Posted at 06:07 PM | Permalink
The U.S. Senate will soon vote on an amendment that would limit access to contraceptive services for women if any employer or insurance plan has a “religious or moral objection” to it.
This open-ended invitation to cut back on preventative health care services for women must be defeated. We need your help.
But the amendment by Senators Blunt and Rubio actually goes even further. If an employer or insurance plan has a “religious or moral objection,” then any health care service can be excluded from coverage from the Affordable Care Act, our nation’s historic new health care law which aims to ensure quality health care for all.
Allowing employers and insurance plans to pick and choose what should be covered will not only lead to discrimination against women, it will shred the essential protections we fought so hard for in health care reform.
The Blunt-Rubio amendment would limit access to contraceptive health care for women and would deny Americans access to needed health care coverage based on ill-defined religious or moral objections. This legislation should be soundly rejected by the Senate.
1. Send your Senators a message now! Tell them to vote against the Blunt-Rubio amendment because it will block contraceptive services and discriminate against women. Tell them not to limit access to health care based on ill-defined “religious or moral objections.”
2. Send this alert to other concerned citizens -- your grassroots network, your friends and coworkers -- encourage them to contact their Senators.
Posted at 07:20 PM | Permalink
By Ann Hellmuth
One of the ways I pass the time when I'm driving back and forth on I-4 or out walking is to listen to audio books. Sometimes I get so engrossed in the story I'll walk an extra mile or drive round and round a parking lot waiting for the right moment to press the off button.
"The Warmth of Other Suns," Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson's compelling book about the "decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life," is my latest highway-companion. Wilkerson tells the story through the eyes of three people who made the trip, one of them, George Starling, who fled Lake County where the infamous Sheriff Willis McCall was to conduct a decades-long reign of terror.
On Sunday, the Orlando Sentinel had a front page story about Clifton Tobias Williams of Orlando who fought to win the right for blacks to vote in primary elections. Williams' struggle reads like a page out of Wilkerson's book. Orlando was the last city in Florida to bar blacks from voting in primaries. But in 1950, thanks to the efforts of Williams and others, blacks voted for the first time in an Orlando primary election.
The book and the newspaper story got me thinking about the importance of voter education and the vital role the League must play this year in preparing Floridians to Be Ready to Vote in 2012. Civil Rights leaders told Sentinel writer Jeff Kunerth that they fear the new voter-registration rules will hit minority communities particularly hard. For instance, after Sunday services many churches in the black community arrange for buses to ferry voters to the polls. But the new law eliminates early voting on the Sunday before Election Day and reduces the number of days for early voting from 14 to eight.
LWVOC Voter Services Chair Carol Davis will be organizing voter-education efforts and she needs your help. The more boots on the ground we have the more people we can reach to explain the changes in the law and the need for them to register to vote or make sure their registrations are still valid.
"Because of the laws passed in Florida," state Rep. Geraldine Thompson told Kunerth, "the work of C.T. Williams is still not complete."
Two champions of voting rights were Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore. They were killed by a bomb in their Mims home on Christmas Eve 1951. In 1934 the Civil Rights activists organized the first Brevard County branch of the NAACP. Board member Nancy Rudner has organized a tour of the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center on March 17 followed by lunch at the Dixie Crossroads restaurant and a visit to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. To sign-up go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=jhigmrdab&oeidk=a07e5jhrhibec56fb62
In other news .....I apologize for being so laggardly in updating the blog. It is one of the things I really enjoy about the job of president. But the past couple of weeks have been crazy. My husband had open-heart surgery, developed complications and ended up in ICU for five days. He's on the mend now and should be out of the hospital this week...on March 7, the Orlando Sentinel and the LWVOC will join forces with UCF Metro Center in the Orlando Mayoral Debate, "Florida Forward - Conversations about the Future." There will be time to meet the candidates from 5 p.m. to 5.30 p.m, when the hour-long debate will start. Interested in attending? It will be held at UCF Executive Development Center, 36 West Pine Street, Orlando, Fl. 32801. Tickets are $10 and include VIP parking at the 55 West building parking garage. For tickets, go to http://mayordebate.eventbrite.com or call 407-420-5599. the moderator will be Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell.... On Wednesday, March 14 we have our monthly Hot Topics luncheon. The subject: The Politics of Tourism and the speaker is President and CEO of Visit Orlando Gary Sain. RSVP ($20 for members and $35 for non-members) to email@example.com or call 407-505-1664 ....Adopt-a-Precinct will be out in force on April 3 when Orlando voters chose their next mayor. Board member and Adopt-a-Precinct chair Laurie Wack says we'll be working at Precinct 3301 in Baldwin Park. Finally, be sure to join us on April 26 at the University Club in Winter Park when the LWVOC holds its annual meeting and you'll have a chance to vote on our agenda for the coming year.
Posted at 07:56 PM | Permalink
While walking down the street one day a Senator
was tragically hit by a car and died.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to heaven," says St.. Peter. "Before you settle in,
it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official
around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher ups.
