September Opportunities for Action
Energy & Environment:

Coming up Sept. 14 at the Aquarium! Register now for LWVMA's Climate and Energy Solutions Series forum at the New England Aquarium's Simons IMAX® Theatre Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but you must register through the Aquarium's website. Don't miss out!

LWVMA and LWV-Boston are excited to team up with the Aquarium and UMass Boston School for the Environment for "Extreme events and climate change: What we know and what we can do." As timely as the news out of Houston, Dr. Ellen Douglas of UMass Boston will discuss our changing climate, what changes may be in the future for Boston and beyond, and plans for how to adapt to these changes. See her comments in the Boston Globe here and an article about the event here. You can find a flyer here.

Check out our other Environmental Forums: The three other forums in this series will be Oct. 4 in Winchester, Oct. 19 in Lexington, and Nov. 4 in Falmouth.
Tuesday, Sept. 19: Hearing on bill to increase utilities' use of renewable energy. Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. See committee website here closer to date for time and hearing room. Hearing on H.2700/S.1876 An Act relative to enhancing Renewal Portfolio Standard, which would increase the minimum percentage of renewable energy supplied by electricity suppliers from qualifying renewable resources.
Tuesday, Oct. 3: Hearing on bill related to use of solar energy. Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. See committee website here closer to date for time and hearing room. Hearing on S.1846/H.2706 An Act relative to solar power and the green economy, which would eliminate solar net metering caps, establish a statewide solar target of 25% by 2030, and accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard by 3 percentage points each year.  

Elections and Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration: On Aug. 28, Illinois became the tenth state, plus the District of Columbia, to enact automatic voter registration (AVR). Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed into a law a bill that creates more accessible and secure elections by automatically registering voters unless they opt out. The bill won bipartisan support and passed unanimously in the legislature. The new law will add roughly one million eligible citizens to the voter rolls. Similar laws in other states have been proven to increase turnout and make elections more secure by modernizing the voter registration process.

LWVMA and its partners in the Election Modernization Coalition are working hard to pass an AVR bill this session in Massachusetts.  Read our statement about the Illinois law here, and coverage of our efforts by the State House News Service here. To find out more about AVR and learn how you can help make it a reality in Massachusetts, click here. 
Affordable Housing:

Thursday, Sept. 14: Housing Day at the State House is Sept. 14, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (includes lunch for those who stay after 11 to meet with their legislators). Please join Clare Gordon, LWVMA legislative specialist, to lobby for LWVMA supported bills for affordable housing. To register in advance, click here for, the website of Citizens Housing and Planning Association. The program begins at 9:30 in the Great Hall, and CHAPA will arrange appointments with your legislators between 11 and 1 when you register.
Women's Issues:
Tuesday, Oct. 3: Hearing on bill to assure insurance coverage for contraceptives. Joint Committee on Financial Services. Time and hearing room to be confirmed; check here closer to date. Hearing on S.499/H.536 An Act relative to advancing contraception coverage and economic security, also called the ACCESS bill, to provide insurance coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices without copays or deductibles.

Health Care: 

Tuesday, Sept. 12: Hearing on bill to create advanced level of  
dental therapist. Joint Committee on Public Health, 1 p.m., hearing room A-2, State House. Hearing on S.1169/H.2474 An Act authorizing dental therapists to expand access to oral health, which would establish an advanced dental hygiene practitioner level of practice that would expand availability of dental care.

Criminal Justice Reform: 
Contact your legislators to support a comprehensive bill: The Joint Committee on the Judiciary chairmen are soliciting input from their colleagues on which of the criminal justice reform bills to focus on. Now is the time to let your legislators know about the
comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform that LWVMA supports. In addition to the Governor's bill, H.74, we want a broad range of reforms including the elimination of mandatory minimums, pretrial and bail reforms, solitary confinement reforms, increasing the felony larceny threshold, elimination or reduction of many fines and fees to rid us of debtors' prisons, and more. All you need to know can be found in our summaries of the bills or in the testimony we gave at hearings in the spring. Please speak up for comprehensive criminal justice reform and give your legislator a link to the bills on our website, or meet with them to discuss a particular bill you feel strongly about.

Sunday, Sept. 10: Forum on criminal justice reform. Colleen Kirby, LWVMA legislative specialist, will speak at "First Forum: Criminal Justice Reform: Why Now?" Sunday, Sept. 10, 2 p.m. at the Needham Public Library, 1139 Highland Ave., Needham, sponsored by LWV Needham, Progressive Needham and the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force. Free and open to public.

Citizen Lobbyist: 
New Handbook: Take a look at our new handbook, The Citizen Lobbyist, explaining the legislative process in Massachusetts and how to influence it.
Day on the Hill: Plan now to attend the League's annual lobby day Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 9:30 until noon at the State House. Watch for more information.

Monday, Sept. 18: Forum on "How to Be an Effective Citizen Lobbyist" with State Sen. Cindy Friedman and Colleen Kirby, LWVMA legislative specialist, Monday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m., First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, 630 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington.
Monday, Sept. 25: Forum on "How to Talk so Your Legislators will Listen" with Nancy Brumback, LWVMA Legislative Action Committee chair, 7 p.m. Winchester Public Library, 80 Washington St., Winchester.

Progress Update:
What happened on our bills last month:
  • Earned income tax credit bill, H.1504/S.1521, which will benefit low-income workers, reported favorably out of committee and referred to House Ways & Means.
  • Housing production bill, S.723, reported favorably out of committee and referred to Senate Ways & Means as S.2131.
The LWVMA Legislative Update is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Legislative Update by clicking here. Please review this Update for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

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