Making Democracy Work

Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Watch the Lame Ducks: Roads & Electoral College "Reform"

With the election over, the Advocacy team is shifting its attention to the legislature's lame duck session (this being the session before the outgoing legislators leave office and the incoming ones take office). Two years ago in its lame duck session the Michigan Legislature passed a record amount of legislation, including Right to Work. This year road funding and Electoral College "reform" are two of the big issues. The Governor says Electoral College reform is not on his agenda, but we have heard that before and perhaps a little horse trading will be involved?

On November 13 the Republicans set the stage, before leaving Lansing until December 2 for the hunting season and Thanksgiving. The Senate voted to approve a gas tax increase for road funding, HB5477, that sent a message. See the Free Press article.

Then Rep. Pete Lund introduced his latest Electoral College bill. It was quite different from his last bill, which would have allocated Michigan's electoral votes based on the vote in Congressional districts. This time the allocation would be based on the popular vote, with the candidate who wins the statewide vote getting at least 9 of the 16 electoral votes and maybe more, depending on the margin of victory. The losing candidate could also pick up votes. Read thIs article from Bridge for a more complete explanation. Of course, it could all change as the bill works it's way through committee and the House and Senate.

Any changes in the allocation of Electoral College votes will have national implications. The Republican National Committee has selected 5 "test states" for "reform", all states in which the Republicans control all branches of government. They are also all blue states; there are no red states on the test list. And tinkering with any long-standing system could have unintended consequences.

Lunch with the League "Aging Well in Michigan"

On November 12 League member Renee Reid-Smith spoke to members and guests about aging in Michigan specifically, but much of what she said would apply anywhere in the U.S. The audience was both fascinated and appalled at what they heard. So much so that future lunch meetings may focus on various aspects of elder care and health care generally. Renee is on the left in the picture and another League member, Linda Strohl is on the right. Linda is head of our area's Meals on Wheels program. Among other jobs, Renee is the governor-appointed Commissioner to the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging ("MCSA"), and represents our very own Area IV.

Dean Marie Lynn Miranda Speaks at Fernwood on October 23

The Dean of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment was the speaker at an event co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Fernwood Botanical Garden. She talked about the research on child mortality she started at Duke and continues in Ann Arbor . The U.S. rate is too high in every state, but the reasons are elusive. It's not just poverty or race or the lack of pre-natal care. Increasingly, however, results point to maternal environment being the principal culprit, specifically air pollution in high traffice areas.

In response to a question on the link between autism and the environment, Dean Miranda announced that her department is receiving a $1.6 million federal grant to examine the potential social and environmental links to autism.

District 21 and 79 Forum Videos Still Available

Watch the video of this forum. The candidates for District 21 State Senate are John Proos, shown at left, and Bette Pierman, shown at right. The candidates for District 79 State House are Al Pscholka, shown below left and Eric Lester, below right.


District 59 Forum Video Now Available!

Watch the video of the District 59 forum from Monday night October 13 featuring state representative candidates Mike Moroz, shown at right, and Aaron Miller, shown at left.

Photos by LWVBCC member Phil DeVore.

5th Judicial District Video Also Available!

Also available now is the 5th Judicial District Forum video with candidates Donna Howard, shown at left, and Stephen Smith, shown at right.

Photos by LWVBCC member Phil DeVore.

Evening at the Gallery Party October 2

Pictured here a group of League members posing for the camera of expert photogrpaher and League member Phil DeVore. From left to right John Ripley, Jean Sharp, Earl Bickett, Pat Lauth, Donna Dutton and Susan Gilbert.

A good time was had by all at this membership/election kick off party. Tom and Judy Burnison graciously made the Burnison Galleries available for our party and many local restaurants, food shops and caterers provided delicious treats.

LWVBCC Awarded Pokagon Grant!

LWVBCC was notified that it received a grant in August from the Pokagon Fund for the purchase of video recording equipment. This equipment will be used to record candidate forums; then these recordings will be posted on the internet. More voters will thereby be able to view the candidates performance "live" as they answer unscripted questions from the League and the audience.

The recording equipment will also be used to record various League presentations for later viewing by interested parties.

Many thanks to the Pokagon Fund for not only providing the funding for the purchase of this equipment, but also for recognizing the importance of getting candidate information out to the voters "live". It makes a difference to hear and see the candidates in a forum situation.

LWVBCC Newsletters

View our informative e-newsletter, published almost monthly. The October 2014 newsletter is now available. It is a copy of an e-newsletter and does not have the same professional appearance as the original. If you would like to join our mailing list email wm@lwvbcc.org.