spacer gif

The Alabama Voter 
Spring 2011 Edition
Published March 25, 2011
Read here online or
download the print edition.

President's Paragraphs

by Kathryn Byrd

The 2011 LWVAL Convention will be held in Mobile on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, at the new Hampton Inn downtown. Those arriving on Friday night are invited to a progressive dinner in the historic district nearby (See specifics below).

After the plenary session on Saturday morning, our luncheon speaker will be Dr. Samantha (Mandy) Joye, who will speak on the situation in the Gulf. Dr. Joye, a biological oceanographer at the University of Georgia, led the biological assessments of damage caused by the oil spill. The LWVAL board decided that environmental issues are so important that we will devote the afternoon to presentations/workshops on the environmental situation in Alabama. Our LWVAL Natural Resources Chair, Joyce Lanning, is working on this activity, and more specific information will be forthcoming.

The banquet will be informal but informative and tasty. We will drive over part of the causeway to the Oyster House for our banquet and evening speaker. Those who wish may sign up to take a boat tour of the bay while learning about the situation therein. The boat will depart from the Oyster House. It will be a fundraiser, costing $50 per person, with only 23 reservations available (because of the size of the boat.) This will occur at the same time as the cocktail party at the Oyster House, with a no-host bar. Dinner will be followed by a presentation by James Sumner, Chair of the AL Ethics Commission, on the changes made during the 2010 special session and anything that has transpired to date in the 2011 legislative session. We are interested in what we still need to work on in this important area.

We will have the morning plenary session at the Hampton on Sunday. The Hampton Inn, which often provides the facilities for the LWVUS, and other state and local leagues, will provide breakfast. The rooms have either two queen or one king size bed, so leagues who want to save money can bunk up to four in a room without having to sleep on top of each other.

In this VOTER, you will also find reports from the Nominating committee, budget, program, etc. as well as registration forms.

Imagine how beautiful it will be in Mobile at that time of the year! We look forward to seeing as many as possible of you there!!!

In League,

More articles...

South Alabama Leagues Host 2011 State Convention

by Mary McGinnis, President LWV of Mobile

The League of Women Voters Mobile and Baldwin County are pleased to host the State Convention on April 29th, 30th, and May 1st, 2011. We will begin the weekend with a progressive dinner in Mobile’s historic midtown neighborhood, gathering for hors d’oeuvres at the home of Barbara and Hank Caddell, 1321 Dauphin St., at 5:30 pm. Those unable to join us at 5:30 can meet up with us for soup and salad at the home of Martha and Bob Collier, 1551 Dauphin St., at 7 pm, or for dessert at the home of Mary McGinnis and Roy Allgauer, 114 Macy Place, at 8:30pm.

The meetings on Saturday and Sunday will be held at the Hampton Inn, 62 South Royal St. in downtown Mobile where league members are invited to stay for a reduced group rate of $109 per night. Reservations must be made by March 30th.

All are invited to a Saturday night banquet at the Original Oyster House on the causeway, from 7-9 pm. This will be preceded by a fundraising delta cruise from 6-7 pm (boarding at 5:45pm). Join us for wine and cheese and a guided tour of the lower delta on the pontoon boat “Pelican” with Captain Mike Dorie. Space is limited so sign up early!

Those unable to join the cruise are invited to a no-host cocktail hour overlooking Mobile Bay and the Mobile/Tensaw delta from 6-7pm at the Original Oyster House.

We look forward to welcoming everyone to beautiful and historic Lower Alabama!

Mary McGinnis
President, League of Women Voters of Mobile

More articles...

Reform Possibilities

by Nancy Ekberg, ACCR

As you all know, we have been holding Listening Sessions from Headland in Henry County, to Huntsville in Madison County and spots in between. We have listened to what you and others have said about legislation that will provide constitutional reform. The message came out loud and clear that people want more than one choice in the type of legislation we urge our legislative sponsors to offer to fellow legislators and to the voters.

Some wanted to stay with the Resolution for a constitutional convention that we have urged for the past few years.

Consequently, our sponsor in the House, former Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, has filed House Joint Resolution 34. HJR34 will now go to the House Rules Committee headed by Rep. Galliher.

In the Senate, Senator Roger Bedford has filed a similar Resolution, SJR 27. That Resolution will go to the Senate Rules Committee under the leadership of Senator Scott Beason.

Some also wanted to give the legislators who said they would rather support an article by article approach, a chance to do so.

Consequently, Representative Mike Hill has filed a constitutional amendment to allow for limited home rule to allow counties to govern their own residents. This is HB 181. His bill is in the House County and Municipal Government committee under the leadership of Rep. Steve McMillan. In addition, Senator Jabo Waggoner will file a similar constitutional amendment for limited home rule in the Senate. And as soon as that bill has a number, it will be listed on the LWVAL website [in the Legislative Report].

In addition, Senator Arthur Orr has sponsored SB 112, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the racist language from the Constitution. It is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

Finally, Rep. Paul DeMarco has sponsored HB 20, a constitutional amendment which will modernize the banking Article and eliminate outdated sections of the Article. His bill made it through Committee and is now in the House Rules Committee.

DeMarco has also sponsored HB 21, a constitutional amendment which will update the corporate Articles. It addresses corporations in Alabama and is in the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee.

And some of you were also in favor of asking the Governor to support those options as well as a Commission, similar to the one sponsored by Governor Brewer in 1971 or the one sponsored by Governor Riley in 2002. We plan to meet with Governor Bentley to see about his support. I will let you know his answer.

We think this year will bring us success, especially since many new legislators came in office asking for reform.

But you are the key to any success because it is your conversations with your legislators that encourage them to make the right decisions Find your legislator at and tell him or her to support all of these pieces of legislation.

