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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

Present:

Judy Williams called the meeting to order at 11:00. The agenda was approved.

The May board minutes were approved with no changes.

National convention report:

There was controversy over the program called “transformation journey,” and over the budget report. The new CEO, Virginia Kase, gave a brief talk, mentioning how she saw racism firsthand while being raised by a Puerto Rican foster mother. As far as we've been told, she doesn't have a financial or business background.

They had the usual combination of inspirational speakers and a big presentation on redistricting. The US League is very interested in redistricting, as well as getting out the vote and voter protection.

The running of the plenary session was disappointing and didn't always follow correct procedure, even with a professional parliamentarian present. There were a few controversial bylaws proposals that did pass. Williams has emailed the board the list of proposals that passed. The procedure wasn't as democratic as we would have liked in an organization that advocates for democracy.

DC Statehood:

The Washington, DC League reached out to Williams; they have a grant to go around the country raising support for DC statehood. New Mexico is on this year's 10-state list. Apparently, a bill for statehood for both DC and Puerto Rico has already been introduced, and our senators are supporting it. The DC statehood group wants to come out to NM and present their case before the end of September and are waiting for an answer. Everyone was sympathetic to the issue. Becky Shankland offered to host an event at her house to watch a video from the DC statehood group or hear from a speaker. Diane Goldfarb and [Someone] also offered to help in whatever way they could. LWVLA, LWVSF and LWVCNM will coordinate and try to come up with dates; if the dates are close enough together, maybe someone could come out and go to local meetings at all three Leagues.

There's been a NOW film series at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, with panel discussions afterward. They've asked Williams to be on the panel for the movie Iron Jawed Angels on October 30, and she's asked Geraldine Salazar to come as well.

Suzanne Ronneau gave the Treasurer's Report.

Legislative Advocacy and Action Report:

Dick Mason couldn't be at the meeting, so Judy presented his report.

The committee decided they should be more focused and strategic in the upcoming year, so they decided on a set of five priority areas:

There was discussion of the five points: not everyone agreed with dropping education and health care as important focus areas.

Karen Douglas moved to add Education to the list. There was discussion on how to narrow this down: we need to have specifics when we go to our legislators before the session telling them what our priorities are. Motion Failed.

Akkana Peck moved to add consideration of Medicaid for All if such a bill is proposed. Motion Failed.

Barbara Calef requested that Medicaid for All be on the January agenda. Chris Furlanetto requested that the January agenda include something about pursuing bills that come up that are aligned with our positions and where we think we can make a difference.

Diane Goldfarb moved to adopt the list of priorities. Passed.

The action committee met with speaker Egolf and Peter Wirth to focus on dummy/emergency bills that get filed after the deadline, without a useful name, and about other issues of lack of transparency such as not posting committee agendas online. Egolf said they had found a way to handle the dummy bills; his Chief of Staff, Reena Szczepanski, said she'd write up the procedures so we could share them with Peter Wirth, who offered to use the same approach in the Senate. The memo hasn't been done yet, but Williams is staying on top of the issue.

Wirth said to expect an onslaught of bills if a Democratic Governor wins. The LWVNM expressed concern at how long confirmation of gubernatorial nominees takes and the large number of memorials. Wirth and Egolf responded that memorials recognizing constituents were extremely important.

The court has ruled on the ten bills vetoed by the Governor without signing statements: the bills will be reinstated, meaning they become law.

The Advocacy Workshop will be Sat., Dec. 8, 10-12. The speakers will be Sen. Wirth, Sen. Rue, and Jim Jackson, formerly of Disability Rights.

The Legislative Reception will be Feb. 6, and League Day at the Legislature is Feb. 7.

2020 Census:

Williams would like to see us make the census an action priority. A group of LWVNM people who went to the national convention had a discussion about the census and how to make it more accurate in New Mexico. On Aug. 21, Los Alamos has Robert Rhatigan coming to talk about the census. It's an important issue and there are lots of opportunities for raising our profile, and for working with other agencies like immigrant rights organizations. We don't even know whether there are penalties for skipping questions, and whether we might be able to have a "just say no" campaign. Williams sent out a link to a site that has maps that rank counties as hard, harder and hardest to count. The group had a brainstorming session in Chicago about things like sending TV stations out to remote areas with their satellite dishes to offer internet access. New Mexico lost 6.1 billion dollars in 2015 due to undercounting. Goldfarb commented that we lose 32 million dollars a year for every 1% undercount. How much is that for each person? We need to get those numbers. Some people had heard that each person is worth $5083 per year to NM, but other sources say it's only $1121. Barbara Calef moved that LWVNM make the census a priority for the next two years. Passed.

