On Saturday March 24 the Thurston and Mason League of Women Voters joined an estimated 4500 marchers to support the student sponsored March for Our Lives in Olympia. The LWV has a long history with the issue of gun control. They have promoted the policy to protect the health and safety of all citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns as well as semi-automatic weapons.
Besides marching with the students, the LWV also provided an opportunity to register new voters at Saturday’s event. The league will continue to work with local groups and students to contact our representatives both on the state and national level to keep the gun control and school safety issue in the forefront.
As Floridians continue to grapple with the massacres at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, our state is mourning yet another mass shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. At least 17 people have died, while many others have been injured. Our thoughts are with the Parkland community and those families forever impacted by today's unspeakable tragedy.
The shooter, now in custody, was reportedly a former student who apparently chose an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to use as his weapon. These types of weapons have been used in mass shootings again and again, including Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Right now, the Florida Legislature has before it legislation to ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines but has failed to act.
This shooting is further proof that semiautomatic weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians. They are weapons of mass destruction. The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and the League of Women Voters of Florida call upon our Legislature currently in Session to hear and pass the ban on assault weapons — HB 219 and SB 196.
Our hearts break for the young lives that were ripped away in a senseless and all-too-common act of brutality. The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is committed to fighting for smart, responsible gun legislation. The federal government will not change these laws; the state of Florida can and should protect its citizens, and most importantly its children.
LWVWA Endorses I-1600, Universal Health Care in Washington State
On March 16 the LWVWA board endorsed I-1600, the initiative that would require the establishment of a comprehensive state program to pay for health care for all Washington residents. If approved, this coverage would be effective by November 2019, funded by premiums and taxes on employers, individual income, and capital gains. Find out more about this initiative at www.yeson1600.org.
In the 2017-2018 Legislature a number of universal health care bills were introduced. Four had public hearings: HB 1026, SB 5701, SB 5747, and SB 5957. None of them were passed out of the committee of origin. As a result, a grass roots organization, Whole Washington, decided to ask the Washington Secretary of State to approve the initiative that has been in the works for about a year.
Dr. Gerald Freidman, a national economist, was hired to do a funding study that would enable Washington State to cover health care costs for all residents. Friedman has worked with other states to study funding for health care plans that would cover all state residents. He designed the health care proposal that Bernie Sanders presented. I-1600 is similar to universal, single payer, legislation that has been introduced in the Washington State Legislature for many years.
The League of Women Voters has a long standing position on universal health care.
In 1990 Washington State established a Health Care Commission, to which League members monitored and provided input. After studying the health care issue, the League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) agreed on the following position on health care in 1992:
Position HC-1: The League of Women Voters of Washington supports policies, as part of comprehensive reform of the existing health system, which
- Ensures universal access for all residents to a comprehensive, uniform, and affordable set of health services. These services shall be available regardless of one’s health status or financial status.
- Provide “seamless” coverage and continuity of care, to the extent possible, regardless of changes in the life circumstances such as change in employment, marital status, financial status, or health status.
- Establish a mechanism to adequately control total system expenditures for health services while maintaining quality standards of care.
- Assure that no one shall be forced into poverty because of medical or long-term needs.
I-1600 would establish a comprehensive state program to pay for health care services, prescriptions, and medical equipment for all Washington residents.
Your help is needed to gather enough signatures for I-1600 to be approved for placement on the November 2018 ballot. Donations are needed to enable positive communication of this initiative and for signature gathering costs. At the present time there are no paid staff members working on this initiative, only volunteers working on a grassroots level. Please help as much as you are able.
HOW WE WORK
League members work on a variety of issues over each program year. A series of General Public meetings began in January 2018. You can read about the meeting that have been held so far on out Program Reports page. Interesting stuff.
Upcoming General Meetings are detailed on the Upcoming Events page. Come and join us!
On Feb 17, 2018, League members gathered for an annual “Program Planning” meeting. They reviewed both National and Local League positions, went through a structured process to come up with recommendations for changes to both. A summary table of results is available here.
For our National position there is a recommendation for adding specific language related to climate change to our positions on Natural Resources. We sent this recommendation off to National League.
Our Local position recommendations will be brought to the Annual Meeting in May for a vote of the membership. Further information about this meeting, as welll as decisions made, will be posted here as they become available.
Fianlly, one of our primary events that serves to spotlight LWVTC activities, as well as raise funds for our Education Fund, which we use to underwrite our Public meetings, is our Education Fund Benefit Luncheon. This will be held on October 20, 2018, so watch for it on our Upcoming Events page.