League of Women Voters of New Mexico
March 11, 2017 Higher Education Center, Santa Fe
The meeting was called to order at 10:06 .
Board members present: Diane Goldfarb , Akkana Peck, Janet Blair, Karen Douglas, Meredith Machen, Gwen Hanson, Barbara Calef, Judy Williams, Dick Mason (arrived later) Guests: Pat Hawkins, Janet Blair, Becky Shankland, Kim Sorense, and Adair Waldenberg. Gwen introduced Kim Sorensen, LWV GLC Nominee for President.
The agenda and minutes were approved.
Meredith encouraged us to speak out more as the League when we see threats to programs aimed at assisting the most vulnerable. Immigration is now a national League priority. It's not a partisan issue; it's a civil rights issue. LWVUS has approved the start-up of a new national discussion group on immigration, co-moderated by Meredith and Linda Wassenich, our previous LWVUS liaison. They have just started it up, and they're mostly sharing info on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), sanctuary cities, Islamophobia, deportation policies, and similar topics. Meredith asked the Board to look at the draft wording for the LWVNM Immigration Resolution Barbara had sent out: "The League of Women Voters is opposed to deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants. The League of Women Voters supports cities, towns, counties, and states that make a decision not to cooperate with federal deportation and enforcement actions that include non-criminal undocumented immigrants."
The Board approved the wording, an excerpt of the LWVUS statement, be posted on the LWVNM website. Everyone had liked our short resolution we approved at the January 28 Board meeting, but several people were uncomfortable with the partisan, political language in the LWVUS statement that we posted after it was sent out on 1/30. There was discussion of the objections to longer statement from LWVUS. Janet offered to put out a press release that the Board has made this policy statement. Also, she and Judy will communicate offline about making sure the Constant Contact list is up to date. The Board encouraged Diane to write an article for La Palabra about her experience working with refugees after she shared some thoughts about the fears caused by President Trump's Executive Order.
Meredith announced that Henrietta "Hank" Saunders, the LWVUS Treasurer, has agreed to attend the LWVNM Convention. (She is the LWVUS liaison to NM as well as other states.) Meredith offered NM as a pilot site for LWVUS to institute a system for processing ED Fund reimbursements electronically, to save a lot of paperwork and speed up the process. Conversion to 501c3 will also help local Leagues generate and use more tax-deductible contributions. Henrietta had asked if she should talk about things like shared fundraising and ED Fund reimbursements at Convention, but after some discussion of how we work with LWVUS, the Board decided that everybody would like to hear Henrietta talk about how LWVUS works and what they do for us.
Fraud Follow-Up: Judy and Meredith met with Diane Garrity, a Santa Fe attorney, regarding the demand letter. On March 5, it was sent to Wendee Brunish by email along with a copy of the Wells Fargo statement showing the withdrawal and a copy of the LWVNM Financial Policies that were in effect when she was treasurer.
Judy reported that we're not broke in spite of the loss we suffered. We may have to find a way to raise money without interfering with local activities.
There was some discussion about the "501c3 table." Tables are groups of like-minded nonprofits: Dick is our representative on the one related to voting and elections.
Judy asked for more detail about our budget for the Judicial Reform grant. She also mentioned that Constant Contact raised their fee to $378/year including a 30% discount for paying the whole year in advance.
MSA (Barbara): pay the CC yearly fee to take advantage of the discount.
Death with Dignity . Judy asked whether we should call the proposed position, Death with Dignity or Aid in Dying. Everybody agreed Death with Dignity resonates more and has better messaging. A few people worried their local leagues might have misgivings and should have the proposal presented to them before convention. There was some minor wordsmithing to make the position clearer. MSA: recommend concurrence with the LWV Utah's Death with Dignity position.
Wildlife C onservation position, concurrence with LWV Jefferson County, CO. Judy expressed frustration that we didn't have any position regarding wildlife and recommended a sentence to insert in our Natural Resources position.
