The Nashville Voter
 Volume 77, No 2-- February 2024
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.
In Memoriam: Karen H. Weeks
It is with profound sorrow we share that long-time League of Women Voters Nashville member Karen H. Weeks passed away January 20, 2024. Throughout her professional life and work with the League, Karen Weeks was an advocate for public education and especially underserved children. In recognition of her years of service to the community, the League recognized her with the Molly Todd Award in 2010. Throughout the years, Karen Weeks continued to honor the League of Women Voters with contributions to help us advance our work in Nashville. We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Karen H. Weeks.
Friday, March 1 at 12:00PM on Zoom. March Hot Topic: How the Right Radicalized - and What it Means for Future Elections. Nicole Hemmer is an associate professor of history and director of the Rogers Center for the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University. An expert on the U.S. right, she is author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics and Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s. As a columnist and podcaster, she frequently provides analysis on U.S. politics for a number of national and international outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and Washington Post. Click here to register. 
Tuesday, March 12 at 1:00PM at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library. League Women Voters of Williamson County Meeting. The program will feature a debate between three award-winning debaters from the MTSU Blue Raider debate team and the 3 winners of the National Debate Championship in Ireland. Please join us in welcoming the Irish to Tennessee as they face off against our own MTSU students for what will be an informative and entertaining program. Click here to register here.
Thursday, March 7 at 6:30PM. Metro Council Meeting. Members of the public may view the meeting live online at via the Metro Nashville Network, Metro Nashville Network 2, and YouTube. Davidson County residents can watch Metro Nashville Network on Comcast channel 3, AT&T Uverse channel 99, and on the Metro Nashville Network Roku channel. Click here to view the calendar for Metro Council Meetings
President's Message
By the time you read this message, you might have already voted early in the March election. I’ve been thinking a lot about this election year and all the decisions that each of us will make regarding our local, state, and federal government. You might be in a conversation with someone that is questioning why they should take the time to vote or if it even matters if they vote. It’s important for us to think about how we frame these conversations to help people feel empowered. When talking with voters or about voters as a group, use phrases like, “Make your voice heard,” or “You deserve to have a say in decisions that affect your community.” These phrases will not solve all our problems, however, they can help us in individual conversations to empower people.
On February 14, the League of Women Voters celebrated its 104th anniversary! It’s important to recognize the contributions by Black suffrage leaders that were minimized and ignored leading up to and during the passage of the 19th Amendment. I hope that you will visit the webpage to read about some of the inspiring Black suffrage leaders right here in Tennessee including Mary Church Terrell, Dr. Mattie E. Coleman, and Juno Frankie Pierce.
~Lara Webb 

March Hot Topic: How the Right Radicalized - and What it Means for the 2024 Elections

By Karen Wieckert
For many Americans, the attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2020 came as a shock. It provided evidence of a right-wing movement that had rapidly radicalized over the course of the Trump presidency. However, the rise of a Radicalized Right, and its growing power within the Republican Party, is a story that reaches back much further. For our March Hot Topic, we will discuss the roots of that radicalization, and what it means for voting rights, ballot battles, and the possibility of violence heading into the 2024 elections.

Nicole Hemmer is an associate professor of history and director of the Rogers Center for the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University. An expert on the U.S. right, she is author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics and Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s. As a columnist and podcaster, she frequently provides analysis on U.S. politics for a number of national and international outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and Washington Post. 
Join us Friday, March 1st at Noon via Zoom! Register here.
February Hot Topic: Where's it Going to Go: Nashville's Commercial Construction and Demolition Waste
By Melissa Hanson
League members joined with Metro Council At-Large Member, Burkley Allen at the February 2 Hot Topic to "talk trash" about the status of local construction and demolition waste and recycling bills and programs. Viewers learned that construction and demolition (C&D) waste makes up approximately 33% of all landfilled waste in Nashville and impacts the already strained landfill capacity in the region. According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. cities produce more than twice as much construction and demolition waste as they do trash.
Preventing bulky, energy-intensive, and highly recyclable C&D material from being landfilled is crucial for the continued resilience, economic growth, and prosperity of this region. Information from indicates that diverting C&D waste from landfill also aligns with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s 2015-2025 Solid Waste Management Plan and the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Municipal Solid Waste Region Plan for the health and benefit of all who live, work, and play in our city. Both long-range management plans address landfill capacity issues across the state and in the region with the goal to reduce waste to landfill. By finding alternatives to landfilling, we can reduce pollution, conserve energy, and protect our natural resources to further contribute to the resilience of the Middle Tennessee region.
In efforts to curb this waste, the Metro Waste Services Division reviews proposed plans for the management and disposal of construction and demolition debris as part of the building permit process. Those applying for a commercial building permit, large multifamily residential building permit, or a demolition permit are required to complete the Debris Management Review.
We also learned of Nashville’s Zero Waste Master Plan to lead the region in achieving zero waste. The plan was then adopted by Metro Council in 2019 and includes the following goals:
  • Reach zero waste - defined as diverting 90% of Nashville's waste away from landfill
  • Increase recycling, food waste reduction and recovery, and composting throughout Davidson County
  • Adopt recycling and recovery programs targeted towards Nashville's growing construction and demolition waste stream
  • Strengthen public education programs to help Nashvillians refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost
Readers can learn more about the Zero Waste goals and resources by clicking here
We will upload this hot topic recording to our YouTube Channel. Subscibe to our channel for updates by clicking here.
Environment Committee
By Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Jack McFadden
Federally – we are grateful that the Biden Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have imposed stronger Soot pollution standards raising the air pollution standards in this country(at least a little).

