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Date: 7/26/2022
Subject: The Voter August 2022
From: LWV-BMC



The Voter
August 2022
An update for League friends and subscribers.

Important Dates and Links

LWV-BMC Public Events
 
Other Public Events
Your Government
 
Information for Voters

LWV-BMC News

Special Legislative Update Scheduled for July 30
The public is invited to a special legislative update on Saturday, July 30, from 9:30-11 a.m. on Zoom. The event is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of Brown County, and the Brown County Chamber of Commerce.

State legislators who represent any part of Monroe County have been invited to discuss the work of the Indiana General Assembly's special session, scheduled to convene on July 25. They will also take questions from attendees. Questions should be framed to enable any of the legislators to weigh in.

This is an easy way for constituents to hear from their legislators and convey what is important to them. Advance registration is required. To sign up for the Zoom meeting, click here. All legislative updates are free and open to the public. 

The work of the Indiana General Assembly can be followed on its website, http://iga.in.gov/, which provides a wealth of information and offers the possibility to track the progress of individual bills. - Debora (Ralf) Shaw

Sample Content Available for Correspondence on Reproductive Rights
Many Indiana communities are holding letter/email writing sessions to their state and national representatives concerning reproductive rights. It can be helpful to start with basic information, then edit it to fit your situation. LWVIN member Jorgena Watson drafted a sample letter packed with information. You can access the letter here. To access a list of your government officials, go here. Enter your address at the upper left and find your elected officials and their contact information on the right. Click the down arrow on the green bar to switch from federal to state, etc.

LWVUS CEO Testifies before Senate Rules Committee
On July 19, Virginia Kase-Solomón, LWVUS CEO, stood before the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration to demand transparency in campaign finances. It's estimated that 1 billion dollars in dark money was spent on the 2020 election. That's 1 billion dollars spent by unknown organizations to influence how we vote. Voters need to know who is funding our elections. That's why we must pass the DISCLOSE Act. Click here to read her remarks and here to view the full recording.

Voter Registration Training Sessions Scheduled for August, September
Help is always needed with voter registration, not just for League events but for other organizations as well. Karen Wheeler, Monroe County Election Supervisor, will conduct "How to Register Voters" training sessions at the Monroe County Election Central office on August 29 (6-7:30 pm), September 6 (4-5:30 pm), and September 8 (10-11:30 am). You do not need to be a League member to attend but you do need to sign up. Even if you have registered voters before, a refresher is a good idea. - Monica Clemons

New Article on Civic Engagement Features Sheila Kennedy
With the July issue, the Limestone Post continued its civic engagement series in collaboration with LWV-BMC. This issue features an article on civic literacy by Sheila Kennedy, an Emerita Professor of Law and Public Policy at IUPUI. According to Kennedy, "Civic engagement is an important aspect of life in a democracy, and an enormous amount of research confirms that far too many Americans lack even the most basic knowledge needed to make informed public judgments." Kennedy goes on to describe how vital it is to have an accurate, basic understanding of America’s history and philosophy if we are to talk to one another over the current divide. Click here to access the article. - Becky Hill

Civic Conversations Discusses Refugee Network
Diane Legomsky, founder of the Bloomington Refugee Support Network and a member of LWV-BMC, joind Civic Conversations to discuss the issue of refugee support in Bloomington and nationally. In the podcast, we talked to Diane about the mission of Bloomington Refugee Support Network and how it interacts with other refugee resettlement organizations like Exodus Refugee Immigration. Diane broke down for our audience the differences between being a refugee and asylum seeker as well as a humanitarian parolee. According to Diane, most Afghans settling in Indianapolis are refugees, but those resettled in Bloomington are mostly humanitarian parolees. Click here to access the podcast. Click here for information on resettlement agencies and definitions. - Becky Hill

Membership Committee Organizes Tabling Events

In June the Membership Committee hosted a table at the Juneteenth Celebration. We handed out lots of information and talked with many people, encouraging them to become involved with the LWV-BMC. We also encouraged them to register to vote at the table next to us sponsored by the Kappa Tau Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a LWV-BMC partner. Their table was hosted by Jeanetta Nelms, a member of the League’s Membership Committee. Thanks to our tabling volunteers Marion Krefeldt, Kristina Lindborg, Deborah Meader, Annamaria Mecca, and Nancy Nye.  Thanks also to Vickie Dacey for help with set-up and takedown.

On June 25, the Membership and Voter Service committees hosted a table with the local 
National Organization of Women, a League partner,  at the Crestmont Family Night Out. We handed out voter information and registered voters. - Kaye Hill

League Marched in the Fourth of July Parade
We had 11 marchers in the July 4th Parade, each carrying a sign that featured one of the League’s positions. This year there was a new parade route that seemed to be a little shorter than the previous route. There were over 100 entries, some of the standard entries and a number of new ones. The weather cooperated and it wasn’t too uncomfortable. 
 
