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LWVMI WRAPS UP 2017 CONVENTION

The League of Women Voters of Michigan held its 2017 Convention at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing on May 19-21, 2017. The convention attracted League members and guests from all over the state, featured prominent speakers and conducted educational workshops. The Convention delegates elected a new Board of Directors, passed a budget and agreed on a program for the next two years.

A number of League members were recognized with awards for exceptional service. Jane Watts from the Traverse City League received the Helen Milliken Leadership in Civic Empowerment Award. Sarah Delia from the Mt. Pleasant League and Rose Marie McQuaid from the Midland Area League both received the Maryann Mahaffey Community Service Award. The League's highest honor, the Belle Brotherton Award, was given to Suzanne Dixon from the Holland Area for her exceptional work as an advocate for protecting our natural resources.

MONEY IN POLITICS FORUM OPEN TO THE PUBLIC:  JUNE 21 IN GRAND RAPIDS
Tired of big donors and special interests calling the shots? Than you don't want to miss this forum on Money in Politics! Michigan is slated to have one of the most expensive election years coming up in 2018, with major donors already pouring millions into races for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, 148 seats in the state legislature, and a seat in the U.S. Senate. This is the new normal in the post Citizens United world, but with your help we can end the domination of big money in our elections with a nationwide movement for political equality.

Please join American Promise, The League of Women Voters Michigan, and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, June 21 from 6:00-8:00 pm to find out how you can help get big money out of politics in Michigan! Click here to see the event details and to RSVP.

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
    a. Engage
    b. Mentor
    c. Demonstrate
    d. Advocate

4. Be Realistic – build bridges, not walls
    a. Compromise
    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 2016 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.
REDISTRICTING IN MICHIGAN:  SHOULD POLITICIANS CHOOSE THEIR VOTERS?

The League of Women Voters supports an Independent Commission as a solution to the problems with Michigan's current redistricting process. LWVMI is aware that other groups are thinking about a ballot proposal campaign. At this time, the League has not endorsed a ballot proposal or joined a coalition to do so. The LWVMI Board will evaluate the possibility of joining a ballot campaign based on the proposal and the probability of the campaign's success.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan hosted over 30 Town Halls across the state of Michigan in late 2015 to educate voters on the importance of redistricting. The events were free and open to the public.

The Town Hall presentation explored how legislative lines are drawn in Michigan, who draws them, and why it is a critically important question for those who care about fair representation.

In Michigan the district lines are drawn by the legislature, effectively allowing politicians to choose their voters, rather than the voters choosing their legislators. This system gives the political party in power at the time a tremendous advantage, but is this the best system for the voters? Our Town Halls will explore central questions, such as: What are the consequences of partisan drawn districts that favor one party over another? Is there a better and fairer way to do this? What are the alternatives?


For more information about redistricting, check out the Issues Page on our website.

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 April, 2017 Voter.