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LWVAL Members, save the dates!

The A-MAZE-ING...
LWVAL 2014 Council
Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
In Birmingham!
Bluff Park United Methodist Church
733 Valley Street
Hoover, AL 35226
$25 for voting delegates
$15 nonvoting guests eating lunch
All LWVAL members and guests are welcome. (You don't have to be a delegate!) And be sure to join our gala party Friday night!
Register online or by mail today! Registration deadline is April 16.
Questions? Contact:
Kathy Byrd, Council Chair
kcbyrd@aol.com/205-758-2137


LWVUS 2014 Convention
June 6-10, 2014
Omni Dallas Downtown Hotel
Dallas, TX
Get more LWVUS 2014 Convention information!

Agriculture in the United States
Unbiased information and balanced points of view

What technologies are used in modern American agriculture and how is agriculture financed? What are the key agencies that regulate food and agriculture? See this unbiased information gathered by the Agriculture Update Committee of the LWV of the United States and funded by the LWV Education Fund.


The Voter
LWVAL newsletter
COMING THIS WEEK...

ATTENTION DALE, SHELBY, HENRY, TALLADEGA, GENEVA, CLAY, HOUSTON, RANDOLPH, GREENE, AND BIBB COUNTY RESIDENTS!

Voter Photo ID is required to vote in 2014. The Voter Photo ID Mobile Unit will be in these counties in the week of April 21-25 to offer FREE photo voter ID if you need one. Check this
schedule for exact times and locations. Read more about this new voting requirement... (Not all photo ID qualifies for voting!)


Monday, April 21st
DALE COUNTY AND SHELBY COUNTY

10 AM – 3 PM – Clayhatchee, Alabama – Community Center, 750 W. Main St., 36322

9 AM- 12 PM- Montevallo, Alabama – City Hall, 545 Main St., 35115
1 PM – 4 PM – Wilsonville, Alabama – City Hall, 9905 N. Main St., 35186

Tuesday, April 22nd
HENRY COUNTY AND TALLADEGA COUNTY

10 AM- 3 PM – Headland, Alabama – City Hall, 9 Park Street, 36345
9 AM -12 PM – Childersburg, Alabama – Parks and Recreation Center, 300 1st St. SE, 35044
1 PM – 4 PM – Munford, Alabama – Town Hall, 151 Lions Rd., 36268

Wednesday, April 23rd
GENEVA COUNTY AND CLAY COUNTY

9 AM – 1 PM - Coffee Springs, Alabama – Town Hall, 222 Spring St., 36318
9 AM – 4 PM- Ashland, Alabama – City Hall, 82 Court Square, 36251

Thursday, April 24th
HOUSTON COUNTY AND RANDOLPH COUNTY

10 AM – 3 PM – Cottonwood, Alabama – Town Hall Community Room (pending confirmation)
9 AM – 12 PM – Woodland, Alabama – Town Hall, 120 County Rd 64, 36280
1 PM – 4 PM – Wedowee, Alabama –City Hall, 24 N. Main St., 36278

Friday, April 25th
GREENE COUNTY AND BIBB COUNTY

9 AM – 12 PM – Eutaw, Alabama – National Guard Building, 809 Mesoptamia St, 35462
1 PM – 4 PM – Slocomb, Alabama – Town Hall, 263 E Lawrence Harris Hwy, 36375

9 AM – 12 PM – Centreville, Alabama – Brent-Centreville Library, 20 Library Street, 35042
12 PM – 4 PM- West Blockton, Alabama – West Blockton Library. 62 Walter Owens Drive, 35184


Check this schedule
http://www.alabamavoterid.com/mobileLocations.aspx
for times and locations in other counties.

Read more about this new voting requirement below. To refer others, share this web address
http://www.lwval.org/

Voter Photo Identification will be required to vote in 2014. Are you ready?


