The Nashville Voter
Volume 76, No 5-- May 2023
Welcome to this issue of the LWVN Voter. You'll notice that the Emma page design allows you to access the LWVN Calendar by pressing a button at the top of the page!
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Also, please note that if you want to share/forward this newsletter to others, you MUST click on the envelope icon at the upper right side of this emailed version.
Friday, June 2, 2023 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CT. June Hot Topic: Legislative Update on bills that affect the LGBTQ+ Community. Joseph Woodson, Board member and Advocacy Chair of the Tennessee Pride Chamber will share a legislative update on recent bills passed, including SB 1440, a bill that attempts to discriminate against LGBTQ+ Tennesseans by codifying “sex” as “a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person’s biological sex” throughout state code. Stay tuned for the link.
Sunday, June 4, 2023. League of Women Voters Nashville Annual Meeting. Come meet with members and enjoy light snacks. We will have a brief business meeting and hear from the board about the previous year and what's to come in the next year. RSVP here.
Thursday, June 22, 2023. Nashville Mayoral Debate Series. We have partnered with the Tennessean, News Channel 5, Belmont University, and American Baptist College to host a series of mayoral forums. Learn more about the debates by clicking here.
The League of Women Voters Nashville is excited to partner with the Tennessean, News Channel 5, Belmont University, and American Baptist College on a series of mayoral forums. These events will be held on May 18, June 22, July 6, and August 24. The partners met to discuss the format and possible questions. There was consensus about some of the big issues facing Nashville including affordable housing, solid waste, education, managing growth and development among many other issues. If you have questions you would like us to consider, please email me at email@example.com.
We are also working with NOAH and other community partners on a mayoral forum scheduled for July 9.
Our annual meeting is on Sunday, June 4, at Casa Azafran. We will vote on next year’s budget and new officers. Board member, Sabina Mohyuddin, will give us a tour of the facility, and it will be a great opportunity to mingle and talk about your suggestions for the league. I hope to see you there!
By Reba Holmes
With great delight, we announce and welcome our new and returning members that joined the Nashville League of Women Voters. It is our privilege to welcome these individuals to the organization:
Margaret Adgent, Debra Duby, Susan Foxman, and Karren Teren
We are grateful to these members and all our members that support the League’s activities, programs, and underwriting.
We Are Stronger Because of You
Our League Administrator, Tracy Depp, reviews our membership roster every month. As of May, we have 274 members in our League.
We hope to keep growing our membership and encourage more people to become advocates for democracy and its essential cornerstones. By becoming a member, you can participate in various activities, such as promoting democracy, educating others in the community, engaging in political discussions and forums, and registering new voters.
Your annual membership will also grant you access to the national, state, and local LWV organizations. You can find more information about the different support levels on our secure website https://lwvnashville.org/membership/.
We Are Looking for Volunteers
We are excited to announce the formation of a Membership Committee. This committee will assist with the annual membership campaign and work on other critical membership-related initiatives. We would like to invite you to join the committee and take on tasks such as aiding with membership communication and recruitment.
Committee Job Description:
- The committee will provide a strategic vision to increase membership, focusing on effective, comprehensive growth, new member integration, and membership retention
- Develop a program designed to mentor new members, specifically young adult members
- Increase awareness regarding the League throughout our community by working with other portfolio managers to develop a communication and outreach program
- Develop annual renewal implementation procedures, timeline, communication, and follow-up
- Develop a strategy to recruit potential members across various demographics
- Work in partnership with other portfolio managers, e.g., Voter Services, Education, Metro Council, etc.
If you are interested in serving on the committee please send an email expressing your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to hear from you. Please share your comments regarding why you joined the League of Women Voters? Email your comments to email@example.com.
By Karen Wieckert and Melissa Hanson
The May Hot Topics theme was the past, present and future plans for Fort Negley. Presenters were Dr. Angela Sutton and Mr. Cyril Stewart.
Fort Negley began as a Union fortification built by nearly 5000 laborers, including free blacks, enslaved persons, as well as "contraband" folks seeking refuge in Nashville during the Civil War. The working and environmental conditions were very poor, and 800 folks died during the construction. Following the end of the Civil War, the Fort went through many different phases, including a shameful time as a gathering place for the Klu Klux Klan.
