League of Women Voters of New Mexico
Convention 2017 DRAFT Minutes
Hilton Hotel, Santa Fe
Day 1: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Welcome and Announcements
Santa Fe City Council member Signe Lindell welcomed the delegates to Santa Fe and expressed her admiration for the League and its work. President Meredith Machen introduced the luncheon speaker, LWVUS Liaison Henrietta Saunders, for her address: "The League from a National Perspective: Where We Are and Where We Are Going."
Call to Order
The 2017 Convention of the League of Women Voters of New Mexico was called to order at 1:45 p.m. by President Meredith Machen.
Appointments: Jan Strand, parliamentarian; Akkana Peck, secretary; Lynn Jones, from the Credentials Committee; Dick Mason, helping with vote counting; Judy Binder, timekeeper; and Jody Larson, head of the Resolutions Committee.
Credentials Committee Report
Lynn Jones reported for the Credentials Committee: 40% of our possible voting delegates constitutes a quorum (11 delegates). In attendance at beginning of the convention were 22 delegates, other than state board members, which is a quorum. A motion to adopt the Credentials Committee report and establish a quorum was approved.
Adoption of Convention Rules
Barbara Calef pointed out that all proposals must be written, with a copy given to the secretary. A motion to adopt the rules of convention was approved.
Adoption of the Order of Business
Barbara Calef moved to approve the Order of Business.
Dick Mason proposed that we have a break starting at 4:35 and lasting until the end of the Preakness (about 15 minutes). There was some discussion; in the end it was moved, seconded and approved to move the break to coincide with the Preakness, rather than the previously scheduled time.
With that change, it was moved, seconded and approved to adopt the Order of Business as amended.
Two volunteers were appointed to approve the minutes: Becky Shankland and Judy Williams.
Machen called Judy Williams to present the Treasurer's Report. Williams explained that our budget showed a deficit because we had a loss of $10,000 due to a fraud incident. Williams took over the job of Treasurer subsequent to that. Due to conservative spending, we ended up with a good cash position anyway, $13,551.
We've been awarded a $5,000 Common Cause grant for advocacy on issues related to the judiciary. We're expecting another grant of $6,800 from the Public Leadership Institute to advocate for women's reproductive legislation. We also received $500 in unsolicited contributions from members. We had a CD that matured and decided not to renew it at .05% interest. We will wait and see if interest rates rise.
Budget Committee Report
Adair Waldenberg reported that the committee always considers a two-year rolling budget, as expenses vary between odd and even years, partly due to the LWVUS Convention expenses. The committee also budgeted for the legislative reception, and several members told the committee it's an important service, both for member networking and for visibility. The committee also budgeted for a video of the advocacy workshop, for the first time: the video is important for members who can't make it to the workshop.
Nominating Committee Report
Becky Shankland described the changes to the proposed slate of officers since the version published in La Palabra. The committee has reconfigured the Program position and added a new Special Projects position developed by Meredith Machen based on the one prepared by Bonnie Burn of Las Cruces. Gwen Hanson has agreed to chair the nominating committee. Andrea Targhetta also agreed to serve on that committee, off board. Janet Blair agreed to be the publisher of La Palabra, but not the editor.
The proposed slate of board members is
President Judy Williams
Co-Vice Presidents Dick Mason and Barbara Calef
Secretary Akkana Peck
Treasurer Suzanne Ronneau
Communications and Outreach Janet Blair
Program Chris Furlanetto
Special Projects Meredith Machen
Voter Services Diane Goldfarb
At Large Karen Douglas
At Large Laura Atkins
Nominating Committee Gwen Hanson, chair
Nominating Committee Rosmarie Frederickson, Andrea Targhetta, members
Off-Board Directors/Portfolios (to be appointed; up to six allowed)
Action Co-Chairs Dick Mason and Barbara Calef
Education/Immigration Meredith Machen
Health Care Dick Mason and Judy Williams
Natural Resources Judy Williams and Barbara Calef
Reproductive Rights Diane Goldfarb
Off-Board Positions (appointed)
La Palabra Editor Janet Blair
Webmaster Akkana Peck
State Members Lynn Jones
Archivists Barbara Goedecke, Becky Shankland
Budget Chair, Committee Jan Strand, two others appointed before 2019 convention
Peggy Howell, Dick Mason and Diane Goldfarb also served on the nominating committee. Shankland called for nominations from the floor, but there were none.
Bylaws Committee Report
Barbara Calef reported that the Bylaws Committee consisted of herself and Meredith Machen.
LWVUS changed their bylaws to allow non-citizens to be members, and to lower the minimum membership age from 18 to 16. No vote is necessary, as the basic elements of membership at all levels are determined by national.