During the lunch break there was discussion of the high number of Russian (.ru) hits on local league websites. It's high for all websites, but is it higher for websites like the LWV that are involved in voting issues? No one knows.

Communications (Janet Blair):

Blair has been talking with Karen Wentworth about possibly making a homegrown PSA video about voting, since it looks like we aren't going to get outside funding for a commercially produced PSA. Williams contacted Vicki Harrison of Common Cause, who said they're short on funding for advertising. There was discussion about how we could do a less ambitious PSA with the funds we have, or with smaller grants from sources like local banks.

Karen Wentworth passed around copies of CNM's flyer they're distributing for their Women's Equality Day event on August 26, especially targeting mothers 35 and under.

Blair mentioned that some Leagues seem to be doing a lot more voter registration. She thought we should have mobile voter registration units at practically every public event to raise our profile. Kim Sorenson said GLC is doing a lot of this, and they're getting a lot of good attention. Diane Goldfarb observed that the county clerk does a lot of voter registration, as do the parties; voter registration isn't so much the problem, and it might be better to put our efforts into getting out the vote.

There was a brief discussion of how we should use Facebook more.

100th Anniversary (Judy Williams):

Williams said the Missouri League has lots of things to sell. Barbara Calef suggested to Meredith Machen that we invite Rosie Rios, one of the speakers from the national convention to speak at our anniversary event.

Voter Guide Questions (Diane Goldfarb):

Goldfarb had sent out a list of proposed questions and was unhappy about the number of changes people suggested. She and Andrea went through the questions again, and she passed out the result.

The questions were discussed at length, and revised. Akkana Peck moved to approve the questions as revised. Passed.

Ballot Ready:

Several of the board met at the National Convention with a representative of Ballot Ready about using their web services for the general election. Everyone was impressed with the amount of information they'd make available. For the state and all four local Leagues, this would cost $1500, and that would cover candidates throughout the state, even in areas not covered by a local League (though of course, Voter Guide questions would only be for candidates we'd contacted).

In comparison, Vote411 would charge about $2000, plus we'd have to put up with a national Donate button on every page.

Becky Shankland asked if this could be printed as well as online. Suzanne Ronneau said it could.

Ronneau moved that we contract with Ballot Ready. Passed. Williams will call them Monday and start the process.

Program:

Natural Resources Position (Barbara Calef):

Calef proposed a couple of minor changes in the state Natural Resources Position. [Someone] moved to adopt the changes: approved.

Study Updates:

Transfer of Federal Public Lands (Barbara Calef):

The study committee proposed seven consensus questions. They were discussed and a few amendments were suggested.

Akkana Peck moved to adopt the consensus questions as amended. Passed.

Nuclear Waste Storage (Karen Douglas):

Douglas had a set of proposed consensus questions. She had been told that the state is constrained to what the current national position is, and the states have no recourse beyond that. Williams clarified that state studies must reflect state issues, not national ones, and our position must be consistent with national positions; after that any state, or national, can concur with the state position.

Chris Furlanetto added that the important thing was to remove the proposed study questions that related to national issues rather than state issues.

Douglas said a majority of states with nuclear waste storage don't agree with the national position and would appreciate New Mexico developing a new position. Furlanetto replied that we weren't at that point yet and wondered which parts of the national position these states disagreed with. Douglas explained that our national position says nuclear waste should stay where it is and shouldn't be moved. Williams thought the national position was to leave it where it is until a permanent storage location is found. Furlanetto had a copy of Impact on Issues and looked it up: the national position says the state should take a strong role. Douglas said it was important that we treat the interim storage spaces as interim, not permanent (though other people pointed out that interim is a long time, 120 years).

The meeting was adjourned at 3:25.