Advocacy Committee Report- November

ADVOCACY COMMITTEE MONTHLY REPORT to the BOARD

Date: November 1, 2017

Chair: Debra Chandler   dachandler55@gmail.com   561-254-4441        Report of Issues, Events & Dates:

  • Nine members LWVPBC attended the State Leadership Conference in Orlando.  The speakers were excellent and the workshops informative.  PBC was very well represented as Karen Wilkerson headed an excellent workshop series on Advocacy, Nancy Cohen, as part of a panel with Marty, our state lobbiest, gave great information on NPVIC, and Ethelene Jones headed the Speaker’s Bureau section.  Karen’s portion was standing room only.  How lucky are we, here in Palm Beach County, as she has given the same classes to our members in her Pitch Perfect sessions? Myrna Perez, LWVF’s Legal Counsel from the Brennan Center, was the speaker at our “Powerful Leaders Dinner” on Friday night.  She was dynamic and enthusiastic, describing the League as “presente”, meaning not just present, but leading!  She described her work with the League and the strategy for future issues. Kate Kennedy, LWVUS Chief Development Officer, spoke enthusiastically at breakfast on Saturday.  She gave some tips on fundraising at the local level. Dr. Brenda Wade, an internationally recognized relationship expert, author, and trainer put us in touch with our hearts. State President Pam Goodman said, when referring to the three keynote speakers, “A special thank you to our three keynote speakers: Myrna Pérez from the Brennan Center for Justice who encouraged us to have Vision, Courage and Fidelity! Kate Kennedy, LWVUS Development Director for her enthusiastic and motivating presentation on keeping the financial fuel flowing that all organizations need. And Dr. Brenda Wade for taking a diversity discussion and reminding us that engagement at all levels is about genuine connections, not only intellectual or political pursuits.

 

  LWVF Leadership Conference               October 21, 2017

Workshop attended:   Advocacy: Testimony and Best Practices

This was a great workshop for anyone planning an advocacy campaign.  Julie Kessel and Patti Brigham each took us quickly through the steps of recent successful campaigns they had staged, Patti opposition to Open Carry, Julie Campaign Finance in which St. Petersburg passed an ordinance limiting campaign financing for city offices.  

Workshop participants were divided into two teams and asked to plan and then present a campaign to ban Styrofoam in cities.

Our team was well organized and worked very well together, and in 20 minutes put together a well organized plan from goal setting, team formation, branding and messaging, strategy, tactics, and closure.  It was a fun method of reinforcing the message, and very pertinent to our NPVIC campaign.

Nancy Cohen

nancyecohen1@icloud.com

Thank you for the opportunity of representing LWVPBC in the areas of Membership, Social Media and FLSUN.

 

LWV Leadership Conference

Workshop: Health Care and Reproductive Health Care

Workshop Leaders: Cecile Scoon and Amy Weintraub

Reproductive rights: 1 in 3 women in USA access abortion based on public health data.
Where abortion is legal it is safe. Illegal it is not safe.
5,000 women died every year from illegal botched abortions. In other countries, mainly 3rd world nations, largest reason where women die is botched abortions.
Most are in their 20s. Most are Moms. 6 in 10 women already have children – at least one. Another 20% have 2. Main reason for abortion in those situations is economics.

Freedom of religion – millions of religious people support access to abortion, although they oppose abortion itself. (Catholics for Abortion)
Access to abortion services remains a critical issue.
There are two types of abortions.
Emergency Abortion
Morning after pill – not considered abortion
Can take up to 5 days after unprotected sex
No prescription needed (can be found in drugstores near condoms – cost $35 – $50

Medication Abortion
Ends pregnancy
Works early in pregnancy – up to 9 weeks after last period
Not sold over the counter
Only dispensed by a clinician
Plan B One Step or Take Action – Emergency medications – very strong

Science fact: Abortion does not increase chance of depression or cancer or infertility.

Working on LWV USA Policy – Affirm constitutional right of privacy of individual to make reproductive choices. This is under attack by a recently formed committee.

Working on Florida Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC)
Florida Supreme Court has supportive abortion privacy clause in the Florida Constitution
CRC is trying to place amendment on 2018 ballot to eliminate privacy clause – there are opponents trying to force CRC to do this.
Privacy Clause guarantees each person to be let alone and free from government interference.

Legislation:
State SB320/HB189 Clinic Protection Act: trying to intimidate women from using clinics. In Sarasota people were called but did not really respond to removing protesters.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers look like clinics, but are faith based centers to talk women out of abortions.

State (LWV Oppose) HB41/SB44 Legitimization of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” – no medical or health officials. State can give them money. League is opposing it.

Florida is abstinence only. No information re pregnancy needed to be provided.
211 information – call for community services including abortion. In Tampa Bay call 211 only gives Crisis Pregnancy Centers. 211 is government funded but also run through the local United Way or community funded.
Planned Parenthood is not listed as a choice.