The Bylaws Committee proposed adding a new Section, 8, to Article V, on the Executive Committee:
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.
In Article XI, Section 3, Program Action, the committee proposed amending the last sentence of b. to read:
Changes to the position may be made by the Convention according to the procedures described above in Section 2.
In Article XIV, Amendments, the committee proposed adding this final sentence:
If LWVUS changes any of the first three Articles of their Bylaws, the LWVNM Board must change its Bylaws to conform; no vote is required at Convention.
Delegates will vote on these changes during the second day of the convention.
Legislative Action Committee Report
Dick Mason reported that the veto of HB202, the state budget, is leading to a special session on the Wednesday following the LWVNM convention. The Governor was intending to try for total tax reform in this session, but it's rumored that a compromise has been worked out.
LWVNM had several major pushes this year:
The vetoes of HB202 and HB174 were very disappointing, but it's important that they passed the legislature.
There were two Constitutional Convention bills.
An important part of our legislative action committee is to prevent bad things from happening. This year we helped defeat several anti-choice bills as well as the call for a Constitutional Convention.
We dramatically expanded the number of registered member lobbyists who can advocate at the legislature on behalf of LWVNM. This should make a big difference in our visibility and effectiveness.
We also raised the issue of "dummy bills" which are filed without any content, the content to be added later and usually at the last minute. It's undemocratic and non-transparent. We've worked on this issue with the Foundation for Open Government and Common Cause, and after the special session we're going to work with those groups on how to get the legislature to stop this. It can be changed by House/Senate rules and doesn't require a constitutional amendment.
Meredith Machen commented that Representatives Dines and Gentry are interested in the dummy bill issue. Even legislators are frustrated by dummy bills, because they can't see the content of bills either. Only people in the committee that's actually hearing the bill get a copy of the bill beforehand. Mason said he thinks we might be able to make progress on this. There will be more info in the next La Palabra .
The Action Committee is developing a wish list that they'll be circulating, including issues like limiting memorials to the first 30 days of a 60-day session. Mason encouraged members to send him their ideas. There was some discussion on whether we could do anything to help fix the legislature's inefficiency and to get the legislature to publish better information on what's going to be discussed, so people can know when they need to be present to advocate; several people expressed frustration and said that was the reason they didn't go to the legislature or had stopped going. Mason said that was definitely on the Action Committee's wish list. Someone asked about capital outlay, and Mason said that transparency of capital outlay is definitely on the wish list, but other issues might depend on the League having a position on capital outlay.
Machen encouraged everybody to sign up for the Action mailing list. Also, she said HB174, the Local Election Act, was a direct result of our Supreme Court victory in 2016 that amended the NM Constitution to clarify that only a simple majority, not a super-majority, was needed for the electorate to approve Constitutional Amendments if they expand (not limit) voters' access to elections. Unfortunately, HB174 was vetoed.
Program for Study and Action Report
Judy Williams presented the recommended program for 2017-2019.
Williams explained that the League's program consists of positions on state government issues that the League, through study and action, has approved. The program for the next two years consists of studies to be conducted in order to develop additional positions.
The LWVNM Board of Directors has reviewed several study proposals and is recommending three for adoption at this convention.
In addition to studies, the League may adopt positions by concurring with positions developed by other Leagues. The Board evaluates concurrence proposals according to three criteria:
- How well the position addresses broad public policy;
- Whether a majority of LWVNM Board members vote to concur with the proposed positions;
- Whether the issue is one in which the League is likely to make a difference.
Several positions have been revised by the Board or adopted through concurrence, and now need to be voted on by delegates.
First, during the past two years the State Board adopted three positions by concurrence:
Natural Resources (concurrence with LWV Jefferson County CO): The League supports the conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitats for the contribution they make toward the health and sustainability of the environment.
Judiciary, three changes:
- Funding (concurrence with LWVIL)
- Alternatives to Incarceration (concurrence with LWVIL)
- Legal Aid (concurrence with LWVCA)
Health Care (concurrence with LWVWA): seamless coverage, and not being forced into poverty because of health costs.
The Board has also updated some positions and integrated related positions together:
Administration of Justice :
The Judiciary position was revised to reflect current practice on how judges are appointed. This was adopted by the Board in 2017.
Death Penalty position was rolled into the Judiciary position and the entire position is now called Administration of Justice.
The Judiciary and Juvenile Justice positions were reviewed and revised to allow statements on alternative treatment and courts to also apply to adults. The Juvenile Justice position was removed from Children and Families and is now part of the Administration of Justice position.
The Board proposed to clarify language in this position to state our belief that the state must raise money for state programs rather than taking local revenues.
