New League Position on Constitutional Conventions

Last week the LWVUS Board approved two new positions on Constitutional Conventions. These are based on consensus reached by the 246 local and state Leagues participating in the Constitutional Amendment Process study. The positions are particularly relevant now because the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) is close to achieving the number of states required for Congress to call a constitutional convention. Our new position calls for safeguards on any constitutional convention, so if your state legislature is working on this issue, we strongly urge you to join the debate.

LWVUS has just issued a press release explaining the new position, and encourages Leagues to tailor and use it with their state and regional media. We simply cannot afford to have a chaotic or unrepresentative process for amending the Constitution. Before we head into uncharted territory that could affect our basic principles of government and our individual rights, we need to make sure some basic rules are in place. Any calls for a constitutional convention must have built-in protections to ensure it is not hijacked by a small minority. Follow the links in this summary for more information.

February Big Read: "Just Mercy"

For the February program, we are doing a “Big Read” of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Just Mercy revolves around Stevenson’s time at the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization dedicated to defending people who have been abandoned by the criminal justice system. By focusing on individual clients, the book delineates the current state of our criminal justice system and depicts how compassion from organizations like his can create real justice. Please join the Dayton League in reading this insightful book during the month of February, check out these discussion questions, and take part in our various dialogues. We will be holding a moderated discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages on 23 Feb at 7:00 pm.

Climate Change, Water, and Energy

Long before the media went into overdrive following the city water crisis in Flint, Michigan (where "saving money" compromised the water system and endangered the health of the community), the Dayton Council on World Affairs had already planned to focus its 2016 annual meeting around "The Geopolitics of Water." They invited Dr. Phillip L. Hayden, an environmental, health & safety engineer with over 40 years of experience, to speak to them on "Climate Change, Water and Energy." Look for a summary article in the March VOTER, and read the slides from Dr. Hayden's presentation (2.7 MB) for more information.

The Neonicotinoids and the Bees

We have all become aware of the tragic loss of bees and other pollinators which endangers our food supply. and other flowering plants .Scientists have been zeroing in on a group of chemicals called neonicotinoids (nicotine-like chemicals) as a major part of the problem. This Minnestota League of Women Voter's study of the issue focuses on the dangers that the neonicotinoids pose to the pollinators. It also contains useful information on how we as individuals can help.