The Nashville Voter
Volume 75, No 3-- March 2022
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!
Please note, you can increase your screen size within your personal information manager (i.e., Microsoft Outlook). In the Microsoft Outlook Message Bar at the top of the e-mail page, choose "Other Actions'' and then in the dropdown menu choose "Zoom." The Zoom window allows you to increase the file size; try 140% for easier onscreen reading.
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.
March 16 at 1:00 pm: League of Women Voters of Williamson County Meeting. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Blue Raider Debate Team will debate the question: Should the Electoral College be eliminated from the U.S. Presidential elections? Click here to register or select the Visit Our Calendar tab on the Brentwood John P. Holt Library Website.
March 29 at 6:00 pm: Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee and the Nashville Bar Association will hold a Candidate Forum for District Attorney General at Nashville School of Law. Click here to learn more and register. For those joining by Zoom, log in information will be sent the day before the event takes place. Please register with the email where you would like to receive the Zoom link.
April 1 at 12:00 pm: League of Women Voters of Nashville HOT TOPIC. Guest speaker: Grace Stranch, the COO and Vice President of Conservation and Policy at the Harpeth Conservancy. Look for an email to register for the Zoom Hot Topic.
April 2 at 7:00am-2:00pm: Neighbor2Neighbor C4Nashville Conference at the Music City Center. Join your fellow neighbors from throughout Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County and help identify barriers, focus on solutions, and work together to address some of the major problems facing our neighborhoods today: development, dangerous driving, the litter crisis, homelessness in our neighborhoods, and the lack of engaged neighbors. Click here to learn more.
April 20 at 1:00 pm: League of Women Voters of Williamson County Meeting. Ryan Jackwood, the Watershed Science and Restoration Program Director will speak about programs and restoration priorities based on water quality assessment. Click here to register or select the Visit Our Calendar tab on the John P. Holt Brentwood Library Website.
Metro Nashville Council Meetings: https://nashville.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Mark your calendars!! League Women Voters of Nashville Annual Meeting! Keep June 5th, a Sunday, open from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. More details to follow soon!!
The Board, as always, is hard at work. Sometimes it seems that when one thing is dealt with, another pops up. That is so true this Legislative session. Through the State Action Committee and its leadership, the Environment, Education, Voter Services, Public Health/Health Care and Education committees have been engaged in monitoring legislation and getting out action alerts for members to contact their senators and representatives regarding bills that are of concern to the League. In addition, the Voter Services committee is also hard at work in high schools across the county registering and educating first time voters in time for the primary, general, and national elections this year. To that end, Susan Mattson, Treasurer, has been working on getting VOTE411.org updated with detailed information relevant to our upcoming elections.
You may be asking how you can help. There are committees you can join. VOTE411, Education, Voter Services, Membership, and Public Health/Health Care Committees are active and always looking for interested members. Interested? Email email@example.com and I will put you in touch with the Co-Chairs of your committee of choice.
We all understand from our century-old history that it takes many hands to build change. Thank you for all you do.
Vote411 Needs You!
By Susan Mattson
VOTE411 is the US League of Women Voters on-line voter guide. VOTE411.org provides detailed Tennessee election information including links to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot. In addition, the local leagues can use the platform to develop profiles of each race and candidate in their area. Candidates answer questions developed by the local LWV on-line in their own words. Voters can enter their address to get a list of races they are eligible to vote in and read candidate’s profiles and positions or look at all Tennessee races.
The Nashville League is developing local VOTE411 guides again for the three 2022 elections: the May 3rd Local Primary, the August 4th Local General election and State and Federal Primary, and the November 8th State and Federal elections. Information on candidates should be available by the start of early voting for each election.
How can you help the LWVN get the most from their VOTE411 guide?
- Go to www.VOTE411.org to learn the information that is available to the public on Tennessee election laws. After April 7th, check out the candidate information for the various races.
- Encourage candidates to respond to the LWVN’s VOTE411 questions. They will receive emails from the LWVN with a direct link to complete their responses. The success of the guide is to have as many candidates as possible to respond.
- Encourage others to check out www.VOTE411.org for election information and to review the candidates’ responses on their qualifications and goals.
Feeling motivated to be a part of the LWVN VOTE411 guide and its important public service? I need an assistant to learn the software program (it was updated this year and is easier than ever) and follow-up with candidates to get more responses. If you are comfortable with computers – high technology skills are not necessary – and want to help voters become more informed about the candidates, please contact me to learn more. It is time to expand our VOTE411 team!
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: Laura Carroll, Angeline Henderson, Katherine Freundlich, J. Thomas Laney, Chris and Lesley Lassiter
We are grateful to these members and all our members that support the League’s activities, programs, and underwriting.
