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LWVAL Publishes Study on Payday Loan Storefront Businesses in Alabama


“This report, the effort of LWVAL members around the state, attempts to provide the reader perspective from the major stake-holder groups involved in payday loans, including regulators, the payday loan industry and consumer protection organizations. It also looks at Alabama's and other states' experiences with payday loan regulation. It does not include online or car-title lending.”
Read Payday Lending Stores in Alabama: Facts and Issues.
Published by the League of Women Voters of Alabama. August 2016.


MEMBERS, look for a League meeting near you soon on payday lending stores in Alabama. Local Leagues of Women Voters all over Alabama are holding meetings to discuss the LWVAL study findings and attempt to reach consensus on this issue. Please review the
Payday Lending Study Packet which includes the League’s consensus process, the Facts and Issues study report, consensus questions, a PowerPoint presentation, and Study Committee recommendations for further reading. If you are a League member and need assistance accessing the Study Packet materials, please contact Jean Johnson at jjohnson(at)lwval(dot)org or 205 222-2097.

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LWVAL 2016 First Special Session
Legislative Report

Reporting on the 2016 First Special Session
of the Alabama Legislature


Read the 2016 First Special Session Legislative Report

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has called for a special session of the Legislature to propose a constitutional amendment that would establish a state lottery. The special session will convene on August 15, 2016. If passed by the legislature, the constitutional amendment referendum will be on this Fall’s general election ballots, and Alabama citizens will decide whether the state will have a lottery when they go to the polls on November 8.

According to the Washington Post, Alabama is facing a $200-$300 million shortfall and $700 million if state loans are included. Bentley proposes that a lottery will resolve the state’s financial problems by raising $225 million or more. The governor has stated that the most pressing need is funding for the Alabama Medicaid Agency. The budget passed in the 2016 regular legislative session leaves the agency with an $85 million shortfall. According to an al.com article dated July 29, 2016, Governor Bentley said, "I will not, as your governor, and also as a physician, watch as our most vulnerable and most helpless, go without a doctor's care.

"I can't bear to think of a half a million children who through no fault of their own are born into poverty and have no way to get basic medical treatment that they need to grow and to be healthy and strong."

The League of Women Voters of Alabama will keep members and the public informed about legislation introduced in the special session. Read the
LWVAL Special Session Legislative Report regularly for updates. For each bill, the report includes 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 will be posted in this report at times when their voice would be most effective.

LWVAL's coverage of the 2016 regular legislative session remains posted for your review.

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LWVAL SEES DMV CLOSURES AS THREAT TO VOTING RIGHTS - On Oct. 7, 2015, LWVAL called for state legislation that would suspend the state’s voter photo ID law until the driver’s licensing centers are reopened. LWVAL sent an open letter to Alabama government leaders. View and share the press release and letter.


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LWVAL 2016 First Special Session
Legislative Report

Reporting on the 2016 First Special Session
of the Alabama Legislature


Read the 2016 First Special Session Legislative Report

Last updated September 9, 2016.
The First Special Session 2016 of the Alabama Legislature
has adjourned sine die.
The LWVAL Legislative Report on this session
remains posted for your review.


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LWVAL 2015 Second Special Session
Legislative Report

Reporting on the Second 2015 Special Session
of the Alabama Legislature


Read the report
updated Sept. 12, 2015.


UPDATE 9/17/15, 12:05 p.m.: AL Legislature has passed and Gov. Bentley has signed the state budget into law. Read the story here and here. The Second Special Session of the Alabama Legislature adjourned Sept. 16, 2015.

An Open letter to Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard
Alabama needs sustainable, equitable, long-term solutions to our state's fiscal problems, not short-term quick fixes. And let there be open discussion during the budget making process so that citizens are aware and can express their views, not announcement after deals are made behind closed doors. On July 27, 2015, LWVAL sent this open letter to Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard expressing the League's views. The letter was also copied to Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, to the chairs of the four budget committees in hard copy, and emailed to others on the committees.