Most recently, in the 2018, plans to create the Cloud Hill commercial development brought many Nashvillians together to save the park, its history, and the green space it provided to an area hemmed in by interstates and other developments. Importantly, in 2019, the Fort was designated a ‘Site of Memory’ within the Slave Route Project by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Since then, Metro Parks began its work to create an Open-Air Museum of National Significance. The Master Plan was finalized in October of 2022, and the first phase started this winter. The development and expansion of building and activities will continue through 2023 and into the future, dependent upon funding. The presentation was moving and informative. This is a place that Nashvillians should preserve and treasure. Our history must not be denied nor forgotten, but provide for a shared future with meaningful hope and justice for everyone in our community.
June Hot Topic
Since 2015, Tennessee has enacted 14 anti-LGBTQ+ laws, more than any other state in the country. It has passed novel legislation, like the business bathroom sign law and the drag ban, and been part of every trend in anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent years: Tennessee has banned transgender students from playing school sports three times; forbidden students from using the correct bathroom at school; allowed government contractors providing child welfare services to discriminate with taxpayer dollars; regulated the ability of transgender youth to access age-appropriate gender affirming care, and several others (https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/breaking-tennessee-senate-passes-bill-to-codify-discrimination-against-lgbtq-people-into-law).
Join us on June 2 when Joseph Woodson, Board member and Advocacy Chair of the Tennessee Pride Chamber will share a legislative update on recent bills passed, including SB 1440, a bill that attempts to discriminate against LGBTQ+ Tennesseans by codifying “sex” as “a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person’s biological sex” throughout state code.
This bill also makes LGBTQ+ people more susceptible to discrimination by defining sex in a way that prevents LGBTQ+ Tennesseans from being covered by state nondiscrimination laws. It will have a disproportionate impact on transgender people.
Earlier this month, Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that will prevent transgender youth from accessing age-appropriate, best practice medical care. The Governor also signed the country’s first ban on some drag performances in one of our country’s legendary music capitals-restricting artists’ freedom of expression and ability to entertain and perform.
Health Care/Public Health Committee
By Constance Caldwell and Claire Sullivan
The month of May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. In the last three years, we the public have been made aware of the issues, causes and results of limited mental health resources and treatment. The isolation that COVID -19 effected upon us has revealed a myriad of problems affecting our children and senior citizens. Many of the horrific events which have shadowed our nation (including multiple mass shootings) have uncovered mental illness as a prominent cause. Our focus as a nation and a community should be on highlighting the significance of good mental health and making resources available to all who may need that type of support. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a good reference to use when planning services.
Now that we have a breather from monitoring our legislators, let us not forget the other health care issues which have not been resolved:
1) Reproductive Health Issues to include abortion and contraception
2) Maternal Care needs especially in rural areas
3) Accessibility to Appropriate Health Care again especially in rural areas
4) Gun violence and gun control
5) Our children in state custody and Foster Care
6) Opioid overdosing
7) Those other social determinants affecting our communities (employment, housing, transportation, daycare, etc.)
There is still a lot of work to do.
NOTE: The LWVTN Convention adopted the Reproductive Rights Position Paper submitted by the Health Care/ Public Health Committee of LWVN. It was adopted in two parts which allows for continued advocacy in this area.
By Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Kalen Russell
Environment is ripe for some action with the Inflation Reduction Act/TN Waste and Reduction Act/ TN Clean Act/ Extended Producer bill (regarding packaging). We hope to focus on local sustainability in schools with Karen McIntyre and local waste management with Jack and Karen leading us in the charge.
Metro Council Meeting
By Pat McCauley and Jack McFadden
Here’s a recap of the Metro Council Meetings 4/18/23, 4/25/23 (special), 4/27/23 (state of metro), 5/2/23
- Seven resolutions passed that clarify what monies will be spent for and extend time to spend previously awarded ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) monies including: A resolution appropriating $2.5 million dollars to Fifty Forward to build the Bordeaux Connection Center, a shared community space in Bordeaux with primary tenants Fifty Forward and Creative Girls Rock.
PUBLIC SAFETY/ TRANSPORTATION/ TRAFFIC/ POLICE
- 1688 passed on 2nd reading a rewrite of animal regulations. "Any animal, excluding domestic cats, must be physically restrained on owner's or keeper's premises including motorized vehicles in a manner that physically prevents the animal from leaving the premises or reaching any public areas; or, must be physically restrained when on public property, or any public area, by a leash, tether or other physical control device not to exceed eight feet in length and under the physical control of a capable person, as except as otherwise authorized by law. Voice control was removed and is not permitted. There must be a physical control of animal.
