, S.2371 which is the omnibus bill, and H.4012 to implement some task force recommendations, passed both the House and Senate and were signed into law by Governor Baker on Friday, April 13. Kudos to legislative specialist Colleen Kirby for her hard work on this important legislation! And thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators and the Governor in support of these reforms; it worked.
  • The bill, S.2296, formerly S.591/H.2960, requiring that confidential medical information be sent to the patient rather than to an insurance policyholder was signed by the Governor.
Bills in conference committee:
  • H.4134, formerly H.675 To issue bonds financing production and preservation of low- and middle-income housing. Different versions passed the House and Senate and bill is now in conference committee.
Bills reported favorably from committee and awaiting a vote in the first chamber:
  • S.46  To create a bill of rights for homeless people
  • H.2686 To repeal the bottle deposit law  (LWVMA opposes)
  • H.2116  To authorize municipalities to assess a "water-banking" fee on large-scale water users to mitigate the impacts of major new and expanded developments
Bills sent to "study" and killed for session:
  • S.365 To require candidates for president and vice president to disclose tax returns and  provide financial information in order to be on the ballot in Massachusetts
  • S.374, S.397 To require photo identification for voting (LWVMA opposes)
  • S.371 To implement Election Day voter registration (but in part included in new bill, S.2399) 
How to Contact Your Legislator:   
   
You can find phone numbers, email addresses and office addresses on the legislature's web page 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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