Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATETAKE ACTION
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATETAKE ACTION

Advocacy 2020

Advocacy 2020

December 17, 2020: WATER SHUTOFF PROTECTION ACT
The League supports SB 241 which bans water shutoffs in homes during the panedemic.

ACTION ALERTNovember 23, 2020 STAND UP FOR FAIR ELECTIONS IN MICHIGAN

The Board of State Canvassers met on 11-23-2020 to certify Michigan’s election results. League members were encouraged to contribute public comments to say that the election was fair, the results are accurate and it is time to move forward. In accordance with state law, audits are already scheduled to be conducted after certification. The League continues to empower voters and defend democracy and we demand the State Canvassers do their job and certify the results of the 83 Michigan counties that have already done so.

October 10, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS MASS CRIMINAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATION

LWVMI Board of Directors voted to support SB 1046-1051 that would implement task force recommendations designed to set the course for dismantling racism in Michigan’s criminal legal system by eliminating unnecessary jail time contributing to mass incarceration.  UPDATE:  On December 10, 2020, the League sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging support of these bills.

October 10, 2020  LEAGUE SUPPORTS MATERNAL HEALTH CARE OF FEMALE PRISONERS
LWVMI Board of Directors voted to support SB 830 and 831 that would amend the Corrections Code to establish rights of incarcerated individuals who are pregnant, who are nursing infants, who think they might be pregnant or who have just given birth, and would create an Advisory Committee to monitor certain areas affecting female prisoners, including conditions of pregnancy.

October 10, 2020 LEAGUE OPPOSES ZONING CHANGES
LWVMI Board of Directors voted to oppose SB 431 that would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to severely restrict the powers of a local unit of government from making decisions about mining of natural resources in their community.

September 25, 2020  LEAGUE URGES INVESTIGATION OF “UNLOCK MICHIGAN”

LWVMI sent a letter to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, urging a formal criminal investigation into “Unlock Michigan”’s process of gathering petition signatures in an effort to repeal the emergency powers act being used by the governor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Media reports allege Unlock Michigan has used deceptive and possibly illegal practices to collect signatures.

UPDATE:  On Sept. 28, 2020, AG Dana Nessel announced an investigation.

September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS RECYLCING BILLS

LWVMI sent a letter to the Michigan House Ways & Means Committee urging passage of HBs 5812 to 5817 (neutral on HB 5814), the solid waste revisions that support more recycling in Michigan. The League supports increasing the recycling rate and reducing the solid waste going into landfills.

ACTION ALERT:  September 14, 2020 MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT!

Members and LWV supporters are urged to tell the MI Senators and Representatives that they have the opportunity to improve the election process in Michigan by passing these bills: 1)Senate Bill 756 – allows poll workers on Absentee Ballot Counting Board to work in shifts. 2) Senate Bill 757 – allows election officials to begin processing Absentee Ballots before Election Day. 3) House Bill 5987 – requires ballots be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within the following 48 hours. 4) House Bill 5991 – requires clerks to contact voters if their signature on their absentee ballot doesn’t match the signature on file so voters can fix the problem.

September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENT VOTE COUNTING BOARDS REFORMS

The League sent a letter to the members of the House Ways and means Committee urging passage of SB 756 that will allow more flexibility for workers on Absent Voter Counting Boards so they can work in shifts. The League believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right and supports legislation that ensures accuracy and security in all aspects of the election process. By allowing workers to work in shifts the process for counting ballots will be improved.

September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENTEE BALLOT BILLS

Urging passage as soon as possible of HB 5987 and HB 5991, LWVMI sent a letter to the House Elections and Ethics Committee. HB 5987 will allow absentee ballots postmarked by election day to be counted if they are received within 48 hours of election day. HB 5991 would require voters to be notified if the signature on the absentee ballot does not match the signature on file. These bills will assure that all citizens have the right to vote.

September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS REMOVAL OF FOIA EXEMPTION

LWVMI supports passage of HBs 4007 through 4016 that remove the current exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for the Michigan Legislature, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and executive office employees. A letter was sent to the members of the Senate Oversight Committee stating that the League believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government. The League further believes that governmental bodies must protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and making public records accessible.

