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Date: 3/1/2024
Subject: The Voter March 2024
From: League of Women Voters - Bloomington-Monroe County

An update for League friends and subscribers.
March  2024

Primary Election Day is May 7! Are you ready?
Click here for a quick look on voting options.

Celebrating Women's History Month

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a prominent journalist, activist, and researcher who battled sexism, racism, and violence. She fought for African-American rights throughout the American South.
Susan B. Anthony (left) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (right), prominent women's suffrage leaders who traveled the country together promoting votes for women.
Many believe that agitation for women's rights in the U.S. began with the women's suffrage movement. And, indeed, that was a major factor. But as early as 1776 there was evidence that women were not going to stay quietly in their place. In 1776, Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, wrote in a letter to her husband:
"...I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. ...If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."
In 1981, Congress passed a resolution that authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Beginning in 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women's History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. See the LWV-BMC History webpage for the history of our local League and resources on the fight for suffrage.

International Women's Day (March 8) was initiated in 1911 as a global day “celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” This special day calls for collective action toward gender parity. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group, or organization specific. Interestingly, according to longtime LWV member Sally Hegeman, the League chose not to join this effort in 1911 because of its socialist origins, although it participates now.

Gloria Steinem, celebrated feminist, journalist, and activist once said, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."  The International Women's Day theme for 2024 is "Inspire Inclusion." See what you can do to truly make a positive difference for women.

From LWV-BMC Leadership

First 2024 League Gathering Planned for March 19
Plan on coming to the first 2024 League gathering on Tuesday, March 19. The event will take place at St. Thomas Lutheran Church,  3800 E. Third St., Bloomington, from 6:00-7:30 pm. Our guest speaker will be from the Bloomington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This sorority awards scholarships to promising students with financial need who attend either Ivy Tech Community College or Indiana University Bloomington. LWV-BMC has contributed to the scholarship fund in honor of Mamie A. Jennings Merrifield, a founding member of the Bloomington chapter.
This is an opportunity for both members and friends to socialize and learn about volunteer activities and other events. Not a member? No problem! Anyone interested in the League is welcome. Refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you in March. Questions? Contact No need to register for this event...just be there! - Annamaria Mecca
**Note: There is road work ongoing at the intersection of Smith and Third St, which is the location of St. Thomas. There is a possibility that the intersection may be closed on the night of the gathering and you may need to take that into consideration. If we have an update before the meeting or decide to change the location, check our home page for an announcement (

Women's History Month Luncheon Set for March 28
The Women's History Month Luncheon is an opportunity to recognize individual and collective accomplishments of women in the community. This year, the event will be held at the Monroe County Convention Center, 302 S. College Ave., Bloomington, on Thursday, March 28. The event includes exhibitors from local women-owned businesses and organizations as well as a presentation that embodies the national theme of Women's History Month 2024, "Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion." Also recognized will be the winners of the  2024 Women's Achievement Awards. Doors will open at 11:15 am to view exhibits; lunch will be from 12:00-1:30 pm. Tickets are on sale until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door of the event. 
***If you are a League member and would like to sit at the League table, contact Annarmaria Mecca ( The League will also have an exhibit at the luncheon. - Annamaria Mecca

Events and News Sources



Final Legislative Update Set for March 2 - Register Now!
The final legislative update for the 2024 session of the Indiana legislature will be Saturday, March 2, from 9:30 to 11 am. This is a Zoom virtual session. All state legislators representing Monroe, Brown, and Johnson counties have been invited to report on their work and priorities for the 2024 Indiana General Assembly and take questions from attendees. These include: Sen. Aaron Freeman, Sen. Cyndi Carrasco, Sen. Rodric Bray, Sen. Greg Walker, Rep. Robb Greene, Rep. Craig Haggard, Rep. Michelle Davis, Sen. Eric Koch, Sen. Shelli Yoder, Rep. Dave Hall, Rep. Bob Heaton, Rep. Peggy Mayfield, and Rep. Matt Pierce. Click here to go to the Legislative Updates page where you can register to attend the March 2 session and/or view the previous sessions. Click here to find your legislators and learn more about contacting them. - Monica Clemons and Ralf Shaw

Final Voter Registration Training Scheduled for March 3 - Register Now!
Want to play a part in your democracy? The League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County is hosting voter registration training on Sunday, March 3, from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington. Monica Clemons, co-chair of the LWV-BMC Voter Service Committee, will lead this session. Learn how to use online tools to register your friends, family, and neighbors...and who knows who else? Let's help get out the vote! Click here to sign up for this session. Last chance to register! Questions? Email - Ralf Shaw and Monica Clemons

First Candidate Forum Planned for March 23
Candidate forums for the primary election are being planned and are tentatively scheduled for March 23 (Democratic candidates for county council and commission) and April 15 (Republican candidates for county commission). Click here to go to the candidate forums page and check on progress. - Ralf Shaw and Monica Clemons

