League Of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area
March 2016 Newsletter

Legislative Breakfast
Saturday, Mar. 19 at 8:30 am
for breakfast discussion with
Tony Kurtz for Sen. Ron Johnson
John Medinger for Sen. Tami Baldwin
Congressman Ron Kind
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator
Jill Billings, State Assembly
Chris Danou, State Assembly

Days Inn Hotel & Conference Center
101 Sky Harbour Dr.,  French Island 
I-90 And Airport Exit #2

Buffet Breakfast $10.50
RSVP to Dee Peacock
email:  lylep@aol.com
Dee's phone: (608) 788-5160

International Women's Day-La Crosse

Th e League of Women Voters is once again joining other globally minded organizations and Coulee Region citizens celebrating International Women's Day on March 10th. Join us as we celebrate women's achievements and explore women's rights issues from around the world.  

International Women's Day Celebration
March 10, 2016, UWL Hall of Nations, Centennial Hall
5:00 pm - refreshments
5:30 - 6:30 pm - International Panel Presentations
Free parking will be provided in lot C-10  (corner of Vine and 15th St)
UWL Campus Map: www.uwlax.edu/map/ 
League Book Club
Join us!
League Book Club
"The Awakening" by Kate A Chopin
March 30, 2016, at 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Java Vino

1505 Losey Blvd S
La Crosse, WI
Membership:  Get Actively Involved

The League of Women Voters is always looking for members to be actively involved in the issues of our community, state and nation.  The league offers opportunities at all levels.

National Level: The process of making Public Policy Positions on issues dear to the heart of league starts with study by local leagues across the nation.  Once the issue has been studied the consensus process begins where each local league goes through a series of questions/statements as to whether there is support or not.  At the end of this process responses are collated and a position is defined.

State Level & Local:  Our state league has been working hard in Madison to oppose any legislation that would (1) end LWV voter registration drives, (2) gut Wisconsin's Civil service, (3) gut open records law, (4) and warns that secret lobbying is poisoning our democracy, to list just a few things that keeps them busy.
With spring and fall elections on the horizon our local league could use some help to support voter services.  There is help needed for registering voters, there are candidate forums to run (moderator & timers), and there is a need for election observers on the day of election.

In order for the local league to provide events and luncheon programs there are numerous arrangements and attention to detail that could also use helps as well.  There are tasks in the areas of communication, public relations, membership, and technology needs.  It can be very gratifying being able to contribute to making an organization like the League Of Women Voters responsive to its community.

The league has numerous issues that we support whether it is representative, accountable and responsive government, or promoting wise management of natural resources in the public interest, or promoting social and economic justice for all Americans.  There are on-going community meetings, events, and programs sponsored by organization with common goals as the league and hope our membership are attending to show support.  A primary example would be the beginning of Public Library Strategic Planning Workshops for the La Crosse Community to be held at the Library March 14 th, 5:00 pm; March 15th 8:30 am; and March 16th  (2 sessions) 8:30 am and 1:30 pm.  The league sup ports the public library and the services that it provides this community and hope all that can attend any of these sessions will do so.

Be active and an agent for change!


Welcome New Members

Nora Garland is a retired teacher who taught high school English 
in the La Crosse and Viroqua School Districts and a variety of subjects in the alternative high school program at Western Technical College. She continues to teach English Language Arts for the Upward Bound summer program at 
UW-La Crosse
Nora and her husband Eric, a physician assistant at Gundersen Health System, have enjoyed living
 in the La Crosse area for many years. Their community involvement includes the GENA neighborhood association, United Way, and the Great River Folk Festival.

Pam Knudtson has worked as a Visual Arts educator with people of all a ges, spending most of her career in La Crosse at the School District and at UW-La Crosse and Viterbo University. Her involvement in all aspects of her career resulted in recognition and various professional awards.
She received her B.A. at UW-La Crosse and M.A. at the University of Minnesota.
In retirement, she is in the process of setting up a studio t o begin working with clay as a sculpture as well as functional medium. Other interests include social justice, sustainability and political change.
Other League Updates