What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one
in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"Really?, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,"
says the Senator.
"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator
and he goes down, down, down to hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle
of a green golf course.
In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front
of it are all his friends and other politicians who
had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress.
They run to greet him, shake his hand, and
reminisce about the good times they had while
getting rich at the expense of the people.
They played a friendly game of golf and then
dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very
friendly guy who is having a good time dancing
and telling jokes.
They are all having such a good time that before
the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves
while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens
in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him,
"Now it's time to visit heaven..."
So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group
of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud,
playing the harp and singing. They have a good time
and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone
by and St. Peter returns.
"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another
in heaven. Now choose your eternity."
The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers:
"Well, I would never have said it before, I mean
heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be
better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes
down, down, down to hell...
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the
middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up
the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash
falls to the ground.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm
around his shoulders.
"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday
I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse,
and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and
danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland
full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The devil smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning,
Today, you voted."
Vote wisely on November 6, 2012
Posted at 05:54 PM | Permalink
By Ann Hellmuth
The LWVOC team heads to Tallahassee in the morning (Tuesday) for two days of lobbying and being part of the League's Legislative Seminar. Wish I was going with them but my husband got really sick on Friday and is now in ICU. It is funny how tiring it can be to sit in a chair all day and do nothing but watch the numbers change on monitors and listen to breathing machines puffing and panting.
The League will be joining forces March 7 with the Orlando Sentinel in an Orlando mayoral race debate. If you have any great ideas for questions send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also going to adopt-a-precinct for the Orlando mayoral election on April 3. So enjoyed working with other League members at a Winter Park precinct for the July 31 presidential primary. This time we will be staffing a precinct in Baldwin Park. Adopt-a-Precinct chair Laurie Wack does such a good job of organizing everything. She is a woman of many talents.
Vera Rushmer is putting together the next edition of the Voter, which will be sent out electronically. We'll have another printed copy before the annual meeting on April 26 so members can decide whether they approve of the LWVOC program for 2012-13.
When times are bad there is nothing like good friends to get you through -- the League is a true port in a storm. Thank you all.
Ann Hellmuth is president of the LWVOC
Posted at 07:18 PM | Permalink
LWVOC member Eli Garcia sent the following letter.
Dear LWV, I come bearing bad news, on Thursday we got the news that the in-state tuition for Florida fail to pass to the Judiciary Committee. As you all know this bill will have had allowed undocumented students and citizen students of parents that are undocumented to pay in state tuition when they attended college. Knowing that the bill didn’t pass brought sadness to all of us. We might have lost this fight, but this has made us stronger to continue fighting for equality and justice. I ask all of you to please don’t give up on this fight; we have to continue fighting for a fair immigration reform. This is just the beginning of our fight, and I know that we will have hard battles coming, and for those battles we need to stand together and never give up. Let us remember that we are doing all this because we believe in human rights and equality. Thank you for all the hard work that you all do and for never giving up. You are all super amazing women that I truly admire the dignity and passion that you all have for this cause. This are some links about In-state tuition for all http://bcove.me/80krco1m (must watch) Thank you Sinfronteras youth group : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
I come bearing bad news, on Thursday we got the news that the in-state tuition for Florida fail to pass to the Judiciary Committee. As you all know this bill will have had allowed undocumented students and citizen students of parents that are undocumented to pay in state tuition when they attended college. Knowing that the bill didn’t pass brought sadness to all of us. We might have lost this fight, but this has made us stronger to continue fighting for equality and justice.
I ask all of you to please don’t give up on this fight; we have to continue fighting for a fair immigration reform. This is just the beginning of our fight, and I know that we will have hard battles coming, and for those battles we need to stand together and never give up. Let us remember that we are doing all this because we believe in human rights and equality.
Thank you for all the hard work that you all do and for never giving up. You are all super amazing women that I truly admire the dignity and passion that you all have for this cause.
This are some links about In-state tuition for all
http://bcove.me/80krco1m (must watch)
Thank youELI GARCIA
Sinfronteras youth group
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
Posted at 08:23 AM | Permalink
By Ann Hellmuth
Sorry for the long silence. Life has been so hectic lately. My husband had open-heart surgery on Wednesday so I've been hanging out a lot at ORMC. He's making a miraculous recovery and should be home by Monday.
Big thanks for holding the fort goes to VP Michele Levy who has been Observer Corps-ing at the Charter Review Commission and the Sheriff's Citizens Review Committee. Michele also held a meeting of local government. 2nd VP Sandra Powers had a membership meeting last week and of course we had a Hot Topics luncheon on Feb. 8, that turned into one of the best we've had as far as audience response and participation. After the luncheon I nipped across to CFN13 and was interviewed on the decision to put the tax referendum on the President Primary ballot, when mostly Republicans would be voting. One of my neighbors saw the show. I forget to set my DVR. Anyway hate seeing all those wrinkles in closeup.