The Charter School Study was completed in 2016. The Board has approved it and it is now included in our positions, integrated into the Education position. It became clear that some of the Charter School position belonged in the overall education position, so the education position was edited to incorporate these items.
The Health Care position was reorganized and the LWVUS position on reproductive choice was added as a reminder that we do have that position.
The positions on Alcohol and Drugs have been reorganized into a position called Substance Abuse. No substantive changes were made.
Williams asked for comments on the proposed position changes; there were none.
Williams stated that all of the local Leagues recommended approval of the current positions.
DEATH WITH DIGNITY:
Death with Dignity (concurrence with LWVUT, proposed by George Richmond, LWVCNM) The League of Women Voters of New Mexico:
1. believes state laws should grant the option for terminally ill people to request medical assistance from a licensed physician to end their lives;
2. believes such legislation should provide safeguards against abuse for the dying and/or medical personnel.
FAIR LENDING PRACTICES:
Fair Lending Practices (concurrence with LWVTX Payday and Auto Title Loan Position, proposed by Meredith Machen, LWVSFC)
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico supports policies, legislation, and programs that enable a small dollar loan market that maintains access to affordable credit while safeguarding consumers.
The League believes that a loan is affordable if the borrower can repay the loan and cover basic expenses without borrowing again or obtaining money from another source. Governments should be able to regulate lending in order to achieve a viable small dollar loan market that provides consumer access to affordable credit and safeguards against predatory lending. Criminal charges and penalties for loans in default should be explicitly prohibited by New Mexico law.
The League supports:
1. Consumer credit regulations that increase restrictions on short-term loans and require lenders to offer affordable loans,
2. Financial education measures that increase the ability of consumers to successfully use small dollar loan financial products.
Williams commented that a bill that passed in the last session (and was signed) limited lending rates to 176%. Another bill to limit rates to something closer to 48% failed.
The board added the LWVUS position in brief: Protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Support regulation of firearms for consumer safety.
Williams reminded everyone that delegates would vote on these proposed positions the following day.
Charter School Position
Williams called upon Meredith Machen to discuss the Charter School position. Machen reported that at the 2015 convention, LWVNM adopted a study, "Charter School Funding, Accounting, Regulation and Transparency". The study examined the use of public funds and their effect on traditional public school budgets, and whether they should be held to the same standards as traditional public schools.
As a result of the new position, LWVNM was able to testify in front of several commissions, saying that New Mexico needs to have strong regulations on academic and financial performance. Several legislators have thanked us for bringing up these points. Other leagues are considering adopting our position through concurrence. Machen thanked everybody who contributed to the study.
Proposed New Studies
Williams reported that the Board is recommending three new studies:
Barbara Calef of LWVLA proposed a two-year study on the pros and cons of transferring ownership of federal public lands to the state.
The first study objective is to educate ourselves about how federal lands were created, how certain provisions in the U.S. and N.M. constitutions have been interpreted, and how the public lands have been managed in the past, including the status quo as well as possible outcomes of future large transfers. The second objective is to develop a position so we can advocate on the issue.
The study will look at history of public land use, surveys of BLM and National Forest land, and National Monuments in New Mexico. It will also look at studies and reports like Utah's.
The study is expected to result in a state position that can be used to advocate in New Mexico and might be adopted by other state leagues and LWVUS.
There was some confusion about whether the study would address transferring state-owned lands to private hands or to the federal government. Calef stressed that the proposed study would only cover transfer of U.S.-owned lands to state ownership. Someone suggested calling the study "Transfer of Federal Public Lands," to make it clear that we're not talking about current state public lands, and there was general agreement on the name change.
NUCLEAR STORAGE ISSUES
Karen Douglas of LWVCNM proposed a study on issues related to Nuclear Waste Storage. Spent nuclear fuel from the 99 commercial nuclear reactors in the US is currently being stored in 74 locations in 34 states. There are concerns that it would be more secure and less apt to expose the public if it was consolidated. Two sites are currently being considered for interim storage: Andrews County, TX, which is about 10 mi from Hobbs, NM; and the Eddy Lee Energy Alliance, halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs. So LWVNM is a natural to hold the study since both proposed sites are in or near our state.
There are so-called "orphan sites," reactors that are no longer operating and thus have fewer safety officers on site. Eddy Lee's proposal predicted they could store all the waste in the entire US, though initially their proposal is only for an interim facility. A $35 billion fund that commercial reactors have been paying into is available to pay for permanent disposal.
The objectives of the study would be determination of public safety and continuing environmental protection for the two candidate Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities (CISF) for Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) from domestic commercial nuclear reactors.