Tennessee - It’s that time:
Legislation is in session and now is the time to join with other environmentalists to meet with your state legislators to promote the passage of bills which preserve and protect our water, air and land.

Conservation Day on the Hill’ is scheduled for February 27-28th

For more information on how to get involved contact:
THE TIME IS NOW – we must get out and express our opinions to our representatives
Health Care/Public Health 
By Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan
The LWVNashville Public Health Committee has been advocating with our state legislators on the bills identified as priorities by the LWVTN Advocacy Committee.  These include bills that broaden criminalization of persons who may provide support to a pregnant minor (HB1895/SB1883), which we oppose, as well as bills we can support, such as TennCare funding of doula services (HB22225/SB1739) and coverage of remote fetal monitoring (HB2461/SB1674) and gun safety measures.
We have looked at the issue of immunization compliance in our state previously and it should continue to be of concern to all. Here in the United States, we have done a good job of eradicating infectious diseases through the introduction and use of vaccines. A 95 % vaccination rate is the standard threshold established for communities in order that they remain at low risk for highly infectious vaccine preventable disease outbreaks.  Most recently however (since 2021) we have seen a decline in vaccination rates, especially among our kindergarten age student residents. The COVID Pandemic showed us the initial decline and several counties and school districts have failed to meet the threshold.
The Influenza season has hit Tennessee hard this year and despite the fact that the condition now seems to be declining, at least four (4) children have reportedly died from the virus.
Health experts contribute to our decreased immunization rates as part of the issue. In addition, an increase in religious exemptions as well as distrust in our healthcare system have been contributing factors. There is a major indication for better educational efforts, vaccine accessibility and community outreach. We can not afford to go back in time with the resurgence of infectious diseases.
A new organization--Tennessee Families for Vaccines--has been formed to correct misinformation about vaccines and they have prepared county by county data on the changes in vaccination rates in our state. Visit their website, here.
By Patricia Brock and Harper-Grace Niedermeyer
The House has introduced its version (HB1183) of Gov. Bill Lee's school voucher program bill, aiming to provide public school students with tax dollars to attend private schools. Supports argue it gives parents more educational choice, while opponents fear it could harm public schools and disadvantage low-income students. The Senate presented two amendments, one advocating for separate funding and no standardized testing for private school students and another emphasizing testing accountability, funding through Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), advocating for open enrollment, and enabling students to attend schools outside their district. Read more about the voucher program here.
Join the Education Committee! If you have any ideas to share or would like to join the Education Committee, please reach out to us at
Voter Services 
By Kathryn Anderson and Kalen Russell
The Voter Services Committee is planning the spring semester’s events at high schools and colleges in Davidson County. They will be making presentations in classrooms in some schools and staff registration desks at other schools and events (such as Nashville State Community College's Spring Fest in April. If you are interested in volunteering to register students and deliver presentations about our democracy and voting, please contact
Metro Council
By Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Here a recap of Metro Council's meetings from 1/23/24 and 2/6/24.

Early voting is 2/14 thru 2/27.  Election day is March 5.  5 early voting locations have changed.  Be sure to verify your early voting location is still in operation before heading out.

A grant was approved in which Metro would pay $2.5M to Mental Health Cooperative to provide funds to help operate the Mental Health Crisis Treatment Center and provide emergency psychiatric care.

A resolution passed that requests that the Metropolitan Planning Department draft and adopt a pattern book for medium-density housing, to be completed no later than July 1, 2025. Such pattern book shall include an outline of the processes for building medium-density housing types in Nashville and Davidson County and varied design guides including floor plans, elevations, and instructions on how to proceed to get such designs approved for construction.

8 bills on first reading were deferred to 4/2 by CMs Quin Evans-Segall and Rollin Horton.  Major reforms to zoning were submitted.  These changes allow quadplexes, detached dwellings, among others. Be on the lookout for public hearings in case these bills move forward.

A resolution was approved for a Child and Adult Care Food Program (“CACFP”) $704K grant from the Tennessee Department of Human Services to the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Department. The grant will be used to provide nutritious meals and snacks for children and adults attending the after-school programs currently at 14 community centers.

A resolution was withdrawn to approve increased funding towards a contract between the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Fusus, Inc. MNPD stopped using Fusus on Monday 2/5/24.  MNPD had been using without council approval with limited funds.

Fuscus provides community safety video integration services, which is designed to provide a platform to collect and share public video footage and data integration. Fusus allows for members of the public to voluntarily register cameras and share videos with MNPD.

Passed on 3rd and final reading after much debate and amendments a bill valid for 5 years is a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) between the Office of Emergency Management (“OEM”), The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and United Way of Greater Nashville that clarifies various operational and financial responsibilities among the three organizations related to disaster recovery efforts. CF will transfer monies to United Way to distribute.

Bill passed on first reading is a requirement for a police department quarterly use of force report to be submitted to the metropolitan council within thirty days of the end of the months of March, June, September, and December.

The Metro Council is in the process of hiring a lobbyist.  

By Reba Holmes
Volunteer Opportunity
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 2024 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
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 –  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 Being on the LWVN e-mail database ensures your receipt of all LWVN newsletters, event invitations, meeting announcements, and Call to Action alerts. 
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2023-2024 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

Portfolio Chairs
Communications: Ophelia Doe
Community Connections: Sabina Mohyuddin
Education: Harper-Grace Niedermeyer and Patricia Brock
Environment: Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Jack McFadden
Health Care/Public Health:  Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan 
Membership: Reba Holmes 
Metro Government:  Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Voter Services: Kathryn Anderson and Kalen Russell
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

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