We had an excellent board meeting on Monday ahead of about 10 members going to Tallahassee next week for the Legislative Seminar. Will be so sad to miss the trip but I'll be wearing my Florence Nightingale hat next week.
Posted at 07:47 PM | Permalink
By Maria Desangles
Four LWVOC members worked with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and participated in difference actions in Tallahassee concerning the in-state tuition for all bill SB 106 and HB 81.
We arrived midday on Tuesday (Feb. 7) and took a workshop on strategy or getting the bill through the Senate and the House and who our targets were. The FLIC leaders decided that because we had such a big group, about 22 people, we could go visit Rep. Lopez-Cantera who is the House Majority Leader to move the bill (HB 81) from the committee it was in (that had already stopped meeting) to a different one where there would be a chance of a vote.
He would not meet with the group, the FLIC leaders (who had been trying to get a meeting with him for weeks) decided that it was time to put pressure on him and so the group staged a sit-in asking him to speak with us. He did end up speaking to us, but told us that he did not have the power to move the bill to a different committee.
One of the Leaders from FLIC who is a lawyer, knew the rules and clarified that as the House majority leader he actually did have the power to move the bill into a different committee. At 5 pm most of the group left, but some stayed behind still hoping to meet with him and convince him to do this. The Miami Herald came and interviewed Evelyn Rivera and him about in-state tuition.
Then on Wed (Feb. 8), we met with the FLIC leadership once again, and decided to concentrate on our targets in the Capitol. The Senate was in session between 9 am and 11 am, around 10:30 there was a recess and our group caught our different targets as they were coming in and out of the chamber. We spoke to Sen. David Simmons and gave him the information. He was not very friendly at first, but then warmed up to us and took our information. Then we met with Sen. John Thrasher who also greeted the group and took our information packets about the bill. Finally we met with Sen. Andy Gardiner who took our information packet, but did not want to meet any of us, or talk to us about the bill.
Afterwards we reported on the morning and began preparing signs for our news conference. Both Eli Garcia (LWVOC) and Evelyn Rivera (LWVOC) spoke and shared their stories at the news conference. Sen. Gary Siplin who introduced the bill also spoke at the press conference on behalf of the bill along with Rep. Hazel Rogers, Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke, Rep. Dwight Bullard. http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/240498/4/Debate-over-in-state-tuition-for-undocumented-immigrants
Then we broke for lunch and were debriefed on our afternoon strategy. We realized we had directly given packets and spoken to all of our Local (and key) representatives, so we took a vote and decided that we really needed to focus on Senate President Mike Haridopolis, since he has the power to move the bill directly from committee to the floor of the House. We went to his office and asked to meet with him. His secretary told us that it was not possible, we left her an information packet. We sat in his office, but then were asked to leave. Then we tried to visit Sen. Gardiner and spoke to his legislative aide. We talked to her about the bill and gave her the information packet, we asked her if we could wait to meet with him and she told us that we could, but then we were asked to leave.
The FLIC organizers met with Sen. Simmons Thursday (2/9) and they think that there is a chance that he will budge and vote yes on in-state tuition in the committee. So we are planning an action/press event on Monday at his Maitland office asking him to vote yes on in-state tuition. We are also sending him and Sen. Gardiner petitions that we have collected with a cover letter signed by the DREAM Rally organizations. In order for this bill to even have a chance of passing we really REALLY need the support of Sen. Haridopolis. Once it passes the Judiciary Committee, we are asking him to move the vote to the floor.
Posted at 07:07 PM | Permalink
Board member Nancy Rudner reports:
Several members of the immigration committee went to Tallahassee this week as part of a statewide effort to advocate for instate tuition for the Florida youth who have grown up in the US but do not have legal status (this is not the federal Dream Act but a state bill with some similar components).
These brave dreamers tried hard to meet with legislators. I received text messages as they attempted to meet with legislators. I called Sen. Mike Haridopolos's office as the Dreamers were trying to meet with him. His office was so nasty, saying Haridopolos was just too busy and didn't want to meet with them.
Pretty bad for democracy when politicians won't meet with their constituents.
Posted at 07:06 AM | Permalink
Action Alert: Thank You Calls Needed
If you are able, please take two minutes to call the two legislators below and thank them for working with the League of Women Voters of Florida and others to amend their elections bills. Both legislators accepted amendments to make their bills better for voters, and we want them to know that our members took notice!
The legislators are:
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
District Office: (305) 643-7200
Tallahassee Office: (850) 487-5109
Email Address: email@example.com
(Note: Senator Diaz de la Portilla's bill is SB 1596. Click here to read it in full.)
Representative Matt Gaetz
District Office: (850) 833-9328
Tallahassee Office: (850) 488-1170
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: Representative Gaetz's bill is HB 1461. Click here to read it in full.)
Please feel free to contact the state office at (850) 224-2545 if you have any questions. Thank you for taking action today!
Posted at 09:04 PM | Permalink