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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

League of Women Voters of New Mexico

Board Meeting Minutes

July 20, 2019

UNM Law School, Albuquerque

Present: Kim Sorensen, secretary; Karen Wentworth, LWVCNM; Laura Atkins, LWVSFC; Susan Haase, LWVSFC; Meredith Machen, director; Diane Goldfarb, director; Patricia Hawkins, director; Jody Larson, archivist; Dick Mason, action; Karen Douglas, director; Judy Williams, past president; Hannah Burling, president; Suzanne Ronneau, treasurer; Chris Furlanetto, program; Kathy Brook, co-president LWVSNM; Becky Shankland, co-president LWVLA; Barbara Calef, 2nd vice president; Akkana Peck, webmaster; Janet Blair, communications

Guest: Kathleen Burke, Fairdistrict Project Coordinator

The meeting was called to order by President Hannah Burling at 11:00 a.m.

Changes to the Agenda. 1) Under Action, add request approval of LWVNM to join an informal Interleague Organization (ILO) with other Rocky Mountain States. 2) Move the discussion of redistricting to 12:00. 3) Add discussion of the Directions to the Board from the July state convention after Special Projects. 4) Add discussion of how to deal with the minutes in general after the approval of the minutes. 5) Under advocacy, add felony voting rights.

Approval of the May 19 Board Minutes. Becky Shankland requested that she be allowed to make minor corrections to the minutes after the board has approved them. The board agreed. A motion to approve the minutes with minor corrections passed. Barbara Calef suggested, and the board agreed, we adopt a policy for protocol for writing, reviewing, and archiving minutes. Barbara volunteered to write a policy to present at the September board meeting.

President’s Report. Hannah Burling reported on the 2019 LWVUS State Leaders’ Council she and Susan Haase attended in June. The focus of the state leaders’ council was power. Clear goals included the For the People Act and Improving Vote411. The National Campaign on Redistricting will kick off in August. LWVUS will begin a digital campaign to encourage young people to take action on issues in response to LWVUS posts. The slogan is “She is Me.” LWVUS will host a webinar and individual Leagues will receive toolkits to aid in efforts in advocacy and education. Hannah reminded the board that any requests for assistance with advocacy from LWVUS should be emailed to her and she will contact Alisha Gurrieri.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are priorities for LWVUS. LWVNM was one of the six leagues interviewed on ideas to increase diversity. Hannah related that the League has not been successful in increasing diversity in general because of the nature of the organization. The idea that League members start to increase diversity by joining organizations representing marginalized groups was endorsed on the national level. LWVUS advised leaders first to learn how to create culture change inside the League, then to be willing to mentor other groups if asked, and finally, to be willing to step aside. A link to council highlights is available on the LWVUS website: https://www.lwv.org/league-management/council-convention/2019-council-highlights

Interleague Organization. The Colorado delegates to the leaders’ council proposed an informal ILO of the Rocky Mountain states: Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Utah. We have many of the same issues and closer communication could be helpful. Hannah requested board approval for New Mexico to join this ILO. The motion to approve New Mexico joining the Interleague Organization of Rocky Mountain States passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report. Suzanne Ronneau gave the report. Income for the month was $1,539. Total expenses were $2,705.38. As of 7/13/19, the Operating Fund balance was $25,479.29; the Ed Fund balance was $406.96, and the balance in the Fund for the Recruitment of Diverse Individuals was $2,000.

Action. Proposed priorities for the 2020 legislative session are: budget and revenue, redistricting reform, decriminalization of abortion, and solar tax credit. Dick will schedule meetings with all the local Leagues to present LWVNM’s priorities this fall.

Plans for League Day are tied to the plans for the LWV/Suffrage Centennial. The Action Committee is planning a program in the Rotunda. They have requested 12 tables for LWVNM and other groups that support women’s rights. The date for League day will be announced after Labor Day when the Rotunda space is allocated. Senators Joanne Ferrary and Nancy Rodriquez will be asked to sponsor separate memorials recognizing the 100th anniversary of LWV.

