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Date: 4/2/2024
Subject: The Voter April 2024
From: League of Women Voters - Bloomington-Monroe County

An update for League friends and subscribers.
April 2024

Poll Workers Still Needed!
When League members Monica Clemons, Nancy Goswami, and Ralf Shaw got together after the 2023 election, they agreed that one of the rewards of participating in the election process is getting acquainted with poll workers. Our democracy depends on these ordinary people who make sure elections run smoothly and every vote is counted. You (and maybe 15 of your friends) should consider joining the ranks of Monroe County poll workers in 2024. Not only will you take an active role in our democracy, you'll meet some interesting people...and get paid to do it!
Click here today for information from Election Central. Your help is needed!

Candidate Forum for U.S. House on April 6
A  forum for Democratic candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives, District 9, is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, from 9:00 to 10:30 am. Participants include D. Liam Dorris and Timothy (Tim) Peck. Moderator will be Sonia Leerkamp, Vice President, LWV-Brown County. Co-sponsors of the event include the Leagues of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and Brown County, the Big Ten Voting Challenge, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, IU PACE (Political and Civic Engagement), Kappa Tau Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Monroe County NOW, Monroe County Branch NAACP, and the South Central Indiana Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Note: Republicans in their contested race were invited to a separate forum, but they declined to participate. Community Access Television Services (CATS) through the Monroe County Public Library has been invited to record the forums.
Click here to register for this Zoom meeting. Registration is required.

Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month

From the Arab America FoundationDuring the month of April, the Arab America Foundation formally recognizes the achievements of Arab Americans through the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and non-profit organizations issue proclamations and engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.

Arab America and the Arab America Foundation launched the National Arab American Heritage Month initiative in 2017, with just a handful of states recognizing the initiative. Each year, our grass-roots network of over 250 Arab American volunteers in 26 states gathers hundreds of proclamations from their states, counties, municipalities, and local school districts.
Click here for President Joe Biden's proclamation.

Events and News Sources

News Sources
Bloomington Herald-Times
B Square Bulletin
Limestone Post
Indiana Daily Student
Indiana Capital Chronicle


Check Out VOTE411 for Candidate Information and More!
The two most important websites for Indiana voters are:
And VOTE 411 has something special: candidate opinions on today's issues. Years ago, the League called this information "Keys to the Candidates." And that's exactly what it is. All candidates for a position are asked the same questions by the League and they provide answers in their own words without editing. Check it out before you cast your vote! - Ralf Shaw and Monica Clemons

Indiana’s Statewide Climate Priority Action Plan Submitted to the EPA  
On March 1, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) submitted its Indiana Priority Climate Action Plan to the EPA. The funds to develop this comprehensive plan came from an EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant last year. Indiana will be competing for $4.9 billion in federal funding for implementing the plan, while also identifying other funding sources.
The process of drafting the initial plan included: a survey of best practices from across the country; a statewide greenhouse gas emissions inventory; a prioritization of most impactful measures; and input from several Indiana cities that have developed their own climate action plans, such as Bloomington. The statewide plan does not attempt to replace these important local efforts but rather to complement them.

When the first draft of the plan was completed in 2023, IDEM actively sought input from stakeholders across the state through an online survey, written comments, and public meetings. Environmental justice was built into the entire process, assessing climate risks for low-income and disadvantaged communities, and seeking their input. 
The final plan includes ten priority measures. (You can see them all on page 29 of the plan.) For the sake of brevity, the first four are: 
  • Maintain, develop, and expand utility-scale renewable energy. 
  • Expand community and distributed solar generation. 
  • Increase residential, municipal, and commercial building energy efficiency.
  • Accelerate adoption of light-duty electric vehicles and charging stations. 
You’ll notice that expanding community solar is the second priority listed. The LWVIN is a member of the Hoosiers for Community Solar coalition. Our LWVIN natural resources team will be collaborating with our partners as we continue to advocate for this impactful approach for reducing emissions, while making solar energy accessible to all Hoosiers regardless of where they live. 