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Cover photo of the Photo ID Guide

All Alabama voters will be required to show PHOTO voter identification beginning with the party primary elections on June 3, 2014. Do you have an acceptable ID? Only specific types of ID are acceptable. Not all photo IDs are acceptable! Here is official information about the law from the Alabama Secretary of State's Office.

Be informed! Be ready to vote in 2014!


LWVAL Members and Guests...

JOIN US AT THE 2014
A-MAZE-ING
LWVAL COUNCIL

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Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00-3:30
Bluff Park United Methodist Church
733 Valley Street, Hoover, AL 35226
$25 for voting delegates
$15 nonvoting guests eating lunch
All LWVAL members and guests are welcome.
(You don't have to be a delegate!)
And be sure to join our gala party Friday night!

Register online or by mail today!
Registration deadline is April 16.
Questions? Contact: Kathy Byrd, Council Chair
kcbyrd@aol.com/205-758-2137

cartoon used with permission
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LWVAL addresses access, cost, and quality of health care in Alabama


"The League of Women Voters of Alabama (LWVAL) believes that the resources of state government should be directed toward providing access to health care to: children, the disabled, the elderly, veterans that fall between the cracks in federal aid, and others who are unable to access basic health care but do not fit into one of the previous categories. LWVAL supports the expansion of Medicaid and acceptance of increased federal funding as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

"LWVAL also believes that the state’s existing responsibility for setting health care delivery standards and oversight rely on the strength of local knowledge. But, some minimum federal standards to monitor such things as the quality of care delivered by health care facilities and professionals may promote improvements in health care quality. Quality improvements in turn may lead to not only a healthier population but cost containment."


From the LWVAL amended position on Health Care, adopted Feb. 1, 2014. Read the complete
LWVAL position on Health Care.


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LWVAL 2014 Legislative Report

Legislative Report is updated for week ending April 3, 2014. The Alabama Legislature adjourned the 2014 Regular Session on April 3.
Read the LWVAL Legislative Report.

The Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday, January 14, 2014 The final day of this Regular Session was April 3, 2014. During the regular session, LWVAL kept citizens informed about the legislature's activities regarding issues of importance to the League through the 2014 Legislative Report. The report was updated weekly (with some exception). For each bill, the report included bill sponsors, bill summary, complete bill text, current status of the legislation, LWVAL's position on the legislation, and LWVAL's action. Action Alerts urging citizens to contact their legislators were posted in this report at times when their voice would be most effective. See the LWVAL 2014 Legislative Priorities list below for the issues on which the LWVAL Action Team was focused during the 2014 regular legislative session. Both this LWVAL 2014 Legislative Report and the 2013 Legislative Report remain posted for your review.

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Health Care in Alabama


LWVAL has studied health care in Alabama and has issued unbiased "facts and issues" reports on the topic. (See the Health Care Consensus Kit for this information.) The LWVAL board is now considering member consensus statements. If consensus is reached, a new position statement will be issued subject to member approval in Spring 2014.


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Have you missed a recent election?


"I missed the voter registration cutoff for this election but I want to vote next time! How do I get registered?"

We hear this a lot. Don't let another election slip up on you. Here's how to register to vote in future elections...Download a registration form and mail to your County Board of Registrars OR register at one of these locations. The AL Secretary of State says you can "fill out and submit voter registration forms at all state and/or county offices that provide public assistance. In Alabama, public assistance offices, such as Medicaid, WIC, and DHR, must distribute voter registration forms, provide assistance in completing the forms if necessary, and accept such forms."

Have you moved since you last voted? If so, register with your new address.
Are you sure you're registered? Check
here to check your registration status and polling place or call your County Board of Registrars.

MORE REGISTRATION AND ELECTION INFORMATION


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Shop online at iGive.com/LWVALEF
to support the LWVAL Education Fund!
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At iGive.com there are over 1200 well-known stores, it doesn't cost you a penny extra, and the LWVAL Ed Fund receives a small percentage of your purchase amount. Find out more about how iGive.com works and start shopping. Thanks so much for helping the LWVAL Ed Fund!

p.s. For handy access to iGive.com now and throughout the year to benefit LWVAL-EF, add this tiny button to your web browser.

