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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.
Sisters Across the Straits: A Delegation Visit to Cuba
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!
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...
Sound busy? It will be! We would love for you to join us!6/25/2013 -- LWV Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on the Voting Rights Act
- 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
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
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.
About the NVRA from the US-DOJ:http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/nvra/activ_nvra.php
The Supreme Court of the United States rules on Shelby County v. Holder
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:
LWVAL Convention 2013 focuses on health care, energy and water, constitutional reform
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/