[Editor's Note: Read the LWVAL Legislative Report to follow these bills and all legislation of importance to LWVAL positions. See "Follow the Action: LWVAL's Legislative Report" in this Voter.]

More articles...

Follow the Action: LWVAL's Legislative Report

The 2011 Legislative Session began on March 1st and with it, the LWVAL’s Legislative Report which appears on the League web page ( The report is updated weekly. It contains information on the bills that the Advocacy Committee (Anne Permaloff, Chair, Mary Lynn Bates, Becky Sylvester, and Ruth Wright with Co-presidents Kathy Byrd and Charlotte Ward ex officio members) is following and evaluating in relation to the legislative priorities set by the State Board.

Legislative Report information includes: bill number, sponsor(s), bill summary, League action (support, oppose, or monitoring) and justification for the action (based on LWVAL program positions), and the bill’s current legislative status. The report generally contains more information about a bill than you will find in news coverage.

Jean Johnson who handles the League web site places the information into an easy to follow format. For example, this year Jean added a green “thumbs up” icon to indicate League support for a bill. A red “thumbs down” icon indicates opposition. Material is presented in sections representing the three priority levels for League action.

The Legislative Report also contains Action Alerts as needed as well as information on special advocacy actions take. The latter may include such items as letters to the editor or letters to key officials.

More articles...

Earth Day -- April 22, 2011: Make Plans for Your League Now!

Join allies and celebrate sustainability!

by Joyce Lanning, Natural Resources

The first Earth Day -- April 22, 1970 -- is considered by many to be the start of the modern environmental movement. Millions of Americans turned out that day to protest environmental degradation and to demonstrate on behalf of a cleaner, healthier environment. By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been established, and Congress had passed the Clean Air Act.

Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 (or close to it) by more than one billion people in over 175 countries. For Earth Day Network, the theme of this year's Earth Day is A Billion Acts of Green, a campaign to encourage millions of individual acts of environmental service around the world -- one billion altogether -- that help reduce carbon emissions and promotes sustainability. Over 40 million green acts have been registered to date.

We can join the Global Day of Conversation to engage our local leaders in conversations on the challenges and opportunities related to sustainability. ( To participate in sharing a short video of your local leaders addressing some sustainability issue check out the website and contact

Hopefully you already have plans for your League to participate in an Earth Day event to advance sustainability -- at home and around the world. Standing up for environmental protection is particularly important this year to help counter the growing attack on the EPA and its efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and tighten controls on other dangerous pollutants.

Leagues can learn what others are doing on the League's climate change email list. (To join the discussion, visit the For Members section of the LWVUS website.) Or email a description of your Earth Day plans to They will be compiling and posting a list of these as a resource for everyone.

Just two Alabama examples:

The Baldwin County League is again a major participant in The Mobile Bay area celebration of Earth Day, which is inspired by the worldwide Earth Day Network, which promotes environmental citizenship and steers environmental awareness around the world. This year it will be Saturday, April 23 from 10 to 7 at Fairhope Pier Park. There will be environmental displays and exhibits, educational activities for children and adults, plus great live music and art. Fun for the entire family! Bring computers, old TV's, other electronics, used cooking oil and other aluminum, plastic and cardboard items for recycling.

The Greater Birmingham League will have a booth at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Celebration of Earth Day on May 1, 2011 from 1-4 PM. They’ll provide laptops for people to sign up for their own “Acts of Green” at the Earth Day Network web site. This largest-ever environmental service project is working to show that change can happen when individuals join in taking action. They are also working to engage local officials in discussing the sustainability actions they’ve been taking.

More articles...

LWVAL State Convention April 30 - May 1, 2011
with Progressive Dinner, April 29

Hosted by LWV Mobile and LWV Baldwin County
ALL LWVAL MEMBERS are invited and encouraged to attend whether or not a delegate. There will be outstanding convention speakers and panels!
Register today! (.pdf or .doc)
VOTER articles below link to information important for delegates.

Note: Deadline for guaranteed best hotel rates is March 30.
Deadline for convention registration to avoid late fee is April 25.

Get more convention information. See you in Mobile!

Report of the LWVAL Nominating Committee

Click the Nominating Committee's Report to view and print.
Slate of Officers, Directors and Nominating Committee for 2011-13

More articles...

LWVAL Proposed Budgets 2011 - 2013

Click a proposed budget to view and print.

More articles...

Bylaws Recommendations

No bylaws changes are recommended by the LWVAL Board for the coming biennium.

More articles...

Program Recommendations

Board recommendations for changes in LWVAL Program 2011-2013:
  1. Readoption of League Principles and LWVAL Program as adopted for 2009-2011.
  2. Completion of the Health Care Study with the aim of taking the study through the consensus process.
  3. Completion of the Charter School Facts and Issues and adoption of Charter Schools as a formal study with the aim of asking the study through  the consensus process.

The current Program, which consists of LWVAL issue positions and current studies, can be viewed and downloaded here.

More articles...

Registration Form for LWVAL Convention 2011

2011 LWVAL Convention Registration Form (.pdf or .doc format)

More articles...

LWVAL Boards and Off-board

Kathryn Byrd

Co-President &
LWVAL Voter Editor
Charlotte Ward

1st Vice President,
Judicial Reform
Mary Lynn Bates

2nd Vice President
Membership Development
Scarlett Gaddy

Sarah McDonald

Virginia (Ginnie) Bennett


Anne Permaloff

Natural Resources
Joyce Lanning

Laura Hill

Voter Service / Election Law
Hattie Kaufman

Financial Development
Jeanine Normand

Health Care Study
Marilyn Garrett


Constitutional Reform
Nancy Ekberg

Jeanne Lacey

Janet Widell

Website / Technical
Jean Johnson
205 870-3063 home
205 222-2097 cell

More articles...