LWVAL is
reporting on certain General Fund Revenue Enhancement bills and other non-revenue bills introduced during the 2015 second special session of the Alabama legislature. The report includes notice of each bill introduced along with the bill's sponsors, a summary of the bill, 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 are posted in this report at times when their voice will be most effective. The LWVAL Action Team watches for legislation that concerns LWVAL 2015 Legislative Priorities, League Principles, and LWVAL issue positions.


Background

On July 9, 2015, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley called for a first special session of the legislature to convene on July 13 in order to pass a General Fund Budget for the coming fiscal year. The reform package the governor outlined agrees with several budgetary reforms the League of Women Voters of Alabama has been advocating for years (e.g., un-earmarking, ending the deduction of some federal taxes from state income tax). Here is the governor's
formal call. Also, see this news article by Mike Cason on al.com for more information about the call.

The reform package the governor outlined for the first special session agrees with several budgetary reforms the League of Women Voters of Alabama has been advocating for years (e.g., un-earmarking, ending the deduction of some federal taxes from state income tax).

A second special session convened on September 8, 2015 and is attempting again to pass a general fund budget. Here are
details of the second special session as released by Gov. Bentley's office on Sept. 3. Also see “Gov. Bentley will ask for 3 budget reforms, 4 tax increases in second special session” by Erin Edgemon, al.com, Sept. 3, 2015.

The new state fiscal year begins on October 1, 2015. If a General Fund budget is not passed by that date, Alabama government will shut down or be forced to borrow short-term funds to keep the state's doors open until a budget is passed.

Following are the rules for a special legislative session as posted on the official website of the AL Legislature (
www.legislature.state.al.us):
"Special sessions of the Legislature may be called by the Governor, with the Proclamation listing the subjects which the Governor wishes considered. These sessions are limited to 12 legislative days within a 30 calendar day span.... In a special session, legislation must be enacted only on those subjects which the Governor announces in his proclamation or "call." Anything not in the "call" requires a two-thirds vote of each house to be enacted."

The League of Women Voters of Alabama will keep members and the public informed about legislation introduced during the second special session in this
LWVAL Second Special Session Legislative Report, updated weekly. LWVAL's coverage of the 2015 regular legislative session and the 2015 first special legislative session remain posted for your review.

Read the LWVAL Second Special Session Legislative Report for September 11, 2015.


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LWVAL 2015 First Special Session Legislative Report

Reporting on the First 2015 Special Session
of the Alabama Legislature


Legislature adjourns without passing state general fund budget. Second Special Session expected before Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.


Alabama Legislative Session in the News:



An Open letter to Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard
Alabama needs sustainable, equitable, long-term solutions to our state's fiscal problems, not short-term quick fixes. And let there be open discussion during the budget making process so that citizens are aware and can express their views, not announcement after deals are made behind closed doors. On July 27, 2015, LWVAL sent this open letter to Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard expressing the League's views. The letter was also copied to Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, to the chairs of the four budget committees in hard copy, and emailed to others on the committees.

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LWVAL reported on bills introduced during the 2015 first special session of the Alabama legislature. We will cover the second special session when it is convened. The report will include notice of each bill introduced along with the bill's sponsors, a summary of the bill, 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 are posted in this report at times when their voice will be most effective. The LWVAL Action Team watched for legislation that concerns LWVAL 2015 Legislative Priorities, League Principles, and LWVAL issue positions.

On July 9, 2015, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley called for a special session of the legislature to convene on July 13 in order to pass a General Fund Budget for the coming fiscal year. See this news article by Mike Cason on al.com for more information about the call. The legislature failed to pass this budget during the regular session which ended on June 4. The legislature failed to pass the budget during the first special session which adjourned August 11, 2015. Gov. Bentley is expected to call a second special session soon to pass a general fund budget. The new state fiscal year begins on October 1, 2015.