We Continue to Grow
Monthly our League Administrator, Tracy Depp reconciles our membership roster. The official league count for February is 248.
With your help we will continue increasing membership, we need more advocates to defend and protect our system of democracy and its cornerstones.
Membership allows you to share a year’s worth of experiences promoting democracy, educating others in the community, participating in political discourse, registering new voters, to name a few. Plus, the annual membership includes membership to the national, state, and local LWV organizations. Details regarding the various support levels may be found on our secure website https://lwvnashville.org/membership/
Join the Membership Committee
We are excited to announce that we are establishing a Membership Committee to provide guidance during the annual membership drive and develop other vital programs related to membership. We invite you to join the new committee to serve as a communication lead, recruiting lead, social media lead, etc.
Membership 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.
Meeting Schedule: The initial meeting will be held in March or April 2022 via Zoom. We will meet monthly after the first meeting.
If you are interested in serving on the committee please send an email expressing your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non Partisan Comment Regarding Voting
“The assault on our freedom to vote will be felt by every American, in every community, in every political party,” she said. “And if we stand idly by, our entire nation will pay the price for generations to come.” Unknown
We want to hear from you. Share your comments regarding why join the League of Women Voters? Protecting Voting Rights, Fairness in Voting, etc. Email your comments to email@example.com.
By Committee Co-Chairs Karen Wieckert and Carole Kenner
Our April Hot Topic Speaker Grace Stranch is the COO and Vice President of Conservation and Policy at the Harpeth Conservancy. Grace will discuss Harpeth Conservancy’s (“HC”) mission of restoring and protecting clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee by employing scientific expertise and collaborative relationships to develop, promote, and support broad community stewardship and action. She will focus on how HC leads collaborations, builds consensus, solves problems, and puts solutions in place that reduce pollution and maintain healthy areas.
HC’s policy work will be highlighted with a special emphasis on the McCrory/Quarry bill (HB2328/SB1953) that was active during this legislative session. She will also provide examples of the different ways individuals can participate in policy work that promotes clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee. Learn more here: https://harpethconservancy.org/
Health Care/Public Health Committee
By Committee Co-Chairs Constance Caldwell and Claire Sullivan
There Is Still More to Do!
We continue to watch our legislators as they move toward the closing of this General Session. There remain several health care issues which need to be addressed. Your Health Care/Public Health Committee invites you to keep an eye on these pending bills that can have significant impact on the citizens of Tennessee:
- SB 0176 will enable advanced practice registered nurses to practice to the full extent of their training and licensure. 90% of Tennessee's ninety-five counties are considered to be primary physician shortage areas. We are seeking to build equitable access to primary care especially in rural areas
- SB 1906 would allow TennCare monitoring of high-risk pregnancies
- SB 1930 would allow grants to provide childcare, child support, health and mental health care, and workforce skill training to new mothers.
- SB 2150 would require TennCare coverage of doula services from certified doulas when requested.
- SB 2071 would require SNAP Recipients to be placed in an employment or training program.
Tennessee is one of just 12 states that has not yet expanded its TennCare program to cover all adults ages 19-64 who are living in poverty. Although efforts to move this forward died yet again in legislative committees this year, we will work with League members across the state to be sure legislators running for office explain their position on Medicaid expansion!
The committee is also monitoring efforts to control the dual epidemics of substance misuse-related overdose deaths and COVID-19. We are also watching legislative and Supreme Court actions on those cases that can affect reproductive rights provided by Roe vs.Wade. We are investigating reports that Tennessee will join the growing number of states debating legislation restricting abortions and reproductive rights. Please watch for ACTION ALERTS from the state LWV on this issue!
The next meeting of our LWV Nashville public health committee will be March 23rd at 1:30 PM. Our invited speaker will address the adequacy of affordable housing in Davidson County. If you are interested in joining, please let Madeline know and we will send you a link to join us on zoom.
By Committee Co-Chairs Jami Oakley and Mary Claire Dismukes
There are many education bills up for discussion right now, in categories from charter schools to voucher expansion to limiting discussion of race and gender in the classroom, in addition to the overarching priority of the new funding formula, Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA). Find here a TISA explainer directly from the state. And here’s some additional perspective from The Tennessean.
Most of the time of the education committee this month has been spent in meetings, researching bills and their implications, and discussing reaction strategy to all of the action, in addition to sending multiple Action Alerts to members. The League was represented during the first week of March at an education-focused day on the hill organized by the Tennessee Alliance for Equity in Education.
