November Opportunities for Action
 
Schedule a mini-Day on the Hill:

We had a great Day on the Hill lobby day. Now let's keep up the momentum. You can do your own Day in the District. Arrange to meet your legislators in their district-your town-either during regularly-scheduled office hours or by appointment. Do it alone or with a couple of League friends.

Please lobby for the Day on the Hill priority legislation-on automatic voter registration, carbon pricing and energy, the safe communities immigration act, and criminal justice reform. You will find handouts with talking points on each of these bills here. Please print them out and leave a copy with your legislator.

The push right now is to get legislation out of joint committees before the legislature adjourns for its holiday recess Nov. 15, so that legislation can come to the floor for a vote. You will note below some specific bills to ask about, but almost all of the bills we are backing are still in committee.

Please watch for Action Alerts in the coming couple of weeks as issues come up at the last minute before the legislative recess.

New Legislative Envoy Program:
 
LWVMA is creating a corps of Legislative Envoys to link local Leagues with our legislative efforts at the State House and make those efforts more effective. We are looking for one or two interested members in each local League to become envoys. The program begins in January.

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.
 
Elections & Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration:
T his important bill and League priority needs a push now to get it to the floor of the House.  Please call or email your state Representative right away. Tell him/her you support H.2091 to bring automatic voter registration to Massachusetts, and urge him/her to ask the Speaker to bring AVR to the floor for a vote. It is important for every League member to contact their Representative now, even if you have done it before. You can find talking points here.  
 
Also, if you're on Twitter, we need your help! On Thursday, Nov. 9 
from 2-3 p.m., LWVMA and our partners in the election modernization coalition are creating a "Twitterstorm"-a flurry of tweets, all on the same day-to help pass automatic voter registration this legislative session. On that day, please tweet this message using the hashtag #AVRinMA: "Why #AVRinMA? It's simple: we want elections to be more inclusive, accurate & secure. AVR is the solution. @SpeakerDeLeo @SenStan #mapoli"     
 
Environment & Energy:

League Forums: The final event in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series will be in Falmouth Saturday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m. at the Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main St. The forum is free and open to the public.

Click
here for information and a flyer.
               
Carbon Pricing and Energy Bills: Legislation to create a system of
carbon pricing in Massachusetts, along with bills to increase our reliance on renewable energy sources, is a League priority. Please urge your legislators to bring these bills out of committee for a vote. You can find talking points here .

Immigration:
 
Keep Up with Safe Communities Act: The Safe Communities Act would protect the civil rights of all state residents, regardless of immigration status. Ask your legislators to support it and bring it out of committee. Talking points are here .

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, MIRA, has set up several ways to keep updated on the Safe Communities Act:
  • Texting: Text SAFM to 52886. You will receive text messages about progress and action opportunities.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter @SafeCommsAct
Criminal Justice Reform: 

Criminal Justice Reform bills are on the move. The Senate passed a strong omnibus criminal justice reform bill, S.2170, including repeal of some mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, in a late-night session last Thursday.   The bill, now numbered S.2185, goes to the House for a vote. The House is writing its own version of a criminal justice reform bill, as well as considering H.3935 to reduce rates of recidivism. You can find information on these bills here .

The House is expected to vote on criminal justice reform before the Nov. 15 recess. It is important for you to contact your state Representative now and ask him/her to vote for the strong Senate bill and not let it be weakened by amendments, and to also vote for H.3935. Even if you know your Representative supports comprehensive reforms, he/she needs to be able to tell colleagues they are getting pressure from constituents, so please thank them for their support and urge them to work for a bill that is as strong as possible. It is particularly important for League members in districts outside of I-495 to contact their Representatives.
    
   
Women's Issues:
 
Contraception Access: With the federal government's announcement in October of a rule that would completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act's requirement that all insurance plans must cover birth control, it becomes more critical than ever to pass the ACCESS act, S.499/H.536, to provide insurance coverage in Massachusetts of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices without copays or deductibles. Major insurance providers in the state testified in support of this bill at a hearing last month. Urge your Senator and Representative to act to bring this bill out of committee and to the floor for a yes vote. 
 
Health Care:
 
Make your voice heard at Right to Health MA, the single-payer health care lobby day, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the State House. LWVMA is a co-sponsor of this event.

Hear Donald Berwick, former candidate for governor, Sen. Jamie Eldridge and other advocates, then talk to your legislators about the need for single-payer health care -- Medicare for all. RSVP
here to let organizers know you can come.

Transportation and Environment:
 
Transportation is critical to solving our climate crisis. Transportation accounts for the largest share of carbon emissions. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs are holding listening sessions on transportation and climate. Here is the schedule:
  • Thursday, Nov. 2, 6 p.m.: 8 New Bond Street, Worcester (no registration required)
  • Monday, Nov. 6, 11 a.m.: UMass-Amherst, Student Union - Cape Cod Lounge, 280 Hicks Way, Amherst, registration required
  • Thursday, Nov. 9, 6 p.m.: West Middle School, 271 West Street, Brockton (no registration required)
Individuals wishing to submit written comments may do so here until Jan. 1, or email comments .

Here is the government's announcement about these sessions, and here are some talking points on clean transportation from T4MA, Transportation for Massachusetts, which we have partnered with in the past.
 
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.
 
Legislator Live!

You can watch House or Senate sessions live on your computer, tablet, or phone.

For sessions in progress
For past sessions
  • Go to Hearings and Events page of malegislature.gov
  • Under Type, select "All Hearings and Events"
  • Any event with the video camera icon and "Archived" means you can watch the completed session. Click on the camera.
Progress Update: 
 
What happened on our bills last month:
  • Most of the criminal justice reform bills we support have been incorporated into S.2185 (formerly S.2170) an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, which was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and passed the Senate Oct. 26.
  • H.74, the Governor's criminal justice reform bill reflecting the recommendations of the Council of State Governments Justice Center report, was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary as H.3935.
  • H.85 and S.34 to repeal the cap on the number of children eligible for welfare benefits were reported favorably out of the Joint Committee for Children and Families.
  • S.784 to repeal archaic laws affecting young women was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health.
  • H.675, now numbered H.3925, a bonding bill to support low and middle income housing, is before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures & State Assets, with a hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.
 
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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