Print this article

" style="float:left; margin: 2px 8px 2px 0 The Alabama Voter 
Winter 2010 Edition
Published February 17, 2010

President's Paragraphs

by Kathryn Byrd, LWVAL Co-President

I am continually impressed by the depth of knowledge and commitment of the board of the League of Women Voters of Alabama. The board recently met in Montgomery on January 30th and in four and a half hours, efficiently discussed the past, present, and proposed projects of the LWVAL. Here are some highlights. Then read in more detail in this edition of the Voter, on our recently updated website (thanks, Jean Johnson) or on Facebook (thanks, Scarlett Gaddy).

We are now in the midst of the usual tangled legislative session, held early because this is the fourth year of the legislative cycle, and all 140 seats of the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate are up for election this year. The gambling issue in its various permutations seems to be dominating at this moment, but the real issue facing the legislature is lack of funding and unemployment—and the schools. Anne Permaloff, Advocacy Chair, and her committee keep abreast of legislative happenings, evaluate legislation in terms of the League’s positions and interest, and post this information on the webpage. Thanks goes to Ruth Wright, Becky Sylvester, Nancy Ekberg, Mary Lynn Bates, Hattie Kaufman, and Joyce Lanning (an no doubt several others whose names I have inadvertently omitted), who read and analyze the bills, and Jean Johnson, who posts the information on the website.

We have begun our study on Health Care in Alabama. Marilyn Garrett and her committee have completed the initial the information-collection stage of the study, and are completing a document that should be very helpful to the local leagues. It will also give us the background to help the LWVAL to determine where to proceed from here. The study is somewhat complicated by the fact that the health care situation remains unresolved on the federal level. Marilyn and Charlotte Ward have been working on an op-ed/letter to the editor stating the League’s position on the health care issue. We hope it will be carried by the key papers in the state.

Joyce Lanning represents us ably on numerous boards related to natural resources, and keeps track of the ups and downs of agencies such as ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management). Fellow Leaguers may not be aware that Joyce also represents on the LWVUS Climate Change Task Force. We are poised to send publicity out on key issues, and it certainly help to have one a knowledgeable as Joyce, plus a Co-President (Charlotte Ward) with a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a great depth of knowledge. In addition, we continue to benefit from the length and depth of knowledge of members of the Baldwin County League such as Jeanne Lacey and Paulette Fedor and so many others—see about the honor the latter group has received in recognition of the caliber of their efforts.

The Education study is under way. Laura Hill has looked at our current position and outlined ways in which it fails to meet the current and future needs of the students of our state. The current position was written before the big proliferation of computer and internet technology, plus the focus on expanding preschool education is a new feature.

Of course, we keep working diligently for Alabama Constitutional Reform. We want to support bills introduced into the legislature, but we also have the exciting release of “Open Book” in February in Birmingham and other places. League members have been involved both directly in filming and promoting this DVD. Make appoint of seeing this reenactment and tell your friends about it. And don’t forget to renew your support of the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) by going to their website, and following the instructions posted there.

My favorite kind of League project, working with political debates and forums, should receive a lot of attention in the very important 2010 Alabama election year. The party primary election is June 1st, runoff July 13th, and general election November 2nd, with various local elections mixed in. (For dates go to the Secretary of State’s website ( The LWVAL will cosponsor a gubernatorial debate with the Student Government Association of The University of Alabama and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP). The SGA at Auburn has agreed to host a similar debate, and we are exploring how we can be involved at that end as well.

Finally, it is not too early to start planning for the LWVAL 2010 Council, to be held May 15th in Auburn. And what a wonderful year to go to the LWVUS convention, right in our neighborhood—Atlanta—on June 11th through 15th! Make your reservations for the Marriott Marquis early before it fills up. Information is on the LWVUS website ( Once you get in the website, go to “Members” and click onto the parts relating to the Convention. Local leagues are assigned a certain number of delegates, based on membership numbers. Many local leagues cannot afford to send their full complement of delegates. If this is the case in your local league, let one of the state board members have your unused vote. Just let us know. However, we hope local league members will take the opportunity to drive over to Atlanta, even for a day or two, or hear the discussion in important League matters and to network with leaguers from around the country.

In closing, we want to hear from you—let us know how we can serve you as a board.

| Print | Return to The Voter |