Meeting Location: Community Reach Center
11285 High Line Dr, Northglenn
Meetings are held from September thru May.
On the second Monday of each month we have evening meetings in the Hawaii Room from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Arrive at 6:15 for coffee.
On the fourth Monday of each month we have morning meetings in the Kauai Room from 11:30am to 12:30pm.
There are no December meetings. All meetings are open to members and nonmembers.
Board Meetings: The dates are noted on the calendar. Members are invited to attend.
Please be aware of possible changes in meeting times or places and special events. Changes will appear on this calendar and/or on the website. An attempt will be made to contact all members.
For information, directions or a ride:
Please call one of the Members of the Board of Directors
May 8 @ 6:30 pm: Making Democracy
Work in Colorado. Jean Fredlund and Lisa
Forbes will discuss National’s campaign for “Making Democracy Work” as State League has outlined it in Colorado.
May 15: BOARD MEETING
Members are welcome. Please contact any board member (see side bar) for the May board meeting location and time.
May 22 @ 11:30 am: Legislative WrapUp with Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik andRep. Faith Winter. Senator Beth Martinez Humenik and Representative Faith Winter will present a comprehensive wrap-up of the legislative session including a question and answer period and discussion.
We invite all members (new and not so new) to submit a brief introduction of yourself and your interests for publication in the Voter. We’d love to know more about you!
Lawsuit claims Colorado’s Amendment 71 — “Raise the Bar” — violates “one man, one vote”
The lawsuit argues Amendment 71, which made it harder to change the state constitution, discriminates against urban voters by making them less important in the petition process.
A coalition of advocacy groups and citizen activists on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Amendment 71 — the ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in November making it dramatically more difficult to amend the state constitution — violates the U.S. Constitution.
At the core of the claim is the argument that it violates the legal principle of “one man, one vote.” And, it attempts to turn one of the arguments made by supporters on its head.
Backers of Amendment 71 argued that it was needed in part to give rural voters more of a voice in petitions to change to the state constitution, because under prior rules, signature gatherers mostly focused on urban population centers along the Front Range. But the lawsuit claims it effectively discriminates against urban voters by making them less important in the petition process.
Amendment 71, dubbed “Raise the Bar” by supporters, lifted the threshold for passage of constitutional amendments to 55 percent of the vote from a simple majority. And to get on the ballot, measures now need signatures from 2 percent of registered voters in all 35 state Senate districts. Previously, getting on the ballot required signatures totaling 5 percent of the number of people who voted for the secretary of state in the last general election, with no geographic requirements.
Supporters say change was needed, arguing that it should be harder to revise the state constitution. Voters agreed, approving it by a wide margin. But a broad coalition of advocacy groups argue that the new signature threshold is so difficult it would shut out all but the wealthiest causes from accessing the ballot.
Opponents announced the lawsuit in a news conference Monday morning (April 24). The plaintiffs include the Coalition for Colorado Universal Health Care and ColoradoCareYes — two groups that supported Amendment 69, the failed 2016 ballot measure that would have created a single-payer health care system in Colorado.
“This measure violates our most basic right for ordinary citizens to petition their government,” said Jeanne Nicholson, a former state lawmaker and a board member for the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care.
The Independence Institute and 350Colorado.org, two advocacy groups from opposite ends of the political spectrum, also spoke in support of the lawsuit, saying it gives a single state senate district with as few as 3 percent of the state’s voters veto power over the other 34 districts.
The suit also claims it violates the First Amendment by limiting political speech.
Kate Roberts, the campaign manager for Raise the Bar, dismissed the lawsuit as meritless.
“It should be more difficult to amend the state constitution than a simple statute, and special interest groups should have to collect signatures in every Senate District, not just on the 16th Street Mall,” Roberts said in a statement. “This lawsuit shares many similarities to this group’s last constitutional misadventure, Amendment 69
— it is without merit, and it will be rejected.”
Half the 24 states that allow initiatives have geographic rules requiring that signatures be collected from various parts of the state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Still, there is precedent for states going too far in imposing restrictions on ballot initiatives. Geographic requirements in Idaho and Nevada were ruled unconstitutional, according to the NCSL, because they were county-based, and populations can vary dramatically from one county to another.
The lawsuit argues that Colorado’s senate district populations vary wildly as well. District 23 in northern Colorado, for instance, has 132,222 voters. That’s 51,723 more than District 21 in the Denver suburbs, which has just 80,499 voters — a 60 percent difference.