September 12, 2020 LEAGUE OPPOSES “BROKEN BOTTLE BILL”

LWVMI opposes HB 5423, a bill that would divert money from cleanup of contaminated sites, including potentially threatening drinking water, via Michigan’s bottle deposit program. “At a time when we have more reported contamination issues than ever before, House Bill 5423 will result in a net loss for funding that goes directly to cleanup of contaminated sites that threaten the health of our communities,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “The majority of contaminated sites in Michigan do not have an entity that can be held responsible for cleanup. Lawmakers who are pushing for stronger accountability for polluters shouldn’t support the stripping of funding that goes to contaminated sites.”

September 12, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS BILL PROHIBITING PFAs IN FOOD

LWVMI supports SB 1072, a bill to prohibit using PFAs in packaging of foods. This bill would amend 2000PA92, (“Food Law” -MCL289.1101 to 289.8111) which governs the processing, manufacturing, production, packing, etc. of food or drink for consumption. Senate Bill 1072 would prohibit a person to “knowingly manufacture, sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state food packaging to which PFAS, bispenols or phthalates have been intentionally added in any amount beginning January 2,2022 assuming a safe substitute packaging is verified by the State.

September 12, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENTEE BALLOT BILLS

LWVMI supports HB 5987 and 5991 which would allow absentee ballots to be counted if postmarked by Election day. It would also require that a voter be contacted if their signature on their absentee ballot doesn’t match the signature on file at the Secretary of State’s office.

August 8, 2020: LWVMI SUPPORTS TWO BALLOT PROPOSALS

The Board of Directors of LWVMI voted to support two proposals that will be on the November 3, 2020 election ballot:

Michigan Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment
The ballot measure would add language to the Michigan State Constitution that requires a search warrant to access electronic data or electronic communications. The ballot measure would also state that electronic data and electronic communications are secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Michigan Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment
The ballot measure would make changes to how revenue in the state’s park-related funds can be spent. As of 2018, the funds received revenue from mineral, oil, and gas leases and royalties. The ballot measure would affect the following funds: the Natural Resources Trust Fund that provides grants to local governments for acquiring land for recreational use, environmental conservation, and scenic importance and for developing recreational facilities and the State Parks Endowment Fund that provides funding for the state park system.

ACTION ALERT: July 31, 2020 LAST MINUTE VOTING TIPS

The League reminded Michigan constituents that they can still register to vote, even though the election is 4 days away. Tips for voter registration, voting in person and voting absentee were all included in an Alert to members and friends of the League. Additionally, voters were encouraged to visit VOTE411.org for ballot and candidate information.

ACTION ALERT:  July 29, 2020 ABSENTEE BALLOTS SHOULD BE RETURNED IMMEDIATELY

With one week remaining before the August 4 statewide primary, voters with absentee ballots were urged to drop them off at their local drop box or clerk’s office as soon as possible. Michigan law states all ballots must be received by the clerk by 8 p.m. on August 4 in order to be counted. A list of ballot drop boxes is available online. Voters may only return their ballot to the drop box of their city or township. “Voters should get their absentee ballots returned as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This close to the primary, Michiganders should return their absentee ballots to their clerk’s office directly, or submit them via their local ballot drop box, in order to ensure their vote is counted.”

ACTION ALERT:  July 24, 2020 POLL WORKERS NEEDED FOR AUGUST PRIMARY

In partnership with the Election Protection Program, the League is asking for everyone’s help recruiting poll workers for the August 4th primary. Without an adequate number of poll workers, voters will be at risk of being disenfranchised. As of July 24, the following cities are still in need of poll workers for the August primary: Flint, Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Pontiac, Southfield, Ypsilanti (City), Burton City, Portage City, and Comstock Township.

June 30, 2020 UPDATE:  MERITLESS VOTER PURGE LAWSUIT DROPPED

Known for bringing multiple, voter-purge lawsuits against cities and counties across the country, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) asked a judge to dismiss its lawsuit against the City of Detroit on June 30, 2020. “This is a victory for the voters of Michigan,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, which joined the case on the city’s side in May. “The League of Women Voters has worked hard to register and educate eligible voters in the state, and PILF was trying to undo that work. The League stepped in to push back against PILF’s bullying tactics, and we won.” “From the start, we’ve said this lawsuit is without merit,” said Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “When pressed for evidence to support their allegations, PILF withdrew its case rather than try to prove it. It’s shameful that PILF made the City of Detroit spend time and money to defend against a case that should never have been brought in the first place.”

