|UPDATE ON REDISTRICTING REFORM IN MICHIGAN
The redistricting ballot proposal submitted by Voters Not Politicians has been approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers as to form. The Board of State Canvassers approved technical formatting issues of the initiative petition but did not approve the substance of the proposal or the summary.
Having received the approval, Voters Not Politicians (VNP) has begun collecting signatures. We are aware that many believe the League of Women Voters of Michigan should support the ballot proposal and should participate in the signature gathering process.
The LWVMI Board has discussed the various options the League might take.
Michigan’s Campaign Finance Law requires groups to file a ballot question committee if they receive or spend $500 or more in cash, or in “in-kind” contributions in support or opposition of a
ballot proposal. (See attached MI Ballot Question Committee Manual)
If LWVMI supported the ballot proposal, our costs, including “in-kind” contributions would exceed $500. Voters Not Politicians has filed a ballot question committee. LWVMI has not.
For many months LWVMI has worked with a number of groups, including VNP, to try to form a diverse coalition. Unfortunately, we were not successful. VNP chose to go ahead.
We could join VNP, but it would not be a coalition. We would have no voice in any decisions VNP made and we would not be able to protect the use of the League’s name.
The League believes that in order to be successful, redistricting reform must be supported by a coalition of groups that reflects the diversity of our state.
Since LWVMI has not filed a ballot question committee and has not joined VNP, the League cannot support the proposal and League members may not participate in VNP activities, including signature gathering, as League members. They may do so as individuals. Petitions cannot be circulated at League meetings, nor can any announcements be made or handouts displayed. These actions would require reporting under the Campaign Finance Law.
We remain committed to redistricting reform in Michigan and to working to form a diverse coalition. We will continue our efforts to educate voters on the redistricting problems in our state and the need for an Independent Commission.
|LINE 5 PIPELINES: AN AVOIDABLE ENVIRONMENTAL RISK
The League of Women Voters of Michigan is one of 21 members of the Oil and Water Don't Mix Coalition that sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") and the US Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") on June 29, 2017 regarding Enbridge Oil Company’s joint application to the MDEQ and the Corps (No. 2RD-DFDK-Y35G) to install 22 anchor supports on the Line 5 pipelines in the Mackinac Straits. The Coalition members are Michigan organizations dedicated to the protection of Michigan’s water, natural resources, public trust in those resources, the environment, communities, and the health, safety and general welfare of citizens.
The Coalition organizations are requesting that MDEQ and the Corps take the following actions with regard to Enbridge’s joint application:
1. Reject as incomplete due to its overly narrow scope of review;
2. Require a comprehensive review of Line 5 in the Straits that includes an assessment of adverse environmental impacts, risks, and feasible and prudent alternatives;
3. Temporarily terminate the transport of crude oil in the Line 5 pipelines during this comprehensive review; and
4. Hold a formal public hearing given that Enbridge Line 5 occupies publicly owned waters and bottomlands and the threat of a catastrophic oil pipeline rupture to the Great Lakes are of tremendous controversy and have generated an extraordinary level of public engagement. Read the entire letter here.
Under-the-Straits tour of Pipeline 5 (3 min. video)
Area businesses expressing concern about Pipeline 5 (3 min video)
|ADVOCATING WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Join the LWV
a. Connect with people who share your democratic values
b. Share in decision making and work
c. Know you are a part of bigger coalitions
2. Learn About Issues
a. Improve your general knowledge of issues – learn from others
b. Focus on issues important to you – Share your knowledge
c. View issues from a broader perspective – respect people’s right to different viewpoints
3. Strengthen our Voice & Establish Relationships
4. Be Realistic – build bridges, not walls
b. Non-partisan solutions
5. Stay Positive
a. Hard work needs positivity – remember to have some fun
b. Avoid burnout - take time for yourself & your loved ones
|THE LEAGUE ADVOCATES FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT
|The advocacy arm of the League of Women Voters of Michigan is hard at work. We monitor legislation as it is introduced and makes its way through the legislature. We also review proposed regulations which may impact environmental or public policies. Using state or national League positions, the Michigan League takes action when possible. Letters to the governor, legislators and other decision makers are routinely sent by President Judy Karandjeff, and when allowed, the League also delivers testimony at public hearings. This year, the League's advocacy has been focused on legislation concerning voting rights, environmental issues and the Flint water crisis. Check out our coverage of recent advocacy by reviewing a list of letters, press releases and testimony here.
|THE GOAL: BECOMING A TOP TEN EDUCATION STATE
The Education Trust- Midwest, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, has published their 2
016 Michigan State of Eduction Report. Titled, "Michigan’s
Talent Crisis:The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan's Broken Public Education System." The report deals with steps to reach the goal of becoming a top ten education state. Today, Michigan's K-12 system is among the weakest in the country and getting worse. In a little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from being a fairly average state in elementary reading and math achievement to the bottom 10 states. This is a devestating fall. Read the annual report here.
|SORTING OUT MICHIGAN'S ENERGY BILLS AND THE LEAGUE'S POSITION
|Current Michigan energy law is set to expire at the end of 2015. We currently have PA 295, enacted in 2008, which provided that our utility companies diversify energy production to include 10% renewable energy by 2015. They have reached those goals. Renewable energy was defined as energy that is derived from sources such as solar, wind or water power. The House and Senate have been working on energy bills for some time. This would include HB 4297 and SB 437-438. These bills redefine renewable energy and call it “clean energy”. Clean Energy would include the burning of municipal wastes and coal if it does not violate any state or federal air emissions regulations. Read more about Michigan's energy dilemma and the League's position on legislative bills by clicking here.
|CURRENT LWVMI NEWSLETTER
|Click hereto read the August, 2017 newsletter.