A variety of district-level requirements in other states have been upheld in court. And at least one other state, Utah, uses state senate districts, though the requirements differ slightly from Colorado’s. Citizen’s initiatives there need a certain number of signatures from 26 of the state’s 29 senate districts.
SAVE THE DATE!
On Sunday, August 20th, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm the League of Women Voters of Colorado will be celebrating the 19th Amendment (giving women the right to vote).
The celebration will be held at the Molly Brown Summer House, 2690 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Denver, 80227.
Pat Lewis is on the committee organizing the celebration, and more details will be coming from State League.
RECAP We had five members attend the Mary
Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Service
Award Dinner on April 13th – Cathy
O’Grady-Melvin (previous award winner), Pat Lewis, Judy Nicholaisen, Lisa Forbes, and Laura Harris.
The following article was posted online and is shared here with full credit to the writer:
COMMUNITY REACH EVENT HONORS SERVICE LEADERS
Community Reach Center honored three community members at the annual Mary Ciancio Distinguished Service Award April
13 at Stonebrook Manor Events Center in Thornton. CRC is a mental health services provider with numerous centers in Adams County.
Nancy Skeels garnered the Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Service Award. She is in the 11th year of leading a volunteerbased Reading Literacy Project to benefit students in the 27J school district in Adams County. The retired District 50 school teacher started with a small group of volunteers. She secured donations, managed funds, purchased and separated books and recruited volunteers as she worked with the schools.
The project now involves 30 volunteers and has distributed more than 3,000 books. Spanish speaking volunteers are assigned to bilingual classrooms for the program. The teachers express gratitude for the program, which encourages students to love reading and spread goodwill in their own way. Nancy is described as upbeat and joyful, hard-working and focused, a good friend and a tireless advocate for education.
The other nominees for this award were also thanked for their service:
Moreno, McIntosh honored State Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce
City, District 21, was presented the 2017 Legislator of the Year award for serving as an advocate for mental health initiatives, maternal mental health services and his unwavering support of appropriate and humane treatment of people living with mental health challenges.
Sheriff Michael McIntosh received the 2017
Marjory Ball Mental Health Advocacy Award, in recognition of his leadership in the development of the mental health pod at Adams County jail – to provide inmates diagnosed with mental illness the treatment that they need in order to break the cycle of unlawful behaviors and incarceration that is often related to untreated mental illness. Sheriff McIntosh is a champion for mental health known to lead efforts to reduce mental health stigma. The Marjory Ball Mental Health Advocacy Award is given each year to someone in our community who has demonstrated extraordinary advocacy in mental health care. About the event
Established in 1979, the Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Award was named in honor of the late Mary Ciancio. Mary advocated and volunteered for nearly 70 years on behalf of people with disabilities and health challenges. She had a special place in her heart for people living with severe and persistent mental illness – so much so that she became known as the “Mother of Mental Health” in Adams County.
Legislative Update with Andrea Wilkins,
LWVCO Staff Lobbyist
Andrea Wilkins joined us at our April 24th meeting to update the League on the latest developments in the state legislature. Andrea joined the LWVCO staff in December 2016 and works to further the mission of the League with respect to legislative issues.
Control of the state legislature is currently split along party lines, with Democrats holding the 37 to 28 majority of the House and Republicans holding an 18 to 17 majority of the Senate. Despite the partisan atmosphere, League is encouraged to see some cooperation and joint participation on several bills.
The current legislative session is heavily focused on funding issues related to:
Transportation. CDOT estimates transportation funding requirements to reach $9 billion over the next 10 years to cover investments in maintenance, capital improvements, and increased transportation options. HB 1242, scheduled for a Senate Finance Committee hearing on April 25th, would increase the sales and use tax rate (from 2.9% to 3.52%) for the next 20 years beginning in 2018 to generate new revenue for transportation infr
UPDATE: This bill was postponed indefinitely after its hearing on April 25th.
•Hospitals. The Hospital Provider Fee is the main source of funding for hospitals. Because the $700 million currently generated by provider fees is subject to TABOR limits, a $264 million cut is proposed to balance the state budget and avoid taxpayer refunds. SB 267 is a broad bill that attempts to address hospital and other funding constraints faced by the state. The bill would reclassify the hospital provider fee to a healthcare enterprise, which would remove the TABOR-imposed spending limits and avoid the proposed $264 million budget cut. League is watching this bill closely, pending further fiscal analysis of all the components of the bill.