Red Capes and White Bonnets – League’s recommended protections. Hand Maid Tales is the basis.
12th & Delaware is a crisis movie on HBO – highly recommended

Second part of the workshop:
Health Care in Florida 2017 – Good, Bad and Ugly
ACA impact:
December 19, 2016, 1.3 million people enrolled in Florida. – largest
9 million Floridians have employer based health care coverage
ACA removed lifetime limits from policies
Young adults covered until age 26 – about 113,000 in number
Pre-existing illness not excluded.
Some have tax credits
Women pay the same as men
Greater transparency and often better choices
Over 4 million covered by Medicare
Lower costs for prescription drugs
Free preventative care
Wellness visits
Preventative screenings
Better hospitals: safety with incentives to reduce accidents and mistakes
Hospital readmissions dropped 3% 2010 to 2015
Medicaid Expansion was proffered, but refused by Florida
Florida was offered $5 billion a year for expansion to cover about 800 million Floridians
28% (over 300,000) of those who would have been covered have mental illness that could have been treated.
9,000 deaths a year
Repeal and replace – didn’t work

When asked “How will repeal and replace affect expansion.” Chairman Greg Walden replied, “Don’t know.”

Block grant could take away immediate coverage from about 70 million Americans who are now covered

This will allow states to carve up federal money as they see fit.

Now: Trump sledgehammer approach is executive orders – ACA piecemeal attack

Allow states to offer cheaper insurance with less coverage

Small business can join associations Allow healthier young people to buy cheaper insurance

This will leave older and sicker people in the market alone and cost will go up
Executive Order Allowing Associations:

CSR is a Cost Sharing Reduction paid by the federal government, change sides too quickly

Prediction: insurance premiums will go up dramatically

October 17, a bipartisan tax offered to continue CSRs for 2 years.This is destabilizing to insurance companies because there is no true predictability

Problems of this bill:Does not allow reinsurance issues that states need

Provides for waivers of states providing mandatory minimum under ACA

State like Florida walked away from federal money for insurance; it does not look good that insurance will be available

What Can We Do:Educate ourselves about effects of different plans

Read information presented by Health & Human Services

Talk with legislators about Health Care

Stress financial and medical benefits of preventive care

Host educational panels and involve policy makers

CHIP – Children Health Insurance Program – has bipartisan support – money will be running out soon

Scott has made some services available to Puerto Rican people in the United States such as kidney dialysis which is federally funded by MedicareRepublicans want to save money for tax refunds and will take money from medical care.

Submitted by Barbara Katz

 

LWV Leadership Conference

Workshop: Felon Rights and Restoration of Rights

Motto/Slogan: Say YES to Second Chances

www.SecondChancesFL.org

Workshop Leaders: Cecile Scoon, Bay County and Jackie Lee, Campaign Director for the state

Over 6.1 million Americans are disenfranchised, of which 1.6 million are Floridians who cannot apply for restoration of voting rights.

Application for restoration is expensive.

Approval or denial by the Clemency Board can be arbitrary

Florida leads by far and is in the top 5.  Florida is considered the worst.

Maine and Vermont allow imprisoned felons to vote

Only 4 states take away rights: Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia

Article VI Section 4 Bars felons from voting

Article IV Section 8A Governor and 2 cabinet members comprise the Clemency Board which in Florida involves 4 people

How a felon applies for restoration:

1. Must complete his/her sentence

2. Have to wait 5 to 7 years (drug offense)

3. Submit application

4. Must attend a mandatory Clemency Board hearing for more serious offenses

85% are not restored

Board meets 4 times a year and 66% are denied

There is a backlog of 10,513 cases which equates to 38 years to clear the current backup

Hearing are archived and can be watched on Florida Channel

Why should rights be restored?Second Chances – Redemption – Fairness

We all do things that need 2nd chances.

Punished – went to jail – did their time – believe in system of redemption and simply not fair

People who get rights back are part of society and lead a productive life

Safer communities = cost savings = it’s the right thing to do

Governor Christ liberalized the restoration process.  Governor Scott just cut it down.

Clemency Board is arbitrary

In 1974 Correctional Reform Act was challenged in the Florida Supreme Court by those who opposed the decision.  A Constitutional Amendment which will restore rights is needed.  It will remove the waiting periods.

Currently the process is very expensive. An amendment will do away with this expense.

Restore the vote.  It’s the right thing to do was the theme of the workshop

*See link on sheet: Helpful Hints (attached).

Procedure regarding the petition:Must do the LWV form- League needs the credit.Every League has a set number

We have a team leader who does the reporting.  We should find out who that person is. Mail report sheet to Miami.  Recommended we see Samantha B’s video: Miami right.com

What Can You Do?

1. Support Floridians for Fair Democracy

2. Sign the petition to restore voting rights in Florida

A coalition of organizations, including the League, the ACLU, Faith in Florida, the Alliance for Safety & Justice, SEIU and others is working together to restore voting rights and returning citizens to a productive life.

Goal is 10 persons/petitions per member.

Jody Poke, a new League member, from Gainesville who is a leader for NCJW & Central Florida Felon’s Rights spoke about her experiences.  She was in prison for 8 years (released in 2014); 5 years on probation; she noted Florida is a lifetime felony system.  She stated “Voting is central key to being successful in Florida.”

Jackie Lee, Second Chance Campaign Director for the State gave the following information:

Deadline is February 1, 2018. 766,000 petitions must be verified.  We need 25% above that number.County Supervisor of Election has 30 days to get in the petitions.

Our deadline is December 5, 2017 for 150,000 petitions.  League’s goal is 60% of that number.To get people to sign the restore vote rights petitions depends on the picture we paint.

November 11, 2017 is a Day of Action; there will be a number of events that day.  There will be a parade in Panama City that night.  We were asked to go to functions that day and ask for signatures.

League is waiting for opposition to take action and be the anti-Christ. We expect opposition, but that won’t happen until we are on the ballot.

Next year a media campaign and other things are planned.

Submitted by Barbara Katz