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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

Santa Fe, Higher Education Center


Judy Williams called the meeting to order at 1p.m. following 10-second soundbite training by Janet Blair.

Present at meeting: Judy Williams, Kim Sorenson, Akkana Peck, Janet Blair, Becky Shankland, Chris Furlanetto, Barbara Calef, Meredith Machen, Laura Atkins, Diane Goldfarb, Dick Mason

Guest: Brenda McKenna

Judy moved to approve the agenda. Seconded and approved.

Barbara had an amendment to the minutes from last meeting: Under the convention write-up, "non-partisan policy will be approved" should be removed, since we voted for them at that same meeting.
Judy moved to approve the minutes as amended; seconded and approved.

Advocacy workshop December 9, 9:30-noon

Dick Mason wondered whether the budget session was the right time for an advocacy workshop, since members might get frustrated at not being able to advocate on much.

Meredith Machen suggested involving other organizations that do advocacy. Mason agreed but thought we shouldn't gear people up to get involved in a session where not much can get done.

Janet Blair though that it's still a good way to get people involved: there are always a couple of controversial issues on the Action call. The next Action call will discuss this further.

Conflict of Interest policy

Judy moved to adopt the new Conflict of Interest Policy. Seconded and approved.

501(c)(3) Status:

Machen wondered why it was so urgent to convert all our local Leagues right now. Williams explained that LWVUS wants to get out of the business of running our education funds, which they won't need to do if local Leagues convert to 501(c)(3).

Mason wondered if we could do something at the state level, maybe funneling everything through CNM's 501(c)(3) like we've done with the reproductive rights grant. Williams said she'd check with Jan Strand, the CNM treasurer, to see if she'd be willing to do that extra work.

There is some confusion about how much advocacy a 501(c)(3) is allowed, and whether it's purely based on money or also on time. Would converting risk our ability to do advocacy? Williams promised to send out a memo from LWVUS on how lobbying relates to being a 501(c)(3).

Williams reported that the Thornburgh organization might be interested in giving us a grant related to:

- ethics amendment
- campaign finance reform

They prefer to give the money to a 501(c)(3), but they do give money to Common Cause, a 501(c)(4).

They want to help with Voter Guides, specifically printing costs so we could distribute more of them. They suggested that we might also be able to get money from Common Cause. That would require us to send money to the local Leagues, which do the printing. We might be able to use the money for more outreach, ads, and PSAs for the Voter Guides.

New Leagues

Williams wondered why there isn't a League in Silver City, and how can we promote new Leagues? A man in Deming contacted her, wanting to start a League. They're trying to convene a meeting there to see if there's interest. Mason described past times when Las Vegas and Truth or Consequences had interest in starting local Leagues. They ended up joining with their nearest Leagues, Santa Fe and Las Cruces. But in those days, a lot more people were needed to form a local League. Kim Sorenson mentioned that LWVGLC had had been contacted recently by people from Alamagordo. There might be a lot of areas interested in local Leagues.
Janet Blair proposed that we put something on the state website about how to start a local League. She'll write something up and send it to Williams and Akkana Peck.

Galvanize Women : there's a convention in ABQ in December (Dec 2-3) and Williams has signed up for us to have a table there. The website is https://www.wellstone.org/events/united-state-women-galvanize-program-campaign-training-albuquerque.

Speaking for the League:

Williams wondered whether we have a policy on speaking for the League, and on who can speak for us, but hasn't been able to find one. Someone in a local League has been lobbying state legislators on a state issue. We need to be clear on our policy. Santa Fe's Communication Policy says that the president is the sole spokesman unless he or she delegates that, but it's not clear we have a similar rule at the state level.

Treasurer's Report

We have a balance of $17,077.72, so we're doing all right.

Communications

Janet Blair has been working on a draft communications plan, and is getting ready to convene the Communications Committee. The goals are to raise the profile of the LWV, attract new members, and make us more effective. The committee will be:
Janet Blair, Judy Williams, Laura Atkins, Judith Binder, Akkana Peck, Brenda McKenna and Kim Sorenson.

Blair has gotten the Facebook password, but hasn't done much yet with it or with Constant Contact. But she has been tweeting and we're up to 11 followers. She wants to generate more copy for our website, too. She also has a news media list and sent something recently on DACA. Even if they don't pick everything up, they need to be aware that we're around and making noise.

Brenda McKenna announced that Karen Wentworth and Judy Binder would be interviewed on TV regarding the ABQ mayoral election.

Whether the CNM Voter Guide can be distributed at polling places is still up in the air. After it's printed, they'll take it to be vetted as officially non-partisan so it can be distributed.

Voter Services

Should write-ins be included in Voter Guides?
Williams and Barbara Calef thought certified write-ins should be. Machen pointed out that write-ins aren't certified until so late that we used to have to hold up the publication of Voter Guides waiting for certification. For that reason, she thought we shouldn't have a policy that guarantees space for write-ins, though we could still try to include them.
Several people suggested a cut-off date, such as 10 or 30 days before the election.