The Legislative Advocacy Workshop is scheduled for December 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The board discussed names of legislators who would make good workshop leaders. Judy reported that Senator Wirth, who led last year’s workshop, will not participate. Linda Siegle, League member and lobbyist, will be invited to lead. Content for the workshop should include how the budget process works.

Ethics Commission Education. Judy Williams reported on the Ethics Commission meeting. The commission is looking for two additional members. Common Cause has received a grant from the Thornburg foundation for education on the Ethics Commission. The commission’s next meeting is August 2.

Reproductive Health. Diane Goldfarb reported that at this time we don’t know what will happen with the decriminalization bill in the next session, but NM Coalition for Choice members are continuing to treat it as though it will be on the governor’s call. For the bill to pass, four votes need to flip and those who voted “yes” last time need to remain solid. If it is brought up and we lose a second time, we will lose momentum and give cover to those who do flip. Therefore, it is unlikely that the governor will put it on her call unless we have those four votes. Diane believes the best use of our time is to thank those legislators who voted “yes” in the last session.

Census Advocacy. Hannah reported on the meeting of the Governor’s Complete Count Commission to discuss strategy. League members may volunteer for any of the subcommittees. The Complete Count Commission should have their website up by next week.

Redistricting Project. Dick Mason gave the report on the redistricting project. LWVNM will mount a public education campaign for fair redistricting in New Mexico, funded by a $43,000 grant from the Thornburg Foundation. Dick introduced Kathleen Burke, the project consultant. Kathleen thanked the board for the opportunity to work with the League and gave some information on her background and her role for the project. Kathleen can be reached at redistricting@lwvnm.org. The League is also working with the Brennan Center, a national organization that advises states on fair redistricting practices. It is expected that LWVNM will coordinate interaction with national’s efforts on redistricting. The project’s website is www.fairdistrictsnm.org. The Redistricting Task Force consists of Barbara Calef, Judy Williams, and Dick Mason. Dick requested each local League appoint a person to coordinate activities in their area.

Dick reported that the Interim Courts, Corrections, & Justice Committee plans to hear presentations for redistricting in Albuquerque on October 10.

Diversity. The board discussed whether LWVNM should waive PMP for students or have PMP paid out of the fund set aside for recruitment of diverse individuals. To encourage local Leagues to recruit students, LWVUS has waived PMP for students. LWVNM local Leagues have either reduced dues along with offering scholarships based on need, or have waived dues for students altogether. Arguments against waiving the fee centered primarily around the position that if dues are waived, students may join but not participate and the position that all students aren’t poor and there are scholarships available for those who are. The argument to keep it simple and follow the LWVUS’s policy prevailed and the motion to waive the NMPMP for students passed with two opposed.

Program. Chris Furlanetto reported that the changes to positions passed at the convention are now on the LWVNM website. Chris is trying to update the Positions History document, last updated in 2014. She will send a list of positions that need history to the board in the hopes that we can help her.

Judicial Selection Study. Suzanne Ronneau reported that the Judicial Selection Study Plan was approved at the State Convention in June, but the board needed to approve it as well. Members of the committee include Suzanne, Mary Wilson, Mary Smith, Janet Blair, and Adelaide Jacobson. Suzanne requested that Kathy Brook try to find a member from SNM to serve on the committee as well. The study plan will be posted on LWVNM’s website. The motion to accept the Judicial Selection Study Plan passed unanimously.

Bylaws and Policies. Barbara Calef recommended the following changes to the Bylaws to address difficulties with deadlines: 1) Article VII Section 5. Budget Committee: Replace the last sentence with, “The committee shall prepare a balanced budget for the next two fiscal years and present it to the state board for approval during the state board meeting preceding the convention.” 2) Article VII Section 6. Budget. Change 45 days to 30 days to read “The state board shall approve and distribute the proposed budget for the next two fiscal years to the membership at least 30 days prior to the convention.” A motion to accept the above changes to the Bylaws passed unanimously.

Barbara noted that LWVNM is not in compliance with Article IV Section 7 requiring an annual review of the books. Judy Williams will get a cost estimate from her accountant, who does reviews of non-profits’ books, and will report at the next board meeting.