February Podcast Features Wonderlab
For the Ferbuary podcast, the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County welcomes Karen Jepson-Innes (photo at left), WonderLab executive director, and Kelly Debikey (photo at right), WonderLab education director, to share with our audience the many exciting opportunities that the WonderLab Museum of Science Health and Technology offers. WonderLab was formed in 1995 by a small group of Bloomington citizens interested in the importance of science education within a community. The goal of WonderLab is to teach and make science education fun while also creating a permanent museum that celebrates the importance of science exploration and discovery. 
Kelly and Karen shared the many exciting programs and exhibits that the WonderLab offers, such as Grape Vine, Animal Ambassadors, Science Sprout Program, and Honeybee Colony, saying that children are natural scientists and love to discover how our world works through science. Check out the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology, Bloomington. - Becky Hill and Jim Allison

February Legislative Update Summary – The End of the Session Approaches
Out of thirteen Indiana legislators invited, only Representative Matt Pierce and Senator Shelli Yoder participated in the Legislative Update on Saturday, February 17. Some forty constituents attended. The legislative session has passed the half-way point; Sen. Yoder predicts that it might end by February 28, but more likely March 8. As Ranking Member of the Environment Committee, she hopes to spur action with Tuesday’s open hearings to recommend topics for the committee to study. 
She expressed concerns about HB 1399 redefining PFAS (forever chemicals), HB 1363 on wetland protection, HB 1108 allowing building on steeper slopes, and HB 1426's removal of IUDs from the contraceptives offered to Medicare patients after childbirth. 

Rep. Pierce predicted that the session would conclude March 7 or 8. He discussed SB 202, which would review faculty for attempts to indoctrinate students. The bill would also allow legislative leaders to appoint two trustees for each state-supported college and university, replacing the trustees elected by alumni. He plans to offer an amendment to SB 135 to study nonpartisan efforts for redistricting. He called attention to SB 150, which considers how AI and cybersecurity can improve governmental operations. 

The legislators responded to 13 questions: 
  • Union of Concerned Scientists’ warning about threats to tenure and DEI education in SB 202
  • HB 1108 and HB 1363 reducing environmental protections, claiming to increase affordable housing
  • HB 1426 reasons for removing IUDs from coverage
  • Why are Indiana waterways so polluted?
  • What is being done to develop a state-level water plan, with Boone County’s attempts to take water from Tippecanoe County?
  • Are there any proposals to restrict tubal ligation? (No)
  • What was the rationale for changing the make-up of university boards-of-trustees?
  • Where do things stand with the bill to restrict the governor’s emergency powers? 
  • HB 1264 introduces barriers to voting by introducing credit reports to verify voters’ addresses.
  • Are vasectomy and tubal ligation legal in Indiana? (Yes)
  • How to approach Attorney General Rokita's "Eyes on Education" portal
  • Indiana voters tend to be middle-of-the-road-conservative; why is the legislature leading us to the right? 
  • Do Republican legislators avoid these legislative updates because they fear being primaried? (i.e., challenged that they are not sufficiently partisan)
Rep. Pierce and Sen. Yoder concluded with Jon Stewart’s observation, "Democracy is hard work, day in, day out." Rep. Pierce encouraged constituents to engage friends, family, and neighbors to find out who is representing them and hold them accountable. Sen. Yoder encouraged attendees to help persuade more legislators to participate in these updates, to encourage more conversations. Find up-to-date information on these and other bills at

The next Legislative Update will be Saturday, March 2. Updates are co-sponsored by the Leagues of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, Brown County, and Johnson County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. You can register for the March 2 update and see the CATS recordings of the January and February updates at – Ralf Shaw

Community News

New Radon GIS Map Available for Monroe County
Radon is a major cause of lung cancer and it arises from decomposition of uranium and radioactive minerals in the soil.  There are some “hot spots” (more than four picocuries) in the basements and lower floors of some houses in Monroe County because of their location on bedrock. An interactive map is now available that displays all of the radon tests conducted by the Monroe County Health Department. Testing kits are available through the Monroe County Health Department. Remediation is possible through a blower system that changes the basement/crawl space air or through passive ventilation changes. - George Hegeman

Limestone Post Publishes Articles from Indiana Environmental Author
Have you read the latest story "The Work of Beth Edwards, Award-Winning Environmental Reporter" by Beth Edwards?

Beth Edwards was an award-winning environmental reporter who, along with Enrique Saenz, developed the Indiana Environmental Reporter at Indiana University into a source for environmental news that was respected statewide and nationally. Limestone Post looks at four of her reporting projects: on coal ash, confined animal feeding operations, Martinsville’s drinking water, and a controversial coal-to-diesel plant. Click here to read about her work. - Becky Hill

Newsletter Staff
Editor: Ann Birch
Writer: Pat Day-Miller 
Proofreader: Kristina Lindborg
Images provided by: Becky Hill, David Miller, LWVUS, LWVIN,
Other contributions from leadership, committees, and units