Following were the rules for the First Special Session as posted on the official website of the AL Legislature (
www.legislature.state.al.us):

"Special sessions of the Legislature may be called by the Governor, with the Proclamation listing the subjects which the Governor wishes considered. These sessions are limited to 12 legislative days within a 30 calendar day span.... In a special session, legislation must be enacted only on those subjects which the Governor announces in his proclamation or "call." Anything not in the "call" requires a two-thirds vote of each house to be enacted."


The reform package the governor outlined agrees with several budgetary reforms the League of Women Voters of Alabama has been advocating for years (e.g., un-earmarking, ending the deduction of some federal taxes from state income tax). We are reviewing details of the
formal call.

The League of Women Voters of Alabama will keep members and the public informed about legislation introduced during the second special session in the
LWVAL Special Session Legislative Report, updated weekly.

LWVAL's coverage of the 2015 regular legislative session and the 2015 first special legislative session remain posted for your review.


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LWVAL announces 2015 Transparency in Government Award, calls for nominations

Get a LWVAL Transparency in Government Award nominating form.
Link to this
media advisory here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2015

CONTACT: Gina Finnegan
ginaofinnegan@gmail.com 251-656-0130

MEDIA ADVISORY – LWVAL Announces Transparency Award

Mobile – The League of Women Voters of Alabama announces its first ever transparency award, honoring political leaders who have championed open and inclusive government in Alabama.

"Like many states, Alabama has some work to do to truly let the sun shine on its workings," said LWVAL Co-president Leonette Slay. "But we also know that we have political leaders who have demonstrated remarkable integrity and courage in their push for open and honest government. We want to celebrate and recognize those individuals. It is so often thankless work."

Citizens and political organizations are encouraged to submit their nominations for the award. The state league leadership will consider all applications, which can include local and state political leaders, elected or appointed. LWVAL will also accept recommendations for citizens and members of nonprofit organizations who have championed transparency in government. The nomination form is available at the LWVAL website
www.lwval.org. The deadline is March 21, 2015.

Honorees will be recognized at the Alabama league's biennial state convention on May 1-3, to be held in the Auburn/Opelika area this year.

"Transparency is just a core piece of who we are as a nonpartisan, political organization. We hope we can prompt more public officials to understand their role in serving the citizens of Alabama through open government by making this award part of the state's political scene. It
matters, and it makes a difference," said LWVAL Co-president Scarlett Gaddy.

Nominations should be mailed or e-mailed to: League of Women Voters Awards Committee, Post Office Box 40602, Mobile, Alabama 36640 or
lslay@lwval.org.

The League of Women Voters, a national, nonpartisan, political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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Back to LWVAL Convention 2015 news.

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Speaking out for the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014


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On Monday, Sept, 22, 2014, LWVGB Vice-President Ida Tyree-Hyche, Esq. urged citizens to “Move forward on voting rights!” at the Moral Monday rally on the Alabama capitol steps in Montgomery. The crowd was in full agreement. Click below to listen to the audio of her address. Other LWVGB members present in support were Nancy Ekberg, Connie Arnwine, Joan Burroughs, Catrena Norris Carter, and Ida's husband The Rev. Albert L. Hyche. See all the photos of the day's event.


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LWVAL addresses access, cost, and quality of 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 considered member consensus statements on these findings and set a new health care position statement on Feb. 1, 2014.

"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 LWVAL position on Health Care.


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LWVAL 2014 Legislative Report

Legislative Report was 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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LWVAL addresses access, cost, and quality of 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 consideried member consensus statements, and a new health care position statement was issued on Feb. 1, 2014.
"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 LWVAL position on Health Care.



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LWVAL 2014 Legislative Report
2014 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday, January 14, 2014 and adjourned Sine Die April 3, 2014.

During the session, LWVAL keeps 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 includes bill sponsors, bill summary, complete bill text, current status of the legislation, LWVAL's position on the legislation, and LWVAL's action. See the 2014 LWVAL Legislative Priorities. These are the issues on which the LWVAL Action Team focused during the 2014 Regular Session. The League of Women Voters invited citizens to follow these important issues throughout the legislative session and act immediately when a call to action was issued. Thank you! (Also, see the 2014 LWVAL Legislative Priorities. These are the issues on which the LWVAL Action Team focused during the 2014 Regular Session.)