The study will review technical data regarding commercial nuclear power, nuclear waste including SNF, and options for SNF storage and disposal.
The scope could include the following tasks with LWV member involvement:
1. Review of research and current literature for determination of safety and environmental concerns regarding extended storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from commercial nuclear reactors. Douglas will write more about this in a La Palabra article.
2. Participation in a Google Group for exchange of information and concerns with other state Leagues, as recommended in 2016 by LWVUS Liaison Linda Wassenich. LWVNM members could be moderators, webmasters, nuclear professionals reviewing technical data, and information screeners.
3. Revision and Publication of The Nuclear Waste Primer, a Handbook for Citizens - last published in 1993 with an LWVEF grant. LWVNM member responsibilities would include: Conversion (PDF to Word with correction of errors), update of nuclear statistics and addition of recent advancements, editing, distribution and promotion.
4. Nuclear Issues Study and Consensus: presenting and conducting consensus meetings.
Akkana Peck proposed a mini-study on Health Care. This year's legislative session proposed some very good health care bills, but it wasn't always clear whether we could advocate for them. Neither our position nor the national position cover issues like "surprise billing," where the patient makes a good-faith effort to go to a covered facility, then gets hit with a large bill for practitioners who were "out of network"; or air ambulances, which are almost always out of network and can result in bills to the patient as large as $24,000; or the very common case of getting a hospital bill for thousands of dollars and finding out the hospital won't itemize costs to tell you why the bill is so high and wasn't covered by insurance. These situations are getting more common, and will touch most New Mexicans, especially if Obamacare is repealed.
Hardly any state Leagues have healthcare positions, and Peck couldn't find any leagues with existing positions that addressed medical billing or transparency. Our LWVNM position is already one of the best state positions around, so the proposed study will mainly look at the billing and transparency issues we don't already address. Maybe we could be a leader and come up with a position that other states could concur with. Participants are welcome.
With the Program proposals finished, Machen made announcements:
Bid on silent auction items before 10:45 tonight. Dinner will be at 7pm in the Canyon Room, with Valerie Plame speaking. At 6pm there's a no-host bar down the hall from the meeting room.
Meeting adjourned at 3:45 (in plenty of time to watch the Preakness).
Convention 2017 DRAFT Minutes
Hilton Hotel, Santa Fe
Day 2: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Call to Order
Meredith Machen, President, called the convention to order at 9:10 a.m.
Barbara Calef made a clarification regarding Dick Mason's Action Committee report the previous day on Constitutional Convention bills. New Mexico had previously approved a measure calling for a Constitutional Convention. HJR10 would suspend all calls for a Constitutional Convention.
Jan Strand, the parliamentarian, explained the procedure for making motions to amend. There are colored cards, and there must be a written version of the amendment given to the secretary. When proposing to add language to an existing text, use the phrase "insert" or "add to the end."
Lynn Jones, of the Credentials Committee, explained the quorum rules. Attendance is officially 23 delegates, plus 8 board members; 11 delegates are required for a quorum. There is a quorum. It was moved, seconded and approved to accept Jones' report.
Adoption of the Budget
It was moved by Adair Waldenberg, seconded, and approved to adopt the budget as presented in the packet.
Adoption of Positions
Judy Williams moved adoption of all the position changes as shown in the packet, and her motion was seconded.
Leah Ingraham, replacement delegate from CNM, proposed several amendments:
In Government/Funding, she moved to strike "mental health" and insert "behavioral health." The motion was seconded. Williams asked whether we would also strike "and substance abuse," and made a friendly amendment to so strike, which was accepted. After some discussion and friendly amendments, the motion was amended to insert "behavioral (i.e., mental health and substance abuse) treatment" in place of "mental health." The motion passed.
Ingraham then moved to amend Gun Control to strike "Control" and insert "Safety." It was seconded and approved. Someone pointed out after the vote that this motion was out of order, because we were debating Positions, not Program Proposals.
Adair Waldenberg moved to approve the positions as amended. The motion was seconded and approved.
Program Proposals and Proposed Studies
Judy Williams raised the question of the proposed program amendments and studies.
Barbara Calef moved to adopt the proposals and proposed studies as amended. The motion was seconded and approved without further discussion.
Barbara Calef now reviewed the proposed Bylaws amendments, discussing the reason for each amendment.
For Amendment 1, Article V, Section 8, the Executive Committee: Machen, Williams and others often consult together before board meetings, and want to formalize that arrangement. It was moved and approved (needing no second, as a recommendation from the Board).
For Amendment 2, to Article XII, Section 3, Program Action: This is a correction of a mistake made two years ago. Article XIV pertains to Bylaws, not procedures for making changes to Bylaws. Moved and approved.