MSA (Barbara): recommend concurrence with this position.
Study: Transfer of Public Lands , proposed by LWVLA
There's a national position on privatization of lands, but that's significantly different from transfer of federal lands to states, which may or may not eventually lead to privatization. The Board agreed that we definitely need a study. MSA (Karen): recommend the study.
Study: Nuclear Waste Disposal , proposed by Karen Douglas/CNM. Karen gave a summary of the current state of nuclear waste disposal issues. Commercial nuclear reactors are located in 34 states. Fuel after it's used remains radioactive and thermally hot for quite a number of years. It's stored in a pool next to the reactors until the radiation profile is less dangerous, then transferred to dry-cask storage. There are 70-some of these located around the US. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 stipulated that the waste should go to Yucca Mountain, but Nevada state officials were very opposed, especially Harry Reid, who is retired now. The Federal government was liable to accept this spent nuclear fuel. States have paid billions into a fund, having been promised it would go to Yucca Mountain. Safety reports for YM are now complete, but the waste was never transferred and the studies will need to be updated. Now there are two proposed sites for temporary storage: one in Andrews County, TX, and the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance midway between Carlsbad and Hobbs. Karen's research indicates moving the spent fuel to a permanent repository ASAP is the best choice, safer than being dispersed throughout the US. Meredith thought the details of the study proposal were too complicated to include in La Palabra , but Karen's summary at the meeting was perfect. Judy is working to distill Karen's information into a brief statement of why the study is important. Pat asked how waste storage leads to jobs. Barbara pointed out that there are millions of dollars in the funds. There are jobs monitoring and taking care of the sites, and this is the sort of thing that needs a study. Karen pointed out that study members don't need to be experts; there's a lot of communication work to be done. Barbara says there are at least two technical people in LA who are interested in participating in the study MSA (Judy): recommend the study.
Adair Waldenberg, Budget Committee Chair, arrived, so program discussion was suspended to talk about the budget.
Budget Committee Report Someone asked about the number of Members at Large (MALs) we have. We have three, but one is a life member. We've been paying Per Member Payments (PMP) for three MALs but we shouldn't have to pay for a life member. Adair praised Judy for stepping in as interim treasurer: they couldn't have gotten a budget proposal out in time without her. The committee recommends continuing to make videos like the lobbying video as an ongoing expense. The video and the legislative reception are two tangible things the state League can provide as a tangible benefit to members of the local Leagues. The Budget Committee decided not to recommend raising PMP in light of the fraud loss because we have a pretty good cushion of reserves and can probably sustain the loss without raising it. Membership is going up in several local Leagues, which will help with our cushion. We can reduce La Palabra printing and mailing costs by sending fewer copies to local League offices. We can just send one, and if they need more, they can print them. Everybody agreed their local Leagues don't need multiple copies.
This is Adair's last year as state chair, though she'll be available to help and answer questions from her successor. Being on the Budget Committee is a great learning experience and she recommends it to new people. Judy asked about renewing the CD, which comes due April 28. Adair said the feds are expected to raise interest rates in the next cycle. It's likely to be an inflationary cycle: if you remove immigrants you create a tight labor market. If we renew the CD, it should only be for a short cycle. If we have liquidity problems, maybe we can ask local Leagues to pay the PMP a month earlier.
Meredith mentioned the Boost Reproductive Rights and Common Cause Judicial Reform grants, which are $5000 each. Adair recommended treating them as assets then spending money from them as needed. At the legislative reception, someone spontaneously handed us $20, showing how much people value the reception. Maybe we should put out a money jar.
MSA: accept the proposed budget to be presented at Convention
Program continued :
Gun Safety : Mary Lewis Grow, LWVSFC member, presented several proposals related to gun control, including the LWVUS statement. Nothing official was done, and several people thought we'd need to discuss with local Leagues since the proposal might be contentious.
