League of Women Voters of New Mexico
January 28, 2017, 11:00 am - 2:30 pm
North Domingo Baca Center, Albuquerque
Board members present:
Dick Mason, Diane Goldfarb, Akkana Peck, Karen Douglas, Meredith Machen, Gwen Hansen, Barbara Calef, Judy Williams, Carol Tucker-Trelease
Pat Hawkins, Janet Blair, Peggy Howell, George Richmond, Vivian Skadron
Meredith called the meeting to order at 11:05.
The agenda was approved with a couple of additions.
The minutes from November 12 were approved.
Meredith announced that we had received the "Best in Government Award" from Common Cause and said that the plaque should hang in the LWVNM office. She thanked representatives from the local Leagues who attended and explained some of the reasons for the recognition. The New Mexican the day before the meeting reported on the various ethics bills introduced during the current session and mentioned us as a group working for good government; we're getting more mentions like this. She discussed the importance of our work and mentioned that the Governor today vetoed the feed bill (which pays for legislators and people working during the legislative session, and also included emergency funds for the judiciary).
Treasurer's Report (Judy)
We have a gigantic deficit because of our $10k phishing loss. We've had expenses for newsletter printing and for making a video of the lobbying workshop.
Judy is trying to find another lawyer to help us because Mary Wilson has apparently closed her practice and retired. We have a fiduciary duty to try to get the money back, even though it's unlikely, so we'll keep following up. We have about $8k cash and have received all the PMP payments.
We are a member of the NM Coalition for Choice, and we will be getting a $5k "boost grant" to support proactive reproductive rights legislation in various states. We need to decide what we'll do with it. There's a pregnant worker bill introduced already; there will also be a bill associated with contraception and another involving giving options to women. We're hoping to use the money for advocacy on those. Part of the money will be used to help with expenses of people who can come to testify, especially people from southern NM.
*MSA: We will accept the reproductive rights boost grant.
Judicial Reform Grant
Common Cause NM has $5k grants to support judicial reform and educate the public about the judiciary. The goals are similar to the boost grant. If we get one, we can use it to advocate for better decision-making and funding for the judiciary. The just-vetoed feed bill would have helped with emergency money to get them through the end of this year. We'll have to turn in a report in May 2017 but don't have to have actually spent the money by then.
Currently the judiciary has to go to the legislature for minor decisions, like a decision they made recently to close down two underutilized courts that are in portable buildings. We'd like to advocate for them to have more decision-making authority as well as an adequate budget. We’d also like to see alternative courts and pre-trial diversion programs. There was general agreement that we'd like to know more about the goals of the granting organization when planning exactly how we'd use the grant. Meredith will coordinate this project, working with members of each of the local leagues. This grant is related to statewide courts, magistrate and above, under the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) not locally funded courts.
MSA: We will accept the CC judicial reform grant assuming we get one.
The Common Cause grant specifies that it must be received by a 501c3. Since LWVNM is not one, LWVCNM has agreed to be the fiscal agent. They will receive the funds into their ED Fund and then issue a check to LWVNM. CNM has also agreed to be our fiscal agent for contributions that need to go to a 501c3.
MSA: Authorize the president to sign the resolution with CNM allowing for this arrangement. Meredith signed the resolution and gave it to Karen to take to the CNM Education Fund board.
We don't have directors/officers liability coverage. Judy started to apply for it, but there's an elaborate form and it's fairly expensive. It wouldn't have protected us against the phishing incident, where the treasurer violated our financial policies. Meredith looked into whether LWVUS might have some sort of policy that state and local Leagues could sign onto, and they don't. The LWVUS treasurer will be here in May for the convention and can talk to us in more detail about issues like that. Meredith says there is some protection if you're doing your job as a board member. She'll send out more information describing the protection of volunteers. Someone pointed out that even if federal law says we're protected as volunteers working for a nonprofit, if somebody brought a suit, no matter how frivolous, the board would still have to defend itself.
Our current insurance policy covers injuries that might occur at the office or when we have meetings at other facilities. If a facility asks whether we have liability insurance, our policy covers that, and we can get a statement of proof for each specific event we hold.
Gwen said that the communication from LWVUS about participating in the Women’s March recommended that you have liability coverage. Meredith said that guidance was for Leagues that organized taking busloads of people to Washington, not for individual members who participated and wore LWV pins.
Fundraising by LWVNM
Barbara pointed out that LWVNM has a fundraising policy that says all fundraising on behalf of LWVNM must be authorized by the board, and, in particular, that fundraising requests to a corporation where there is a local League must first be authorized by the local league. This policy is to prevent the state League from obtaining funds that a local League might be able to acquire. There was some discussion of this policy to make sure everyone understood it.
Judy reminded Leagues to submit study and concurrence proposals for approval at convention.
Karen Douglas passed out a sheet with five suggestions for LWVCNM study topics: ethics improprieties; law enforcement conflicts; nuclear fuel storage waste control; the election process; and trade imbalances. Some of these would clearly be state issues, not just local CNM, but CNM could lead the study.