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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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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

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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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LWV Rallies in Birmingham in Defense of the VRA


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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, 2013 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.

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


Read...

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The LWVAL took on the issue of charter schools in Alabama.

Read unbiased information about charter schools - the pros and the cons - in this study:

Charter Schools: Facts & Issues
A publication of the LWVAL Education Fund
April 2011

The issues surrounding the subject of charter schools make them a topic capable of evoking strong opinions and responses.

Proponents of charter schools believe they offer flexibility in improving schools with consistently low academic performance, provide options for addressing the needs of underserved student populations, encourage classroom innovations by reducing bureaucracy and hiring educators without ties to education lobbying groups and unions, and foster market-oriented reform in public education through competitive school choice options for students and parents.

Critics have equally strong opinions that charter schools undermine public schools systems, siphon limited funding away from existing schools, are a backdoor for privatizing public schools systems, are no more effective for fostering innovation than traditional schools, and are harmful to the teaching profession by encouraging the use of non-certified instructors and creating lower pay scales.


Read Charter Schools: Facts & Issues and form your own opinion.
For LWVAL Members
Members are invited to read
"Charter Schools: Facts and Issues" and prepare for consensus discussion at a future local League consensus meeting.

Charter Schools in the Media
  • "Alabama considers adding charter schools to its education mix" The Birmingham News on al.com, Jan. 29, 2010. Also, see video and two related articles in the side box at this site. Read
  • "Better Research Needed on the Impact of Charter Schools" Julian R. Betts and Richard C. Atkinson,  Science Magazine, VOL 335 13, January, 2012 Read (PDF)
  • "Charter schools will be priority for Alabama lawmakers, House Speaker Mike Hubbard says" The Birmingham News on al.com, Dec. 11, 2012. Read

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LWVAL Speaks Out on Charter School Legislation 

March 31, 2012

Over the past year, charter schools has been a much debated issue in Alabama, and the Alabama legislature is currently considering charter schools enabling legislation. After an in-depth study lasting almost one year, the League of Women Voters of Alabama has published its position on this issue.

The LWVAL did not take a position on whether legislation authorizing charter schools in Alabama should or should not be passed. However, its membership believes that enabling legislation should require that charter schools meet certain minimum requirements for establishment, open access, transparent regulation and oversight, and academic accountability. 

Read the LWVAL issue position on charter schools.

Download the position (pdf) for printing.

Read the LWVAL press release issued 4/12/12.

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LWVAL issues action alert for Gulf restoration


On Dec. 10, 2011, the League of Women Voters of Alabama issued an action alert to  encourage all congressional Senators to support legislation that would fund full restoration of the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama both support Senate Bill 1400, known as the Restore Act, that would do much to accomplish this. LWVAL President Kathryn Byrd wrote a letter thanking them for their support and asked them to encourage their non-Gulf State counterparts to support the bill. Dr. Byrd stated,

"Our goal is that [the Restore Act] and its House companion would dedicate the Clean Water Act fines from the Gulf oil spill towards a full restoration of the Gulf of Mexico.   The impacted communities and ecosystems of the Gulf could potentially see as much as $20 billion toward the restoration.  The wording of the bill would result in the moneys being directed directly toward restoration and not into the general fund."

LWVAL is also working with other Gulf States leagues (Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) and with the LWVUS Advocacy Committee to advocate for passage of the Restore Act.

Please read the
LWVAL action alert and take action today! Thank you!