The LWV is happy to report that two of the primary bills that we’ve advocated against with Action Alerts have continued to be deferred (charter school accelerator bill HB2833), or have been defeated (“education savings account” expansion/vouchers HB2861). These are two great wins for public education this month. We’ll keep you updated on when to push further against the charter accelerator bill, which is still alive, and also with news of a newly-resurfaced bill that would allow for for-profit management of charter schools. We did send an Action Alert for this bill, HB0535, and it was deferred for at least a week upon its introduction. Read more about charter school expansion and the potential implications here.
HB2143, which is where the language detailing the new funding formula has appeared, was introduced with a presentation to legislators from Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, and will continue to be debated throughout the month. Our current position is that there are many more questions than answers, and we’re encouraging legislators to give the process the time it deserves, perhaps waiting to finalize the formula until next year. Recent revelations show that Metro Nashville Public Schools would receive a much smaller amount of new investment from the state than seems warranted or fair, due to the fiscal capacity piece written into the bill. Read more about it here.
The LWV continues to participate in statewide discussion and advocacy in tandem with other groups through the TN Alliance for Equity in Education and a smaller, more focused subgroup that is solely focused on the TISA funding bill. Rather than advocating for or against, this coalition of eight statewide organizations is canvassing its members and diving into the details to maintain a growing list of questions about the TISA to pose to legislators as the discussion deepens. Current questions include clarification of how the base funding was calculated and will be divided between local and state dollars, how weights will be determined, how the formula will allow for growth due to inflation and budget changes, and much more.
We’d love to add any of your questions or concerns to the list – email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything to add.
Education-focused Action Alerts will surely keep hitting your inbox, but rest assured that the communications you’re sending are having an effect – let’s keep it up!
By Education Co-Chairs Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Barbara Gay
This month the Environmental Committee highlights the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). It is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
CCL meets the 2nd Saturday of most months 11a.m.-1p.m. at the Goodwill Lifsey Center located at 937 Herman St. The local meeting is from 11 to noon, and then at noon there is a national conference call, by phone, with a speaker on a topic of current interest. For more information or to join, check out the CCL website.
Metro Council Meeting
By Committee Co-Chairs Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan viewed the Metro Council Meeting via livestream.
Here’s an overview of what happened:
New process for a pre-budget public comment period at council meetings is beginning. The public can verbally comment at the March 15th council meeting for a maximum of 2 minutes. You must have registered by March 8th. Take note that the regular public budget comment period is in June.
License Plate Reader Regulations: Original thought was that LPRs track cars and not people, but now metro is in the weeds, or perhaps the mud, with this thought
- Bills #1 & #2 & #3 have been deferred for 2 meetings on second reading. They need refinement.
- Bill #1 was to not share LPR info with immigration authorities. This apparently violates state law forbidding sanctuary cities.
- Bill #2 was to not use ICE hot lists. This also violates state law forbidding sanctuary cities.
- Bill #3 was to add a definition of “personally identifiable information.” There needs to be a uniform definition in metro to define what personally identifiable information is regarding LPRs. Don’t want various departments (police, fire, etc.) to have conflicting definitions
- Bill #4 was approved on second reading. All bills must pass 3 readings.
- Bill #4 gives the Community Oversight Board the same access to license plate reader info as the District Attorney and Police Department to investigate complaints. It will probably pass its third reading at the next council meeting.
- A contract between the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and the Mental Health Cooperative to ensure the provision, integration, and implementation of mental health training for Metro Police Department Personnel by Mental Health Cooperative Clinical Personnel passed on second reading.
Williamson County Update
By Committee Chair Linda Sherman
Harpeth Conservancy is a science-based conservation organization dedicated to clean
water and healthy ecosystems for Tennessee rivers, and develops and promotes
community stewardship and action.
In March of 2019, Ryan Jackwood became the Watershed Science and Restoration Program Director of the Conservancy. He will speak to the LWVWC at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 about programs and restoration priorities based on water quality assessment. Please join us on Zoom by registering at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library’s website April calendar page.
Please let us know if there is a death in your family so that the membership may be aware of your loss.
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.
2021-2022 LWVN Board of Directors
Co-Presidents: Madeline Garr and Lara Webb
1st Vice Presidents: Carole Kenner and Karen Weikert
Secretary: Elise Lamar
Treasurer Susan Mattson
Communications: Ophelia Doe and Jack McFadden
Community Connections: Sabina Mohyuddin and Kate Benhoff
Education: Jami Oakley and Mary Claire Dismukes
Environment: Barbara Gay and Russanne Buchi-Fotre
Fundraising: Anne Marie Farmer
Health Care/Public Health: Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan
Membership: Reba Holmes
Metro Government: Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Voter Services: Beth Gordan, Alison Haymer, 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