Voter's Digest - December 2017

Susan Windmiller, Board President

Susan Windmiller, Board President

As 2017 comes to a close, please help us celebrate the season at our Holiday Party this Thursday, December 7, at 6:00 pm at the Big Easy in Brickell City Centre. Appetizers and your first drink are on us! Buy your tickets here before prices go up at the door. Let's say goodbye to 2017 and get energized for 2018!

I must give a grateful thank you to our contributors, who made this 2017 Give Miami Day our greatest yet – we raised over $6,325 from more than 90 donors! Your support allows us to continue to educate voters, publish voter guides, hold candidate forums, and advocate on important issues (like redistricting, solar, and environmental protection). Your end-of-year contribution in support of our work will be greatly appreciated.

If you missed Give Miami Day, no worries; we have made it easier than ever to support us. You can donate via our Facebook page or our website. We're also on Amazon Smile! When you purchase items in your Amazon shopping cart at smile.amazon.com/ch/59-2716577, Amazon will donate a small percentage of your purchase to the LWVMD Education Fund.

SAY YES TO SECOND CHANCES   

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It's the home stretch for the Second Chances campaign to restore voting rights. More than 1.6 million Floridians are permanently denied the right to vote after paying their debt to society for non-violent offenses. The LWVF (LWV of Florida) and LWVMD are working with our partners to do everything we can to fix this. To date, we have 900,000 signed petitions -- 100,000 away from our goal to meet the required 1 million signatures to get this issue on the 2018 Florida ballot -- by December 31, 2017.

You can help by having your friends, neighbors, family members, and anyone else you know who is a Florida voter sign one today! Contact Board Member Marisol Zenteno at Mariroa33@gmail.com for more information.

GET INVOLVED THIS SESSION

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LWVMD is gearing up for January's Florida Legislative Session. We will be conducting a 2018 Legislative Brunch Briefing on January 20, 2018, at 10:30 am at the Center for Social Change. Learn about our priority issues for this year’s session: election reform, public education, gun safety, protecting our environment, and healthcare. Get up to speed on the proposed bills and find out how YOU can advocate on the issues that matter most to you and your family.

Be part of advocacy in action! The LWVMD will be at the statewide LWVFL Legislative Summit February 6 -7, 2018 in Tallahassee. It's a great opportunity to learn about lobbying advocacy and meet with lawmakers. Our local delegation is one of the largest we have ever had, and we still have spots available. The LWVMD covers member registration and lodging; you are responsible only for transportation to Tallahassee and meals. Register here and email me at susanrwindmiller@gmail.com if you plan to attend.

ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR GUN SAFETY

There is major firearm legislation on both the national and state level that NEED YOUR ADVOCACY.

The Congressional House Rules Committee is taking up the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 on Tuesday, December 5 with a likely vote on Wednesday, December 6. Call your representative at 202-224-3121 and tell them to OPPOSE H.R. 38.

Three Florida gun bills will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, December 5. Contact the members below and tell them to OPPOSE the following bills: SB 274 Concealed Weapons and Firearms in Multiuse Facilities, SB 134 Courthouse Carry, SB 148 Open Carry Protection.

Sen. Greg Steube, Chair: (850) 487-5023 | steube.greg@flsenate.gov
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Vice Chair: (850) 487-5027 | benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov
Sen. Randolph Bracy: (850) 487-5011 | bracy.randolph@flsenate.gov
Sen. Rob Bradley: (850) 487-5005 | bradley.rob@flsenate.gov
Sen. Anitere Flores: 850) 487-5039 | flores.anitere@flsenate.gov
Sen. Rene Garcia: 850-487-5036 | garcia.rene@flsenate.gov
Sen. Audrey Gibson: 850-487-5006 | gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov
Sen. Debbie Mayfield: (850) 487-5017 | mayfield.debbie@flsenate.gov
Sen. Bobby Powell: (850) 487-5030 | powell.bobby@flsenate.gov
Sen. Perry E. Thurston, Jr.: (850) 487-5033 | thurston.perry@flsenate.gov

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 

I am proud to announce that the LWVMD has established a formal partnership with the CLEO Institute, headed by dynamic climate change advocate Caroline Lewis. We will be working to educate and advocate for effective local decisions on how climate change affects us right here in Miami. A Climate Change 101 workshop will be held for our members in February; details coming soon. 