Healthcare Position Statement Concurrences proposed by Akkana Peck Akkana has been bothered by the lack of focus on the patient/consumer in our state and national healthcare positions. She has tried to find other Leagues with healthcare positions to concur with, but found very few other Leagues with any healthcare position at all. The best she had found was Washington State's, which has some position statements we should concur with, but she also wanted to change some wording to clarify and extend our position to cover billing transparency.
MSA (Barbara): adopt the two concurrences with LWVWA. Akkana will work with Dick and Judy on the wording of the clarification and decide whether it's too much of a change and requires a study.
Payday /Auto Title Loans Concurrence The Board discussed the proposal to concur with LWVTX's position on predatory lending. While most statements were considered to be sound, everyone was skeptical of the provision to let local governments regulate the loans and provide state and private funding measures to prevent long-term debt by borrowers in need of immediate cash. Everyone agreed we should change the title to "Fair Lending Practices" rather than specifically referencing payday and auto title loans. MSA: approve this in concept and let Barbara (with help from Akkana) wordsmith it and send out the revision.
LWVNM 's Current Positions
MSA (Dick): retain all our current state positions.
Action Dick gave a summary of the legislative session, which was almost over. Bills with a high chance of pass ing before the end of the session: HB73 Public Officials as Lobbyists HB121 Web-based C apital Outlay HJR8 State Ethics Commission HB174 Local E lections A ct -- which voids all local voter ID laws ( which is something that maybe a lot of people haven't noticed) HJR 1 Early Childhood Education funding SB135 Charter S chool Regulation (Meredith says it's a tiny little bill but a good start) There was a general discussion of transparency (or lack thereof) in the session , including the practice of filing dummy bills, by mid-session (except m emorials, which can be filed at any time.) These dummy bills have the same innocent sounding name but no content. Even after they get t hrough the committee process and are listed on the House floor calendar, dummy bills are listed by the generic title. Meredith has asked the minority and majority leadership in the House to stop this practice and has written an opinion piece opposing this un-transparent practice. P eople have no idea what's in a bill before it gets to committee, and don't know whether they need to show up to support or oppose it. We need to work with Common Cause , NM FOG, and other organizations to help us put pressure on the Legislature to stop this practice. Meredith said that several committee chairs responded to her suggestion of having the committee secretary put up a placard indicating what bill is being discussed. This practice was not only appreciated by attendees and webcast viewers, it will also help when people watch archived videos. It was a small start to a practice that should be universally followed.
Another un-transparent process that was mentioned is not identifying legislators by name when they are speaking on the House floor . [M embers refer to each other by the area they represent, e.g. “Gentlelady from Bernalillo” or “Gentleman from Colfax County . ” ] . There was a discussion of other legislative reforms needed and reference to a comprehensive study that was done in 2007on the legislative process . Dick thinks there are a lot of recommendations from that report (which is about 140-pages long) of things that could easily be improved. Meredith urged Dick to write a La Palabra article about legislative suggestions . Dick will be way too busy before the deadline for this issue, but he will write something up for the next issue.
We need to recruit for Convention and get local Leagues to send their quota of delegates. We never have as many delegates as there are spaces, and we want more observers. Delegate counts, including 2 board members each: CNM: 10 Santa Fe: 7 Las Cruces: 5 Los Alamos: 4 MAL: 1 (Linda Moscarella usually comes) We decided that the luncheon speaker, Henrietta Saunders , our LWVUS Liaison, should talk about what the national League does for us. Valerie Plame is onboard as banquet speaker. Her talk will be something about nuclear nonproliferation, but we don't have an exact title. The notification of Call to Convention and the registration form will go in La Palabra, which will come out around tax time. That's too late since the Hilton needs hotel registrations before April 19, so Pat Hawkins will also send the information out via Constant Contact.