Machen and the Parliamentarian noted that changes like this, in future, are technically considered editorial and don't need to be voted on.
Calef moved on to Article XIV, which adds:
If LWVUS changes any of the first three Articles of the LWVUS Bylaws, the LWVNM Board must change its Bylaws to conform; no vote is required at Convention.
There was some discussion of what might happen if LWVUS passed a Bylaw change that we really disagreed with. But as a part of LWV we're required to follow LWVUS Bylaws; our only option would be to dissolve the LWVNM corporation.
The proposed changes to Article XII were moved and approved.
Ann Coulston moved to strike MAL and insert "state member" throughout the Bylaws, and it was seconded. Calef said this was out of order: proposed Bylaws amendments must be submitted to the board in writing 10 weeks before convention. But she promised that the board would consider that at its meeting immediately after the convention. Coulston withdrew her amendment.
Becky Shankland moved to adopt the slate of officers, directors, and nominating committee, as presented on Saturday. The motion was approved.
Machen, as outgoing president, thanked all outgoing and incoming board members and all of the leadership team.
Incoming president Judy Williams took the floor for a presidential address.
Williams reminded everyone that we are not partisan, meaning we do not support or oppose parties or candidates. But we do support or oppose policies, and we are a political organization, because we advocate. Our policies are progressive, and that has always been the case. We can’t shy away for advocacy and education just because someone might accuse us of being biased. We should not be intimidated into being defensive about our positions and we must work together to use them.
We're made up of the local leagues, and we need them in order to make the state league. Williams wants to reach out even more to the local leagues, and try to get as many people as possible to get involved with studies, come to meetings, join conference calls and otherwise get them involved.
She reminded everyone to fill out the interest sheets included in the convention packets. Akkana Peck volunteered to collate them. We need people to volunteer for the studies we just approved, and Diane Goldfarb will need help with events for reproductive rights.
Directions to the Board
Donna Reynolds spoke representing this year's nominating committee for Santa Fe. A lot of people are joining the Santa Fe League and they want to be active right away in state politics. Reynolds asked the board for a "Capitol Lobby Crew" that could assist the action team, help with lobbying, etc. LWVSFC is recruiting at a rate they haven't seen in many years, and if we don't give these new members useful work they'll leave and go to other groups.
Williams asked whether they could go to intermediate committee meetings over the summer. Mason said the legislature has summer meetings if they have money, but that might not happen this year. But the special session is just about to start, so let's get some of the new members going to that.
Henrietta Saunders suggested encouraging new members and even nonmembers to be part of studies. There might be experts, and we might find good new leaders.
Machen recommended that anyone who wants to be involved with lobbying should go to LWVNM.org and view the video of our lobbying workshop.
Mason pointed out that we used to bring in other groups, like Common Cause, on our Action calls. We might consider doing that again. Calef said we participate with the Sierra Club now. Williams said she's been on Sierra Club legislative calls; this year they asked "What are your democracy issues?" and she suggested some bills we were tracking and asked them to call and write, and they did.
Becky Shankland mentioned Sandra Fish of New Mexico In Depth as a terrific speaker, who spoke a few months ago at LWVLA on the difficulty of getting things done in the legislature. Making our legislature work better -- improving transparency, getting rid of dummy bills -- is so important. People who don't go to the legislature don't know the good and bad things about it. Williams pointed to the LWV motto of "Making Democracy Work" -- this is all very relevant to our goals.
Judy Binder of LWVCNM suggested that League leaders and committee chairs include the date of preparation of all materials submitted. It helps people not mix things up. She also suggested that LWVNM review banks for best rate of interest for bank accounts. She asked members to tell their young relatives that all Leagues across the country welcome 16-year-olds now!
Jody Larson reported that Santa Fe recently completed a study where they started by looking at the state position on economic development, and found it vague. After two years of work, interviews, and study, now they think the state position is brilliant. They still developed a local position, but wanted to commend anyone who worked on that state position. (The SFC position is on their website, and the materials for the study should be in the Members Only section.)
Machen said she's very happy to have added the Gun Safety statement, so we can have something on our website even though it just echoes the national position.
Williams said she has been trying to figure out how we can push members to read not just the summary positions, but the whole Impact on Issues. Williams isn't personally a fan of putting all the US positions into our state positions, but when you want to, do let the board know.
The silent auction was closed out.
Brenda McKenna presented Henrietta Saunders with a LWVNM bag imprinted with Nambe Tewa for "When you talk, make it serious," the closest she could come to "Democracy is not a spectator sport.”
The meeting was adjourned at about 10:30.