More archived news

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LWVAL and LWVGB Co-sponsor SOS - Sustain Our State - Rally in Birmingham
August 16, 2011


On August 16, 2011, citizens called on elected officials to support healthy, clean water and air and real public transit. Many nonprofit organizations, including the LWVAL and LWVGB, joined together to bring the Sustain Our State (SOS) 1-2-3 GO! Rally to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham, AL. The event was held to inform and rally citizens to call for actionable, implementable (1) water, (2) energy and (3) transit policies and to make plans now to assure this sustainable future. Clean air and water and transit impact public health and jobs as well as the environment. The most heavily impacted are the poorest and the youngest in our communities - those who are our future. They are the most exposed to unhealthy air and water and least able get to education, jobs, health care and daily needs. Allied supporters were called to address environmental and intergenerational justice.

Citizens were informed about the issues and called on to take action
by:

  • Making signs with SOS/1-2-3 GO messages to carry and decorate a DART trolley on public display.
  • Signing the League of Women Voters Clean Air Promise (see below)
  • Contacting their elected state and federal officials to call for legislation and public policies that will assure a sustainable future for our state
Attendees heard short explanations and signed messages to be sent to Alabama Governor and legislative leadership. The following addressed the rally to share our hopeful vision for a sustainable, accessible future for all our children:
  • Michael Churchman, Executive Director, Alabama Environmental Council;
  • Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Executive Director;
  • Esmeralda Brown, United Methodist Women;
  • Scott Douglas, Executive Director, Greater Birmingham Ministries;
  • Rev. Anthony Johnson, Community Relations Director, Birmingham Metro Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People;
  • Joyce Lanning, Environmental Chair, League of Women Voters of Alabama (LWVAL) and of Greater Birmingham (LWVGB); and
  • Peter Behrman, Executive Director, Birmingham-Jefferson Public Transit Authority


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I promise to protect America's children and families from dangerous air pollution.

Because toxics and pollutants such as mercury, smog, carbon, and soot, cause thousands of hospital visits, asthma attacks, and even deaths.

I will support clean air policies and other protections that scientists and public health experts have recommended to the EPA to safeguard our air quality.

See www.peoplenotpolluters.org.


The 1-2-3-GO action plans include:
  • Alabama Water Agenda
  • Clean Air/State Energy Plan
  • Mobility – Real Public Transit


This event was made possible with support from our allies at: Alabama Environmental Council (AEC); Alabama Rivers Alliance (ARA); GASP; Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment (CASE); and the League of Women Voters of Alabama and of Greater Birmingham. We’ve timed this event to support the recent re-release of the Alabama Water Agenda, the League of Women Voters of the United States Clean Air Promise Campaign, and the hearings over curtailment of bus routes in Birmingham due to funding shortfalls, as well as the United Methodist Women (The UMW's National Social Justice Training Seminar was held in Birmingham on August 13-17, 2011 at the Civic Center Sheraton.)

To find out more and get Involved in future action to Sustain Our State,
contact Joyce Lanning 205 870-0808 or
joyce.lanning@gmail.com.


More archived news

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The 2011 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature adjourned June 9, 2011, SINE DIE.


Final update of the LWVAL Legislative Report was posted following the adjournment of the 2011 legislative session. All action alerts are, of course, cancelled.


2011 Legislative Session

The 2011 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature convened at Noon, on Tuesday, March 1 and adjourned SINE DIE on Thursday, June 9. During the session, LWVAL kept citizens informed about the Alabama Legislature's activities regarding issues of importance to the League through its LWVAL 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 2011 LWVAL Legislative Priorities list for the issues on which the LWVAL Action Team was focused during the 2011 session.

Earlier the Alabama Legislature met in Organizational Session (January 11 - 18, 2011). In that session, the legislature organized each house through election of officers, adopted the Rules of each house as well as Joint Rules of the two houses, established standing committees in each house and named the membership of each, and elected members to certain Joint Committees of the two houses. As stipulated by law, no legislation was passed in the Organizational Session"


LWVAL took action to bring about ethics and campaign finance reform.