The Hilton contract requires 20 room nights (10 people if they stay both Fri day and Sat urday ) or else they'll charge us based on the unoccupied balance of those rooms ( 70% of 14 room-nights ) . If we get charged, LW VSF C is liable because they also get the profits if we come out ahead. We need to encourage delegates to stay at the Hilton.
Nominating Committee Report
Becky Shankland, member of the committee, presented the report. Officers President Judy Williams Co-Vice Presidents Dick Mason and Barbara Calef Secretary Akkana Peck Treasurer Susanne Ronneau Directors (to be elected, up to 6 allowed) Action Co-Chairs Dick Mason and Barbara Calef Communications / Outreach Janet Blair Program Meredith Machen Education, Immigration Meredith Machen Health Care Dick Mason and Judy Williams Natural Resources Judy Williams and Barbara Calef Reproductive Rights Diane Goldfarb Voter Services Diane Goldfarb Webmaster Akkana Peck At Large Karen Douglas Off-Board Directors and Portfolio Holders (appointed, up to 6 allowed) La Palabra Editor Miriam Ries Member Database/MAL Lynn Jones Budget Committee Judy Williams, Chair? Nominating Committee Peggy Howell, Chair, need to elect two more.
Becky will rearrange this list to make more sense, in line with what LWVLA does: each director who has more than one job has one job listed first, then the other jobs are listed later under off-board. Meredith wanted Pat Hawkins to be on the board, but Pat declined since she doesn't know what's happening with the SF League. The Budget and Nominating C ommittees need to be listed separately since members nee d to be voted on at C onvention. Jan Strand (who is also a parliamentarian ) from CNM might be willing to chair the B udget C ommittee; Judy will call her. Gwen is willing to be on the Nominating C ommittee . S everal people were asked but said they don't know enough people.
There was a di scussion about finding someone for the Archivist position . We have some physical archives at the CNM offices, but most are in the Special Collections at UNM's Zimmerman Library. O ngoing archives should probably be mostly electronic. No one at the meeting except Meredith has eve r been through our physical archive s . Our website hosting agreement is donated , and it's not clear whether there's a space quota if we wanted to use it for archiving; Akkana will investigate. MSA (Barbara): accept the N ominatin g C ommittee report
Other Convention Program-related topics: Judy sent a list of consensus questions on State Finance that some other League have been studying. Some of them were very good, especially question 17 specifying no unfunded mandates. Meredith would like to see a resolution about that at the convention.
(including wording, background material, pros and cons) should be submitted 3 weeks before Convention, though if not,
can be presented to a resolutions committee a few (not clear how many) days before Convention, and the Resolutions committee discusses it and decides whether it can be presented.
From the Resolutions P olicy :
If material is not received in time for inclusion in Convention packets, it shall be the responsibility of the proposer to provide review copies for the Resolutions Committee by 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the first day of Convention, plus sufficient copies for all delegates by the start of the Sunday plenary session of the two-day Convention.
B. Resolution Committee
Two weeks prior to Convention, the President of the League of Women Voters of New Mexico shall appoint a Resolutions Committee consisting of one member of the LWVNM Board of Directors and two registered Convention delegates with local or state board experience. The committee shall select its own chair.
C. Action by Resolutions Committee
The Resolutions Committee shall meet between the two plenary sessions of the Convention to consider whether the proposed resolutions meet the following criteria:
The resolution is consistent with League Principles and with LWVNM and LWVUS positions,
The resolution does not circumvent normal League program processes,
The resolution addresses a single, topical issue pertinent to New Mexico,
The resolution either (a) requires governmental action at the state level or (b) pertains to the internal administration of the League, and
The resolution can be implemented using existing League resources.
The maker of the resolution may make a presentation to the committee.
The Resolutions Committee shall make an advisory report of its findings. The chair of the Resolutions Committee shall announce the committee's findings to the Convention at the outset of the Sunday plenary. The committee shall provide a written report to the Secretary.
