We are living in a watershed moment, and as we march forward with active momentum and open ears, let’s make sure that we’re leading the charge with empathy and diligence. Because fear and anger never win the race. — Kristen Bell
First, some fabulous news: WE DID IT! The Florida Rights Restoration referendum will be on the November 2018 ballot, thanks to so many of you who helped to secure the necessary petitions. A big thank you to Marisol Zenteno, our LWVMD Chair on this initiative, as well as all of our members and partners who worked tirelessly toward the goal of restoring the vote to over 1.6 million Floridians. Next up, we will be working to inform voters about the importance of voting YES on on Amendment 4, so we can to Restore Voting Rights to eligible, non-violent former felons!
Florida Legislative Session is in full gear. There are several dangerous bills being advanced that will require our advocacy – either in support or against. You can see follow this legislation via our website summary or check out the Capitol Reports from the LWVFL.
Please also be on the lookout for our action alerts via email and social media. These calls to action require just five minutes of your time to call your legislators and make your views known! Legislators work for us, the voters, and we need to hold them accountable. So please, when asked, make those calls!
LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING RECAP
LWVMD hosted a Legislative Briefing and Brunch on January 20 that drew more than 100 attendees. Representative Kionne McGhee, Miami-Dade Delegation Chair, was our keynote speaker; also joining us were Senator Annette Taddeo, Representative Nicholas Duran, and Representative Robert Ascencio. The impassioned, informative briefing presentations by several LWV members modeled what the League does best: coordinating the energy and dedication of volunteers who step up to learn the issues; educate our members, partners, and community; and engage productively with voters and officials. Click here for a recap of this high-energy and inspiring event.
Speakers at the LWVMD 2018 Legislative Briefing included Florida lawmakers (top row) Representative Kionne McGhee - Chair, of Miami-Dade Delegation; Senator Annette Taddeo; and Representative Nick Duran; and (bottom row) LWVMD board members Letty Pelaez, Marisol Zenteno, and Lucia Baez.
MAKING OUR VOICES HEARD IN TALLAHASSEE
LWVMD is going to the LWV Florida Legislative Summit next week, from February 6-8 with the largest delegation—11 members!—in recent history. Annie Betancourt, past president and former Florida legislator, will lead a discussion about what we can expect on Saturday, February 3, at 10 a.m. at the Center for Social Change. Even if you are not heading to Tallahassee, you are welcome to join us to hear what the summit holds in store.
LWVMD 2018 ELECTION TEAM
With more than 20 municipal elections; national, state, and local races; and Constitutional and Charter Amendments, the 2018 August Primary and November General Election are all hands on deck! We welcome your involvement in our 2018 Election Team in any way your schedule allows. Contact team chairs Marisol Zenteno and Ibis Valdes to find out how you can help and become part of these important elections.
PROTECT OUR DRINKING WATER A special message from our partners at Food and Water Watch:
We really appreciate the support of League of Women Voters in the fight to pass a statewide fracking ban. Thanks for showing up at rallies and educational events about the threats to fracking in Florida.
We know that chemicals in polluted water do not stay in the Boulder Zone as oil and gas industry leaders claim, but instead flow back up and threaten to pollute the aquifer. Three million people in Miami-Dade County rely on the aquifer as our only drinking water source, and we need to protect it from the hundreds of toxic chemicals used in the fracking process.
The Senate bill to ban fracking is currently stalled in the environmental preservation and conservation committee chaired by Senator Robert Bradley. The statewide Floridians Against Fracking coalition has led a statewide call-in to his office over the past couple of weeks. We even projected a new version of the bat signal onto Bradley's office building, callling on him to pass SB 462, developed by ReThink Energy Florida.
We’re also requesting that our Miami-Dade ally, Senator Anitere Flores, talk with Bradley and urge him to hear the bill. Please call her today to let her know that you support this bill at 866-584-6799, We could also use help calling her constituents to build grassroots support for this effort! To volunteer, contact: Andrea Cuccaro, South Florida Regional Coordinator with Food & Water Watch (786) 925-1151
PUBLIC EDUCATION, LOCAL CONTROL ON THE LINE
The Constitution Revision Commission will soon finalize its proposals, which may well include several dangerous initiatives that threaten to damage public education and diminish local control over local issues. Stay tuned for calls to action! If public education is one of your key causes, please contact Lucia Baez for information on upcoming activities.
CLIMATE CHANGE 101
We're excited to be partnering with The CLEO Institute, a nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to climate change education, engagement, and advocacy, on our Climate-Conscious voter campaign. The CLEO team will be hosting a workshop, Saturday, February 24, from 10:00 am -12:00 pm at the Center for Social Change to provide you with baseline knowledge on the causes and effects of climate change and what you can do about it. RSVP on Facebook and join us!
COUNTY CHARTER REVIEW TASK FORCE WRAPS UP
The County Charter Review Task Force will be wrapping up in a few weeks and releasing its report. Our Board will be attending the last meeting on Monday, February 12. It is essential for LWVMD to have a presence at this meeting – we are one of the very few community representatives that have attended every meeting. We have advocated for several positions, most notably to simplify the citizen petition process. Please join us if you can!
The LWV continues to lead on the issues and to make a difference in our community. To become a member or renew your membership, click here. If you have questions about membership, please contact Membership Chair Faith Grant. We will also very gladly accept your donations.
Please take a look at our upcoming events below and join us whenever and wherever you can. We are working hard to defend our democracy and empower voters!
UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday, February 1, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. | South Miami Mayoral Debate
If you are a South Miami voter or know someone who is, be there if you can. Also see our Voter’s Guide to this election, which will be held on February 13. Please share the guide with your SoMi friends and network! Location: Gibson Bethel Community Center, 5800 SW 66th St, South Miami,
Thursday, February 8, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. | Solar Information Session
Live in Western Miami-Dade and want to go solar? Now's your chance, anyone who lives in Miami-Dade County can participate! Location: Miami-Dade College - West Campus, 3800 NW 115th Ave, Doral
Monday, February 12, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. | LWVMD Board Meeting
We will be holding this month's board meeting at the county’s Charter Review Task Force Final Report and Recommendations Meeting. Join us and let the task force know that the LWVMD is watching and is there to comment! Location: Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW First Street, Miami
Tuesday, February 13, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. | South Miami General Election
Check out our Voter’s Guide before you head to the polls. Location: South Miami
Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Special Primary Election - State Representative, District 114
Find your polling station here. Location: House of Representatives District 114
Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Solar Information Session
Live on the beaches in MDC and want to go solar? Now's your chance, anyone who lives in Miami-Dade County can participate! Location: 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
Thursday, February 22, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Cocktails & Conversations
Our popular Cocktails and Conversation heads north to Café Crème! We hope to see all our friends who live and/or work on the north side of the county. Location:Café Crème, 750 NE 125th Street, North Miami
Saturday, February 24, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. | Climate Change 101
The CLEO Institute will facilitate its signature, research-based 'Climate 101' workshop to provide participants with a baseline knowledge of climate science, seriousness, and solutions. We break it down so there's no science degree required! Refreshments and light bites will be served. Location: Center for Social Change, 2103 Coral Way, Miami
SAVE THE DATE - Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Women That Shine Brunch
Be sure to save the date for our signature Women That Shine event in celebration of Women’s History Month. We will be honoring Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen for her strong voice and dedicated leadership to South Florida, additional honorees and tickets will be announced later this month, check our Facebook page for the latest developments. Location: Sonesta Coconut Grove, 2889 McFarlane Road, Miami