On December 8, 2010, then Governor Bob Riley called for a Special Session of the Alabama Legislature to convene to consider ethics and campaign reform legislation. The League of Women Voters of Alabama advocated during the Special Legislative Session urging our legislators to support strong ethics reform and open government. Co-Presidents Dr. Kathryn Byrd and Dr. Charlotte Ward wrote this letter to the 140 state legislators to urge their active support for reform. At the opening of the Special Session called to address this issue, Nancy Ekberg, representing the co-presidents, presented the points of the letter directly to the legislators in public testimony at the Old State House Chambers. The League also sent this letter-to-the-editor supporting reform to several major newspapers in the state. The League urged all citizens who believe that Alabama should have stronger, more effective ethics laws and open government to contact their state senator and representative and make their voice heard.

By the close of the Special Session on December 16, the legislature had passed seven reform bills. As reported by the Associated Press, the bills included "measures to ban the transfer of money between political action committees, limit how much lobbyists can spend on entertaining public officials, give subpoena power to the State Ethics Commission and ban legislators from having a second state job after November 2014." Read this story in The Birmingham News and more news about the Special Session on al.com.


LWVAL strongly supports effective ethics reform and open government.

The League of Women Voters of Alabama has long supported the need for strong ethics legislation and open government. This continues to be a top-level advocacy priority for the LWVAL. See the complete list of 2011 LWVAL legislative priorities.


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"Open Secret" A filmed re-enactment of the Alabama 1901 Constitutional Convention
Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, with the support of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, Greater Birmingham Ministries and the American Association of University Women of Alabama, has taken the official transcript of the 1901 Alabama Constitutional Convention and created a re-enactment, using actors in period costume, speaking the words of the 1901 delegates. We filmed the half-hour re-enactment and named it "Open Secret" after some of the words used during that Convention. A woman, although not a delegate, and not allowed to vote in 1901, appealed to the men to allow women to vote. They turned her down. They also disenfranchised poor whites and Blacks in that memorable document.  Their words will surprise you.  The screenings of this re-enactment are being presented throughout Alabama beginning this month.  All screenings are free and include a panel of guests to debate whether or not the Constitution should be changed, and the best way to do it.  The audience is invited to participate in the discussion. Following are the screenings so far.  More are anticipated.  If you would like to attend a screening or to schedule a screening in your area, go to www.constitutionalreform.org  or e-mail melanie@constitutionalreform.org.

Sites and dates of previous screenings:
All screenings were open and free to the public.

Tuesday, February 23rd, at 6:30 p.m.,  
Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington St. in Montgomery.*

Friday, February 26th at 6:30 p.m., Historic Carver Theatre, 4th Ave. North and 17th Street in Birmingham.*

Wednesday, March 24th at 11:30 a.m., Birmingham League of Women Voters Meeting, Alabama Power Electra Room, 600 North 18th Street in Birmingham (Reservation not required.)

Thursday, March 25th at 7:00 p.m., Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, 1507 Dauphin Street in
Mobile. Hosted by LWV of Mobile. A panel discussion followed the viewing. Senator Vivian Figures and Mayor Sam Jones were invited to participate.

Tuesday, March 30th at noon at the State Capitol Auditorium, 600 Dexter Avenue in Montgomery

* The premiere sessions in February had a screening of "Open Secret" followed by a panel discussion. Panel Participants:

  • Merika Coleman, Alabama State Representative (D) for District 57 (Jefferson)
  • Paul DeMarco, Alabama State Representative (R) for District 46 (Jefferson)
  • Moderated by Dr. Carol Ann Vaughn Cross, Core Curriculum Fellow, Samford University


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Alabama's air and water needs federal protection

An Opinion Editorial from the League of Women Voters of Alabama, March 14, 2011. Written by Dr. Joyce Lanning, LWVAL Natural Resources Director, and Dr. Charlotte Ward, LWVAL Co-President.

Among the programs and services currently threatened by the Congressional budget cutters are the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act. Here in Alabama, a Public Service Commissioner has quoted information from polluting industries that seem to overstate the cost of addressing the harm caused by carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. In sum, laws, regulations and agencies designed to protect us and our environment for the long run are under attack by shortsighted forces looking only at this year’s bottom line. ... Read the complete editorial.


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