June 21, 2020 VOTERS DESERVE EXPANSION OF ABSENTEE VOTING

Responding to an article in the Detroit News concerning the pitfalls of voting by mail-in ballots, LWVMI President Christina Schlitt wrote that, “Michigan has systems in place to deter and detect irregularities in the voting process, both by mail and in person. There is no record of massive or serious election manipulation via mail-in-voting. Even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has attested to this. Further, Americans want to be able to vote by mail, especially during a life-threatening pandemic. A poll released by the Pew Research Center this year showed almost three out of every four Americans favor universal access to mail voting.”

June 19, 2020  NUCLEAR POWER SAFETY CONCERNS IN MICHIGAN AMIDST THE PANDEMIC

A coalition of environmental and public interest groups, including LWVMI, warned Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist about its concerns regarding increased risks at Michigan’s nuclear power plants, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was cc’d to numerous additional MI state, county, and local officials, as well as to MI’s U.S. congressional delegation, given their overlapping responsibilities to protect public health, safety, security, and the environment from nuclear risks.

ACTION ALERT:  June 18, 2020 TELL MI SENATORS TO SUPPORT IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS

LWVMI is concerned about the need to improve the processes for counting absentee ballots prior to the August Primary and November General Election. According to Secretary of State Benson, nearly 1 million absentee ballots were submitted in the presidential primary. This was nearly twice as many ballots as were cast in the 2016 presidential primary. This number could be even higher in the primary and general election. Michigan’s state senators were contacted urging their support of SB 757 that was introduced to improve the process of counting absentee ballots.

June 13, 2020 EXPANSION OF GUN FREE ZONES

Introduced 5/19/2020, HB 5783, tie barred with HB 5784 will expand gun free zones to include: “A building owned or leased by this state or part of a building owned or leased by this state.” (This bill does not apply to persons providing security for that entity.) HB 5784 restricts those with concealed pistol licenses from carrying the pistol on the premises of gun free zones i.e. school property, day care sports arena,tavern, chuch, hospital, dormitory AND a building owned or leased by this state.

June 13, 2020 SOLID WASTE CHANGES

The League supports HB 5812-17 which, when passed with HB 5814 (the League is neutral on #5814) would amend Part 115 (Solid Waste Management) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to revise, rewrite, and reorganize the laws regulating solid waste, including coal ash and recyclables, in Michigan.

June 13, 2020 AMEND LAW ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS ACT

The League supports HB 5836 and SB 945 that would amend the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act to change its training to include standards of de-escalation techniques, implicit bias training, procedural justice training and mental health resources for officers. New and current officers would be required to complete the training and take annual continuing education of subjects relating to law enforcement.

June 13, 2020 BAN 3-D FIREARMS IN MICHIGAN

The League supports HB 5190, which would amend the MI penal code to prohibit the printing of a 3-D printed firearm. The manufacturing, sale, or possession of a 3-D printed firearm or a part intended for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer would be unlawful.

May 29, 2020: LEAGUE INTERVENES IN LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF DETROIT

A federal judge granted a motion to intervene to the League of Women Voters of Michigan and Detroit in Public Interest Legal Foundation v Winfrey, which seeks to force the City of Detroit to conduct an aggressive purge, based on questionable and unsubstantiated data, that would likely result in eligible voters being thrown off the City’s voter registration rolls.

May 22, 2020:  LWVMI JOINS LAWSUIT URGING ENFORCEMENT OF PROPOSAL 3

LWVMI and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding that she enforce laws put in place by the passage of Proposal 3 in the 2018 election. The lawsuit argues that statute governing absentee voting has not yet been updated to comply with the changes made under the 2018 law. It also calls for following updated law that requires counting of votes if postmarked on or before Election Day, requiring clerks to immediately process absentee ballot requests and having local clerks pay for postage for returning absentee ballots.

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