Voter Services
Voter Services moderated a forum for the Holmen School Board on February  1 st .  We will also be moderating a forum for the West Salem School Board candidates on 3/21, 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the District  Office, Heider Meeting Room, 405 East Hamlin Street, West Salem.
State League has filled a position that is dedicated to Voter Service. 
Erin Grunze will serve in this position. One of her missions is putting together an observer program for the April and November elections.  
If you are interested, contact her at this website: 
http://www.lwvwi.org/VotingElections/ElectionObserverVolunteerForm.a spx

National League Study Consensus
A small group met on January 18 th  to see if we could reach consensus on the national league study, Money in Politics.  Unfortunately, it conflicted with the MLK day speaker at Viterbo.  I urge you to participate in studies and consensus when the opportunity is there.  This is how state and national league determine positions and set priorities for education and lobbying.  It is a critical function of league and shouldn't be overlooked.  We are a grass roots organization and it is our obligation to let state and national know what we here in the La Crosse area think!
Coming Events:
Although we are not sponsors, the good government folks will be here in La Crosse on March 15, 2016, 2 p.m., La Crosse, at the La Crosse Public Library for the "Open Government Traveling Show."  Local sponsor is the La Crosse Tribune.  The focus is on understanding the open records law and how to use it.  Participants include representatives of the Wis. Freedom of Information Counsel, the Madison Society of Professional Journalist, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and others.  It is free and open to the public.

Voter Services  Update
Anita Evans
With the Presidential election year on the horizon, the LWVLA Voter Services Committee began its work in late summer 2015 to organize for action to educate the public about voting and facilitate citizen participation in elections.  Developing a core group of Special Registration Deputies (SRDs) in multiple municipalities was an early focus of the committee.  Both committee and other LWV members were trained and certified by municipal clerks and have partnered with staff and student contacts in local school districts, Viterbo University, UW-La Crosse and other community groups to hold registration drives.  At a Logan High School registration event over 2 days in December, Mary Nelson and the SRD team, in concert with the classroom teacher, highlighted the importance of voting as a right and responsibility of citizenship. 
Registration and/or education events have reached diverse audiences.  League SRDs with campus contacts and Viterbo University students staffed registration tables at the Martin Luther King celebration at Viterbo in January.  League SRDs were on hand at the UGetConnected Volunteer Fair at UW-L last September and at two fall listening sessions of the La Crosse Human Rights Commission.  These were opportunities to share general information for registering and voting and the new legal requirement, in most cases, for showing a voter photo ID at the polls.
Several media outlets have helped League to get the word out on what people need to know when they vote this year. Ellen Frantz joined a panel with Ginny Dankmeyer and Marilyn Pedretti for a January WLSU Newsmakers program with John Davis.  The Tribune published LWVWI Executive Director Andrea Kaminski's editorial, "Get ready to vote in Wisconsin elections," in January 28 which was followed by Mary Nugent's editorial on February 11.  The committee plans to engage voters in this message through individual letters to the editor before each election this year.
Before the February 16 primary, posters were distributed in the community to publicize 2016 election dates and promote a voter readiness checklist:  Register to Vote; Bring a Photo ID to the polls; and at the polls, State it - Show it - Sign it - Vote!  The posters prominently feature websites for voter information, Bring It to the Ballot (bringit.wi.gov), My Vote Wisconsin (myvote.wi.gov), and LWV's VOTE411 (vote411.org).
The committee is looking at special challenges for elderly voters and reached out to the coordinator of senior site managers for La Crosse County . In March voter information will be distributed through the Mobile Meals program mailing.
Several voter forums to be held before the April 5 election are in the planning stages.  These will include school board races, with the West Salem forum confirmed for March 21.  A Holman school board forum was held in February.
Looking head, the committee anticipates that SRDs will be in place through the end of 2016 despite the passage of bills by the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly in February for the elimination of SRDs with the implementation of an online registration system.  It is expected that the Governor will eventually sign the final bill into law. The committee will continue to track this development, while educating and registering a broad spectrum of voters with the League credo in mind:  Democracy is not a spectator sport .
Members of the committee (2/2016) are:  Nancy Danou, Anita Evans, Ellen Frantz, Jan Gallagher, Sheila Hilke, Cindy Killion, Maureen Kinney, Deb Lutjen, Kathy Mulliner, Mary Nelson, Mary Nugent, Sandy Sechrest, Pat Skewes, Kit Thomas, Pam Thiel.  
League of Women Voters of La Crosse Area