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LWVAL calls on AL Public Service Commission for transparency, accessibility, and public participation


In the Fall of 2013, the AL Public Service Commission held public meetings to hear from Alagasco and the public. LWVAL encouraged public attendance and participation. The schedule below was posted by the PSC. Agendas of these public meetings were reported by al.com:

  • Sept. 5 - Montgomery - Began at 8:30 a.m. in the Main Hearing Room of the Carl L. Evans Chief Administrative Law Judge Hearing Complex, RSA Union Building, Room 900, 100 North Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama. PSC heard from Alagasco about its operations and economics of the natural gas industry.
  • Sept. 25 - Auburn - This meeting was held in two parts, both in the Council Chambers of the City of Auburn located at 141 North Ross Street, Auburn, Alabama, 36830 In PSC day meeting began at 1:30 p.m. Alagaco presents pipeline safety and corporate risk. At the night meeting at 6:00 p.m., a public forum for Alagasco customer feedback was held.
  • Oct. 9 - Montgomery - See Sept. 5 meeting for time and location. Public discussion with PSC of Alagasco rate structure and Rate Stabilization and Equalization agreement.

Read al.com's coverage of the PSC's actions. LWVAL encourages transparency and citizen participation in this review process.


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Sisters Across the Straits: A Delegation Visit to Cuba

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Members of the LWVAL are invited to participate in a rare cultural and educational exchange opportunity sponsored by the LWV of Florida Education Fund. LWVAL members are planning to make this trip with the LWVFL. Will you join us? Find out more!


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Busy year ahead for LWVAL!

The League of Women Voters is busy this summer planning for the upcoming year, and here's a taste of what we'll be up to...
  • Celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment
  • Registering voters
  • Monitoring the Public Service Commission hearings
  • Celebrating Constitution Day
  • Developing projects to educate the public on the new Voter ID
    requirements beginning in 2014
  • Developing a position on Health Care in Alabama, and
  • Participating in a national study of Agricultural issues

Sound busy? It will be! We would love for you to join us!

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6/25/2013 -- LWV Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on the Voting Rights Act

Supreme Court erases protections against racial discrimination in voting. Congress must act quickly to restore the Voting Rights Act


Washington, D.C. – “Today is a sad day in America: Through its decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “Only strong action from Congress can fix this huge mistake made by the Court.”

Read the full statement by the LWV of the United States.
Read NVRA background.

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Alabama Public Service Commission holds public hearings in Tuscaloosa on June 18

LWVAL will speak. AL citizens are encouraged to attend.

NOTE: An update on the proceedings of the public hearings will be posted here soon. Read the LWVAL statement before the PSC regarding the "Operation and Utilization of Rate RSE (Rate Stabilization and Equalization) of Alabama Power Company" presented on June 18.

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Alabama Public Service Commission meetings will be held at the University of Alabama Law School in Tuscaloosa in the Moot Court Room. At the 6:00 p.m. meeting, Scarlett Gaddy, Co-president of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, will read a statement on behalf of the LWVAL. [That statement will be posted here after the presentation.] Board member Joyce Lanning will represent the League as a participant in the 2 p.m. hearing. Several other members of the LWVAL Board will observe the PSC meetings, including Vice-president Kathy Byrd, and Directors Barbara Caddell and Myra Evans. All Alabama citizens are encouraged to attend and participate in these public hearings. The next and final Alabama Power proceedings will be in Montgomery on July 17 and possibly 18.