- 2 people were confirmed for Community Oversight Board on 4/18, which is sad as the state passed a bill, several days later, to disband all civilian Community Oversight Boards that act as watchdogs on police departments in Tennessee. The state claimed TBI had requested this because COB persons were showing up at crime scenes and contaminating evidence. Nashville COB member said this has not happened in Nashville and asked for specific instances of this occurring, but none were given. Memphis is the only other city in Tennessee with a civilian oversight board. Knoxville’s does not have civilian members. Nashville’s was created after voters approved an amendment. Metro Council spent time reviewing best practices from other cities when creating the COB. The state bill would allow local governing bodies to create oversight boards, but they may have no powers to investigate. Amid debate on the bill, a woman in the gallery shouted out in opposition to the bill. The house speaker Sexton had her removed from the gallery according to the Tennessean. The woman willingly left the gallery, but troopers began telling her she had to leave the Capitol building altogether, which Sexton had not publicly requested. She was later handcuffed and carried into a nearby elevator.
- 1829 Belle Meade Plaza development passed on second reading. Many spoke at public hearing for and against the project. One amendment was added. More amendments will be added at third reading.
- 1741 On 4/25, at a special meeting, council passed on third reading a bill authorizing the Metropolitan Government's execution and delivery of an intergovernmental project agreement with The Sports Authority of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County relating to the development and funding of a new, enclosed stadium. This was done following 5.5 hours of public hearing for and against the stadium. Nothing is binding. Council is just giving approval to move forward.
- 2044 A resolution passed at 4/25 special meeting, creating a Nashville Needs Impact Fund to provide resources to nonprofit entities providing services in Nashville and Davidson County involving public education; public transit; affordable housing: and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion generally including gender equity in sports; and, further contemplates the possible deposit into the Nashville Needs Impact Fund of certain revenues expected to be generated in connection with the redevelopment of properties comprising a portion of the Campus and other revenues relating to naming rights for the New Stadium; and, Tennessee Titans or an affiliate will make a payment (the "Dedicated Payment") during each year of the term of the lease for inclusion in the Nashville Needs Impact Fund; and, the amount of the Dedicated Payment will be $1,000,000 in the first year of the lease term and will increase by 3% in each lease year thereafter, for a total payment of $47,575,416.
- 4/27 was the State of the Metro address by the Mayor. It was held at the new high school in Bellevue named James Lawson after the civil rights teacher of non-violence. Mayor listed improvements made during his term which included: 7% pay raise across all metro; and Metro Health department will start a gun lock by mail program modeled after program in Memphis.
Metro Council Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public. Here’s where you can watch Metro Council Meetings:
Williamson County Update
By Bette Holmes and Linda Sherman
Williamson County League of Women Voters had their annual Social at Angela Becker’s home on May 17th. The group of 25 included local members, their guests, and steering committee members. Conversation and refreshments on a beautiful day reminded us of the good fellowship among women belonging to the 100 plus years LWV legacy, working together too defend Democracy and protect the vote in the USA.
The creation of the LWVWC website and by-laws marks the approach of its chapter’s semi-independence. This is becoming a reality through great support from the Nashville League. Thanks to all who have given time and energy to guide the development of a Williamson County chapter, including LWV-N, LWV-Murfreesboro/Robertson Co. and the LWV-TN.
Stay Informed about Upcoming Calendar Events!
If you get the electronic version of the Voter, we want you to know that the upcoming calendar events are available on our wonderful, new website – www.lwvnashville.org. On The calendar scrolls on the events of the current and upcoming events thanks to Tracy Depp, who keeps the calendar current. If you haven’t taken a look, do so to make sure you mark your calendar so you won’t miss a thing!
ATTENTION: The Nashville Voter is a digital publication. If you have received this copy of the Voter in the mail, it means the League of Women Voters of Nashville does not have an e-mail address for you. Please help us by sending your e-mail address to LWVNash@gmail.com. Being on the LWVN e-mail database ensures your receipt of all LWVN newsletters, event invitations, meeting announcements, and Call to Action alerts.
2022-2023 LWVN Board of Directors
Co-Presidents: Lara Webb
Immediate Past President: Madeline Garr
1st Vice Presidents: Melissa Hanson and Karen Weickert
Secretary: Elise Lamar
Treasurer Susan Mattson
Communications: Ophelia Doe
Community Connections: Sabina Mohyuddin and Katelyn Benhoff
Education: Harper-Grace Niedermeyer
Environment: Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Kalen Russell
Health Care/Public Health: Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan
Membership: Reba Holmes
Metro Government: Pat McCauley and Jack McFadden
Voter Services: Beth Gordon and Emily Grohs
Williamson County Representative: June Bond
Nominating Committee Chair: Senator Brenda Gilmore
Nominating Committee Members: Betsy Walkup, Constance Caldwell, Hasina Mohyuddin, June Bond, and Brenda Wynn