Thanks to Becky Hill for helping with new signs.  And thanks to League participants Dawn Callahan, Monica Clemons, Vickie Dacey, Anne Fraker, Kaye Hill, Kristina Lindborg, Ralf Shaw, and Doris Wittenburg. Also thanks to Dawn's husband Mike Hamilton and NOW participant Julie Hardesty for joining us. We all enjoyed marching in the parade. - Kaye Hill

Community News

Harlem Gospel Travelers at Buskirk-Chumley August 3
The Buskirk-Chumley Theater will host the Harlem Gospel Travelers on August 3 at 8 pm. Click here for more information and to buy tickets. According to the BCT:
 
The Harlem Gospel Travelers are not from Harlem. They came to Harlem, however, from far-flung corners of the five boroughs of New York City, and it was in Harlem, that legendary center of African-American culture, that they found their voices. 
“When everything was stripped away, all we had left was the music,” says singer Thomas Gatling. “Difficult as it was, we realized that God was opening a door, and it was up to us to walk on through to the other side.”

It’s on the other side that we meet a transformed Harlem Gospel Travelers, complete with a new album, a new lineup, and a new lease on life.
 
The LWV-BMC and the Monroe County chapter of the NAACP will be tabling in the theater entryway with information for voters.  - Vickie Dacey

Indiana Needs Comprehensive Redistricting Reform
Julia Vaughn is the executive director of Common Cause Indiana, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. In an op-ed in the Indiana Capital Chronicle, Vaughn describes how the 20-year history of an imbalanced legislative branch in Indiana has undermined representative democracy. Click here to access the article.

Bloomington Pridefest Planned for August 27
The Bloomington PRIDE organization was founded in 2003 by two students studying arts administration at IU. This year the organization will celebrate its 8th annual PRIDE festival on Saturday, August 27 from 2-11:30 pm. This street festival features a vendor expo, as well as workshops with activists and experts, wellness activities, music, food and nonprofit vendors, and live entertainment. Masks will be required for vendors and Pridefest staff. 
This will be the third year that the LWV-BMC will participate in this fun event and show our support for the LGBTQ+ community, along with many other nonprofit organizations. We plan to register voters, share information about the League and redistricting, and give away gerrymander tattoos, stickers, and more.  

Volunteers will be needed to staff the League booth from 2:00 to 8:00 pm. Please plan to join us for this fun event where everyone is welcome and included! If you come, you will deepen your knowledge about the League and experience the pride in our caring community where everyone is welcome and included. Click here to sign up for one of the 2-hour shifts (2:00-4:00, 4:00-6:00, or 6:00-8:00 pm). We will contact you to provide parking and other information for the event. New members will be paired with experienced members to see how tabling is done! 
- Vickie Dacey

Bloomington Redistricting Committee Meets
At long last, the Bloomington Redistricting Commission met early in July. The city recruited members for the commission for many months; a recommendation on new maps is expected by September 7.  The B Square Bulletin reported on this meeting and gave links for the call for public input and for the commission's web page.

Watershed Management Plan Discussed at Lake Monroe Forums
Maggie Sullivan presents the watershed management plan to forum attendees.
Attendees discuss and rank ideas on engaging the public in the plan.
In fall 2019, Friends of Lake Monroe received grant funding from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe. This two-year project studied problems facing the lake, quantified their magnitude, identified their source(s), and created a strategic action plan for addressing them. The official Watershed Management Plan for Lake Monroe was completed in January 2022. Members of LWV-BMC have participated in this project and helped with several early public forums.
 
In May and June 2022, in-person forums in Bloomington and Nashville and a virtual forum were held to provide a summary of the plan and invite input from the public. Over 60 people attended the forums. Click here to view the 20-minute presentation. We asked participants to help us brainstorm ways we can engage the community in reducing the amount of sediment, nutrients, and bacteria that reach Lake Monroe.  
 
Here are a few ideas from attendees: 
  • Organize a "Lake Monroe Day" event to increase awareness of water quality issues
  • Work with septic contractors and realtors to educate about septic maintenance; the goal is to address septic problems before they start
  • Educate through homeowners associations, neighborhood associations, churches, conservancy districts, and farmers markets
  • Engage sororities and fraternities to help with volunteer projects
  • Support state legislation requiring septic inspection before property sale
  • Reach adults through kids by offering programs at schools, camps, 4H, etc.
  • Create an Adopt-A-Shoreline program
For more information on the plan, click hereDo you have ideas on how we can engage the public?  Please email watershed coordinator Maggie Sullivan or call 812-558-0217.
 
In other news, Friends of Lake Monroe anticipates receiving a grant this fall that will fund additional education projects as well as a cost-share program to assist landowners with conservation practices such as stream bank planting, livestock exclusion fencing, cover crops, and riparian buffers. Maggie Sullivan