Along with this important partnership launch, we will be working with the Miami Climate Alliance to advise the City of Miami on how to implement the voter-approved Miami Forever Bond. We also participated in a press conference with Florida Food and Water Watch on the dangers of fracking and why it should be BANNED in Florida.

I am thrilled to report that our solar co-ops are expanding daily.  Check our Facebook page for upcoming information sessions to find out how you can join a co-op to get discounted pricing in going solar. Contact our local coordinator Jody Finver at jody@solarunitedneighbors.org, for more information.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Florida's Legislative Session begins in January 2018, and we're already watching several important bills that have been filed. Find our full list of legislative priorities here.

This year we're making it easier for our members to stay informed and be active during this session. The LWVMD has created Facebook groups on issues that matter most to you: Education, Election Law and Voting Rights, Environment and Resiliency, Gun SafetyHealthcare, and Children and Families. To stay in the loop on the latest developments in these issues, please join the groups of your choice before session starts.

Remember: YOUR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT is what makes YOUR government work for YOU.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO GET COVERED

Online Open Enrollment ends December 15 but is still accessible via a call center until December 31.To answer any questions you or friends or family may have, contact the Health Council of South Florida at 305-592-1452 or check out their website for upcoming enrollment events to learn more.

PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION - CRC and CRTF

The LWVMD is actively participating in both the Miami Dade County Charter Review Task Force (CRTF)  and the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). We have put forward several proposals to the CRTF, including establishment of a county administrator and the streamlining of the approval process for citizen petitions, as well as the timing of these charter proposals to continue after the current Commissioners conclude their terms in the true spirit of transparency. 

The LWVMD is working with a coalition to address several CRC proposals that would restrict Home Rule for local control of our government and school board as guaranteed in Miami-Dade Home Rule (our local constitution).

EDUCATION FOR OUR FUTURE
Coming in 2018 is our campaign to educate the community on the importance of public education and to celebrate our public schools – our teachers, students, administration, and parents! The League believes that a strong public education system in Miami-Dade and across Florida is important for all of us – our children, our economy, businesses, AND our future. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

December 4, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Solar Information Session
Live in Southern Miami-Dade and want to go solar? Now's your chance! 
Location: Miami Dade College Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace, Room F222, Homestead

December 7, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Holiday Party
‘Tis the season to wine and dine! To celebrate the holiday season with Leaguers, friends, and good cheer, we're planning a gala holiday party to end the year!

Join us for drinks, hors-d'oeuvres, and more at our 2017 Holiday Party at The Big Easy. Ticket price includes one drink, food and happy hour drink specials for the duration of the event. Please consider bringing a gift card in any amount that will be donated to SafeSpace, a program that offers victims of domestic violence and their dependents safe housing to escape the violence in their home.
Location: Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill, 701 South Miami Avenue (Brickell City Centre - 3rd Floor), Miami

January 8, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. LWVMD Board Meeting
Our meetings are open to all members and all prospective members; we welcome your ideas and input!
Location: Center for Social Change, 2103 Coral Way, 2nd Floor, Coral Gables

January 20, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | 2018 Legislative Brunch Briefing
Learn about our priority issues for this year’s session: election reform, public education, gun safety, protecting our environment, and healthcare. 
Location: Center for Social Change, 2103 Coral Way, Coral Gables

SAVE THE DATE - Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Women That Shine Brunch
Our annual celebration of Women’s History Month recognizes local women leaders who are amazing role models and have made a difference in this community.  Members will be asked for nominations soon; stay tuned for details. Donations for this event go to our Ruth Shack Leadership Scholarship Fund, which supports LWVMD members' attendance at the National Legislative Summit and other leadership training opportunities.
Location: Sonesta Coconut Grove, 2889 McFarlane Road, Miami

As we close 2017, we are reminded that a functioning democracy can only work with an informed electorate. The League of Women Voters is the organization that people depend on for the information they need to make our democracy work – and there is so much work to be done. So we invite you to get involved. Please join us at an event, renew your membership or become a member, and/or make a donation. Together, we will continue to make a difference.

In League,

 
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