At the November meeting the board adopted a new position on Charter School Regulation. Following the meeting several League members worked to incorporate that position into the Education position.
MSA: Restore the language "LWVNM believes that a regionally elected State Board of Education should be responsible for appointing a Superintendent of Public Instruction and directing education policy, regulation, and finances." which used to be in our education position, but was removed at some point.
MSA: Approve (subject to possible future wordsmithing) the other proposed changes to the Education position, including the new Charter School section.
Other Changes in Positions
Judy presented a document with quite a few proposals:
- Rename Judiciary to be Administration of Justice
- Propose concurrence with LWV IL on alternatives to incarceration
- Propose concurrence with LWV CA on Legal Services
- Move Juvenile Justice from Children and Families to Administration of Justice
- Move Death Penalty position to Administration of Justice
- Reorganize Drug Policy and Alcohol into a single Substance Abuse Policy under Social Programs
There was discussion over the wording on alternatives to incarceration. Some thought some of the language was jargon and unclear, though everyone agreed on emphasizing alternatives to incarceration.
Language most people liked was, "The League supports alternative and therapeutic courts along with pretrial diversions."
MSA: Let the subcommittee wordsmith the alternatives to incarceration
proposal as discussed to present at the convention.
Death Penalty Position
Barbara requested that the board approve an amendment, adding "If the death penalty is reinstated" to the beginning of the second paragraph.
MSA: Change the language to say that.
MSA: Approve the reorganization of the positions and authorize the subcommittee to wordsmith if necessary.
Judy will send out a rewritten copy for the pre-convention packet.
Health Care Position Amendments (Dick)
Dick proposed that we add language from the national position on reproductive rights, as a subsection of our Health Care position.
MSA: The board approved of the change.
Death with Dignity
George Richmond came to speak about Death with Dignity. He announced that HB 171 was introduced by Deborah Armstrong, with a committee hearing the Friday following the meeting. LWVNM has no position on the issue, but we could propose concurrence with Utah and not need conduct a study to support it. Dick and Judy will work on language for concurrence.
Board Resolution on Immigration
Meredith proposed a resolution be presented at convention opposing the use of state resources to enforce federal immigration law. Some opposed the wording of the proposed resolution on the grounds that not all of it was directly supported by a LWVUS or LWVNM position. We need criteria specifying what can be in a resolution, which can't circumvent the normal study/position procedures. Several thought that the breadth of the proposed resolution might require a study. Judy will propose a revised resolution that's based on the LWV Immigration position.
CONVENTION (Pat Hawkins)
Convention is May 19-21 in Santa Fe. Pat summarized the contract with the Hilton. Meeting room fees (which would otherwise be $1000) are waived assuming 40 members pay for lunch and the banquet. We also have to have 20 rooms, split over the 2 nights, to get the $130 rate and concessions like complimentary parking, wifi, and meeting space. Rooms will be held until April 19. The committee is proposing a $75 registration fee. Pat will work out details of who signs the contract and whose credit card will be used.
MSA: Approve the contract.
The banquet fee is $50. Valerie Plame has confirmed she will speak.
The committee is proposing a Saturday morning tour of Palace of the Governors. Information will be in the next La Palabra. Pat would like to have all the information for the packets by May 1. She is considering asking Signe Lindell, city councilor and LWVSFC member, or Mayor Javier Gonzales to do the welcome. The board decided that we want Henrietta Saunders as the only lunch speaker.
Nominating Committee (Peggy Howell)
Peggy delivered the Nominating Committee’s recommendations for officers and directors.
We need someone to function as Membership Chair, and we may want to blend Membership and Communications roles.
Tarin has resigned as Director of Communications, and Janet Blair has agreed to step in.
MSA: To approve Janet as Communications Director effective immediately.
Bylaws Proposal (Barbara)
For the last 2 years Meredith has been consulting with Barbara, Judy, and Dick on issues between board meetings, and they thought we should formalize that practice in our bylaws.
Barbara proposed that we amend the bylaws by adding the following wording (taken from the LWVWI bylaws):
Article V. BOARD OF DIRECTORS (STATE BOARD)
Section 8. Executive Committee. An executive committee, consisting of the president and four other members appointed by the State Board from its own body, shall act for the board between regular meetings, provided that any action taken shall be presented to the board for ratification at its next meeting. Three members of the executive committee shall constitute a quorum to transact business.
MSA: Approve this amendment and recommend for adoption at convention.
The board is encouraged to subscribe to the Action list to get Dick's tracking sheets for the legislative session. We'll base how much effort we
Judy and Gwen will provide free wine, and Barbara will provide free beer for the reception. Diane will purchase light appetizers rather than sandwiches. Contributions are great, either bottles or snacks, but not required.
Speakers are confirmed. Dr. Veronica Garcia will speak on education issues (funding and policy). Julianna Koob will speak on reproductive rights.
Meeting adjourned at 2:29
Respectfully submitted by Akkana Peck, Secretary.
Edited by Barbara Calef and Meredith Machen.
*MSA: Moved, Seconded, Approved