The LWVAL has been active for over six months working to bring about "better transparency, accountability, and citizen participation for the energy future of Alabamians." Dr. Lanning has been an observant presence at PSC meetings. Critical questions by Lanning and others have encouraged public examination and review of PSC procedures. Co-President Leonette Slay and former President Mary Lynn Bates have represented the LWVAL when meeting with the Commissioners and their representatives. LWV Mobile Vice-president Gina Finnegan and Director Barbara Caddell (also LWVAL Board members) have been instrumental voices in rate structure and transparency discussions. They well represented the League in the first PSC meetings in Mobile and Montgomery concerning Mobile Gas. Documents have benefited from Board member Hattie Kauffman’s review.

The League's efforts have effectively encouraged the PSC to move toward greater transparency and much needed procedural changes. As reported by al.com in this article and this article, videos of PSC meetings will be available to the public on the PSC web site. The articles also note that "substantial changes" in the rate review process are now expected. The League's work is expected to yield even broader future benefits. As Lanning explained, "The time and energy so many [LWVAL leaders] have put into expanding transparency and citizen participation at the Public Service Commission may well be rewarded with a more informed and participatory energy decision process for Alabama."

The PSC will hold "Public Proceedings to Consider the Further Extension and/or Modification of Alabama Gas Corporation's Rate Stabilization and Equalization Mechanism" on September 5, 25, October 9, and November 13 in Montgomery. For more information see this notice on the AL PSC website.


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The Supreme Court of the United States rules on Shelby County v. Holder

BREAKING 6/25/2013…
The Supreme Court has ruled on this case. Read LWVUS statement.

This case focuses on Section 5 of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA), an act that protects the equal voting rights of all Americans. The LWV has used Section 5 of the NVRA to fight several attempts at voter suppression and has joined an Amicus Brief in this case to defend the act. The LWVAL and local leagues in Alabama have stood in defense of the NVRA.

Under authority of the 15th Amendment, Congress enacted amendments to the 1965 NVRA to fight against evident voter discrimination in certain areas of the United States. The legislation included much needed special enforcement provisions (NVRA Section 5) to guarantee enfranchisement for all American voters. The act was signed into law as by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The NVRA is described by LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara as the "jewel in the crown of Federal elections law." As MacNamara stated in a February, 2013 press release, "The Voting Rights Act is an essential part of American democracy.  The thought that the Supreme Court might overrule Congress and take away voting rights should send a chill down the spine of every American… Based upon a record of thousands of pages of testimony, Congress knew what it was doing in 2006.  It would be wrong for the Supreme Court to substitute its will for that of our elected representatives in Congress.”

Learn more about the NVRA and the role of the LWV:




About the NVRA from the US-DOJ:
http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/nvra/activ_nvra.php

LWVAL Convention 2013 focuses on health care, energy and water, constitutional reform



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The League of Women Voters of Alabama held its annual state convention in Tuscaloosa April 27-28, 2013. The convention was held at the Hotel Capstone on Bryant Drive. A pre-convention workshop on use of social media was presented on April 26 at the Bryant Museum.

Congratulations to Mary Lynn Bates on receiving the Joyce Woodworth Memorial Award. LWVAL extends its deepest thanks and appreciation to Mary Lynn for her outstanding service to the League in the area of program and advocacy.

Congratulations to LWV of Mobile on receiving the Phyllis Rea Membership award for the greatest percent increase in membership over the past two years. LWVM grew its ranks by 40%! We should all observe their methods and heed their advice closely!

“We are honored to have Dr. Leigh Ann Poole, Coordinator of the NP Concentration: Mental Health and Primary Care for Rural Populations at UA Capstone College of Nursing as our Saturday Luncheon Speaker,” said Dr. Byrd. “She spoke on Health Care in Alabama. Her presentation addressed many of the topics in the LWVAL’s recently published Facts and Issues: Health Care in Alabama, an objective study of issues involving health care in our state, as well as a discussion of proposed solutions to various problems.