•Education. K-12 education continues to face significant funding constraints. Amendment 23, the Gallagher Amendment, and TABOR have made it difficult to correct funding issues. HB 1187, strongly favored by League, would have modified TABOR’s excess revenue cap and increased the amount of revenue that could be retained and allocated to critical programs such as education. The bill was postponed indefinitely by the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Andrea Wilkins works closely with the League’s Legislative Action Committee and contributes to the Legislative Letter. To subscribe to the Legislative Letter and stay informed about all the bills being followed by League, contact email@example.com or 303.863.0437.
The League of Women Voters of Adams
County extends our heartfelt condolences to Julie Leonard, LWVCO Executive Director, and to her family regarding the loss of her mother.
We also wish to thank Julie for her years of service as LWVCO Executive Director, and we wish her the very best in every area as she leaves the position to focus on other matters. Shirley Mrochek in particular has noted that Julie has always been very helpful to her over the years.
WELCOME Announcement written by
Cath Perrone, LWVCO
We are pleased to announce the hiring of
LARA MAERZ as our LWVCO Office
Lara will begin her newest adventure on Monday, May 15th. She will be attending the Convention and Board Meeting in Fort Collins. We are looking to tap into her expertise in database management and social media to increase the League's efficiency and visibility.
Lara Maerz is thrilled to join the League of
Women Voters Colorado staff as Office Administrator. Lara has been in nonprofit administration for several years specializing in communications and general office management. Outside of helping make the world a better place, Lara is an active member of the Denver theatre community as a stage manager and sometimes actress.
Please join us in welcoming Lara to our LWVCO team.
Barbara Mattison, President
Nancy Crow, President Elect
Cath Perrone, VP Admin
LWV-Adams County welcomes Lara to League and looks forward to working with her.
April 17, 2017 Board Meeting
Thank you to our new member, Ann Brumfield, for taking minutes at the Annual Meeting.
Marge Innes, Acting Secretary
We hope you already have Saturday June 10th, 6:30pm, at Spero's Winery, on your calendar. RSVP by June 3rd as we have limited space.
This is a wonderful way to spend an evening with family and friends and to financially support our league. Clyde and June Spero are our hosts. Clyde pours the wine as you will be able to sample 16 different wines including a Vino Ghiacciato. This dessert wine was made from Merlot grapes, which were frozen immediatly after being crushed. This "iced" dessert wine has very concentrated flavors. It is sweet, with wonderful berry flavors, but lower in alcohol than many other dessert wines. So get your palates ready.
To accompany the wine June prepares a fabulous buffet with multiple antipastos, trays of various salamis and cheese , meatballs with sauce, sausage with peppers & onions, soft cheese with wine jelly and grapes.
For dessert we have homemade Italian cookies and fresh strawberries with chocolate and ambrosia dips to entice you further. So bring your appetites.
Cost is $35.00 ($10.00 goes to our League for educational activities).
RSVP Shirley Mrochek at 303-452-0598 with your reservations and mail checks to Shirley at 10781 Wanda Lane, Northglenn, CO 80234. We look forward to seeing everyone there.
Submit any program ideas or requests for September 2017 through May 2018 to Marge Innes!
Submit any suggestions or recommendations for September 2017 through May 2018 Voter articles to the Voter Editor!
We invite all members to let us know your specific interests and focus in League (and your special talents and super powers!) for publication in future editions of the Voter.
LWV of Adams County is on Facebook! Laura Harris is our new Facebook page manager (thank you, Laura!).
Like our page and keep up with League news, events, legislative actions, and helpful resources. www.facebook.com/lwvadamscountyco/
For information or directions:
Please contact any board member. (See Sidebar)
Need a ride to a meeting? Just ask!
Become a Member
Dues are $60 per year, pro-rated after January 1st to September 15th. This covers the cost of our local League’s pledge to the National LWVUS and its publication “The Voter” issued 4 times a year plus the state League and its publication “Colorado Voter” (published quarterly). The financial support of our local league activities, including the newsletter and other publications, registration for workshops and special projects, comes from member donations above the $60.00 level. We appreciate any donations in excess of the dues. Thank you for your consideration. Dues levels are as follows:
Friend $60.00 (basic dues)
.Checks may be made payable to LWV of Adams County and mailed to:
SHIRLEY MROCHEK, TREASURER, 10781 WANDA LANE, NORTHGLENN, CO 80234
Contact: Pat Lewis