Executive Committee. A motion to appoint Hannah Burling, Judy Williams, Janet Blair, Barbara Calef, and Dick Mason to the Executive Committee passed unanimously.

Review and Acceptance of Nonpartisan Policy. Chris Furlanetto cited the few minor changes to clean up some wording and add clarification to the nonpartisan policy. The motion to adopt the nonpartisan policy with a few changes passed unanimously.

It was noted that language concerning members’ responsibilities to remain nonpartisan needed clarification. The Executive Committee will reword this section and present a draft to the board at the next meeting.

Chris reminded us that the nonpartisan policy and the conflict of interest policy were two separate policies.

Voter Services. Judy Williams reported on the Secretary of State’s briefing on HB407. All Leagues need to retrain VRA’s (voter registrars) to inform them about changes in policies and procedures. The law could go into effect in this fall’s local elections. Hannah encouraged members to go to the SOS website and email questions related to the bill to her by July 25. It was noted that the language on the website pertaining to “realignment” and “one-time renumbering” is confusing. Judy will ask the SOS office for clarification. Dick reported that they are almost doubling the number of precincts in the 2020 election.

Communications. Janet Blair reported that not much has been posted on Facebook this summer. She encouraged local leagues send photos with appropriate documentation for the La Palabra. It was suggested LWVNM do a press release on redistricting. Dick and Hannah will work on it.

Website and Document Storage. Akkana Peck reported that the redistricting project website, www. fairdistrictsnm.org, is up but needs more content. Hannah submitted an OP Ed titled Redistricting Reform for New Mexico to the ABQ Journal. it will be posted on the fair district website once it is published in the Journal.

Special Projects. Meredith Machen reported on the History Committee’s plans for the 2020 Women’s Centennial. The committee consists of members from local Leagues, Women’s Centennial Work Group, AAUW, and NOW. Plans so far include a suffrage parade Aug. 22, 2020 at the Civic Plaza; and a gala, organized by CNM, Aug 29, 2020. It was recommended there also be an event at the capitol on Aug. 26, 2020. A proclamation has been sent to the governor requesting that she proclaim all of 2020 as the “Women’s Centennial.” The Action Committee will report their plans for the event in the Rotunda on League day at the September board meeting.

Discussion of Directions to the Board. Directions to the board include:

  1. Create a director of diversity to help guide Leagues in recruiting.
  2. Explain any positions the board takes in La Palabra.
  3. Expand membership, increase member involvement, implement the BOD wish list of 2017, communicate more effectively, and be more transparent with our protocols.
  4. The use of underlining used to both indicate adding and deleting words was confusing.
  5. Buy a new microphone.
  6. Communicate events to local Leagues’ media representatives.
  7. Ask for directions for the board earlier during the convention and send an email the day after asking members for directions.

It was noted that most of the directions called for minor improvements that could easily be done. Positions are already posted on the website. It was agreed that the packet was a little confusing and we need a new microphone. The board agreed it was a good idea to request directions for the board earlier rather than at the very end of the meeting. The board discussed the need for a director of diversity and decided it would be more effective to have an email group consisting of the membership directors to discuss ways to increase diversity, and to collaborate with other organizations.

Announcements, Initiatives, and Other Business. Meredith requested that she be reimbursed for purchases that have been approved by the Executive Committee. The board agreed. Meredith requested that we appoint a membership chair. It was decided that since membership takes place at the local level, there really isn’t a need for one. Dick suggested that the email discussion group for membership directors discussed previously could be used as a forum to discuss recruitment practices and ideas.

Applications for the LWVUS board are now open.

The next meeting will be September 21st in Santa Fe and the November 16 meeting will be in Las Cruces.

All documents for the board meetings should be sent to Hannah by the Sunday evening before the meeting. Reports from local Leagues may be submitted later than that if needed.

Summer La Palabra submissions are due by July 25.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:50.

Written by Kim Sorensen 7/29/19

Edited by Barbara Calef 7/31/19