Another highlight of the convention was a panel discussion of Energy and Water in Alabama. Participating in the panel were Michael Churchman, Executive Director of the Ala. Environmental Council; Cole Walker, President of Redstone Energy Group; Heather Elliott, JD, Assoc. Professor of Law at UA and author of a 2012 Alabama Review article on Alabama's Water Crisis, and Vaughn Williams, JD, Assistant Attorney General in the Natural Resources Section in Colorado, who has been a participant in State Water Planning process and formerly Water Resource Specialist at the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

A wine and cheese reception welcomed delegates and guests to the Saturday evening banquet. The group was entertained by concert pianist, bandleader, composer and LWVAL Director Jeanine  "Dr. Jazz" Normand.  

Robert McCurley, former director of the Alabama Law Institute (1969-2013) and member of the Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission spoke at the banquet. Mr. McCurley’s experience working directly with the legislature for so many years provided us with insight into some of the controversial actions during the present legislative session. The audience learned much about the progress and future plans for reforming the antiquated 1901 AL constitution and about the shifting sands of Alabama politics.

These convention speakers and panelists were well received by delegates and guests. The League of Women Voters has long held health care and clean air and water as important topics for study and has advocated reform of the Alabama constitution.

Congratulations to new co-presidents Leonette Slay and Scarlett Gaddy (pictured here) and all of the incoming LWVAL board on their election. Many thanks to former president Kathy Byrd and the outgoing board members who have served the League so well in the past biennium. 

Many thanks to Laura Newland Hill, member LWV East Alabama and LWVAL Secretary, and to LWVAL member and "First Gentleman" Gene Byrd for sharing their LWVAL Convention 2013 photos! http://www.flickr.com/photos/95329932@N05/sets/72157633368757933/


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LWV Rallies in Birmingham
in Defense of the VRA


SCOTUS has taken up Shelby County, AL v Holder. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, a keystone for assuring equal voting rights for all Americans, could be in jeopardy. The LWV of Greater Birmingham and Alabama rallied on March 1 in Birmingham, AL to defend the VRA. Leagues gathered at the federal courthouses in Montgomery and Selma on the same day. Thank you to those who joined with us!! See the LWV Greater Birmingham report. See the Birmingham VRA rally photos.

Now online...
LWVAL 2013 Legislative Report
2013 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday, February 5, 2013. Adjourned Sine Die Monday, May 20, 2013 . The LWVAL Legislative Report final update was posted May 25, 2013.

During the session, LWVAL kept citizens informed about the Alabama Legislature's activities regarding issues of importance to the League through this Legislative Report. For each bill, the LWVAL Legislative Report included bill sponsors, bill summary, complete bill text, current status of the legislation, LWVAL's position on the legislation, and LWVAL's action. See the 2013 LWVAL Legislative Priorities. These were the issues on which the LWVAL Action Team were focused during the 2013 Regular Session. The Legislative Report remains posted as archived information.

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Health Care in Alabama 2013:
Facts and Issues
An unbiased study of health care sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Alabama Education Fund

The first section of the study, entitled “Recurring Issues in Health Care," examines the major issues that face the health care system in the United States and Alabama and highlights the degree to which the problems are interrelated.

The second section of the study, “Challenges and Opportunities for the Nursing Profession,” focuses on issues related to the single largest group of health care professionals – nurses. Nurses are the focus not only because of their sheer numbers, but because they might be better utilized given the issues raised in the first section of the report. Part of the discussion examines findings of a major research effort reported in The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which was published by The Institute of Medicine (ICM) in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences. Emphasis is placed on two of the areas covered in that publication: the need for nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training and the need for that education and training to be expanded.

Download "Health Care in Alabama 2013: Facts and Issues."

Also available online...
"Health Care in Alabama 2010: Facts and Issues," an earlier unbiased health care study sponsored by the LWVAL Education Fund

Read more unbiased
Issue Papers.

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LWVAL calls for government transparency in open letter to AL PSC Commissioners


Read...

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