Williams thought the current wording, "Due to space constraints, these candidates are generally not asked to respond to the League's questionnaires." was a flimsy excuse and we should remove "Due to space constraints".

There was general discussion of the wording, and the general idea was to say something like "All candidates who are properly certified by the date the questions are sent out are sent questionnaires". But everyone agreed that wording was too awkward. The new wording for the Procedures document is:     Write-in candidates who have been certified by the Secretary of State by August 10 are offered the opportunity to respond to Voter Guide questions.  For statewide offices, the Chair will follow up with the write-in candidate.  For local area candidates, the local League will follow up.  At a minimum, write-in candidates should have their names, photos, and office listed in League Voter Guides.

In the Voter Guide procedures:
"Responses in caps, bold, and italics are converted to normal size." There was objection to "normal size", and agreement that we should change it to "standard format".

Calef moved to approve both of these changes; seconded and approved.

Program

Karen Douglas couldn't be at the meeting, but Williams and Laura Atkins had updates on the nuclear waste study. Douglas is working on a proposal to DOE to update the Nuclear Waste Storage Primer; LWV would contract with a consulting firm for this. She's been sending out lots of information; there was a study committee meeting in July and there will be another meeting soon. There will be a La Palabra article on the study's progress, and there will be meetings with the local leagues soon to discuss some of the
issues. But it's turning into a huge, complicated study that will take time to complete.
Barbara Calef reported that the Transfer of Federal Public Lands Study Committee has 10 members. They had a meeting on Aug 8 with 7 people present, and they took on assignments. The next meeting is Sep 19 in Los Alamos, with 2 employees of the USFS coming to speak about USFS history. There will be an article in La Palabra.
Health Care: The health care study hasn't started yet, but Akkana Peck is hoping to send something out next week.

Special Projects: Machen sent out a report on DACA. The suit that's being filed by 16 states opposing the executive recision of DACA is in trouble. The president only has powers on immigration if there's an emergency, which clearly isn't the case now. So, the president's action was probably illegal. Congress has been stalling and has made no decision on immigration reform. Stay tuned.

The Common Cause grant for Criminal Justice Reform: Machen has been getting no information from the Bernalillo Metro Courts people. There are lots of other interesting things going on regarding criminal justice reform. There was some discussion of the narrowing of focus of this study; Mason was under the impression that Machen was focusing on the alternative courts, but Machen said that was too narrow a focus and there wouldn't be enough to do there if she can't get any information on the issue, while there are so many other pressing issues, like incarceration and crime bills that will come up in the legislature.

SF will be having a forum on "Charter Schools: More or Moratorium?" by the Interfaith Council on Sep 28, 5:30 in the HEC lobby. Machen will be on the panel along with the superintendent and the head of the charter school division.

100th anniversary plans: Machen checked on having a display at the Roundhouse, but they plan their displays eight(!) years in advance. Someone suggested the ABQ airport; she will check on that. For the airport, we'd have to have a budget for a big impressive panel. Blair says she had a panel we could use. The Old Santa Fe Trail Park Headquarters building has been closed for two years for remodeling, but it's supposed to open soon and we might be able to have a reception there. It would be some time around August 26, but February 14 is also a relevant date. On Feb 14 we could have a "Love the League" day at the legislature.


Reproductive Rights


Diane Goldfarb reported that we did get the reproductive rights grant, which is on deposit in the CNM education fund. There are programs scheduled in CNM, GLC and Los Alamos, but she discovered a scheduling conflict where the same speaker had agreed to speak in Las Cruces one evening and in Los Alamos at noon the next day. Calef offered for Los Alamos to reschedule their program.

Action

Dick Mason reported that the Legislative Reception is set: Richard Anklam from the New Mexico Tax Research Institute will be speaking on the tax reform proposal.

The NM Tax Research Institute is doing a study, which is up on the legislative website. They'll be presenting to the legislature in mid-December then presenting to us on Jan 31.

Mason also reported on League Day, which will be Feb 1. One subject will probably be New Mexico's various revenue sources. The other might be an educational presentation about how to advocate for the state ethics commission. Usually we don't do anything that's not covered in the current legislative session, but how to testify is something a lot of people are interested in.

Mason also said he's updating his document "How to Testify at the Legislature" with some editing help from Calef.

Becky Shankland suggested that we should consider organizing small groups at League Day to help people find their legislator.

Mason reported that he and others have been going to interim committee meetings, and they're streaming and archiving those meetings.

Machen and Mason met with Peter Wirth about our next steps on rules changes. Getting rules changes in this abbreviated session might take some work. The House made 3 good rules changes, and maybe the Senate could adopt them via some sort of concurrence process. Machen hopes to meet with him ?? and Common Cause by the end of September on this issue.

Calendar:

The next board meeting is November 18 in ABQ.
There was discussion about the Soccoro meeting, Jan 20. For the La Palabra deadline, Sep 24, we need quarterly reports from each local League.

Meeting adjourned at 3:40.