For years, the LWVIN has joined with other allies in advocating for a state-wide plan. IDEM’s Climate Priority Action Plan is a huge step toward systematically implementing large-scale climate solutions. - Kristina Lindborg

Candidates for County Council and Commissioner Speak at League Forums
On March 23, the League hosted back-to-back forums for Democrats running for nomination to Monroe County Council At-Large and County Commissioner. Photos below courtesy of Dave Askins, B Square Bulletin.
Council candidates Matt Caldi, Trent Deckard, David G. Henry, and Cheryl Munson addressed thirteen questions, ranging from the jail, to childcare, to housing. Moderator Laura Rusk, President of the American Constitution Society at IU’s Maurer School of Law kept the discussion on track. Click here for the CATS recording.
Note: There seems to be a problem connecting to CATS if you are a Smithville customer for your internet. CATS and Smithville are aware of the problem and are working on it. Clear your browsing history and try again.
The second forum featured Peter Iversen and Julie Thomas, seeking the District 2 nomination as County Commissioner, and Penny Githens, Jody Madeira, and Steve Volan, seeking nomination in District 3. Maria Douglas, Middleway House Development Director, moderated, posing nine questions submitted by the audience. Topics included commissioners’ scheduled meetings during working hours, the jail, and how to allocate support between the environment and housing. Click here for the CATS recording.

March Legislative Update – End of the Session Anxieties
On March 2, Representative Matt Pierce and Senator Shelli Yoder joined 42 constituents to report on what the legislature had accomplished (or not). Representative Pierce lamented the erosion of public input at conference committee reports, noting that one report concluded in just 12 seconds. He is concerned about the sway of private interests in the body, pointing to diminution of wetlands protection and powers granted to financial institutions. Although legislators will not be appointing university trustees, SB 202 still has provisions that might encourage students, or their political advocates, to file nuisance appeals.

Senator Yoder discussed what she described as the ugly: HB 1264's requirement for proof of residency that could be especially burdensome for naturalized citizens; the bad: HB 1108 allowing building on steeper slopes, which impact septic systems; and the good: the apparent defeat of HB 1399 allowing more PFAS (forever chemicals), and the governor’s signing of SB 5, to support utilities in replacing lead lines. SB 256, which would repeal the tax on period products, is undergoing changes in conference.

The legislators responded at more length than usual to seven questions: 
  • How to track how legislators have voted on specific bills.
  • Removal of IUDs from the contraception coverage offered to Medicaid patients in HB 1426
  • What to do about the state’s very low rankings in wetland development, coal ash remediation, support for solar energy, air quality, and water quality. Senator Yoder supported the expertise of state agency personnel, noting that their work should be termed “protection” rather than “regulation.”
  • The state’s regulation of septic systems
  • Prospects for a tax on tobacco
  • How to get more diversity of economic interests among legislators
  • Interim (formerly summer) study committees. Representative Pierce noted that they meet between Labor Day and November 1, up to three times.
In closing, the legislators encouraged those attending to stay tuned for late changes in bills of interest as they go through conference. Audience members expressed their appreciation for Senator Yoder and Representative Pierce’s participation in the Legislative Updates. Find up-to-date information on these and other bills at

This year’s Legislative Updates were co-sponsored by the Leagues of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, Brown County, and Johnson County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. Senators and Representatives representing any part of the three counties were invited to each update. 
Click here to see the CATS recordings of the updates. - Ralf Shaw

Women's History Month Luncheon: Good Talk, Good Food, Good Community
Nine LWV-BMC members attended the March 28, 2024, Women's History Month Luncheon, hosted by the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women. This is always an excellent event, and this year was no exception. The 2024 Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution award was presented to Renee Bridgwaters Carter for her life-long commitment to the youth of her community through her many years of service to the Banneker Community Center.
The 2024 Woman of the Year award was presented to Marsha Lovejoy, who started a local chapter of "I Support the Girls." I Support the Girls is an international organization that makes essential items like bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene productions available for women and girls experiencing poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, natural disasters, or other significant challenges.
The keynote speaker was Karrah Herring, J.D. On November 19, 2020, Indiana governor, Eric Holcomb, announced his appointment of Karrah to his cabinet as Indiana's first-ever Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity Officer for the state. In this role, she works with the governor and his team to improve state government operations as well as remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides.
In addition to the inspiring talks, good food, and good conversations, student members Pearl Vinard and Janani Eswaran hosted a League table at the event. Click here for the CATS recording. - Ann Birch

Newsletter Staff
Editor: Ann Birch
Writer: Pat Day-Miller 
Proofreader: Kristina Lindborg
Images provided by: Dave Miller, Kristina Lindborg, Dave Askins, and Arab America Foundation
Other contributions from leadership, committees, and units