Meredith says national wants to encourage Leagues to use concurrence a lot more. A few people grumbled that in that case, they should make it easier to find positions to concur with. They used to have email lists where people could discuss local positions, but they got rid of those and there's nothing similar now. It was pointed out that adopting a position by concurrence instead of a study has the disadvantage that the local league members don't get educated on the issue. LWVLA used to have local meetings to discuss issues like that, which many people thought was a good idea.
Local League Reports
Santa Fe (Pat Hawkins): The meeting about converting to a 501c3, with Tom and Chris Carson, is coming up soon. They will be sending out a Constant Contact about it tomorrow. She also discussed their a study on economic development, which is finally reaching its end. They have come up with a really good set of consensus questions.
Greater Las Cruces (Gwen): They had couple of excellent speakers in January. A PBS person spoke on the changing landscape of media. The local PBS station is willing to host meetings (and broadcast events) now that City Hall won't host any more. Those meetings are very effective since people can watch the videos on PBS or on the website. They were able to change their Empty Chair policy, and let the candidates who didn't come schedule an interview for another time. The executive director of mass transit is coming to speak about a transit bond that passed. Yesterday, for Women's History Month, they went to visit a conservative legislator in his office to talk about equal pay for women and women's health issues. On equal pay, he said, "My view is, if someone isn't get equal pay, they should get another job."
Los Alamos (Barbara): There was a forum in White Rock for the school board and UNMLA board candidates. Some people worried that not many people would go to White Rock, but there were over 50 people there. One candidate couldn't show up but sent a statement. The state has emptied the Los Alamos Public Health office. The county pays $50k/year for the office, based on an agreement with the state that the state would supply the staff. That agreement has been terminated since the state hasn't been replacing people who leave. Right now there is no doctor working for state health offices in the whole northeast quadrant of the state. Anyone who wants condoms or other nurse services has to get to Espanola somehow, which is particularly hard for teens and poor people. There's no public health office in Santa Fe. (Apparently in SF, school nurses can give out LARK, a contraceptive implant, but that's unusual.) At the program planning meeting, the medically indigent position was questioned as unclear, so Lynn Jones is rewriting it. But while investigating it, Lynn discovered that the state is taking 3/4 of the funding for the medically indigent program and distributing it around the state; it's all very un-transparent. LWVLA is also trying to convert to 501c3 but can't find any Articles of Incorporation, so they're trying to deal with that.
CNM (Karen): CNM holds two programs a month, and they try to have topics that interest more than just LWV membership. Recently that has included several ethics and transparency issues, including Stuart Bluestone, NMFOG (Foundation for Open Government). Sandra Fish from NM in Depth discussed the Openness Project. They held a program planning in early February, and March is Sunshine Month. Meredith praised the good coverage of the meeting where FOG's Board Chair, Greg Williams, spoke. She also thanked CNM for their efforts organizing and promoting the Women's History month program at the Roundhouse.
Reproductive Rights (Diane): Four anti-abortion bills have been tabled in the session so far. There are four proactive bills, one is working its way through committee today. They're trying to assure that women in NM can still get contraceptive coverage for 12 months even if Obamacare is overturned. NM is one of seven states that still has statutes criminalizing abortions (most people didn't know that!), so if Roe v Wade falls, that could become an issue if current bills don't do something about it.
Natural Resources (Judy): Most bills related to natural resources have been failing this session, with even Dems in the majority. Not one has passed yet. There is a wildlife trafficking bill: NM is the second-biggest port of entry for illegal wildlife from around the world. The coyote killing contest bill is still alive. (We don't have any wildlife positions so that's not a LWV-tracked bill.) Peter Wirth's interstate stream bill is progressing. Meredith as outgoing president thanked everybody for their service on the state board and in their local Leagues. Meeting adjourned at 3:05
Minutes respectfully submitted by Akkana Peck. Edited by Barbara Calef and Meredith Machen.